Pentagon to seek additional Iron Dome funding, U.S. official says
Statement by Department of Defense spokesperson comes after U.S. officials initiate Iron Dome Support Act meant to allow purchase of additional anti-missile systems.
The Pentagon will approach Congress to enlarge the amount aid the United States awards Israel toward the production of the Iron Dome anti-missile systems, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
Last week, Rep. Howard L. Berman introduced the Iron Dome Support Act (IDSA) authorizing U.S. President Barack Obama to provide assistance if requested by the Israeli government to procure additional Iron Dome systems.
While the Iron Dome Support Act was still in initial stages of the legislation process, it has already won support from both parties. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was one of the initial supporters of the bill, along with four other congressmen from both parties.
In a statement released by the Pentagon on Tuesday, spokesman George Little said that "supporting the security of the State of Israel is a top priority of President Obama and Secretary Panetta," adding that last year the US provided 205 million dollars for the system.
"The Department of Defense has been in conversations with the Government of Israel about U.S. support for the acquisition of additional Iron Dome systems and intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity,” Little said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in response to the Pentagon's statement, said that the decision was "another indication of the depth of the security relationship between the United States and Israel, and a badge of honor to the Israeli security industries which developed the Iron Dome and which are working on developing a multilayered interception system."
"I congratulate the American administration for aiding the bolstering of Israel's security," Barak added.
Congressman Steve Rothman, a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said in a statement following the Pentagon's announcement that he was "pleased to see that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Obama Administration understand the importance of and remain committed to funding the life-saving rocket defense program, Iron Dome."
"We must continue to stand with Israel to make sure that our most important strategic ally in the region has the additional Iron Dome batteries it needs to protect its population from rocket attacks. As a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, I will continue to work with my colleagues to robustly fund Iron Dome," Rothman added.