New German military exercises with Israel

The Israeli military trains cyber attacks in Germany, the German air force simulates the fight for water and natural resources in the Negev desert

The German Armed Forces are planning a joint cybermaneuver with the Israeli military. The exercise entitled „Multi-Lateral Cyber Defence Exercise 20“ (MLCD20) is to take place in Germany in August, with units from Austria and Switzerland also taking part. This was stated by the Ministry of Defence in response to a written question by left-wing MP Andrej Hunko. So far, nothing is known about the scenarios. During such exercises, attacks are simulated by so-called „Red Teams“ and countered by „Blue Teams“.

Parliamentary State Secretary Peter Tauber did not want to disclose which departments the foreign armed forces would send, despite being asked. In Israel, intelligence gathering in cyberspace is carried out by the military „Unit 8200“. According to Israeli media reports, the unit is now also responsible for cyber attacks.

From Germany, all important military cyber departments are involved in the „Multi-Lateral Cyber Defence Exercise 20“, the leadership is held by the „Cyber and Information Space Command“ (KdoCIR) in Bonn, which was established three years ago. Among other things, it is responsible for the reconnaissance of activities. For its own cyber attacks, the command has a „Centre Cyber Operations“ (ZCO) in Rheinbach.

Additionally, the military research institute „Cyber Defence and Smart Data“ (CODE) participates in the exercise. Located at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, it is responsible for extensive research in the military and political „cyber and information space“. This includes so-called early crisis detection using software that searches the Internet for anomalies.

Israel also participates in relevant exercises in Germany within the framework of NATO. In April, Israeli soldiers in „Allied Spirit 2019“ trained for the first time with the Bundeswehr in a so-called „full force exercise“ of NATO. The major international maneuver was led by the 1st Armored Division from Oldenburg and took place at the US military training area in Hohenfels. In addition to paratroopers, the Israeli military had sent a unit of the Oketz special unit equipped with combat and sniffer dogs to „Allied Spirit 2019“. According to Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, some of these dogs originally come from Germany and are also used in Israeli army operations in the occupied West Bank. As a result, uninvolved civilians are repeatedly maltreated or injured. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem therefore demanded an end to the use of attack dogs.

Israel is the first NATO partner that was taking part in a manoeuvre of the „Sea Guardian“ mission in the Mediterranean. Under the name of „Crystal Sea“, medical care for the crew on board military ships participating in „Sea Guardian“ was trained, among other things. The exercise simulated emergencies in which the Israeli navy carried out evacuations to a hospital in Haifa. According to NATO, communication and helicopter maneuvers as well as landing procedures were practiced.

The Israeli military also regularly invites to international exercises. For the second time, the German Air Force participated with six „Eurofighters“ in „Blue Flag“ in Israel in autumn. The manoeuvre operates in a fictitious „framework“, last year it was climate change and water shortage. As scenarios for air combat, the Bundeswehr cites the „danger of latent conflicts in the fight for mineral and natural resources“. The manoeuvre in the Negev desert takes place every two years; the German Ministry of Defence has already announced participation for 2021.

Image: IDF training in Hohenfels, Germany (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Meagan Mooney, Public Domain).

Autor: Matthias Monroy

Knowledge worker, activist, editor of the German civil rights journal Bürgerrechte & Polizei/CILIP.