US: President Barack Obama has slashed US contributions to Israel’s ballistic missile defense programs. The Obama administration has proposed a reduction of nearly USD200 million in joint US-Israel BMD programs. The 2015 budget would hamper such existing programs as Israel’s Arrow-2, Arrow-3 and David’s Sling. “This is very disappointing and it is irresponsible to cut funding to a steadfast ally in an extremely volatile region of the world,” said Rep Doug Lamborn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. The Israeli programs will receive USD96.8 million in fiscal 2015. In previous years, Congress restored cuts proposed by Obama for Israeli defense programs, including USD95 million for fiscal 2014. Under the latest budget, Israel’s Iron Dome missile and rocket system would also wind down. Supporters in Congress have urged the renewal of funds for Iron Dome, which intercepted scores of rockets fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip over the last two years.
On March 6, Lamborn told a House Armed Services Committee that Israel has sought USD350 million in US funding for BMD programs. “Defense Iron Dome would continue to receive US support. But a leading lobbyist said Obama’s budget request of USD7.45 billion reflected a decline in the importance of BMD,” said Chuck Hagel, Secretary. The Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance said the latest administration request for BMD was the lowest under Obama.
Source: World Tribune