CUTTING EDGE

Nearly 50 House Armed Services members urge increased U.S.-Israel defense cooperation

A new letter calls for expanded cooperation in emerging technology areas like AI, cybersecurity, directed energy, automation and space

(Photo by Jeon Heon-Kyun - Pool/Getty Images)

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin attends a press conference with South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup (not pictured) at the Defense Ministry on January 31, 2023, in Seoul, South Korea.

Citing the increasing scale and sophistication of threats to Israel, 47 members of the House Armed Services Committee — a majority of committee members — wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday urging expanded U.S.-Israel defense cooperation.

The letter, led by Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Jason Crow (D-CO), asks the Defense Department to provide an assessment to the committee on the threats to Israel, including the capabilities of terrorists and regional foes, Israeli capabilities and shortfalls and the possibilities for expanded cooperation in areas like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, directed energy, automation and space.

The letter highlights the growing threats to Israel from Iran and its proxy groups throughout the region and Iran’s increased funding to such groups, and adds that growing Iranian-Russian military partnership “portends the delivery of additional advanced Russian systems that can threaten Israel.”

“Given the increasing sophistication of threats to Israel, we are concerned that we may be underestimating the quantity of weapons Israel will require to defend itself,” the letter warns. “More generally, we believe it is imperative that the U.S. and Israel – two of the world’s advanced technology juggernauts – work together to ensure we prevail over our adversaries in critically important high-tech security sectors.”

The letter highlights past successes in U.S.-Israel cooperation, including missile defense, counter-drone technology and anti-tunneling systems, and argues that “by working together with our allies in Israel we can secure critical American achievements in emerging technology sectors.”

Lamborn echoed that message in a statement.

“Defense collaboration between the United States and Israel has resulted in groundbreaking technological achievements,” he said. “Defense technology developed jointly by the United States and Israel has saved countless lives. Continued collaboration has immense potential for achievements in emerging technology sectors.” 

Crow said in a statement, “As a former Army Ranger, I know that the support we give our partners abroad directly impacts safety and security at home,” adding, “That’s why I’m proud to stand with Congressman Lamborn in calling for increased US-Israeli cooperation… Together, this will bolster US national security and support Israel’s regional defenses.”

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