Cooperation of Allies: Joint Military Drill by the US European Command and IDF

Juniper Cobra, 2009 (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Every two years since 2001 a joint 5-day exercise known as Juniper Cobra has been held between the United States European Command (US EUCOM) and the Israel Defense Force (IDF). Its primary goal is that of a drill; to fortify the joint military relationship of both countries and to improve defensive capabilities of both military bodies.   

It is a vast undertaking with almost 2000 US military and civilian contractors participating who address possible computer and technology-based strategic military scenarios, among other things.

Brigadier General Zvika Haimovich, who joined the Israel Air Force in 1985, said that these maneuvers are pretty significant in regards to the relationship between the allied countries and not seen between other countries. As the commander of the Aerial Defense Division, he says that it shows the commitment both countries have to protecting civilians and reflects a deep appreciation of the various divisions of the Israel Defense Forces.

His counterpart in this exercise, Maj. Gen. Mark Loeben, Director of Exercises and Assessments at US EUCOM Headquarters, says that support for Israel’s protection has always been a very important part of US policy, and Juniper Cobra is one of the ways to confirm US support. As reported by Ynetnews, he says, “This exercise is our nation’s premier exercise in the region, and EUCOM’s highest priority exercise for 2016.”

Even though there were rumours back in August of 2015 that JC16 would not be happening, this year’s Juniper Cobra has just begun and there is talk that it will be much bigger than JC14 held in May 2014, but smaller than the biggest ever Jupiter Cobra staged in October and November 2012. The name of that operation was Austere Challenge and over 4000 personnel from both the IDF and US EUCOM were involved.