JNS.org – Israel is seeking an increase in U.S. military to help it deal with the growing Middle East threats that surround it.
Israeli and American defense officials have been meeting to discuss a new 10-year military aid package after the current one expires in 2017. Israel’s main concerns are maintaining its so-called Qualitative Military Edge (QME) over its Arab neighbors and modernizing its military.
“I don’t know how big of a role, if at all, QME played in the previous round of negotiations. But the nexus between QME and FMF (U.S. Foreign Military Financing) has become stronger,” Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren told Defense News.
Israel is also concerned about modernizing its military. According to a report in the Economist, Israeli military planners have begun shifting resources away from large mechanized units and infantry designed to defend against Arab armies, to a focus on air power and cyber warfare to deal with new threats from Iran or terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.
“We’re looking at a holistic Mideastern picture, which includes growth of missile arsenals in Lebanon and Gaza; the strategic situation in Sinai; the Syrian situation as it impacts us and other countries, including Jordan… and the fact that all this is going on in an age of sequestration,” Oren toldDefense News.
But according to American officials, discussions on future U.S. military aid to Israel are still preliminary.
“At this point, we’re trying to understand and assess the full range of Israel’s security concerns,” a U.S. official told Defense News.