The Israel Defense Forces and the United States European Command (EUCOM) completed a military headquarters training exercise in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night.The exercise was part of Juniper Falcon, an ongoing series of training exercises conducted by the U.S. Air Force in Europe and Israel.
The four-day exercise was held at the Aviv camp, situated near the Palmach History Museum in Ramat Aviv. Officers from the IDF General Command and from the Israel Air Force and Israel Navy participated in the exercise.
The head of the Israeli team was Brigadier-General Yossi Heiman, head of the Division for Strategic Planning and Foreign Relations in the Planning directorate. The U.S. team was headed by Marine Brigadier General Mark Brilakis, deputy director for Operations Directorate EUCOM Plans and Operations Center.
Wednesday night also marked the end of an IDF Southern Command exercise, Coiled Spring, which was based on a scenario of escalation in the sectors in the command, in particular the Gaza sector. This exercise, like Juniper Falcon, involved mainly command headquarters and not operational forces.
Juniper Falcon is part of the strategic cooperation agreement signed between Israel and the United States in 1984. Israel is the only state in the Middle East that is still within the purview of the U.S. European Command, after responsibility for Syria and Lebanon were transferred to the Central Command, USCENTCOM, alongside Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
At the completion of the exercise, both the Israeli and the U.S. sides announced that extreme scenarios were tested that challenged the participating armies to assist each other. The scenarios were set in the present and based on events of the past several years or events that are expected to occur in the near future. The creators of the exercise did not use the names of actual Arab states or existing terror organizations.
The Israeli team included representatives from the planning, operations, intelligence and logistics branches, as well as officers from the navy and the air force.
U.S. Army General Bantz J. Craddock, Commander of EUCOM, emphasized last week, in testimony before the U.S. Congress, the importance of the joint exercises between his command and the IDF
Last update – 14:55 20/03/2008
By Amir Oren, Haaretz Correspondent