VIA David Icke
'U.S. weaponry, ammunition and war supplies stored in Israel will reach a record $1.2 billion by 2012 under legislation aimed at increasing operational readiness of U.S. forces and their allies in high-threat areas.
Under recently passed amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act governing U.S. War Reserves Stockpiles for Allies (WRSA), the value of U.S. weapons to be prepositioned in Israel will reach $1 billion in 2011, with another $200 million added in 2012, U.S. and Israeli sources say.
Once implemented, the amount of U.S.-owned and -controlled materiel available for Israel's emergency use will have jumped threefold from pre-2007 levels of some $400 million.'
Over the past two years, logisticians and war planners from U.S. European Command and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) elevated war stocks to congressionally authorized thresholds of $800 million. Representatives of the two militaries are now working to build up as rapidly as possible inventories that meet the newly authorized thresholds, sources said.
Established as a means of U.S. forward basing as well as a vehicle through which allies gain immediate emergency access to U.S. stocks, WRSA content, maintenance and usage procedures are routinely updated by government-to-government agreement, at threshold levels authorized by Congress.
Under the new legislation, which has yet to be codified in an updated bilateral agreement, Israel not only gains access to more U.S. stockpiles, but will enjoy greater latitude in the categories and specific types of weaponry it can request for in-country storage, sources from both countries said.
The elevated WRSA plan is one of several U.S.-supported initiatives aimed at preserving Israel's so-called qualitative military edge and improving Israel's readiness against growing threats from Iran and Iranian-supported militants in Lebanon, Gaza and elsewhere in the region.
In the coming weeks, Israel will receive a special one-time payment of some $502 million to expedite production of the Iron Dome short-range anti-rocket defense system. Later this month, the first two batteries of the Rafael-developed intercepting system are expected to be declared operational by the Israel Air Force for rapid deployment against rockets and missiles launched either from Gaza in the south or along Israel's northern border with Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military is entering the fourth and final year of a multiyear plan marked by record readiness, replenished warehouses and major milestones toward a modernized force capable of truly integrated offensive as well as defensive operations.
"This was the first time we've been granted the multiyear budget with which to implement a true multiyear plan ... [and] the benefits of this approach are already evident in heightened readiness, improved training of regular and reserve forces, and the new technologies that help maximize our capabilities across the operational spectrum," said Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu, Israeli Defense Forces spokesman.
Including nearly $3 billion in annual U.S. military aid, Israeli defense spending for the year slightly exceeded 49 billion shekels ($13.7 billion), with some 24 percent earmarked for research, development and procurement.
In the next four years, Washington has committed to steady levels of $3 billion in annual military aid, along with another several hundred million annually in U.S.-funded missile defense programs and the occasional program-specific subsidy, such as the $502 million granted for expedited Iron Dome procurement.
Last month, Israel signed a $2.75 billion contract for its first squadron of F-35I Joint Strike Fighters, and later this year, Israel is expected to conclude a direct commercial deal for U.S.-based production of the Army's Namer heavy armored personnel carrier (APC).
After a high-stakes competition between BAE Systems, Textron Marine and Land Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), Israel's MoD last month selected the Sterling Heights, Mich.-based GDLS to negotiate a contract for the heavy APCs. Once finalized, those APCs will be funded through Israel's annual U.S. Foreign Military Financing grant aid, with the aim of churning out many hundreds of Namers in the shortest possible time to meet urgent requirements for force protective land maneuvering warfare.