National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

March 29, 2012
January 2, 2013
Became Public Law

This annual bill gives the Dept. of Defense legal authority to carry out its activities. The relevant sections concern cooperative programs implemented by the Israeli and U.S. armed forces and the Iranian sanctions program.

As is customary, Pres. Obama started the budget process with an executive request detailing his funding priorities for the coming fiscal year. In his request, Pres. Obama budgeted $99.836 m. for U.S.-Israeli cooperative programs and $211 m. for the Iron Dome missile defense system, and demonstrated a desire for overall reductions in defense spending.

This bill authorized $478.836 m. to fund U.S.-Israeli cooperative programs, exceeding the executive request. Within the $478.8 m., $168 m. was authorized to support the David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS), Arrow ASIP, and Arrow-3 systems, for which there was no executive funding request. The rest of the appropriation was made up of Pres. Obama’s requested $211 m. for the Iron Dome, and $99.8 m. for the cooperative programs. Though it passed in the House, the bicameral reconciliation cmte. struck down an additional $680 m. in appropriations for research, development, and testing for Israel’s Iron Dome system.

As a basis for the authorizations listed here, the final bill, inter alia, sympathizes with families of victims of rocket fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza, recognizes the success of the Iron Dome system, and urges the Depts. of Defense and State to explore with the Israeli government the possible need for additional Iron Dome batteries or other equipment deemed necessary for the defense of Israel.

The House cmte. attempted to add language to the bill noting that the U.S. had contributed almost $900 m. to the Iron Dome project since its inception yet had no rights to the technology developed. That passage was not included in the reconciled bill, effectively protecting the Israeli copyright on the Iron Dome technology.

In addition to the funds allocated to support Israeli missile defense systems, the bill also expands the ability for the president to sanction Iran. The new sanctions proposed here concern the Iranian oil and petrochemical production because those are the primary sources of funding for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The bill calls for a full report on the military capabilities of U.S. allies in the Gulf, including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to be completed within 180 days of its passage.

This bill conveys the sense of Congress that the U.S. should be prepared to take any measure, including military action, to prevent Iran from threatening the U.S., its allies, or Iran’s neighbors with a nuclear weapon.

The battle over the bill’s new sanctions was fought specifically over an amendment to the bill proposed by Sens. Menendez (D-NJ) and Kirk (R-IL) and unanimously approved by the Senate on 11/29/12. The amendment increased the targets for sanctions to blacklist Iran’s energy, port, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors, while also placing new restrictions on Iran’s ability to get insurance for these industries. The Menendez/Kirk amendment was rejected by the reconciliation cmte.

1 cosponsor (1D)

See also: *H.R. 1905 of 5/13/11, S. 3254 of 6/4/12, S. 2224 of 3/22/12

Last major action: 1/2/13 became public law 112-239 (12/4/12 passed in Senate with an amendment by unanimous consent; 5/18/12 passed in House 299–120).

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