Biggest U.S.-Israeli Military Exercise Is Message to Iran [View all]
By Tony Capaccio on October 15, 2012
The U.S. and Israel will begin their largest joint air and missile defense exercise by the end of this month, sending a message of solidarity between the nations to Iran and to American voters just before the Nov. 6 presidential election.
The U.K. and Germany also will participate in the three- week “Austere Challenge” exercise involving as many as 3,500 U.S. personnel in the region along with 1,000 members of the Israel Defense Forces, Navy Lieutenant Commander Wendy Snyder, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.
“The exercise will include missile defense elements, as well as combat-service support units” and participants from all four U.S. military services, she said.
The allied exercise is “no doubt intended at least partly to showcase that extensive U.S.-Israeli military cooperation continues despite the differences between the two nations over the immediacy and scope of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear enrichment program,” Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East specialist for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service in Washington, said in an e-mailed statement.