Defense Digest - February 2007

AIPAC's Defense Digest is a monthly compilation of news articles, feature stories and official government statements highlighting the cooperative defense and homeland security programs central to the strong and mutually beneficial strategic relationship between the two allies. For more information on these issues, please contact AIPAC's defense team at defenseteam@aipac.org.



1. Successful Arrow Test Validates U.S. Funding Extension
Israel for the first time successfully conducted a test of the Arrow missile in extreme climactic and nighttime conditions, marking a key milestone for the missile defense system jointly developed by America and Israel, Defense News reported. The test was the system’s 15th practice run. U.S. officials said the increase in advanced ballistic missile threats to both the U.S. and Israel warranted renewed funding of the program, which will now receive approximately $80 million each year from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) for the next five years. Read more...
2. Iranian Threat at Forefront of U.S.-Israel Strategic Dialogue
Senior U.S. and Israeli officials engaged in a strategic dialogue last month regarding Iran’s nuclear program and its support for terrorism, Ha’aretz reported. U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz participated in the dialogue, which focused on ways to sanction Iran and impede its cash flow. Burns said President Bush’s decision to send a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf sends a signal to Tehran that America takes Iranian threats seriously and that “all options are on the table” in dealing with the Iran. Read more...
3. American and Israeli Companies Team Up on Missile Defense System
An American defense company has teamed up with an Israeli aerospace company to develop the Skyguard High Energy Laser Defensive System, which aims to intercept hostile rockets and missiles. RADA Electronic Industries of Netanya, Israel, announced that the company will cooperate with Northrop Grumman Space & Mission Systems Corporation of Redondo Beach, Calif., on all phases of the system’s development, including its construction, installation and operation. A single Skyguard system can defend a large civilian population or industrial area, a large military installation or deployed forces. Read more...
4. U.S. Army Expands Order From Leading Israeli Firm
Talla-Tech, a U.S. subsidiary of Israel's Tadiran Communications, will upgrade existing tactical communications systems and provide spare parts for maintenance, according to its recently augmented contract with the U.S. Army, Globes reported. The U.S. military boosted its existing contract to $125 million for Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS), which supply high frequency radios—currently deployed by the U.S. military in Iraq—that can operate over short- and long-range distances. “The expansion of this contract,” said Amos Weizman, Tadiran’s incoming CEO, “is proof of the U.S. customer’s satisfaction with the product range offered by Tadiran and its subsidiaries, which contains some of the most advanced technology and know-how in the world.” Read more...
5. U.S. and Israel Finalize Homeland Security Agreement
The United States and Israel signed a joint memorandum of understanding this month establishing the terms for enhanced homeland security cooperation between the two allies, The Jerusalem Post reported. The agreement, signed by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Israeli Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, calls for cooperation in airline security, explosives detection, information sharing on terror and criminal activities, and joint training and staff exchanges. Read more...
6. International Anti-Terror Cooperation Bill Introduced
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Ranking Member Peter King (R-NY) introduced legislation this month that would enable the Department of Homeland Security to collaborate with America’s strongest allies, including Israel, to develop homeland security technologies, according to a Homeland Security Committee press release. “The development and implementation of technology is critical for the security of our homeland; and, for the past 29 years, we’ve benefited from a close working relationship with Israel,” King said in the release. Read more...
7. Delegation of U.S. Fire Chiefs Visit Israel
A delegation of fire chiefs from around the country recently traveled to Israel for a critical homeland security mission that included high-level meetings, demonstrations and exchanges with senior Israeli emergency response and fire command officials, Fire Chief magazine reported. The mission, sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, included meetings with first responders from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa as well as representatives from the Israeli National Police and Israel’s national medical emergency response services Magen David Adom. Read more...
8. Israeli Companies Participate in U.S. Security Technology Conference
Eighteen Israeli homeland security companies were in Fairfax County, Va., last month to meet with U.S. contractors and present business plans to leading investors at a security technologies conference, The Jerusalem Post reported. “We don’t have sufficient experience to cover everything [related to homeland security] and Israel has to be the first place to look,” said Gerald Gordon, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Read more...