Defense Digest - March 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. U.S.-Israel Aid Talks Focus on Strategic Threats
A meeting last month between senior U.S. and Israeli officials concerning future military aid allocations to Israel also focused on the strategic threats faced by the two nations, The Jerusalem Post reported. Israeli officials said that expanded strategic threats, such as a nuclear Iran, Hizballah’s buildup of rockets and Hamas’ terrorism, necessitate additional military assistance. A senior State Department official said that the U.S. agrees with Israeli security assessments, while a statement released by the two allies after the talks noted America’s unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and said the meeting indicates a step towards fortifying and enhancing the strategic relationship between the two countries. Read more...
2. U.S. Marines Turn to Israel for Armored Vehicles
Israel is set to supply the United States with 60 armored vehicles designed to protect Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan from roadside bombs, mines, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices, which are the main sources of American casualties in the conflicts, the Associated Press reported. The armored vehicles, known as Golans, are jointly produced by Rafael—Israel's Armament Development Authority—and the U.S. company PIA. The U.S. military has an extensive strategic relationship with Israel, which continues to serve as a resource for numerous innovations vital to American troops in the field. Read more...
3. U.S. Army Considers Israeli Armor for IED Protection
The U.S. Army is considering the purchase of Steel Wall armor, produced by Israel Military Industries (IMI) and specially designed to improve a vehicle’s ability to survive an attack by improvised explosive devices (IED), The Jerusalem Post reported. IED attacks, used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, have killed hundreds of civilians and soldiers. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) also faced the threat of IED attacks during last summer’s war in Lebanon. Read more...
4. U.S. Marine Corps Extends Contract for Israeli Laser System
New Hampshire-based El-Op, a subsidiary of Israeli electronics firm Elbit systems, received an additional order for laser target designator (LTD) systems from the U.S. Marine Corps, Defense Industry Daily reported. The laser rangefinder can easily be carried and operated by individual soldiers and provides both range readings and a “bull’s eye” for targeting laser-guided precision weapons. Read more...
5. Congress Votes to Enhance U.S.-Israel Anti-Terror Cooperation
The House in February overwhelmingly passed a bill that would create an office within the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate charged with coordinating efforts with U.S. allies, including Israel, to develop technology to fight terrorism, YNet News reported. The bill, co-sponsored by House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Peter King (R-NY) and Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS), authorizes the new office to fund joint business, nonprofit or governmental homeland security projects with U.S. allies, as long as the funding is matched by the partner country. The Senate passed similar provisions, authored by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME), as part of broader homeland security-related legislation. Read more...
6. U.S. Fire Chiefs Visit Israel to Cement Homeland Security Ties
Fourteen fire chiefs from 13 states toured Israel in early February to develop relationships with Israeli homeland security professionals and first responders during a week-long trip, JTA reported. The trip was co-sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The mission participants are now conveying lessons learned in Israel to firefighters and other interested parties in their communities. Read more...
7. Israeli Program Helps American Security Planners Protect Sites
Israeli-based DefenSoft has developed a computer-aided design program that helps offsite engineers map out an effective perimeter security plan by determining the best location for cameras, sensor devices and other equipment needed to secure airports, borders, military facilities and other critical infrastructure sites, Israel 21c reported. The program, called Lighthouse, has received an overwhelmingly positive response in the United States, leading DefenSoft to open a U.S. subsidiary. Read more...
8. Israeli Company Develops Innovative High-Rise Rescue Equipment
The Israeli company SAFEXIT has developed a spring-loaded pulley and harness system for high-rise offices that automatically deploys as a ready-to-use exterior escape route during an emergency situation, Israel 21c reported. The system, which passed the American Society for Testing and Materials Standards (ASTM) evaluations, is scheduled to be installed at U.S. locations in the coming months. Read more...