NSC can resolve DM, FM defense sale disputes

Gov't authorizes National Security Council to resolve disputes between 2 ministries following delays in resolving disputes.

May 10, 2012 18:34
1 minute read.
The Namer armored personnel carrier

The Namer armored personnel carrier. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The government has increased oversight of defense export deals, granting the National Security Council authority to rule on foreign defense sales in the event of a disagreement between the Defense and Foreign ministries.

News of the new mechanism comes a week after State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said in a report that Defense Ministry director-general Udi Shani failed to abide by regulations when approving a number of defense export deals in recent years.

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The mechanism was established several months ago after the comptroller completed his investigation and the findings became known to the government and the defense establishment.

Until then, a disagreement was resolved in a three-stage process – it would first be brought to a meeting of department heads from both ministries; if not resolved it would be brought to a meeting of directors- general from both ministries; and if still not resolved would be brought to a ministerial committee led by the prime minister.

Under the new mechanism, disagreements are immediately brought before the National Security Council which has the authority to rule on the case and approve or deny the request for an export license.

Most disagreements erupt over differences regarding the effect the deal under question will have on Israel’s diplomatic ties with various third-party countries who could potentially be upset at Israel for selling arms to one of their adversaries.

One example was Israel’s decision several years ago to stop selling military systems to Georgia due to opposition from Russia.

The comptroller’s investigation into Israeli defense exports was considered sensitive and involved all relevant defense agencies involved in approving foreign defense sales. Israel is considered a world leader in the defense market and traditionally has exports ranging from $7 billion-$ 8b. on an annual basis.

In 2011, 30,000 export licenses were requested by companies and 94 percent were approved.

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