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News | July 30, 2023

U.S. and Israel Kick Off Naval Exercise in Haifa

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

U.S. 5th Fleet and the Israeli Navy held an opening ceremony July 30 in Haifa, Israel to kick off an annual maritime security exercise.

Intrinsic Defender is a two-week bilateral exercise that seeks to enhance navy-to-navy cooperation and operational readiness. Last year’s iteration occurred in March 2022 off the coast of Israel and focused on maritime security, explosive ordnance disposal and unmanned systems integration.

“Israel is one of our most capable maritime partners and these exercises further underscore historic military cooperation achieved in recent years,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “Training and operating together strengthens regional maritime security and stability.”

More than 50 U.S. service members will participate in this year’s exercise and conduct engagements with Israeli counterparts on explosive ordnance disposal, mine countermeasures, maritime and global health management, underwater construction, maritime surveillance and vessel boarding procedures. 

U.S. 5th Fleet has conducted more bilateral engagements with the Israeli forces since September 2021, when Israel realigned into the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. Both navies have completed multiple joint patrols in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including 18 bilateral and multilateral exercises in the past two years.

The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses nearly 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Bab al-Mandeb.