Commander of United States Central Command Joseph Votel
CAIRO – 12 September 2017: Commander of United States Central Command Joseph Votel and Commander of Egypt’s Northern Military Region Ali Adel Ashmawy observed on Tuesday the Egypt-U.S. military exercises, “Bright Star 2017”, taking place near Mohamed Naguib Military Base as the former is visiting Egypt for a few days.
The tour included training fields at the base, the external training camp of infantry and tanks, and following up with Special Forces exercises.
Votel appraised the training and administrative facilities at the base, and thanked the Egyptian Armed Forces for the effort deployed to resume the “Bright Star” exercises, urging the U.S. forces participating to make the most out of them.
The last time the joint exercises took place was in 2009, but they were suspended without announcement at that time. They were supposed to resume a year ago; however, never did because it was altogether cancelled by former U.S. President Barrack Obama in 2013. The cancelation was a statement in objection to the removal of elected President Mohamed Morsi from office.
“Bright Star” maneuvers first started in 1980 following the signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty in 1979. It was held again in 1981 and afterwards became biennial until its suspension in 2009.
Egyptian and U.S. forces participating in Bright Star exercises
The largest-scale of the “Bright Star” operations was held in 1999. They involved 70,000 soldiers and officers from 11 different countries.
Counterterrorism, special operations, and various other army personnel from both countries are to partake in the operations; the 777 and 999 units as well as the Sa'ka (Thunderbolt) forces are going to be part of the exercise.
Special attention will be given to counterterrorism tactics and to strategies for dealing with terrorist groups that have recently become increasingly active in the region; by the Islamic State group for instance. The exercise will also focus on bomb detection drills with the objective of increasing military efficiency in detecting bombs that target military and police forces in Sinai.