Peters Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Bolster U.S. & Israeli Partnership on Developing Defense Technology

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) introduced a bipartisan bill that would enhance cooperation between the United States and Israel on developing defense technology. The United States Israel Military Capability Act, which Peters introduced with Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), would require the Department of Defense to establish a working group with their counterparts in the Israeli government to collaborate on the research and development of technology used for national defense.

 “As an ally, Israel has both a thriving defense innovation base and extensive real-world experience against modern security threats,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Improving existing cooperation in a systematic way will not only improve our response to national security threats, but save the lives of both American and Israeli servicemembers and citizens.”

“For decades, robust defense cooperation has been a cornerstone of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” said Senator Tom Cotton. “This legislation will further strengthen our cooperation in military research and development, helping to secure both the United States and Israel from emerging threats and ensuring that our warfighters maintain a decisive technological advancement over our foes.”

The bipartisan legislation requires the Secretary of Defense to establish a working group that includes representatives from the United States Department of Defense, Department of State, intelligence community and their appropriate counterparts as selected by the Israeli government. The working group will evaluate shared security concerns and help forge combined plans to research, develop, procure and field military capabilities to address these threats. The working group may also seek input from American or Israeli defense manufacturers on how to integrate needed technology from the private sector.

The bill builds on a letter the Senators sent to the Department of Defense earlier this year urging the agency to establish partnerships with their Israeli counterparts. During a March 4, 2020, Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Peters asked Secretary of Defense Mark Esper about the concept of creating such a working group. Secretary Esper responded “We have a very good innovative base, [the Israelis] have a very good innovative base. And I think the more we can cooperate together as allies and partners to come up with common solutions, the better, so I think if there are ways to improve that, we should pursue it.”

Peters has led numerous efforts in Congress to bolster the defense relationship between the United States and Israel, having previously co-led a bipartisan provision signed into law to foster cooperation between the two nations on detecting and eliminating tunnels used to threaten the safety of American and Israeli citizens. Peters also introduced bipartisan legislation supporting cooperation between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Israel Space Agency.