U.S.-Israel military exercise downsized

U.S. military officials acknowledged that an upcoming joint U.S.-Israel military exercise was downsized, but denied it was because of mistrust of Israel.

Time magazine reported that Austere Challenge 12, the ballistic missiles exercise scheduled for the end of October, was greatly downsized, with Washington cutting by more than two-thirds the number of U.S. troops participating, and reducing the number and quality of missile interception systems to be used.

“Basically what the Americans are saying is, ‘We don’t trust you,’ ” Time quoted an unnamed senior Israeli military official as saying.

The exercise originally had been scheduled for the spring, but was postponed by Israel due to budgetary considerations. U.S. military officials said the number of troops involved was reduced in part because of other commitments around the time of the rescheduled exercise, and that Israel was aware that it would happen. — jta