Following up on my brief economic analysis of the rocket-and-missile exchanges of the 2012 Gaza War, I spent part of the last semester investigating the Iron Dome system in greater depth. The result was a short study of what this apparent success means both for the efficacy of missile defense and American-Israeli armaments cooperation. The introduction follows.
As John Reed wrote in the Financial Times after the Gaza War, “if one product has come to define the high-tech military apparatus of Israel Inc., it is the Iron Dome.” This is timely, as the rocket bombardments of 2012 were just the latest episode of a history ballistic attacks dating back to 1969. The story of the Iron Dome has the hallmarks of other projects of military-bureaucratic insurgents: a relatively modest technical development, initially funded surreptitiously, and pushed to completion over the objections of the senior leadership of (in this case) the Israeli Defense Force. The system’s apparent success has cheered residents of southern and northern Israel alike, if it has concomitantly alarmed Hamas, Hezbollah, and ideological opponents of missile defense. But whatever the objections, defense against Islamist rocketry had become a political imperative for the Israeli government. The relative success of Iron Dome tells us that within certain limits of expectation, and subject to a sensible accounting of the costs, missile defense can accomplish strategic goals. And perhaps of great interest to the United States, the particular path of the system’s development indicates that bilateral industrial cooperation with Israel provide for excellent ongoing investment in systems born in the crucible on constant combat.
The paper is attached.
Jim Hasik +1-512-299-1269 • www.jameshasik.com • firstname.lastname@example.org