U.S.-Israel Joint Military Exercise Underway, Focusing On Ballistic Missile Defense

A joint ballistic missile defense exercise between the IDF and the United States European Command began Sunday. The exercises, known as Juniper Cobra, take place every two years and are designed to enhance cooperation between the two countries’ armies.

Over 1,700 U.S. soldiers and contractors will participate in the drills. The previous Juniper Cobra exercise took place in May 2014.

“Support for Israel’s defense has been an integral part of U.S. policy in the region for decades, and this exercise has, and will continue, to directly support that policy,” Maj. Gen. Mark Loeben, U.S. European Command’s Director of Exercises and Assessments, said in a statement.”This exercise is our nation’s premier exercise in the region, and EUCOM’s highest priority exercise for 2016.”

“This exercise is a significant milestone in the strategic relationship between the two countries, a security alliance unmatched by any other country in the world,” stated Brigadier General Zvika Haimovich, the Commander of Israel’s Aerial Defense Division. “This collaboration reflects a commitment to protecting civilian lives as well as a deep appreciation for the IDF, IAF and the Aerial Defense System.”

Israel and the United States also held joint air exercises in Israel last October.

[Photo: Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet / Flickr ]