U.S. military and Israel’s IDF drilled WAR GAMES together earlier this year in operation “Juniper Oak”
Back in January, less than 10 months before the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the United States and Israel teamed up for a war games military exercise called Juniper Oak 23.2, which the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) described as “a bilateral, live-fire exercise that takes place in both Israel and the Mediterranean Sea.
“It’s the largest and most significant exercise we have engaged in together and is intended to demonstrate that the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad and enduring,” announced Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.
Conveniently, the purpose of the exercise, Ryder added, was to enhance the ability of the U.S. military to respond to contingencies in the Middle East – contingencies that would just so happen to manifest in real life less than a year after the war games exercise was held.
“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,” Ryder explained before the exercise.
Those who participated in Juniper Oak exercised U.S. and Israeli command and control capabilities, air operations in maritime surface warfare, and combat and search and rescue capabilities, the DOD announced.
U.S. and Israeli partners also worked together to enhance interoperability on electronic attack, suppression of enemy air defenses, strike coordination and reconnaissance, and air interdiction, the DOD reported.
“This exercise is focused on interoperability and strengthening our security relationship in terms of working together,” Ryder said.
“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.”
(Related: Check out the October 7 testimonies showing that Israel’s military shot up, “burned alive” Israeli civilians.)
Juniper Oak wasn’t about defeating any one adversary or threat, it was about making U.S., Israeli forces one and the same
Ryder stressed at the meeting that the purpose of Juniper Oak was not necessarily to simulate the U.S. and Israeli militaries having to defeat any particular adversary or threat. Instead, it was about aligning the U.S. and Israeli militaries to function as one.
“The United States maintains many relationships in the Middle East region with many countries,” Ryder said.
“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.”
At the same meeting, Ryder spoke of similar war games exercises with Ukraine. Last December, the DOD announced plans for such war games exercises, which were later provided by U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command’s 7th Army Training Command, lasting about six weeks.
“The training has begun,” Ryder told reporters back in January. “It started mid-January … Once that training is complete, … those forces will go back into Ukraine.”
If the Ukrainians ask for even more training, then they will get it, Ryder added. In other words, the U.S. military is giving it all both to Ukraine and to Israel – and U.S. taxpayers will foot the bill.
“It’s not a ‘one and –done’ type of program,” Ryder stipulated.
“That’ll be Ukraine’s decision in terms of providing additional forces to go through that cycle. We certainly expect them to do that. But at the end of the day, that’s their decision given the situation on the ground.”
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