Gantz: Future war could begin with missile on IDF General Staff headquarters

IDF chief warns coming years will see growing coordination and affiliation among terror organizations on Israel's borders.

By
October 8, 2013 16:22
4 minute read.
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz

Benny Gantz new 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Defense Ministry)

A future war can begin with an attack by enemy missiles on IDF General Staff headquarters in Tel Aviv, or a cyber attack on Israel’s traffic light system, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said on Tuesday.

Gantz gave an unprecedented look into the daily decision making and state of preparedness the IDF chief of staff must be aware of, while speaking at a conference at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

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Held at Bar-Ilan University, the conference was titled Israel’s Perils and Prospects and Gantz began by noting the massive instability rocking the region, which he said “guides us every morning when we in the IDF wake up.”

“It becomes even more dramatic when examined through a geopolitical lens,” Gantz said.

Egypt has seen two presidents overthrown in less than three years, while the Gaza Strip, which obtained its “terrorist oxygen” from tunnels and arms smuggling, is now “facing doors it did not think would close before it, and is forced to develop new creative directions it did not require in the past,” Gantz said.

“Instability on a daily basis is a part of the daily routine of every commander in every sector today,” he continued.

On any given day, strategic weapons could fall into the wrong hands, a bomb tunnel leading to the entrance of an Israeli community can be exposed, or a border patrol can come under a bomb attack.

A future chief of staff will face an enemy with more advanced capabilities, which is more decentralized, camouflaged and embedded into the civilian population.

The coming years will see growing coordination and affiliation among terror organizations on the borders. “This reality will confront us with multiple- arena scenarios that are very realistic, though different from what we’ve known in the past,” Gantz said.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that “every deviation in the Israeli response involving civilians, even if they’re not necessarily innocent, will trigger delegitimization steps, petitions to international law courts in real-time, demonstrations around the world and the involvement of the international community, from the start of the incidents.”

In fact, all of these threats are in effect today, the chief of staff noted. “The pastoral scenery of the Golan Heights, awash with basalt and flowing streams, can change in a momentary bang to a battlefield of blood, fire, and plumes of smoke,” he warned.

In planning the IDF’s response, Gantz said every commander, from the company commander to the chief of staff, must act with determination and with full force in order to first of all give an appropriate operational reply to the threat he encounters.

“From the moment a war breaks out, by [Israel’s] initiative or if it is forced on Israel, a sand clock is turned over. Israel pays in blood for every hour that the routine life is damage...

every commander... will have to know how to activate the range of tools in as short of period of time to move from peacetime to war,” he said.

“In Lebanon today, there are homes in which there are guest houses alongside missile houses.

This is a clear intelligence reality,” he added.

In the operations room of the General Staff at the underground floor of the Kirya, the chief of staff will receive a broad picture of the whole war, in space, the air, sea, land, underground, and the cyber world.

He’ll be able to follow the war at any resolution he sees fit, viewing the changing picture of the IDF’s targets, and changes in the enemy’s activities.

In preparing for the challenge, the IDF must aim for a quick defeat, using strong intelligence, army divisions with specialty knowledge in their areas of operations, and network- centered warfare, said Gantz.

“The pilot will know how to talk to the platoon commander, as they look at [the] same target. A navy boat can monitor a target that evaded the eyes of artillery gunner on the border, but which is in clear scope of a drone. In the vision we developed, the IDF will be network- based, with accurate missile fire and autonomous cannons, with plane missile, tank and infantry [working in tandem].

These will be joined by swarms of autonomous vehicles, robots and drones, at sea and maybe even land, interconnected, relying on micro and nano-technology. None of these detract from importance of the ground maneuver as a significant and influential component,” Gantz said. He noted that missile defenses and the Home Front Command would also be crucial.

He concluded by saying, “I’m telling you about a day of war in the life of a future chief of staff, but actually, this could be the morning I wake up to myself as chief of staff tomorrow.”


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