Monday, December 12, 2011

How Israel's Defense Industry Can Help Save America

How Israel's Defense Industry Can Help Save America - Arthur Herman (Commentary)
Kibbutz Sasa is the home of Plasan, which makes body armor for the Israel Defense Forces and for IDF vehicles. Today 90% of the company's orders come from Europe and the U.S. Plasan specializes in a very dense plastic composite product that affords ballistic protection without significantly adding to the weight of the vehicle.
Plasan-armored mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) have been serving in Afghanistan since August 2009, and contractor Oshkosh Company has another 8,800 on order. In 2009 Plasan opened a factory in Bennington, Vt., that employs 350 American workers.
An Israeli company called Camero came up with a way to use ultra-wideband wireless transmissions to see through walls - literally - and detect armed men and explosives on the other side. In December 2010, one of Camero's top clients became the U.S. Department of Defense.
Ten years ago Israel ranked 15th in foreign defense industry sales. In 2007 it surpassed the UK to rank fourth, behind the U.S., Russia, and France. The day when it takes France's place is not far off. This is a remarkable achievement for a country of some six million people.
At the Plasan plant in Kibbutz Sasa, the hallways are covered with poster-size copies of thank-you notes from American GIs. One of them is signed by Brian, an Army sergeant serving in Afghanistan who wrote that the Plasan armor saved him from a bullet that would have blown off his head if it had gone through the door.

The writer is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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