Gottheimer, Gonzalez Back U.S.-Israel Cooperation to Counter Iranian ‘Killer Drones’

Mar 05, 2020
Press

WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and U.S. Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) urged the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to expand cooperation with Israel to help counter the threat of ‘killer drones’ in the region. Congress supported DOD efforts to develop joint counter-UAS (C-UAS) capabilities with Israel in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020. 

“Clearly, the United States must continue to ensure our troops and our allies including Israel are protected against enemy unmanned aerial systems,” Congressman Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Congressman Gonzalez wrote in a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

In August 2019, Israeli forces struck an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force and Iranian-backed militia facilities in Syria to thwart a planned attack on Israelis using explosive-laden “kamikaze-style” drones designed to detonate upon impact. On September 19, 2017, Israeli forces destroyed an Iranian-supplied Hezbollah UAS over Syria.

The Secretary of Defense has also expressed concern about China’s proliferation of advanced aerial drones to the Middle East.

Gottheimer and Gonzalez recently introduced bipartisan legislation — the U.S.-Israel Anti-Killer Drone Act — to boost cooperation between the United States and our ally Israel in developing technology to counter ‘killer drones.’ The bipartisan bill helps fill gaps identified by the U.S. Department of Defense by authorizing cooperative projects intended to thwart small unmanned aerial systems that threaten the U.S. and Israel.

Read Gottheimer and Gonzalez’ letter to Secretary Esper HERE

Text of the letter is found below.

The Honorable Mark T. Esper
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Mr. Secretary:

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) present a growing threat to U.S. service members and our allies. We write to express our full support for the Department of Defense’s efforts to work with allies like Israel to improve our counter-UAS (C-UAS) capabilities.

In August 2019, Israel reportedly struck an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force and Iranian-backed militia facilities in Syria to thwart a planned attack on Israelis using explosive-laden “kamikaze-style” drones designed to detonate upon impact. You have also expressed concern about China’s proliferation of advanced aerial drones to the Middle East. U.S. troops in the Middle East or in the Indo-Pacific may confront these drones in the future.

Clearly, the United States must continue to ensure our troops and our allies including Israel are protected against enemy unmanned aerial systems.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 (P.L. 116-92) includes Section 1278. This provision would authorize the department to “carry out joint research, development, test, and evaluation to establish capabilities for countering unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS) that threaten the United States or Israel.”

Similarly, the June 11, 2019, Senate Armed Services Committee Report (116-48) on the SASC-passed FY 2020 NDAA requires the Department of Defense to submit a report to the congressional defense committees no later than March 1, 2020 on enhanced cooperative research and development efforts with Israel. We encourage the department to submit this written and unclassified report promptly. In the report, we encourage the department to explicitly identify any specific opportunities to work with Israel on C-UAS cooperative research and development.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Josh Gottheimer                      Anthony Gonzalez

Member of Congress              Member of Congress 

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