The U.S. Army is looking to increase cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and will hold one of the largest joint exercises in the two nations’ history in 2012, The Jerusalem Post
reported on Thursday. “We are looking to increase relations and to expand training,” said Lt.-Gen. Mark Hertling, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, who is visiting Israel. He announced that the two armies will hold a massive ground forces exercise in May 2012 called “Austere Challenge.” The drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will seek to increase inter-operability between the IDF and the U.S. Army. Shortly before Austere Challenge, the United States and Israel are scheduled to conduct the Juniper Cobra missile defense exercise, which will include both the Arrow 2 and Iron Dome missile defense systems. Hertling also said that while he anticipated cuts to the U.S. Army’s budget, he did not believe it would have an effect on joint-training programs with the IDF.