America Should Strengthen Its Military Alliance with Israel

January 9, 2017 | James Stavridis
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James Stavridis, a retired general who worked extensively with the IDF while serving as head of the U.S. European Command, argues for a broadening of the already extensive strategic ties between the two countries:

[America’s] best military partner in the region, by far, is Israel. . . . The U.S. would be well served to develop more fully its partnership with the Israel Defense Forces in several crucial areas as we stand together facing the challenges of the Middle East. . . . Perhaps the most important area of potential cooperation is in the world of cybersecurity. Israeli intelligence gathering is superb, and the integration of the Israeli military with the nation’s robust private-sector security firms is nearly seamless. Israel is also ahead of the U.S. in bringing advancements from the private sector into public hands; the brightest people constantly flow between the military and civilian spheres. . . .

[In addition], we should up our game in terms of intelligence cooperation. The Israeli military and the associated Israeli intelligence services Mossad, Aman, and Shin Bet are the best in the Middle East. Working together, they have been ahead of our more segregated sectors on a wide range of trends, including the disintegration of Syria, the events in Egypt, and the military and nuclear capability of Iran. Here we need a more open exchange of information between our two countries (especially human intelligence from Israel and overhead-sensor data from the U.S.). More liaison officers between military and intelligence commands would help, as would more frequent conferences and dialogue on principles. . . .

For the U.S. in the complex Middle East, we would be well served to follow the Israeli military’s advice on a range of key issues.

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