White House Backs Israeli Anti-Missile System (WSJ) WALL STREET JOURNAL) By Nathan Hodge 03/28/12)
WASHINGTON TIMES Articles-Index-Top
A day after President Barack Obama drew fire for missile-defense
remarks, the administration is winning points from some Israel
supporters after the Pentagon threw its support Tuesday behind new
funding for an Israeli defensive system that recently countered
barrage of rockets from Palestinian militants.
At issue is Iron Dome, a system designed to stop short-range
missiles. In 2011, Iron Dome, made by Israel’s Rafael Advanced
Defense Systems Ltd., received $205 million in U.S. funding. In a
statement Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman George Little said the U.S.
Defense Department was in discussions with the Israeli government
about additional funding to procure more Iron Dome systems – and
would ask Congress to provide “an appropriate level of funding” for
“Supporting the security of the State of Israel is a top priority of
President Obama and Secretary Panetta,” he said.
That endorsement drew praise from Rep. Howard Berman (D., Calif.),
the author of the Iron Dome Support Act, a new bill that would help
support the deployment of more Iron Dome batteries. “Iron Dome is a
game changer,” said Rep. Berman. “The threats Israel faces from
incoming, indiscriminate terrorist rocket attacks are countered by
this cutting edge anti-missile system. Iron Dome is fundamentally
shifting political, diplomatic and military realities on the ground,
while saving lives of innocent Israelis. Today’s statement is a
further step in the right direction.”
Rep. Steve Rothman (D., N.J.), a member of the House Appropriations
Committee’s defense panel, promised to “robustly fund” the defensive
Iron Dome is only piece of a layered defensive system. Boeing Co.’s
Arrow II missile system, developed with Israel, is designed to
counter Iran’s long-range missiles; Raytheon Co. has teamed with
Rafael on the David’s Sling, another missile defense program; and
Israel also has the Patriot system.
Addressing a missile-defense forum Monday, Sen. Carl Levin (D.,
Mich.), said those interlocking defenses, along with U.S. investment
in missile-defense technology, could have “major implications” for
dissuading Iran from deciding to develop nuclear weapons. Missile
defenses, he said, would blunt Iran’s ability to retaliate if there
is a strike on its nuclear facilities.
“Iran would have to factor Israel’s missile -defense capability into
its calculations,” Sen. Levin said. “And since that missile-defense
system is very capable, Iran would not be able to count on deterring
an attack against its nuclear facilities because it has a retaliatory
missile attack threat in its arsenal.”
Iron Dome is limited to relatively short-range threats, such as
artillery rockets. The U.S. military has also fielded its own counter-
rocket and mortar system, built around the radar-guided Phalanx gun.
(Copyright © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.) 03/28/12)
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