Even as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was being raked over the coals in Congress for the decision to cut funding to America’s missile defense systems, Israeli defense officials have revealed that Israel’s own Arrow 3 missile defense system will be “fully funded” by the United States yet again this year.
Israel has been working on the Arrow defense system for over 20 years with heavy US backing. It is reported that the costs for the upcoming year will be nearly $100 million. Israel’s system will be showcased later this year in a joint operation with the US military.
A successful test of a long-range Iranian missile today brought the issue of America’s missile defense systems in Europe into focus, though the missile’s maximum range still put it well short of the US bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, ostensibly being built for that purpose.
Secretary Gates defended the $1.2 billion in cuts to the Missile Defense Agency, despite criticism from some members of Congress. Gates said the suitability of some of the cut programs for their purposes were “highly questionable.” The newfound concern over the usefulness of US weapons programs will not, it seems, extend to foreign military aid.