Security Digest Banner
topMarch 2013 


usisraelU.S.-Israel Cooperation


Hagel-Barak Former Senator Chuck Hagel was confirmed as Secretary of Defense after a long and contentious confirmation process. In his first meeting with a foreign counterpart, Secretary Hagel welcomed Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to the Pentagon. Secretary Hagel pledged to maintain Israel's qualitative military edge, continue support for Israeli missile defense programs, and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  


Israel is bracing for a potential reduction in U.S. aid as a result of sequestration. While the House of Representatives recently passed a continuing resolution that would maintain full funding for the American contribution to Israel's missile defense programs, Israel's annual Foreign Military Financing may be cut by as much as $155 million. Israeli officials have declared that they are prepared to "carry our share of the burden." The Senate has yet to pass its own continuing resolution.


Israeli firm Elbit Systems' U.S. subsidiary, Elbit Systems of America, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, secured a $50 million contract to work with BAE Systems to provide logistics support for the U.S. Navy's T-34, T-44, and T-6 pilot and crew training aircraft.


A U.S. Hercules C-130J arrived in Israel in order to allow Israeli pilots to familiarize themselves with the aircraft before receiving their own Hercules C-130Js in 2014. The C-130J is built by Lockheed-Martin in Marietta, Georgia.


Back to top 

missileMissile Defense


Israel successfully completed a fly-out test for the Arrow 3 system, its exo-atmospheric missile defense system set to be operational in 2016. Originally scheduled for last fall, the test marks a milestone for the U.S.-Israel joint program. The interceptor flew for six minutes, entering space, and its kill-vehicle successfully separated. U.S. officials witnessed the launch.


Back to top 

gazaGaza Watch 

In late February, Gaza militants fired an M-75 type rocket at Ashkelon, the first rocket attack since the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense in November. It marked the first projectile launch of any kind since two mortar launchings in December, the longest period of quiet since the Gaza Disengagement.


Back to top  

egyptEgypt Watch


Egyptian Soldiers Egypt has taken increased action to combat weapons smuggling into Gaza. Authorities seized several large weapons caches in mid- and late February and flooded the tunnels through which they are smuggled.


A jihadist group fired a long-range missile in the central Sinai in an apparent test. The missile traveled nearly 30 miles and created a 10-foot deep crater. Egyptian forces have struggled to control the Peninsula amidst the tumult wrought by the Arab uprisings.


Back to top 

turkeyTurkey Watch


In a bid to improve relations with Turkey, Israel unfroze a Turkish order of advanced electronic warfare systems that it had halted following the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident. Having already delivered two of the systems prior to the incident, Israel recently delivered the other two, completing the original $25 million deal. The systems are to be integrated into U.S.-supplied AWACS aircraft.


Turkey is exporting its domestically produced laser-guided rocket system, the Cirit, to the UAE. The nearly $200 million contract marks the first export of the Cirit as Turkey seeks to expand its arms industry into the Arab world. Ankara has been investing heavily in developing its defense industry.


Back to top 

gulfGulf Watch   


The UAE has signed a $1.4 billion arms deal with several U.S. defense firms. The deal reportedly includes the sale of Predator XP UAVs. Congress still needs to approve the sale, which would be the first to a non-NATO country. Following last month's International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, the UAE Armed Forces concluded a series of arms purchases.


The U.S. Air Force has awarded L-3 Communications a contract to build two F-16 Block 52 Full Mission Trainers for the Iraqi Air Force. The simulators will enable the training of Iraqi pilots, who expect the first delivery of F-16s next year.


U.S. defense budget cuts, and in particular sequestration, have prevented the deployment of the USS Truman aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. Two carriers had been on continuous duty near the Persian Gulf since 2010, now only one will be present for the foreseeable future.


The Iranian dhow that was seized by U.S. and Yemeni forces two months ago was carrying 10 Chinese heat-seeking anti-aircraft missiles, likely assembled at a Chinese factory that is under U.S. sanctions for providing missiles to Iran and Pakistan. The missiles, intended for Houthi rebels, have unnerved Sunni Arab Gulf states.


Back to top  

levantLevant Watch   


Watchtower The UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has come under repeated attack on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Japan, Canada, and now Croatia have withdrawn their contributions to UNDOF as a result of the violence. 21 Filipino soldiers were abducted by rebel forces for four days before being returned. Eight other Filipino soldiers abandoned their posts in Syria and fled across the Israeli border. The UN announced that UNDOF would discontinue night patrols as a result of the violence.


Several more stray mortar shells landed in Israel territory in the southern Golan plateau. In an online video, Syrian rebels near the Israeli border vowed to "liberate the Golan" after they had defeated the Assad regime.


Secretary of State John Kerry, in his first trip to the region since assuming office, announced the United States would be sending non-lethal aid directly to the Syrian rebels and that it supported efforts by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to arm them. Meanwhile, the State Department condemned an attack on a convoy of Syrian soldiers in Iraq by an al-Qaeda affiliated group as "terrorism," as the Syrian civil war has spilled over into Iraq.

Back to top  

oldnewOld and New Allies 


The Canadian and Israeli navies exchanged crews in a joint search-and-rescue exercise in the Gulf of Aqaba in late February.


The United States, Israel, and Greece are conducting the third annual "Noble Dina" naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea. The two-week long trilateral exercise includes defending offshore natural gas platforms as well as simulated air-to-air combat and anti-submarine warfare.


The Brazilian air force will employ four Israeli-made Hermes 450 UAVs during this year's FIFA Confederations Cup and next year's World Cup. The first two have already arrived while the final two are expected in June.


Elbit Systems and India's Bharat Electronics have agreed to jointly develop a multi-sensor electro-optical observation system based upon Elbit's Compact Multi-Purpose Advanced Stabilisation System (CoMPASS) for Indian naval helicopters. CoMPASS is a highly stabilized, all-weather airborne surveillance system. USE PIC


Irish Defense Minister Alan Shatter is visiting Lebanon, calling on Irish troops serving in UNIFIL, and Israel, where he will attend the Herzilya Conference and visit the Golan Heights. Ireland is one of Israel's most vociferous European critics, but Defense Minister Shatter has bucked the trend, having visited Israel many times and stating that there was no "valid distinction" to be made between Hezbollah's military and political wings.


Back to top  



Israel is the world's largest exporter of UAVs and the second largest producer behind the United States.


Cyber Defense Sit. Room The Ministry of Defense and the IDF are beefing up their cyber defense capabilities. The IDF has established a cyber defense situation room that will oversee the IDF's cyber defense forces. The situation room is manned by soldiers who have completed the IDF's Cyber Shield Course. Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry has created a new cyber body to support Israeli defense firms dealing with cyber attacks. 


Back to top  

Security Digest newsletter is a monthly bulletin covering U.S.-Israel security cooperation. Distributed by e-mail, Security Digest is edited by JINSA Visiting Fellow Gabriel Scheinmann. Look for Security Digest every month in your e-mail inbox. To give us feedback, simply reply to this email.
Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterVisit our blogView our videos on YouTube