US, Israel Deny Training Exercise Planned in Response to Real Events

The United States and Israeli militaries are set to embark on another joint training exercise, but are pointing out that the plans are not in response to recently rising tensions with Iran. A joint statement from the US and Israel, and obtained by The Mideast Update, said the exercise scenario is “not in response to any real-world event.”

Said the statement, “The US European Command and the Israel Defense Forces periodically conduct routine exercises in Israel. These exercises, which are part of a long-standing strategic partnership, are planned in advance and part of a routine training cycle designed to improve the interoperability of our defense systems.”

The limited statement on the drill, known as Austere Challenge 12, said it will include simulations and some field training. While the statement did not specify what training will be conducted, Israel and the US are well known to cooperate on missile defense.

The statement did note that like other exercises between the two allies, Austere Challenge 12 “represents another milestone in the strategic relationship between the US and Israel, as well as a step forward in promoting regional stability.”

The statement pointed out that the training helps Israel hold an advantage vis-à-vis its enemies. “US European Command routinely works with partner nations to ensure their capacity to provide for their own security and, in the case of Israel, their qualitative military edge.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 11, 2012)