October 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Rushes Weapons to Israel — With More to Come

October 10, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Rushes Weapons to Israel — With More to Come

Latest Developments

The United States is surging the transfer of weapons to Israel in the wake of the horrific October 7 terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas. A senior Pentagon official stated on October 9 that the support “includes air defense and munitions” and that the Pentagon is “contacting U.S. industry to gain expedited shipment of pending Israeli orders for military equipment.” Bloomberg reported on October 10 that a pending order of 1,000 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) was already picked up by an Israeli transport aircraft and that an additional sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) conversion kits, which convert unguided bombs into precision munitions, is being accelerated.

Expert Analysis

“Israel’s most urgent needs are air-launched precision-guided munitions and interceptor replenishments for Iron Dome — and there is little to no current competition between Israel and Ukraine for those capabilities. If we see an extended ground war, the weapons Israel needs from the United States may begin to overlap with some of the weapons Ukraine needs. But some overlap in the weapons needed by Ukraine and Israel could certainly be managed. Assertions that the United States cannot support Ukraine and Israel at the same time do not withstand scrutiny.” — Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“U.S. assistance to Israel in responding to Hamas’ terrorist activity is absolutely warranted and will not impact our ability to support other beleaguered democracies.” — Mark Montgomery, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation

“A failure to supply Israel with air defense interceptors to protect its civilians and the munitions needed to conduct a precision-strike campaign would lead to more civilian suffering.” — Ryan Brobst, FDD Senior Research Analyst

Urgent Needs

Hamas has fired at least 4,500 rockets at Israel since October 7. Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, which shoots down rockets, drones, and some missiles, uses Tamir interceptors — which are largely produced in the United States. America has two batteries of the Iron Dome system, which include the associated interceptors. The United States could potentially provide these interceptors or even the two batteries themselves to Israel, increasing its air defense capacity.

Ensuring the Israel Defense Forces has a robust supply of precision-guided munitions is particularly important given the character of the battlefield in Gaza, Hamas’ proclivity for using Palestinian civilians as human shields, and the fact that Hamas may try to use hostages as human shields, too.

Impact on U.S. Military Readiness and Support for Ukraine

Some U.S. politicians who have long opposed security assistance for Ukraine have implied that America cannot support Israel and Ukraine at the same time. However, a senior Pentagon official emphasized on October 9, “we are able to continue our support both to Ukraine, Israel, and maintain our own global readiness.”

Ukraine does not operate the Iron Dome system, so there is no tradeoff regarding Tamir interceptors. There is no evidence Ukraine has received any air-launched Small Diameter Bombs, of which the United States has significant stocks. Ukraine has received some number of JDAM variants, which could overlap with security assistance to Israel. However, the United States was able to produce over 30,000 JDAM units in 2019, and the U.S. stock of JDAMs was at “healthy inventory levels,” said Maj. Gen. James D. Peccia III, deputy assistant secretary for budget, on May 28, 2021. Accordingly, supplying both countries and maintaining military readiness are manageable.

Israel Under Attack: Iran-backed Terrorists Launch Deadly Surprise War (Media Exclusive),” Mark Dubowitz, Jonathan Schanzer, Bradley Bowman, and Joe Truzman

In Support of Israel, U.S. Sends Aircraft Carrier Strike Group to Eastern Mediterranean,” FDD Flash Brief

Netanyahu Outlines Five Goals of Counterattack on Hamas,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran-Backed Terror on Northern Border Threatens to Open New Front,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Jihadism Military and Political Power U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy Ukraine