When introduced, this was the FY 2018 version of an annual, must-pass bill appropriating funding for the Defense Dept. and all its activities, including joint U.S.-Israel missile defense programs and various other relevant military programs in the Middle East. For procedural reasons unrelated to this Monitor, lawmakers later amended it to also include appropriations for the legislative branch, military construction and veterans affairs, energy and water, and homeland security. It took on the nickname “security-bus,” a portmanteau playing on the notion of an “omnibus” appropriations process.
The summary below reflects the Defense Dept. section of the “security-bus” draft that passed in the House on 7/27.
Israeli Cooperative Programs
This bill would appropriate $705.8 m. for these programs, including $92 m. for Israel to procure the Iron Dome missile defense system; $221.5 m. for the SRBDM program ($120 m. of which would be for co-production in the U.S.); and $205 m. for an upper-tier component to the Israeli missile defense architecture ($120 m. of which would be for co-production of the Arrow 3 system in the U.S.); $105 m. for testing of the abovementioned upper-tier component; and $82.3 m. for the Arrow System Improvement Program, including the development of a long-range detection suite.
Unlike in previous years, there was not provision of support for joint U.S.-Israeli anti-tunneling programs.
Support for Jordan
Of the $900 m. appropriated for general operations and maintenance activities, an unspecified amount would be made available to reimburse “key cooperating nations” for support provided to the U.S. military. Up to $500 m. could be used to support the government of Jordan to enhance its armed forces to increase or sustain border security.
A sum of $1.769 b. would be made available to the secretary of defense to provide assistance, “including training; equipment; logistics support, supplies, and services; stipends; infrastructure repair and renovation; and sustainment” to certain vetted groups working to counter ISIS. These funds would be available to “enhance the border security of nations adjacent to conflict areas including Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia.” Any group with an association with a designated terrorist group or the government of Iran would be excluded from consideration for this support.
Barring a consultation with and report to the relevant congressional comms., no funds appropriated in this bill would be made available for the introduction of U.S. armed forces in Syria where hostilities are imminent.
Oversight on Iran Policy
No funds appropriated in this bill would be made available for the purchase of heavy water from Iran.