Beginning this week, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will travel to Israel, Germany, the U.K., and visit the NATO headquarters in Belgium the Pentagon said in a statement.

“Secretary Austin will meet with his counterparts and other senior officials to discuss the importance of international defense relationships, and reinforce the United States’ commitment to deterrence and defense, burden sharing, and enduring trans-Atlantic security,” the Pentagon said.

In Israel, Secretary Austin will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi. Austin will be the highest-ranked official of the Biden administration to visit Israel to discuss “shared priorities” and reaffirm Washington’s commitment to Israel maintaining military superiority over its neighbors, according to a Pentagon statement.

The Importance of Austin’s Visit to Israel
Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shaking hands at the end of the original JCPOA negotiations, July 14, 2015, Vienna.

In the closing months of the Trump administration, the U.S. assured the Israelis that they will continue to have a qualitative military edge in the Middle East. But Tel Aviv worries that under President Biden Washington will no longer abide by those assurances.