Obama Budget Slashes Israeli Missile Defense Programs

An Iron Dome missile interceptor overlooking Haifa, Israel / AP

An Iron Dome missile interceptor overlooking Haifa, Israel / AP

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Joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs would be reduced by nearly $200 million under President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, prompting concern from lawmakers who have fought to keep the critical defense programs fully funded.

Israeli Cooperative Programs—which include the Arrow II, Arrow III, and David’s Sling missile defense systems—are slated to receive $96.8 million under Obama’s newly released budget proposal, a reduction of nearly $200 million from the previous year’s finalized levels.

The funding dip hits as the White House seeks to significantly reduce the overall U.S. defense budget and enact severe cuts to the U.S. military.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, slammed the administration for insufficiently funding the joint missile projects, which benefit both Israeli and American security.

“Once again, the administration is proposing hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to our cooperative missile defense work with Israel,” Lamborn said. “This is very disappointing and it is irresponsible to cut funding to a steadfast ally in an extremely volatile region of the world.”

As America’s defense budget shrinks under the weight of sequestration and other budgetary pressures, lawmakers like Lamborn are worried that Israel’s security needs will be jeopardized.

Missile defense programs have long been a priority issue for the Israelis, who are already employing several of these systems to counter an influx of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and other areas.

Read more at Free Beacon

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