Australia may have supported the United States, or been supported by it, in both World Wars, the Korean war, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
But they are not our greatest ally – oh no.
To be the greatest ally of the United States, you need more than a special relationship built on a century of shared sacrifice.
You need a chosen relationship.
Speaking of choices – whose idea was this?
The US Army said it was curbing its plans to adopt the Iron Dome missile defense system due to concerns about its compatibility with existing US technologies, scrapping its plans to buy two more batteries and explore long-term integration of the Israel-developed system.
A central problem was Israel’s refusal to provide the US military with Iron Dome’s source code, hampering the Americans’ ability to integrate the system into their air defenses.
Gen. Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, said the service identified a number of problems — including cyber vulnerabilities and operational challenges — during efforts last year to integrate elements of Iron Dome with the US Army’s Integrated Battle Command System.
“It took us longer to acquire those [first] two batteries than we would have liked,” Murray told the House Armed Service tactical air and land forces subcommittee on Thursday. “We believe we cannot integrate them into our air defense system based on some interoperability challenges, some cyber challenges and some other challenges.”
Last year, the Army announced plans to acquire two Iron Dome batteries to provide US forces an interim cruise missile defense capability, as well as explore full adoption of the Israeli-developed system for a program called Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept program.
The Army earmarked over $1 billion for the project to pluck select Iron Dome components and integrate them with US military’s Integrated Battle Command System by 2023.
The Israeli Missile Defense Organization and the Army last August inked a deal for two Iron Dome batteries. Soon thereafter, according to sources, Army officials repeatedly requested Iron Dome “source code” — proprietary information detailing how the system works.
Israel supplied engineering information but ultimately declined to provide the source code the Army said it needed to integrate Iron Dome components with US systems.
The Army decision was based on the impasse over Iron Dome’s source code, not shortcomings identified in a physical technical assessment.
It should be pointed out that the entire value of the system is its source code. Physically, it is just a system of short range, low-yield surface-to-air missiles. I am sure it has made some improvements on that concept, but that is a very old concept.
Its source code, on the other hand, represents a solution for tracking multiple high-speed incoming missiles and plotting their interception, very quickly and with limited information, with enough precision to hit a very small fast-moving object with another very small fast-moving object.
This is not an easy task – this is the whole problem with missile interception. It helps that the Palestinians shoot rockets into Israel on a regular basis, so it’s the perfect testing ground to develop these algorithms.
Since 2011, Congress has provided Israel more than $1.5 billion to produce Iron Dome batteries, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. In August 2011, Raytheon and Rafael — which partnered on David’s Sling, a US-Israeli cooperative missile defense development program — announced an agreement to allow Raytheon to market Iron Dome in the United States.
It also helps that the United States generously paid for this system.
So, you would think that Israel would share it with them. Instead, they chose to extract more money from the United States, by partnering with Raytheon to sell two overpriced batteries to the military, and then leave them to discover, after the sale, that they were essentially worthless because they could not be integrated.
In light of this, do you think that Congress will stop financing the Israeli missile program?
Stay tuned to find out!