(JNS.org) U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey arrived in Israel on Monday as the official guest of his counterpart, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot.
According to the IDF, the two military leaders will meet, along with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and other Israeli security officials, to discuss bilateral military cooperation and other common security challenges.
The trip will be Dempsey’s fifth visit to Israel since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Dempsey is scheduled to step down from that position on Oct. 1. President Barack Obama has nominated Marine Corps commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford to replace him.
During his four years as chairman, Dempsey’s term has been characterized by the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and new challenges emanating from the rise of terror groups in Syria and Iraq like Islamic State, leading to renewed U.S. involvement in the Middle East.
While U.S.-Israel ties have been strained politically under Obama, the nations’ strategic defense relationship under Dempsey has remained strong, with the U.S. providing funding for the highly successful Iron Dome missile defense system and discussions of an increase in American military aid to Israel underway.
Eizenkot will present the IDF badge of appreciation to Dempsey.