In a sign of increased ties between the United States and Israel, a meeting of
the joint Defense Policy Advisory Group took place on Wednesday in Tel Aviv to
discuss ways to ensure Israel’s military edge in the region.
focus of the talks was the West’s ongoing standoff with Iran over its nuclear
program as well as the instability in Syria and Israeli concerns that Syria’s
sophisticated weaponry and chemical arsenal will fall into rogue
The US was represented at the two-day talks by Undersecretary of
Defense for Policy James Miller. Israel was represented by top Defense Ministry
officials including director-general Udi Shani and head of the
Diplomatic-Security Bureau Amos Gilad.
Discussions were also expected to
focus on the continued US support for Israel’s missile defense
While the Obama administration has allocated $275 million since
2011 for the program, Israel is interested in creating a multiyear plan with the
US that would ensure a regular budget for missile defense systems that Israel
will need to purchase over the coming years.
In October, the US and
Israel will hold a massive missile defense exercise called Austere Challenge in
the framework of which America will deploy PAC-3 and Aegis defense systems in
The Defense Policy Advisory Group was first established in
1999 under then-president Bill Clinton and prime minister Ehud Barak. Over time
though, the group fell into disuse but was revamped and beefed up after
President Barack Obama took office in 2009.
The purpose of the group is
to meet regularly to discuss ways to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative
military edge in the Middle East.
Israel, for example, is concerned with
America’s sale of advanced military systems to Gulf States like Saudi Arabia,
which is buying dozens of new F-15 fighter jets as well as additional assorted