Israel Working to Save U.S. Antimissile Funding From Sequestration

Israel is prioritizing saving funding for its missile defense programs over other military financial assistance pledged by the United States in making plans for dealing with the drastic U.S. budget cuts set to take effect on Friday, the Israeli business website Globes reported.

If Congress does not move to stop sequestration from happening as ordered by the 2011 Budget Control Act, federal funding for defense will be slashed by $46 billion from March 1 to Sept. 30. It is not yet apparent exactly how much of that cut will come out of military financial assistance to Israel. At the worst it could mean a $729 million loss with $250 million being taken from present assistance.

Tel Aviv is understood to be willing to accept the $250 million loss if it means it can receive the other $479 million in pledged assistance, which would be used for such antimissile programs as the advanced Arrow missile interceptor and Iron Dome, according to Globes.

Officials are in discussions with the Obama administration and U.S. lawmakers to spare designated funding for Israeli missile defense from other Pentagon projects facing cutbacks.

Washington is highly supportive of Israeli antimissile initiatives, so there is reason to think the missile defense funding might be spared, Globes concluded.

Elsewhere, sequestration is expected to have an impact on the U.S. military mission in South Korea, which plays a significant role in defending against threats from the North, the Korea Herald reported on Wednesday.

"I don't know specifically what the impacts are on South Korea or Japan, But we do expect certain impacts overall across the force globally," Defense Department spokesman George Little said.

Due to the severity of the U.S. fiscal challenge, Seoul has been asked to shoulder 50 percent of the expense of keeping the 28,500 U.S. military personnel presence in the South. It currently pays 42 percent of the cost.

Some analysts think Seoul might be able to secure sought-after nuclear fuel reprocessing rights from Washington if it agrees to take on a greater portion of the burden-sharing cost.

 

February 28, 2013
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Israel is prioritizing saving funding for its missile defense programs over other military financial assistance pledged by the United States in making plans for dealing with the drastic U.S. budget cuts set to take effect on Friday, the Israeli business website Globes reported.