So what’s this I hear about an Iron Dome? And why does the US care?
In the past few weeks if you’ve been paying attention to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, you probably heard the phrase “iron dome” repeated half a dozen times. The “Iron Dome” in Israel is a missile defense system designed to intercept and destroy short ranged rockets. Considering Hamas shoots a considerable number of rockets into Israel, you can see how Israel’s Iron Dome system is playing a huge part in the conflict. With some even arguing that it could be prolonging it. Yet the Iron Dome system is only possible through some strong support from the US.
How you ask?
Over the past two years the US has given more than $700 million in helping Israel to cover the cost of batteries, interceptors, and maintenance for the Iron Dome system. The Senate recently appropriated more funding for fiscal 2015, which if passed, would break the $1 billion barrier for funding the project.
Just last week, the House – before they went on their August recess – approved a $225 million package to replenish Israel’s missile defenses. Many among Congress believe that this is the best way to protect Israel from attacks with the Iron Dome intercepting up to 90% of rockets shot into Israel. But there are other reasons for the US government to essentially fund the Iron Dome project. In these cases, it all comes down to the tech and the money that can be generated from it.
With the increase of funding of the Iron Dome system, the US hopes that it can acquire some of the weapon tech that essentially makes the system run. In 2012, $680 million was set aside in buying the Iron Dome weapon in hopes of gaining appropriate rights to the technology. With reported interests from India and South Korea, the US could very well profit if other countries want to follow in creating an Iron Dome system.
Also earlier this year Raytheon, an American defense contractor, became the first major partner between US and Israel in the co-production of major parts for the Iron Dome’s Tamir intercepting missile. This would lead Raytheon to supply various components through multiple subcontractors leading to multiple US firms profiting from the Dome’s maintenance.
So while the US does have a legitimate stake of protecting Israel in a pretty rough region in the world, there are many reasons why the US is involved with the funding of the Iron Dome. Yet like with most US legislation, sometimes it’s all about the money.