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USEUCOM to Send 2,500 Personnel to Israel for Missile Defense Exercise

FILE -- Airmen from the 1st Combat Communications Squadron, 52nd CBCS and soldiers from the 44th Expeditionary Signals Battalion work together to support U.S. European Command exercise Juniper Cobra 16 in Israel, March 3, 2016. (U.S. European Command/ Staff Sgt. Stephanie Longoria)
FILE -- Airmen from the 1st Combat Communications Squadron, 52nd CBCS and soldiers from the 44th Expeditionary Signals Battalion work together to support U.S. European Command exercise Juniper Cobra 16 in Israel, March 3, 2016. (U.S. European Command/ Staff Sgt. Stephanie Longoria)

Military personnel from U.S. European Command will join members from the Israeli Defense Force in a combined missile-defense exercise next month.

Juniper Cobra 18, which is scheduled to take place March 4-15, has been in the planning stages January 2016. JC18 is the ninth in a series of biennial Juniper Cobra exercises conducted in Israel between the IDF and USEUCOM every two years since 2001, according to a Feb. 22 U.S. European Command press release.

More than 2,500 U.S. personnel will participate in the exercise, with about 2,100 U.S. military members operating alongside IDF personnel at various locations within Israel, according to the release.

"The United States and Israel enjoy a strong and enduring military to military partnership built on a trust that has been developed over decade of cooperation," U.S. Air Force Third Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, who also serves as the commander for the deploying Joint Task Force-Israel, said in the press release.

"The Juniper Cobra exercises continue to strengthen this relationship, providing us with the opportunity to bolster interoperability and develop seamless integration with our Israeli partners."

During the course of the exercise, troop movements and other activities may be noticed by the civilian population. The exercise will follow protections and practices that are in place for minimal environmental impact, according to the release.

While some U.S. personnel will remain in Israel for additional training opportunities, the majority are scheduled to depart upon completion of this exercise, the release states.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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