H.R. 7177—the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008—succeeded in implementing Israel’s qualitative military edge as U.S. law. The legislation held several provisions outlining the government’s new responsibility to uphold Israel’s qualitative military edge.
Foremost, the government is required to oversee an empirical and qualitative assessment on an ongoing basis—which is set to be amended to biennially—“of the extent to which Israel possesses a qualitative military edge over military threats.” The United States is required to use this assessment when reviewing arms deals with foreign countries in according with the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.)
The Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008 also amended Section 36 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776) by including the following provision:
“Certification Requirement Relating Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge—‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Any certification relating to a proposed sale or export of defense articles or defense services under this section to any country in the Middle East other than Israel shall include a determination that the sale or export of the defense articles or defense services will not adversely affect Israel’s qualitative military edge over military threats to Israel.’”
Additionally, the Resolution also defined “Qualitative Military Edge” in Section 205:
The term ‘‘qualitative military edge’’ means 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.
H.R. 7177, the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008, was signed into law on October 15, 2008