Eisenkot may create more co-ed border security units

Regular infantry would return to conventional war training.

April 20, 2015 01:35
1 minute read.
A female IDF soldier

A female soldier has mud applied to her face for camouflage in this photo from an IDF Instructors course in 2006.. (photo credit: IDF FLICKR)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.Gadi Eisenkot is considering the creation of additional border security battalions – mixed gender units similar in composition to the Caracal Battalion that operates on the Sinai border.

The establishment of battalions that specialize in border security will enable other units of infantrymen serving their obligatory service to spend more time training for full-scale war, and less on daily security missions.

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As part of the possible planned changes, the chief of staff wishes to unite border security units, such as Caracal, and the Jordan Lions Battalion that defends the border with Jordan, with Combat Intelligence Collection units (which also have men and women serving in them).

The units will focus exclusively on collecting intelligence and responding to suspected breaches of the border.

In March, Eisenkot ordered the IDF to place war training back at the top of its priority list.

The development comes after 2013 and 2014 saw a neglect of training and a shortening of drills for conscripted and reserve forces, due to budget shortages totaling billions of shekels.

“The directive is very clear,” a senior security source said in March. “The IDF must be prepared for conflicts. First of all, we train – on land, in the air, and in the water – logistics, the home front, and combat support. This applies first of all to conscripted forces, and then to the reserves.”

According to the source, Eisenkot told military chiefs that “the IDF will not stop training – I don’t care how this is accomplished. Training will take place at any price.”

The Jordan Lions Battalion light infantry unit is to be fully operational by mid- 2016, and consist of around half men and half women combat soldiers.

IDF sources said the battalion is needed to thwart both criminal and terrorist infiltrations.

The new battalion will become expert at operating in the harsh desert of the Jordan Valley; at present, there is no unit that specializes in the area.

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