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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Arrow’

US OKs Unprecedented Amount for Israeli Missile Defense

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

The US House and Senate committee on Appropriations has approved a budget doubling aid to Israel for the David’s Sling and Arrow 3 anti-ballistic medium-to-long range air defense systems.

In the year 2012, an unprecedented $235.7 million will be earmarked for Israeli defense against missile attacks – the original aid request by President Obama’s administration was just $106.1 million.  The long-range Arrow 3 system and its development were set aside $61 million, with the medium-to-long range David’s Sling receiving $69 million.  The total defense allocation for Israel increased by $25 million in 2012, even as budget cuts swept US agencies, including the Pentagon.

“The conferees find the [Obama administration's] request insufficient and provide an additional $129,600,000 to address Israel’s security requirements,” legislators asserted in a committee report.

In the months preceding the budget allocation, Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren and Counselor for Congressional affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington Aviv Ezra held several talks with lawmakers regarding Israeli security and US interests in the Middle East.

Commander of America’s Third Air Force, Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc arrived in Israel last week to prepare for a joint training exercise between the Israel Air Force and the US Army taking place in 2012.  During his visit, he also toured an Iron Dome missile defense battery and a combat laboratory.

IDF Eyes Cyber, Nuclear Threats

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

JERUSALEM – Earlier this week, a notorious Internet hacker group known as “Anonymous” took responsibility for crashing dozens of Israeli websites – including those of the IDF, Mossad and Ministry of Finance – by breaching sophisticated firewall defenses.

The IDF and Mossad denied the assertions by the hacker group that it was behind the attack, with an IDF spokesperson claiming the computer glitches were all attributable to a widespread “server problem.”

Recently, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the formation of an advanced IDF Cyber (Internet) Warfare Center that would be integrated into the military intelligence’s secret Mamram (Center of Computing and Information Systems) and Unit 8200 commands.

According to various news reports, Unit 8200 was allegedly responsible for “shutting off” Syrian radar and anti-aircraft batteries during the Israeli Air Force raid upon a Syrian nuclear development site in 2007.

 Meanwhile, the growing Iranian nuclear threat prompted the IDF and U.S. military to announce a large-scale exercise scheduled for May 2012 that will involve thousands of army, air force and naval personnel and the testing of several highly advanced missile defense systems including the U. S. Army’s THAAD (Thermal High-Altitude Area Defense) and Israel’s Arrow 2 and perhaps Arrow 3 missile interceptors.

The Arrow 3 system, which is being built by Israel Aircraft Industries and is partially funded by the U.S., reportedly has been fast-tracked by Netanyahu.

The Arrow 3 is being built to intercept ballistic missiles with conventional and unconventional warheads high above the atmosphere and far beyond Israel’s borders. It is also designed to give Israel’s missile defense teams a second opportunity to shoot down incoming missiles if the initial strikes miss their target.

Israel’s Nuclear Ambiguity: Opportunity Or Liability? (Part I)

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

“For By Wise Counsel, Thou Shalt Make Thy War”

Proverbs  24,6

 

            Worldwide, it is generally assumed that Israel’s nuclear policy of deliberate ambiguity makes good sense. Everyone already knows that Israel has “the Bomb.”  So, why “stir the pot” by retreating from “opacity?”

 

            Deducible from this conventional argument, removing “the bomb” from Israel’s “basement” would elicit widespread and needless global condemnation. Moreover, such condemnation would include some very sharp and very consequential disapproval from Washington.

 

            Still, as I have made plain in previous columns, the core strategic issues here are not really plain and straightforward.  Rather, in the uniquely arcane world of Israeli nuclear deterrence, it can never be enough that enemy states simply acknowledge the Jewish state’s nuclear status. Among other things, it is important that these states also believe that Israel has usable nuclear weapons, and that Jerusalem would be willing to employ these weapons in certain very precise and readily identifiable situations.

 

            There are, therefore, some very sound reasons to doubt the conventional wisdom that Israel would necessarily benefit from a rigidly determined continuance of nuclear ambiguity.

 

             Israel needs its nuclear weapons. This basic fact is incontestable. Without these weapons, as I have written often, Israel could not survive. 

 

            For Israel, the principal risks are more than merely generic or general. This is because its existing regional adversaries will sometime be joined by: (1) a new enemy Arab state of  Palestine;” and  (2) a newly nuclear enemy Iran. At a minimum, if deprived of its own nuclear weapons, Israel would then be unable to deter major enemy aggressions. Without these special weapons, Israel could not respond convincingly to existential hazards with plausible threats of retaliation and/or counter-retaliation.

 

             At the same time, just having nuclear weapons, even when they are plainly recognized by enemy states, will not ensure successful deterrence. In this connection, although starkly counter-intuitive, an appropriately selective and nuanced end to deliberate ambiguity could substantially improve and sustain Israel’s otherwise-imperiled nuclear deterrent.  More exactly, the probability of assorted enemy attacks in the future could be reduced by making available certain additional information concerning Israel’s nuclear weapons, and its relevant strategic postures. This crucial information would center on distinctly major issues of both nuclear capability, and decisional willingness.

 

             Skeptics will disagree. It is, after all, reasonable to assert that nuclear opacity has  “worked” thus far.  While Israel’s nuclear ambiguity has done little to deter “ordinary” enemy aggressions or multiple acts of terror, it has succeeded in keeping the country’s enemies from mounting authentically existential aggressions.

 

            These larger aggressions could have been mounted without nuclear or biological weapons. As the nineteenth-century Prussian strategic theorist, Karl von Clausewitz, observed in his classic essay, On War, there inevitably does come a military tipping point when “mass counts.”

 

            Israel is half the size of Lake Michigan. Its enemies have always had an undeniable advantage in “mass.”  Excluding non-Arab Pakistan, none of Israel’s Jihadist foes has “The Bomb.”  But together, in a determined collaboration, they could still have acquired the capacity to carry out intolerably lethal assaults. Acting collectively, these states and their insurgent proxies, even without nuclear weapons, could already have inflicted unacceptable harms upon the Jewish state.

 

            An integral part of Israel’s multi-layered security system lies in active or ballistic missile defenses – essentially, the Arrow or “Hetz.” Yet, even the well-regarded and successfully tested Arrow could never achieve a sufficiently high probability of intercept to adequately protect Israeli civilians. No system of ballistic missile defense can ever be entirely “leak proof,” and even a single incoming nuclear missile that managed to penetrate Arrow defenses could kill tens or hundreds of thousands of Israelis. Significantly, however, the inherent “leakage” limitations of Arrow would be correspondingly less consequential if Israel’s continuing reliance on deliberate ambiguity were suitably diminished.

 

To Be Continued

 

Louis René Beres  (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) was Chair of Project Daniel.  Professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue, he is the author of many major books and articles on nuclear strategy and nuclear war, including publications in International Security (Harvard); World Politics (Princeton); The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Nativ (Israel); The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs; Parameters: The Professional Journal of the US Army War College; Special Warfare (DoD); Studies in Conflict and Terrorism; Strategic Review; Contemporary Security Policy; Armed Forces and Society; Israel Affairs; Comparative Strategy; and The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. Professor Beres’ monographs on nuclear strategy and nuclear war have been published by The Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel); The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies (University of Notre Dame); The Graduate Institute of International Studies (Geneva); and the Monograph Series on World Affairs (University of Denver). His frequent opinion columns have appeared in The New York Times; Christian Science Monitor; Chicago Tribune; Washington Post; Washington Times; Boston Globe; USA Today; The Jerusalem Post;  Ha’aretz (Israel); Neue Zuricher Zeitung (Switzerland); and U.S. News & World Report.

 

Dr. Louis René Beres was born in Zürich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Israel’s Ballistic Missile Defense: Current Strategic Options For Dealing With Iran

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
            The core of Israel’s active defense plan remains the phased Arrow anti-ballistic missile program. Designed to intercept medium and short-range ballistic missiles, the various operationalized forms of Arrow (Hetz in Hebrew) are expected todeal especially with Iran’s surface-to-surface missile threat. Basically a high stratospheric system, Arrow is also capable of low-altitude and multi-tactical ballistic missile interceptions.
            For the moment, things seem to be looking good. Test results for the Arrow continue to be significant and promising.  Indeed, they indicate not only the substantial mutual benefits of ongoing strategic cooperation between Washington and Tel-Aviv, but also the intrinsic technical promise of Israel’s primary active defense system.
            Yet, there are also some very important and underlying conceptual problems.  Still faced with a steadily nuclearizing Iran, Israel must carefully consider whether it can rely entirely upon a suitable combination of deterrence and active defenses, or whether it must still also prepare for preemption. Can Israel live with a nuclear Iran? The answer to this question will have genuinely existential consequences for the Jewish State.
             Israel’s preemption option should now appear less urgent. Many strategic planners and scientists believe that the Arrow’s repeated success in testing confirms that Israel is suitably prepared to deal with any Iranian nuclear missile attack. After all, on many occasions, the Israel Air Force has already successfully tested the Arrow against a missile precisely mocking Iran’s Shihab-3. 
            In Israel, it seems, optimism should abound. On its face, it would appear that if Arrowwere efficient in its expected reliability of interception, even an irrational Iranian adversary armed with nuclear and/or biological weapons could be dealt with effectively. Indeed, even if Israel’s nuclear deterrent were somehow made irrelevant by an enemy state willing to risk an almost certain and massive “counter-value” Israeli reprisal, that aggressor’s ensuing first-strike could still presumably be blocked by Arrow. So, we should now inquire, why even still consider preemption against Iran?
            The meaningful answer lies in certain untenable assumptions about any system of ballistic missile defense. Israel’s problem is essentially a generic one. No system of ballistic missile defense, anywhere, can ever be appraised as simply reliable or unreliable. 
 
            Operational reliability of intercept is a distinctly “soft” concept, and any missile defense system – however successful in its test results – will have “leakage.”  Of course, whether or not such leakage would fall within acceptable levels must ultimately depend largely upon the kinds of warheads fitted upon an enemy’s incoming missiles. In this connection, the Arrow’s commendable test successes might not necessarily be reproducible against faster and more advanced Iranian missiles.
             Shall Israel now bet its collective life on a defensive capacity to fully anticipate and nullify offensive enemy capabilities?
            In evaluating its rapidly disappearing preemption option vis-à-vis Iran, Israeli planners will need to consider very carefully the expected leakage rate of the Arrow. In principle, a tiny number of enemy missiles penetrating Arrow defenses could still be “acceptable” if their warheads contained “only” conventional high explosive, or even chemical high explosive. But if the incoming warheads were nuclear and/or biological, even an extremely low rate of leakage would certainly be intolerable.
            A fully zero leakage-rate would be necessary to adequately protect Israel against any nuclear and/or biological warheads, and such a zero leakage-rate is unattainable. This means that Israel can never depend entirely upon its anti-ballistic missiles to defend against any future WMD attack from Iran, and that even a thoroughly capable Arrow system cannot obviate altogether Israel’s preemption option. Moreover, even if Israel could somehow expect a 100% reliability of interception for Arrow- a technically inconceivable expectation – this would do nothing to blunt the unconventional threat from terrorist surrogates opting to use much shorter-range missiles, and/or delivery systems from ships, trucks or automobiles. Special points of vulnerability for Israel would obviously be in Lebanon, with Hezbollah proxies acting for Iran, and possibly also Gaza, where Iran-supported Hamas is currently developing dangerous new ties with al-Qaeda.
            Israel must immediately strengthen its nuclear deterrence posture. To be deterred, a rational adversary will need to calculate that Israel’s second-strike forces are plainly invulnerable to any first-strike aggressions. Facing the Arrow, this adversary will now require increasing numbers of missiles to achieve an assuredly destructive first-strike against Israel. The Arrow, therefore, will compel any rational adversary, including Iran, to at least delay an intended first-strike attack against Israel. With any non-rational adversary, however, all Israeli bets on deterrence would necessarily be off. A non-rational adversary would be one that does not value its own continued survival more highly than all other preferences.
             In Iran, Israel still faces a state enemy whose undisguised preparations for attacking the Jewish State are authentically genocidal, and which may not always remain rational. Aware of this, Israel is not obligated to sit back passively, and simply respond after a nuclear and/or biological attack has already been absorbed.
            International law is not a suicide pact. Israel has the same right granted to all states to act preemptively when facing an existential assault. Known formally as anticipatory self-defense, this general right is strongly affirmed in customary international law and in “the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations.” It is also supported by the authoritative 1996 Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice.
            Israel must continue to develop, test and implement an Arrow-based interception capability to match the growing threat dictated by enemy ballistic missiles. Simultaneously, it must also continue to prepare for certain possible preemptions, and to suitably enhance the credibility of its nuclear deterrent. Regarding such enhanced credibility, Israel must appropriately operationalize a recognizable second-strike force, one that is sufficiently hardened and dispersed, and that is ready to inflict a decisive retaliatory salvo against identifiable enemy cities.
            Arrow is necessary for Israeli security, but it is not sufficient. To achieve a maximum level of security, Israel will also have to take appropriate and coordinated preparations for both deterrence and preemption. Moreover, ballistic missile defense will do nothing to thwart certain terrorist surrogates of Iran who could someday utilize ordinary modes of travel and transport as nuclear delivery vehicles.
             Together with the U.S, Israel exists in the cross hairs of a far-reaching Jihad that that will likely not conform to any of the settled international rules of diplomacy and negotiation. Under no circumstances, can Israel and the U.S afford to allow a seventh-century view of the world to be combined with twenty-first century weapons of mass destruction. Left unimpeded in its relentless plan to nuclearize for war (so-called “economic sanctions” are not an impediment), Iran, in the future, could share certain of its atomic munitions with anti-American proxies in Iraq.

            The Arrow-based ballistic missile defense is indispensable for Israel. But it is now critical for both Jerusalem and Washington to remember that it is also not enough. In the end, therefore, both Israel and the United States may still have to destroy Iran’s pertinent nuclear infrastructures at their source.

 

LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971), is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press. Professor of International Law at Purdue, he was chair of Project Daniel, a private nuclear advisory group to counsel former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He is also the author of many books and articles on nuclear strategy and nuclear war.

Iranian Nuclearization And Israel’s ‘Arrow’ Implications For Preemption Option (First of Two Parts)

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Israel’s security from enemy state aggression depends upon a carefully conceived mix of deterrence, preemption and war-fighting postures. It also requires an integrated and capable system of active defenses. The current core of Israel’s active defense system is the Arrow anti-ballistic missile program. An Israel Air Force (IAF) operational undertaking, the Arrow was developed jointly by Israel and the United States and is managed by the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) in close cooperation with the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The prime contractor for the Arrow ABM is Israel Aircraft Industries/MLM Division.

On July 29, 2004, as part of the ongoing Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP) which is carried out jointly by Israel and the United States, an Arrow ABM successfully intercepted and destroyed its target at the Point Mugu Sea Range in California. This was the 12th Arrow intercept test and the seventh test of the complete Arrow system. According to a statement issued by Israel’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) on that same day: “The target trajectory demonstrated an operational scenario and all the Arrow system components performed successfully in their full operational configuration.”

From the standpoint of Israel’s security, these test results are very significant. They indicate not only continuing close cooperation between Washington (DOD) and Tel-Aviv (MOD), but also the intrinsic technical promise of Israel’s ballistic missile defense. But now, serious decisions need to be made. Still faced with a steadily nuclearizing Iran, Israel must quickly consider carefully whether it can rely upon a suitable combination of deterrence and active defenses or whether it must also prepare energetically for an appropriate form of preemption.

On its face, it would appear that with a successfully operating system of ballistic missile defense, Israel’s preemption option is now substantially less urgent. Indeed, if the Arrow is truly efficient in its reliability of intercept, it would seem that even an irrational Iranian adversary armed with nuclear and/or biological weapons could be dealt with effectively by Israeli active defenses. This means that even if Israel’s nuclear deterrent were immobilized by an enemy state willing to risk a massive “countervalue” Israeli reprisal, that state’s ensuing first-strike would still be blocked by Arrow. Hence, why preempt?

But this argument would rest upon altogether untenable assumptions. Ballistic missile defense systems cannot be appraised dichotomously; that is, as either “reliable” or “unreliable.” Here, Operational Reliability of Intercept is a continuous variable, and any BMD system – however successful in its tests – will always have “leakage.” Whether or not such leakage would fall within acceptable levels would depend, primarily, upon the kinds of warheads fitted upon the enemy’s incoming missiles. Moreover, the Arrow’s recent success in intercepting a Scud might not be as easily replicated with more advanced targets. Iran’s newest missile – the Shahab-3 – travels almost three times as fast as the Scud.

In evaluating its preemption option via-a-vis Iran, Israeli planners will need to consider the expected “leakage rate” of the Arrow. Expressed as a percentage, a very small number of enemy missiles penetrating Arrow defenses could be acceptable if the associated warheads contained only conventional high explosive or even chemical high explosive. But if the incoming warheads were nuclear and/or biological, even an extremely low rate of leakage would almost certainly be unacceptable. A fully zero leakage-rate would be necessary to adequately protect Israel against nuclear and/or biological warheads, and such a zero leakage-rate is unattainable. It follows, given intrinsic limitations of deterrence, that Israel can not depend entirely upon its anti-ballistic missiles to defend against any future WMD attack from Iran, and that even a very promising Arrow system would not obviate Israel’s preemption option.

At the same time, a rational adversary will need to calculate that Israel’s second-strike forces are substantially invulnerable to first- strike aggressions. Additionally, this adversary will now require many more missiles for an assuredly destructive first-strike against Israel than would be the case without Arrow. This means that Israel’s Arrow will at least compel a rational adversary such as Iran to delay any intended first- strike attack until such time as this adversary can deploy a fully robust nuclear and/or biological offensive missile force.

In this way, ballistic missile defense – while not permitting Israel to reject the preemption option altogether – does offer Israel two distinct and complementary levels of protection: (1) protection afforded by Arrow’s demonstrated capacity for physical interception of incoming ballistic missiles; and (2) protection afforded by Arrow’s allowing Israel to “buy time” until a nuclearizing adversary is able to deploy a more or less substantial number of offensive ballistic missiles. By definition, of course, Arrow will have no deterrent effect upon any irrational adversary, but it could still have some consequential damage-limiting benefit in the event of an enemy attack by such an adversary.

In the best of all possible worlds, Israel would not need to make any of these complex strategic calculations, and could rely instead upon those codified norms of international law associated with methods of peaceful dispute settlement. But we surely do not yet live in the best of all possible worlds, and Israel surely still faces a number of state enemies in the Middle East whose undisguised preparations for the Jewish State are authentically genocidal. Jurisprudentially and strategically, war and genocide need not be mutually exclusive, and certain ongoing enemy state preparations for war against Israel are fully consistent with the definition of genocide found in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

(To be continued)

Copyright © The Jewish Press. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971), Professor of International Law at Purdue University and Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is Chair of “Project Daniel.”

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