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In mid-December, Lt.Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the U.S.’s Third Air Force, based in Germany, visited Israel to finalize plans for the world’s largest missile defense exercise, expected to see the deployment of several thousand American soldiers in Israel. Normally, after an exercise, everyone goes home. That is unlikely for our U.S. forces considering today’s Middle East crisis.
In the coming weeks, thousands of U.S. troops are expected to deploy to Israel, possibly putting Nevatim AFB to the test. They are reportedly bringing with them the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) and a fleet of naval components, which will include ship-based Aegis ballistic missile systems. The cost of this exercise would be in the billions.
With Iran beefing up its military might bolstering its defense in the Strait of Hormuz and recently threatening the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, not only are U.S. forces headed to Israel, some Israeli forces are forecast to take permanent residence in Stuttgart, Germany—home of United States European Command (EUCOM).
President Obama recently announced that a closure of the Strait of Hormuz was unacceptable and vowed to take whatever measures are necessary to keep the vital shipping lane open. While U.S. forces are expected to deploy to Israel for an “exercise,” could this deployment turn into something much more? Time will tell but considering President Obama’s harsh vow it’s not looking good.
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