The DEFEND Act is a Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort by the Abraham Accords Caucus to Protect Against Threats from Iran and Iranian-Backed Militias Through Integrated Air and Missile Defense Capabilities.
WATCH SENATOR ROSEN’S REMARKS HERE.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) held a press conference to announce the introduction of their bipartisan, bicameral DEFEND (Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses) Act to build on the historic Abraham Accords by advancing an integrated air and missile defense architecture between the U.S., Israel, and Arab states to protect against Iranian aggression in the Middle East. Senators Rosen and Ernst were joined by their Senate Abraham Accords Caucus Co-Chairs Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) in introducing the legislation.
“As U.S. forces and our partners in the Middle East face increasingly sophisticated air and missile threats from Iran and its terrorist proxies, we must act in a coordinated way to defend against shared threats,” said Senator Rosen. “Our bipartisan, bicameral legislation will support the Department of Defense’s efforts to integrate the defense capabilities of our Middle Eastern allies and partners, including Israel, and leverage their unique capabilities to develop an integrated air and missile defense architecture.”
“The full potential of the Abraham Accords, economic cooperation, education exchanges, trade agreements between Israel and our Middle Eastern partners, cannot be achieved without a commitment to collective security,” said Senator Ernst. “America’s role in activating and networking our allies and partners in the Middle East must evolve as violent extremists, like Iran, change their tactics and onboard new systems capable of catastrophic damage against civilian targets. This bipartisan, bicameral effort directs the United States work with our allies and partners in the region to build an integrated air and missile defense system to take on the threat posed by Iran and its violent extremist proxies.”
“We cannot hope for peace, we must work to create peace. That is why the Abraham Accords are so essential to the future of the region,” said Senator Lankford. “My colleagues and I also want the U.S. Department of Defense to prepare a strategic plan to strengthen integrated air and missile defense capabilities to protect people and infrastructure from the ongoing threats from Iran. We can and must be smart about the realities existing in the region from Iran, but we must also continue to integrate people and commerce in the region toward a goal of lasting peace.”
“As missile threats against our partners in the Middle East increase, this bipartisan legislation is critical to ensuring the safety and security of the region,” said Senator Booker. “Under the leadership and coordination of the Department of Defense, this bill will help develop an integrated air and missile defense system that protects civilians and infrastructure from rocket attacks and strengthens the defense capabilities of our Middle Eastern allies. By strengthening and encouraging cooperation between signatories of the Abraham Accords and other regional partners, this bill will also help foster a more peaceful and stable region.”
The DEFEND Act would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to prepare a strategy to work in conjunction with Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, and other allies and partners in the Middle East to establish a defense architecture and acquisitions approach that would employ a combination of air and missile defense capabilities to protect the region from attacks by Iran and Iran-backed extremist groups. Companion legislation will be introduced in the House by Abraham Accords Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Mo.) and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), as well as House Armed Services Committee members Reps. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.).
The DEFEND Act been endorsed by: ADL; AIPAC; AJC; American Jewish Congress; CUFI Action; FDD Action; Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America; JFNA; JINSA; USIEA; and Senior Middle East scholars who support this bill at the Atlantic Council.