Joint military exercise
Joint military exercise Photo: IDF Spokesperson (Archive)

The joint exercise between the IDF and the United States European Command (US EUCOM) began Sunday in order to improve cooperation and coordination between the armies and improve their competence ballistic missile defense.

The ‘Juniper Cobra’ exercise is being held for the eighth time since its initiation in 2001, and is conducted once every two years. More than 1,700 US service members, civilians and contractors will participate together with the IDF in addressing computer simulated challenges.

During the exercise, considerable numbers of security forces will move across the country.

This exercise will form part of a common strategy and will greatly contribute to improving readiness for emergencies for both armies. Moreover, the drill is another step in the strategic relations between Israel and the US and will contribute greatly to regional stability.

“The exercise is a major milestone an unparalleled security alliance in the strategic relationship between the two countries. This cooperation reflects a commitment to protect the lives of civilians and deep appreciation to the IDF, the air force and air defense system," said Brigadier General Zvika Haimovich of the Aerial Defense Division.

US Major General Mark Loeben, director of Exercises and Assessments at Headquarters, United States European Command, says: “Supporting Israel's right to defend itself constituted an integral part of US policy in the region for decades. The exercise was and will continue to be supported in this policy. This is our nation’s premier exercise in the region, and EUCOM’s highest priority exercise for 2016."