H.R. 1992: Israel QME Enhancement Act

H.R. 1992

Israel QME Enhancement Act

Date
December 11, 2013 (113th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, the House will consider H.R. 1992, the Israel QME Enhancement Act, under a suspension of the rules.  The bill was introduced by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and has thirty-three cosponsors.  H.R. 1992 was marked up on November 20, 2013 by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was ordered reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

Current law requires the President to assess on an ongoing basis the extent to which Israel possesses a qualitative military edge[1] (QME) over military threats to its country.[2]  The President is required to issue a QME report every four years.  H.R. 1992 increases the frequency of the report, requiring that it instead be issued every two years.

H.R. 1992 also requires a one-time report on the range of cyber and asymmetric threats posed to Israel by state and non-state actors, and joint efforts by the U.S. and Israel to address these threats.



[1] QME is defined as “the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damages and casualties, through the use of superior military means, possessed in sufficient quantity, including weapons, command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that in their technical characteristics are superior in capability to those of such other individual or possible coalition of states or non-state actors.”  22 U.S.C. 2776(h).

[2] 22 U.S.C. 2776 note.

Background

Current law requires the President to conduct an ongoing “empirical and qualitative assessment . . . of the extent to which Israel possesses a [QME] over military threats to Israel”[1] and to issue a QME report every four years.  Although “administrations have routinely affirmed the U.S. commitment to strengthening Israel’s QME,”[2] an official definition of QME did not exist until Congress passed legislation in 2008 to define it.[3]  That legislation also requires a certification that proposed arms sales to countries in the Middle East other than Israel do not adversely impact Israel’s QME.

Legislation was enacted in 2012 that “reiterated that it is the policy of the United States to ‘to help the Government of Israel preserve its [QME] amid rapid and uncertain regional political transformation.’”[4]  As events continue to evolve in the Middle East, H.R. 1992 requires the most up-to-date information on threats to Israel’s security, enabling Congress to honor the nation’s commitment to preserve Israel’s QME.



[1] Id.

[2] Jeremy M. Sharp, U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, Congressional Research Service (Apr. 11, 2013) at 3.

[3] Id.

[4] Id. at 4.

Cost

According to CBO cost estimates, implementing H.R. 1992 would cost less than $500,000 in discretionary spending from 2014-2018.  Enacting the bill would not affect direct spending.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.