How Does This Site Work?
This website is to designed to allow policymakers, specifically in the legislative and executive branch as well as the broader analyst community, to grapple with these new questions surrounding Israel’s QME. The centerpiece of the site is an interactive map of the Middle East and North Africa. With this map, users can easily access the known weaponry of any country’s military in the region. Users can also compare the military arsenals of a variety of actors in the Middle East and North Africa, and learn which are qualitatively and/or quantitatively superior.
Users can further explore and read various articles related to weapons systems, military developments in the countries under review, as well as legislation, past and present, dealing with QME.
And while the initial goal of the site was to help users gain a better understanding of Israel’s precarious military challenges, the site serves as a useful tool in understanding the military dynamics throughout the Middle East.
What Is QME?
For decades American presidents have emphasized the need to maintain Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME). The U.S. legal definition of QME is, “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.”
QME is intended to provide Israel with the necessary means to successfully deter and defend itself, by itself, against any likely combination of threats. So, while a coalition of Arab states and terror groups could easily outnumber the tiny Jewish state, QME provides a backstop of sorts. However, in recent years, particularly in the wake of the Arab Spring and the political upheaval that it has spawned, the potential for previously unlikely coalitions has grown. The calculus for understanding QME has become increasingly complex. This website is a good faith effort to help policy makers gain a better understanding of the challenges of the new QME environment.
About the Foundation for Defense of Democracies:
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)3 policy institute focusing on foreign policy and national security. Founded in 2001, FDD combines policy research, democracy and counterterrorism education, strategic communications and investigative journalism in support of its mission to promote pluralism, defend democratic values and fight the ideologies that drive terrorism.
This website is by no means exhaustive. We have endeavored to provide the clearest possible picture by capturing a huge amount of open source data. However, some data is not possible to obtain in an unclassified environment. Moreover, certain variables are difficult to assess. For example, this site does not analyze intelligence services, military training, ammunition stockpiles, or preparedness and will to fight. For Israel specifically, the analysis leaves out the country’s nuclear program, which is widely reported but not confirmed. To be sure, this is the ultimate weapon, and it would greatly enhance Israel’s QME.
Deepest thanks to the Michael and Andrea Leven Family Foundation for making this work possible.