U.S., Israel joint military exercise ends successfully

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. military and the Israel Defense Forces concluded Austere Challenge 2012, called the largest joint exercise ever held by the two countries.

The exercise ended Tuesday, following a two-day, live-fire exercise, which was deemed a success by military observers from both the U.S. European Command and the IDF.

The three-week exercise, which began last month and involved more than 2,500 American service personnel and 1,000 Israeli soldiers, was designed to improve interoperability between the U.S. and Israeli militaries and was conducted as part of a long-standing strategic agreement between to hold bi-lateral training exercises on a regular basis.

“We made great strides in improving our tactics and our command and control processes. Most importantly though, we reinforced our already strong US-IDF relationships. From our most senior commanders to most junior enlisted troops, we proved once again that there is clearly no substitute for training side by side with our Israeli partners,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, Third Air Force commander and commander of Joint Defense Forces-Israel during Austere Challenge 2012, said in a statement.

The exercise was not in response to any current specific tensions in the region, according to the IDF.                                                             

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