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5 Things to Know About the U.S.-Israeli Defense Relationship

July 1, 2019 | BY Terri Moon Cronk
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Since 1999, the Defense Advisory Group has been the primary vehicle for senior U.S. Defense Department and Israeli Defense Ministry officials to collaboratively advance the U.S.-Israeli defense relationship.

John C. Rood, the U.S. defense undersecretary for policy, led a delegation of DOD officials to Israel yesterday to co-chair the group's latest meeting. The other co-chair was Zohar Palti, the director of policy and political military affairs in the Israeli Defense Ministry. Rood last co-chaired the group with Palti in October in Washington.

The leaders reviewed global and regional security challenges and set priorities for the U.S.-Israel defense partnership during the coming year.  

Israeli and U.S. troops practice hand-to-hand combat.
Combat Techniques
A U.S. soldier with Legion Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, and an Israeli soldier with the Israel Defense Forces’ 890th Airborne Battalion practice hand-to-hand combat techniques during joint training March 12, 2019, in Israel. The training involved rifle marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat techniques, and other physical competitions designed to hone infantry skills. The U.S. soldiers were in Israel to support a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System deployment.
Photo By: Army Capt. Aaron Smith
VIRIN: 190312-A-NI810-290C

"The U.S. defense partnership with Israel is ironclad, and cooperation between the two militaries will remain extraordinarily robust at all levels," Rood said. "Today's dialogue was extremely productive, and I look forward to working with Mr. Palti over the next year."

Five things you need to know:

1
Rood and Palti led the dialogue and were joined by civilian and military personnel from DOD and the Israeli Defense Ministry.
2
Five main areas discussed: great power competition, regional security challenges, missile defense, military-to-military interoperability, and defense acquisitions.
An Israeli soldier fires a rifle.
Marksman Fire
An Israel Defense Forces soldier fires his M4 carbine during joint training with Army paratroopers in Israel, March 12, 2019. The training involved rifle marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat techniques and other physical competitions designed to hone infantry skills. The U.S. soldiers were in Israel to support a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System deployment.
Photo By: Army Capt. Aaron Smith
VIRIN: 190312-A-NI810-800C
3
Rood emphasized the importance of great-power competition in the Middle East, while affirming that Iranian aggression threatens to destabilize the region and is driving DOD to take a defensive posture. DOD is highly attentive to the shared threats to Israel and the United States, officials said.
4
The two lauded advances in military-to-military cooperation since their last meeting, including the deployment of a strategic Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile battery to Israel.
Marines run to cover during a night exercise under lights.
Cobra Glow
Marines run to cover during Juniper Cobra 2018 at the National Training Center in Israel, March 13, 2018. The Marines are assigned to Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The computer-assisted exercise focused on improving combined missile defense capabilities and overall interoperability between the U.S. European Command and Israel Defense Force.
Photo By: Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jon Sosner
VIRIN: 180313-M-ZL982-0380C
5
Rood expressed DOD's commitment to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge in the region.