The Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation being considered by Congress would restrict Missile Defense Agency (MDA) funding to no more than $15 million for co-production of the Israeli Iron Dome short range rocket defense system in the United States.
Iron Dome, developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells. In 2011, Rafael and Raytheon [RTN] agreed to market the system in the United States. Raytheon and Rafael are also teaming on the David Sling Weapon System, a mobile, land-based missile defense program, and the Blue Sparrow missile defense targets program.
The restricted funds are part of MDA’s research, development, test and evaluation funding and refers to money that might be “obligated or expended for nonrecurring engineering costs” connected with setting up a co-production capacity in the United States by industry of parts and components of the Iron Dome defense program.
The House bill had authorized $15 million to improve the capability for producing the Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system in the United States, while the Senate committee-reported bill did not, according to the joint explanatory text accompanying the NDAA bill.
The legislative text also calls for a co-production agreement between the United States and Israel for Iron Dome parts and components.
Such a report is due to the congressional defense committees no later than 30 days after spending funds. The MDA director’s report must address the plan to implement an agreement, including a description of the estimated costs of implementing the agreement, including costs to be borne by industry, the expected implementation schedule and a description of any efforts to minimize the costs of the agreement to the U.S. government.
The legislative measure also would be clear that it is not intended to alter the planned Iron Dome procurement schedule or numbers, the language said.
The measure expresses the sense of Congress on the importance of a second production source in the United States.
“We believe it is important for industry to pay for a substantial share of the cost of establishing a co-production capacity in the United States,” the language said. “Further, we direct that the Missile Defense Agency not use funds from other programs of record to pay for establishing an Iron Dome production capacity in the United States.”
Taking a step back for a larger view, the bill language calls for a report on the status of missile defense cooperation between the United States and Israel, due to the defense committees no later than a year after the FY ’14 NDAA is enacted.
In this report, members want a description of current ballistic missile defense cooperation to include the objectives and results of such cooperation as of the date of the report. The report must also describe what has been done in the year before the report, and what steps are planned for the year after the report by the United States and Israel to “improve the coordination, interoperability and integration of the missile defense capabilities of the United States and Israel.
The members want a description of joint missile defense exercises and training conducted by both countries and what lessons have been learned from them. Additionally, the report must contain a description of joint efforts of the United States and Israel to develop ballistic missile defense technologies and capabilities.