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May 8, 2008
Send missile defense system to Israel and a message to Iran
"Iranian President Ahmadinejad calls for Israel to be wiped off the map and talks of the Jewish people's annihilation. America should send a message to the Iranian dictator - Israel will have the full weight of America's missile defense system to defend herself," stated Illinois Congressman Mark Kirk.
To that end, On May 5, almost 70 leading Democrats and Republicans signed the Kirk-Harman Letter backing the X-Band Ground-Based Early Warning Radar Fully Integrated with U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Program. The radar would double Israel's missile defense range, increase engagement time six-fold.
Iran has expanded its ballistic missile program and is testing a new "Ashura" long-range ballistic missile - an upgrade to the "Shahab-3" capable of hitting Israel and Europe. "Israel's security is in constant jeopardy. As an important ally and shining democratic example in the Middle East, her protection is a top U.S. priority," Congresswoman Harman said. "The threat from Iran is real - both to her security and to the stability of the region. Sharing our BMD capability with Israel is smart policy and an effective deterrent against an increasingly volatile neighbor."
(The letter is below)
Dear Mr. President:
On January 28, 2008, you signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 into law. This legislation included a mandated report by the Secretary of Defense on future coordination, interoperability, and integration of Israel into the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense program.
As you know, the Iranian ballistic missile program is expanding. In November, the Iranians tested a new Ashura long-range ballistic missile – an upgrade to the Shahab-3 capable of hitting Israel and Europe.
Given the Iranian President’s threat to “wipe Israel off the map,” we should put the full weight of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system behind our democratic ally. We urge you to work with the Government of Israel to install an upgraded U.S. BMD ground-based early warning radar site in Israel that is fully integrated with the U.S. BMD architecture.
In 2001, the United States granted Israel access to the U.S. Defense Support Program (DSP), the principal component of our Satellite Early Warning System. This watershed cooperative program established the precedent for U.S.-Israel cooperation on early warning.
DSP, however, only solves one challenge: missile launch detection. It does not contribute significantly to target discrimination and intercept capability. To reduce the Iranian threat, we should deploy a U.S. BMD-linked X-Band ground-based warning radar to Israel to maximize her defenses.
A U.S. BMD early-warning radar site in Israel would improve target discrimination, imaging, modeling, and battle management. An X-Band radar linked to the U.S. BMD system would work in concert with the DSP support we already provide Israel to fully target any incoming threat and increase the likelihood of successful intercepts.
Thank you for your continued support of a strong U.S.-Israel defense relationship.