The US and Israeli armed forces are conducting the bilateral computer-simulated air defence exercise, code-named Juniper Cobra 14, throughout Israel.
Claimed to be the European Command’s (EUCOM) largest exercise of 2014, Juniper Cobra 14 involves participation from more than 700 US service members, and seeks to enhance combined defence capabilities and the overall interoperability of EUCOM and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The five-day, biennial computer-simulated defence drill is primarily designed to boost the cooperative defence of Israel between the two countries’ militaries as part of an agreement to hold bilateral training on a regular basis.
EUCOM analysis and assessments director and JC14 director brigadier general Mark Loeben said the exercise is a priority for EUCOM, its commander general Philip Breedlove, and for the US, as Israel is a key partner.
"A partner with whom we share so much in terms of values, in terms of a love of democracy and freedom, and in terms of a hope for peace, a desire for a peaceful Middle East," Loeben said.
Israeli Defense Force Air Defense Forces commander brigadier general Shachar Shohat said, "The Juniper Cobra 2014 exercise reflects another layer in the deep long-standing relationship between Israel and the United States."
Designed to engage both militaries into a computer-assisted exercise through simulations aimed at providing quality training in defence, crisis resupply, foreign disaster response and foreign humanitarian assistance, the exercise scenario encompasses the overall situation in the Middle East.
IDF training and doctrine head brigadier general Tamir Heiman said the unstable situation in the Middle East and its potential to escalate into regional conflict also exists now just as much as it was in the past.
"Therefore, we must train and prepare in order to guarantee that the values we protect – the values of freedom, democracy and human rights – will prevail; the same values that are being brutally trampled over on a daily basis in civil wars and upheavals throughout the Middle East," Heiman said.
Representing the seventh of its kind since 2001, Juniper Cobra 14 also features more than 1,300 US personnel stationed throughout Europe and the US.