Jerusalem Post Features JINSA Report: “Anchoring the US-Israel Alliance: Rebuilding America’s Arms Stockpile”

JINSA warns US weapons stockpile in Israel ‘falling dangerously short’
By Anna Ahronheim

A new paper released by the Jewish Institute for the National Security of America (JINSA) has called on the United States to replenish its weapons stockpile in Israel as the threats posed by Iran and Hezbollah continue to grow on the country’s northern borders.

According to the paper, “the stockpile is falling dangerously short” because while “Israel has purchased tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions (PGMs) from the United States in recent years, it has used many of them in its ongoing air campaign to roll back Iran and its proxies in Syria and elsewhere.”

The paper examined the US War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel (WRSA-I), a forward-based depot of US-made ammunition and supplies in Israel whose “official intent is to serve as a strategic insurance policy for Israel to obtain vital munitions in emergencies and ensure its ‘qualitative military edge,’ which US law requires the United States to help uphold.”

Israel has warned repeatedly about Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well as its aspirations of regional hegemony, and has admitted to hundreds of airstrikes as part of its “war-between-wars” campaign (known in Hebrew by its acronym mabam) to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the entrenchment of its forces in Syria, where they could easily act against Israel.

In April, Iran said that it had increased the range of its naval missiles to 700 km. and on Thursday said that its navy had successfully fired a new locally made cruise missile with a range of 280 km. (175 miles) during war games.

According to the paper, “the Trump administration, which has expressed its shared concern over Iran’s regional expansion, has mostly left it to Israel, which is more directly threatened, to address the problem on the ground and prepare for major conflict with Iran.”

“Israel’s QME [qualitative military edge] is being eroded by PGM shortages, including potential shortages in WRSA-I stocks, should Israel have to draw upon them in an emergency,” the report said.

As such, replenishing the stockpile with critical PGMs – such as GBU-39 and GBU-53/B small diameter bombs (SDB), and Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits to convert unguided bombs – “can advance our national security interests and bolster shared deterrence by ensuring that Israel has the tools to defend itself,” the paper said.

THE PUBLICATION stated that in addition to the precision-guided missiles used by Israel in its war-between-wars campaign, the “WRSA-I stockpile contains mostly outdated, unguided bombs.”

While Israeli defense companies can produce thousands of bombs for the military, the United States can produce significantly more in a much shorter time. With JDAM tail kits, Israel would be able to easily convert the unguided bombs in their arsenal into PGMs, turning them into guided munitions.

The paper also recommends that Israel signs longer-term, larger purchasing contracts of PGMs to keep production levels high, as well as “re-purposing and expanding WRSA-I from a strictly bilateral stockpile into a regional repositioning hub, to support Israel’s projected wartime requirements as well as those of the U.S. military and potentially other regional allies.”

Washington and Israel have signed an agreement that would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war.

Though Israel does not believe that Hezbollah plans to provoke a war with Israel in the near future, the IDF is concerned that any major event which threatens the regime in Tehran, such as a miscalculation by Washington against Iran in the Persian Gulf or in Iraq, might lead Hezbollah to attack Israel.

Israel has an umbrella of air defenses, including the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets; the Arrow system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere; and the David’s Sling missile defense system, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets, and cruise missiles fired at ranges between 40 to 300km. But these will not be able to stop all of Hezbollah’s missiles and rockets that it could fire towards the home front.

Israel’s military is also aware that it’s war-between-wars campaign against Iran in Syria, which has upped its ante in recent months, might push Hezbollah to attack Israel.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post