Upcoming U.S., Israeli Exercise Underscores Relations
By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2012 U.S. and Israeli forces will team up this fall for Austere Challenge 12, a major exercise that provides important training for the defense of both nations, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.
The Israeli defense ministry requested the bilateral, ballistic missile defense exercise be moved from May to late fall, and the drill remains the largest of its kind between the nations, Little said.
“The exercise has not changed in scope and will include the same types of systems as planned,” he said. “All deployed systems will be fully operational with their associated operators, including the missile interceptors.”
The United States will have fewer personnel in the exercise than originally planned because of other operations already scheduled in the same timeframe, Little said.
The press secretary added that the bonds between U.S. and Israeli forces are as strong as ever.
“As the minister of defense, Ehud Barak, has repeatedly said, the U.S.-Israel defense relationship is stronger than it has ever been, and we couldn’t agree more,” he said. “This exercise is a tangible sign of our mutual trust and defense of our two nations.”