More than 2,500 US personnel and 2,000 IDF troops have concluded the 2018 Juniper Cobra, a bilateral military exercise that brings together tactical and operational personnel from both armies every two years for a series of joint drills.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said American and Israeli air defence and infantry units drilled a range of battlefront scenarios, including urban warfare scenarios, artillery use, attacks on buildings using armoured vehicles and joint operations to evacuate the wounded, as well as exercises focusing on deploying a variety of missile defence systems under fire and computerised drills that simulated defending a massive barrage of incoming missiles.
In addition, logistics and medical teams trained together for a mass casualty event, including helicopter evacuations and the use of advanced technologies.
IDF and US Army officials called the exercise, which has taken place every two years since 2001, an unqualified success and pointed to the strong operational ties between the two militaries.
“The deep connection between Israel and the United States is based on shared interests and values,” said Gen. Nitzan Alon, the commander of the IDF Operations Directorate. “Two democratic countries, with shared values and which compliment one-another via operational-military collaboration sends a strong, clear message to the entire region. The complicated reality in the Middle East, as well as the activities of terrorist groups present many challenges for Israel and the United States.”
American military officers added that the exercises served as rehearsals for realistic battle scenarios that served to bring combat teams together and foster personal and professional relationships that would serve both forces in combat.
“Juniper Cobra 2018 proved to be an incredibly challenging and realistic scenario, requiring trust, communication and collaboration with our Israeli partners,” said US Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark, 3rd Air Force commander, who also serves as the commander for the deployable Joint Task Force Israel. “The relationships built over the last two weeks help bolster our interoperability and pave the path for future engagements and exercises.”
“The concepts that we were able to learn throughout this exercise are something that we’re going to carry forward and be able to apply in the future,” added US Marine Corps Capt. Garrett Johnson, a company commander for Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.”
In statement, the Pentagon said a range of senior military and political leaders observed the joint exercises, including Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Navy Vice Adm. Lisa M. Franchetti, U.S. 6th Fleet commander, US Navy Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer Crispian D. Addington, and the commander of American Eucom forces, Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti.
“The U.S. and Israel have a steadfast military-to-military relationship built on trust developed over decades of cooperation,” Scaparrotti said. “We value the relationships we have with our IDF counterparts, and we will continue to work alongside them to promote stability throughout the region.