In 2016, Israel is a major contributor to – and a global co-leader with – the U.S. in the areas of research, development, manufacturing and launching of micro (100 kg), mini (300 kg) and medium (1,000 kg) size satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as joint space missions, space communications and space exploration sounding rocket and scientific balloon flights. According to NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, “Israel is known for its innovation. The October 15, 2015 joint agreement gives us the opportunity to cooperate with Israel on the journey to Mars, [highlighting Israel’s unique, extremely lightweight technologies, which conserve energy]….”
The annual U.S. investment in Israel – erroneously defined as “foreign aid”– has yielded one of the highest rates of return on U.S. investments overseas. Israel is neither “foreign,” nor does it receive “aid.”
From a one-way-street relationship, the U.S.-Israel connection has evolved into an exceptionally productive mutually-beneficial alliance. The U.S. is the senior and Israel the junior partner, in a win-win, geo-strategic partnership which transcends the 68-year-old tension between U.S. presidents (from Truman through Obama) and Israeli prime ministers (from Ben Gurion through Netanyahu) over the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue.
According to the former Supreme Commander of NATO forces and Secretary of State, the late General Alexander Haig: “Israel constitutes the largest U.S. aircraft carrier, which does not require a single U.S. boot on board, cannot be sunk, deployed in a most critical region to the U.S. economy and national security. And, if there were not Israel in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, the U.S. would have to deploy – to the region – a few more real aircraft carriers and tens of thousands of troops, which would have cost the U.S. taxpayer some $15 billion annually. All of which is spared by the existence of Israel.”
Israel has been the most cost-effective laboratory of the U.S. defense industries, sharing battle experience and battle tactics. Thus Israel extends the U.S. strategic hand at a time when the U.S. is experiencing draconian cuts in its defense budget, curtailing the size of its military force and the global deployment of troops, while facing dramatically intensified threats of Islamic terrorism overseas and on the U.S. mainland.
The plant manager of Fort Worth, Texas-based General Dynamics (Lockheed Martin), which manufactures the F-16, asserted that Israeli lessons have spared the manufacturer 10-20 years of research and development, leading to over 700 modifications in the current generation of the F-16, “valued at a mega-billion dollar bonanza to the manufacturer.”
Similar lessons have been shared with the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps and the U.S. manufacturers of tanks, armed personnel carriers, missile launchers, missiles, night navigation systems and hundreds of additional military and homeland security systems utilized by Israel. For instance, the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Northrup Grumman plant, which manufactures explosive-neutralizing robots has increased its exports since Israel’s decision to employ its product, benefitting from weekly telephone conference calls with Israeli experts, who have shared with Northrup Grumman their operational lessons. Israel is to the U.S. defense industry what a triple-A tenant is to a shopping mall – enhancing value and drawing clients.