IDF: Cuts could harm readiness for war

Officials say it would damage soldier training programs.

May 13, 2013 01:19
1 minute read.
Mobile IDF artillery unit fires a shell [file]

Mobile IDF artillery unit fires a shell 311 (R). (photo credit: Jerry Lampen / Reuters)

There is deep concern within the defense community that the proposed NIS 4 billion cut to the defense budget will harm training programs, battle readiness and equipment stocks and the acquisition of military platforms.

It has often been claimed that the budget cut won’t disrupt the IDF’s multi-year platform acquisition program, since the army has already committed itself to purchasing the expensive equipment.

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But senior defense officials are challenging that assumption, saying that if the military lacks a purchasing budget, platforms that were supposed to be delivered within five years could arrive significantly later – even seven to 10 years later – due to a need to spread out payments.

The platforms include critical products that the IDF had planned on acquiring in the coming years. Additionally, the IDF would face fines for not paying suppliers on time, as stipulated in the original contracts.

Defense officials are also concerned about the prospect of damage being caused to training programs designed to get soldiers – both reservists and conscripts – ready for battle, the need for which is one of the main lessons learned from the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Since 2006, the IDF has doubled the training time for its ground forces, and commanders in the field have been instructed to assume that war could break out on their watch.

One example of the more intense training could be found in February on the Golan Heights, where tanks from the 401st Armored Brigade held a war drill just days after soldiers from the Nahal infantry brigade were suddenly mobilized to the Golan, to simulate the outbreak of a conflict.

A large enough budget cut would see such preparations cut back.

Areas that are not expected to be affected included continuous security patrols, and intelligence and surveillance activities.

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