Senior officials from the IDF held a strategic-operational meeting with a delegation of senior officials from US Central Command (CENTCOM).
The meeting, which took place over the past three days, centered on a “joint tabletop exercise, during which a dialogue was held regarding shared regional security challenges and joint preparations for scenarios of regional escalation,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
The meeting included the participation of Deputy Commander of the US Central Command V.-Adm. James Malloy; Commander of the Ninth Air Force Lt.-Gen. Gregory M. Guillot (who is expected to enter the position of deputy commander of the US Central Command in the coming weeks); and Commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces V.-Adm. Brad Cooper.
“This meeting is yet another step in deepening and strengthening the military cooperation between the IDF and the US Armed Forces.”IDF Spokesperson's Unit
The Israeli participants included Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi; head of the Operations Directorate Maj.-Gen. Oded Basiuk; head of the Strategic Planning and Cooperation Directorate Maj.-Gen. Tal Kelman; Commander of the Israel Air Force Maj.-Gen. Tomer Bar; Commander of the Israel Navy V.-Adm. David Saar Salama; and Defense Attaché to Washington Maj.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi also met with the delegation for a discussion and joint evaluation of regional security challenges.
The meeting between the officials took place as Israel cements its role in CENTCOM after being moved from the responsibility of EUCOM (European Command) and also discussed opportunities for expanding operational cooperation.
The proceedings of the meeting itself
During the meeting, the CENTCOM delegation visited the area of the Blue Line in Israel’s North along the border with Lebanon. They also toured a security barrier constructed as a part of the Northern Shield (Magen Hatzafon) Program.
“Throughout the visit, a series of strategic and intelligence briefings were led by senior officials from both militaries,” the statement said.
“This meeting is yet another step in deepening and strengthening the military cooperation between the IDF and the US Armed Forces,” the IDF Spokesperson Unit said.
Israel was moved from EUCOM to CENTCOM’s area of responsibility last January.
The move to CENTCOM is believed to not only simplify the cooperation with American troops in the region but can also create potential for a regional coalition with Arab countries that have normalized ties with Israel against shared threats posed by Iran.
The increased cooperation with CENTCOM and possibly even the Gulf States is expected to give Israel a leg up in terms of dealing with the threat posed by Iran.