Diplomacy & defense

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (L) in the cockpit of an F-35
Israel, United States begin joint defense training exercise

Israel is ranked 7th in world for defense spending and 17th when it comes to total military spending, Globes reported Sunday.

The report on the 25 countries with the most defense spending, Global Aerospace and Defense Outlook 2016, was conducted by the Deloitte consulting firm.

It showed that in 2014, Israel spent 5.2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, said Globes.

Additional big spenders included South Sudan with 9.3 percent, Saudi Arabia with 10.4 percent and Oman with 11.6%.

According to Globes, Israel spent $15.9 billion on its military overall in 2014.

Number one on the list of defense spending was the United States, which spent 40 percent of the worldwide total with $610 billion. Second place China spent close to a third of what the US did, at $216.4 billion. Third place Russia spent $84.5 billion, said Globes.

Growth in the global aerospace and defense market increased in 2015 and is expected to increase further in 2016, said Tom Captain, Vice Chairman and US Aerospace & Defense Leader for Deloitte LLP, and Global A&D Leader for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

According to Captain, the market grew 1.5 percent in 2015 and is expected grow 3 percent in 2016.

Captain attributed this growth to the increasing threat of terror attacks around the globe, security tensions and instability in the Middle East, Globes said.

Spending is expected to be invested in modernizing technology, innovation in cyber warfare, intelligence, precision munitions and electronics.

David Buimovitch (AFP)

Deloitte Israel strategy leader Eli Tidhar told Globes that this growth means good things for Israel, as other nations seek Israeli innovation and technology.

“The Israeli defense industry has an advantage because it provides solutions to the changing needs of modern militaries to deal with security threats, which require the use of more precise measures and the integration of unmanned and robotic capabilities," Tidhar said, adding that "digital and electronic warfare takes a more prominent role in the future battlefield.”

Tidhar highlighted the contributions made to defense strategies by both civilian companies and the military.

“The notion of a balance between military and civilian application is very developed in Israel, and we can expect that aspect of the Israeli defense industry to be advantageous in competing with global firms.”

Israel, US begin joint training exercise

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Sunday announced the start of a joint exercise between the IDF and the the European Command of the United States Army in Israel.

The exercise dubbed "Juniper Cobra 16" is aimed at improving cooperation and coordination between the two armies, as well as improving the proficiency of ballistic missile defense systems, said a statement by the IDF.

The exercise is happening for the 8th time since it was organized in 2001.

More than 1,700 soldiers from the United States and IDF forces will engage in computerized simulations of possible scenarios. It is seen as an opportunity for the two countries to strengthen their strategic relationship and contribute to regional stability, said the IDF statement.

Israeli Brigadier General Zvika Haimovich said that the "exercise is a major milestone in the strategic relationship between the two countries, and displays an unparalleled security alliance between the countries. This cooperation reflects a commitment to protect the lives of civilians as well as a deep appreciation for the IDF, air force and air defense system."

United States Army General Mark Loeben said that the "support for Israel's right to defend itself constitutes an integral part of the policy of the United States in the region for decades. The exercise was and will continue to be supported in this policy. This is the main exercise of the United States in the region and is a priority of EUCOM in 2016."

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