The annually scheduled was preceded this year by considerable Israeli concerns that the US would cut back on funding for the project due to the new financial constraints brought on by the global economic crisis. The meeting was also particularly significant in light of the election of a new administration.
The officials were assured however that Washington would continue to fund the development of what both sides hope will eventually be able to defend Israel from the threat of ballistic missiles. The funding will be integrated into the perennial US defense budget.
The teams, headed by US Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy and Defense Ministry Secretary-General Pinchas Buchris, also discussed a number of additional strategic issues.
President Obama's administration has recently proposed a bill integrating defense funding for Israel in the
2010 budget. The funding is currently set at $2.775 billion.
On Wednesday morning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced his country had successfully launched an advanced surface-to-surface missile with a range of around 2,000 km.
Scant hours later it was announce that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had recently visited the Air Force's headquarters in Tel Aviv, where he received a full briefing on an exercise currently being conducted by the IAF. Barak said afterwards that "the (Iranian) launch is additional proof of the need to form a plan to cope with the Iranian challenge."