The US and Israel have this week begun their largest ever wargame.
Juniper Oak 23.2 is a bilateral, live-fire exercise that takes place in Israel and the Mediterranean Sea.
Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder explains: “Throughout the week-long engagement, more than 140 aircraft, 12 naval vessels, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, and multiple-launch rocket systems will be used during this combined, joint, all-domain exercise, increasing our ability to interoperate on land, in the air, at sea, in space and in cyberspace.
“It’s the largest and most significant exercise we have engaged in together and is intended to demonstrate that the US commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad and enduring.”
The exercise, Ryder said, enhances the United States’ ability to respond to contingencies and underscores the US commitment to the Middle East region.
Participants in Juniper Oak will exercise US and Israeli command and control capabilities, air operations in maritime surface warfare, and combat search and rescue abilities.
US and Israeli partners will also work together to enhance interoperability on electronic attack, suppression of enemy air defenses, strike coordination and reconnaissance, and air interdiction.
Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said: “This exercise is focused on interoperability and strengthening our security relationship in terms of working together.
“As evidenced by, most recently, the counter-ISIS campaign, the ability to pull air forces together seamlessly and operate in a way that is going to be effective is vital.
“This is one aspect of that, although the exercise is obviously more than just about airpower.”
Ryder explained the Juniper Oak exercise is not focused on defeating one adversary or threat, but rather the interoperability of U.S. and Israeli forces.
He added: “The United States maintains many relationships in the Middle East region with many countries. Israel is one of our closest partners in the region.
“This gives us the opportunity to work together to increase interoperability, to be able to respond to a variety of contingencies and threats that should we need to operate together, we can do so seamlessly.”