Anchoring the U.S.-Israel Alliance: Rebuilding America’s Arms Stockpile in Israel

The War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel, or WRSA-I, is a forward-based arms depot of U.S.-made ammunition and supplies based in Israel, which is intended as a readily-accessible reserve – an insurance policy – for Israel to obtain vital munitions in wartime. Since it was first established in the 1980s, American officials have stated repeatedly how WRSA-I helps ensure the Jewish state’s ability to defend itself at acceptable cost, known in U.S. law as Israel’s “qualitative military edge” (QME).

Yet, the stockpile is falling dangerously short of meeting its stated purpose. Of particular concern is the stock of precision guided munitions (PGM), especially Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tailkits to convert unguided bombs. Israel will need abundant PGMs to compensate for limited defensive capabilities and prevail in an expected major war with Tehran and its proxies, all while minimizing collateral damage to civilians.

The United States and Israel must take several, not mutually exclusive, steps to strengthen Israel’s QME and fulfil America’s stated intent by replenishing and updating the stockpile:

  • Replenish stocks of critical PGMs in WRSA-I, including JDAM kits for unguided munitions and GBU-39 and GBU-53/B small diameter bombs.
  • Congressional request for a non-confidential report or audit, potentially from the Government Accountability Office or U.S. Army Office of the Inspector General.
  • Use of the Special Defense Acquisition Fund (SDAF) to expedite PGM deliveries, by enabling the Pentagon to purchase weapons in advance of their sale to Israel (without imposing additional overall costs on the United States).
  • Re-purposing and expanding WRSA-I from a strictly bilateral stockpile into a regional prepositioning hub, to support Israel’s projected wartime requirements as well as those of the U.S. military and potentially other regional allies.
  • Loaning U.S. PGMs and other weapons to Israel, possibly as a stopgap measure, especially as the U.S. military is projected to reduce PGM procurement appreciably in the next few years, particularly JDAMs.
  • Israel placing larger, longer-term contracts with U.S. firms, including by frontloading the 2016 MoU on U.S. defense assistance to Israel (without increasing the annual cost to the United States).

Click here to read the report.

U.S.-Israel Security Policy Project Chairman

ADM James Stavridis, USN (ret.)
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and former Commander of U.S. European Command

U.S.-Israel Security Policy Project Members

Gen Charles “Chuck” Wald, USAF (ret.)
Former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command

LTG John Gardner, USA (ret.)
Former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command

Lt Gen Henry Obering, USAF (ret.)
Former Director of U.S. Missile Defense Agency