The top U.S. military officer’s plane got damaged in Afghanistan by insurgent rockets on Tuesday morning. It’s a reminder that the U.S. military’s defense against short-range rockets remains a work in progress. But it has helped its ally Israel buy its own system for defending against exactly those kinds of rockets, and it might be useful for the U.S. to ask Israel to share. Only one problem: The U.S. doesn’t quite know how the Iron Dome system works.
As mentioned by Politico on Monday, the House Armed Services Committee recently asked the Missile Defense Agency to explore “any opportunity to enter into co-production of the Iron Dome system with Israel, in light of the significant U.S. investment in this system.” According to committee spokesman Claude Chafin, the problem is that the U.S. doesn’t have the necessary transparency into the details of Iron Dome that it has with other U.S.-Israeli anti-missile partnerships, like Arrow and David’s Sling — an opacity that makes it hard to argue the U.S. should get its own Iron Domes for ships and bases. So the committee wants to condition the next round of $680 million in Iron Dome funding on that knowledge.
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