The United States and Israel are expected to hold a joint military exercise sometime around October, after postponing it earlier this year, the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff said on Friday, confirming previous reports that it was back on track.
"We rescheduled it for October-November time frame," US Army General Martin Dempsey said. "I really don't know what the final decision was, but it
is our expectation that that's when the event will occur."
drill, called Austere Challenge 12, was initially scheduled for April but was
surprisingly postponed by Israel in January under a variety of budgetary and
The Defense Ministry
admitted at the time that Defense Minister Ehud Barak was behind the decision to
cancel the drill. This led to speculation that Israel was either planning on
attacking Iran in the spring and therefore did not want US troops in the country
or wanted to cause the US to think that it was planning an attack to get the
administration to escalate sanctions.
which is unprecedented in size, will include the establishment of US command
posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany – with
the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a
large-scale conflict in the Middle East.
The US is also expected to bring
its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and ship-based Aegis ballistic
missile defense systems to Israel to simulate the interception of missile salvos
against Israel. The American systems will work in conjunction with Israel’s
missile defense systems – the Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report