U.S. 5th Fleet and the Israeli Navy held an opening ceremony on July 30, 2023, 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 strengthen regional maritime security and stability.”
In a statement, the IDF said, “This is a significant exercise, which represents an opportunity for mutual learning, strengthening strategic and operational cooperation, raising the level of operational readiness, and promoting regional partnerships to thwart threats.”
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.
The 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.
Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyleigh William, dvids.