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U.S., Israeli Troops Share Experiences During Juniper Falcon Exercise

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, May 19, 2017 — American and Israeli service members shared best practices and some hot days under the Mediterranean sun during Exercise Juniper Falcon that concluded yesterday.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, who serves as Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford’s senior enlisted advisor, got to spend time with the American troops at Camp Adams and Nevatim Air Base in southern Israel.

Troxell spoke to reporters traveling with Dunford.

As Dunford was meeting with senior Israeli officials, Troxell broke off to meet with American troops and observe their training.

The American forces came from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment and the 37th Airlift Squadron. The 173rd is based in Vicenza, Italy, and the 2nd comes from Vilseck, Germany. The 37th is based in Ramstein, Germany.

Sharing Experience

The exercise was designed to share lessons learned from the campaign against violent extremism. The troops told Troxell they enjoyed the training, but want to be part of the fight.

He said this is a typical complaint he hears from troops. “For the past 16 years, we’ve been in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and now in Syria, but we don’t have the numbers that we had in those places years ago,” he said. “The strategy now is about building partner capacity, assuring our allies and partners and deterring aggression for any potential other threats.”

Troxell added, “That is how we are defending the homeland now and it is working. They have to understand that this new mission to build partner capacity is an integral part of the defense of the homeland now.”

There is a difference of strategy that was on display during the training. Troxell said the Israeli methodology “is more about violence of action and we tend to ‘see first, understand first and then act decisively.’”

This is because every day, whether on the Gaza Strip or the Lebanese border or the West Bank these threats are real for the Israelis, he said. For the U.S. forces it is when deployed that these threats manifest themselves.

The U.S. continued to promote the idea that every service member is a sensor. “You can gain as much intelligence from one young private on the ground as you can from all the intelligence systems we have,” Troxell said.

The IDF and American militaries are close partners, but their military cultures are very different, Troxell said.

American Noncommissioned Officers

“We have the most empowered enlisted leaders in the world,” he said. “They exercise disciplined initiative within a commander’s intent to accomplish the mission. Commanders are prepared to underwrite mistakes that those enlisted leaders may make because they are exercising that disciplined initiative.”

The Israelis have a conscript force with the initiative driven by officers, Troxell said. The American Army, he added, depends more upon its seasoned, professional noncommissioned officers.

“If you look at a 173rd Brigade squad leader, he’s got 10 to 12 years in the military, a couple of combat deployments under him, and from sheer repetition of battle drills and marksmanship he is a master of his profession,” Troxell said.

The United States sends forces overseas and asks small units to control large swathes of land, Troxell said.

“You really have to trust your NCOs to do that. And in the past 16 years, the professionalism of our noncommissioned officer corps has gone through the roof because of this empowerment and decentralized environment we’ve had in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

“I hope that example opens some eyes,” Troxell said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)