United States and Israel Defense Forces Exercise Juniper Oak 2023, which is taking place in Israel and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, was inaugurated by Central Command on Monday.
More than 140 aircraft, including B-52s, F-35s, F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s, AC-130 Hercules transports, AH-64 Apache helicopters, 12 navy ships, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems will participate in the live-fire exercise.
Additionally, Juniper Oak will incorporate resources like space forces, infantry, and special operations units.
This experiment tries to improve overall Israeli-American relations. According to CENTCOM, this will increase both military’ readiness and interoperability, promoting regional stability.
The head of CENTCOM, Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, stated, “Consistent with CENTCOM’s strategic approach of People, Partners, and Innovation, we are committed to improving military-to-military cooperation throughout the region.
He continued, “Juniper Oak is a Combined Joint All-Domain exercise that increases our interoperability with our partners on land, in the air, at sea, in space, and in cyberspace, boosts our ability to respond to eventualities, and reaffirms our commitment to the Middle East.
Kurilla and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met at Tel Aviv’s military headquarters last week.
Gallant stressed Israel and the United States unique and strong relationship throughout the meeting and the significance of expanding their defense and technical collaboration. Additionally, he praised the “huge value” the CENTCOM military framework brings to the Middle East’s multilateral defense coordination, noting that it directly contributed to the region’s security and stability.
Gallant pledged to maintain communication and broaden collaboration, particularly in light of exchanges “in the face of Iranian and proxy aggression on sovereign nations.”
On September 1, 2021, CENTCOM assumed control of Israel, replacing the European Command (EUCOM), in a move announced in the final days of the Trump administration.
Israel had remained a part of EUCOM’s jurisdiction for numerous decades despite being in the Middle East, partly to prevent hostility between the Israeli and Arab military.
However, it was decided that tighter cooperation between Israeli and American forces in the region was required due to mounting threats from Iran and Israel’s strengthening ties with numerous Arab nations.