In a historic first, the United States military announced the opening of a permanent U.S. base inside Israel on Monday.

The American base will be manned by U.S. Air Force personnel, and will be focused on air defense. The base is located within an existing Israeli military base in the Negev desert in southern Israel.

But as Israeli military officials were quick to point out, while a permanent American military base in Israel is indicative of extremely close American and Israeli military relations, the base has been in the works for over two years. Israeli Air Force Brig. Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch said that the “connection between the armies, the commanders, the [air] forces, is stronger than this or that administration.”