IDF decides not to have a cyber command department

Responsibilities to be divided between telecommunications and intelligence divisions.

January 1, 2017 18:32
1 minute read.
C4i Branch's Cyber Control Center

C4i Branch's Cyber Control Center. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

The army has decided not to have a cyber command department, but to instead strengthen it with a new cyber intelligence processing doctrine, a senior IDF officer said on Sunday.

According to the officer, the entire domain of cyber counter-intelligence will be transferred to the IDF telecommunications division while the gathering of any other cyber-intelligence will remain the responsibility of the intelligence division.

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The Telecommunications Division will also be responsible for the construction and protection of computer networks.

“We want to create unity between the people who are building the military’s IT network and those who defend it,” the senior officer said, adding that “we need to develop our operational thinking, how we can better integrate cyber into the IDF’s capabilities.”

The decision approved on December 20 by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot will see the establishment of a cyber division by the end of the multiyear Gideon plan, but the main goal of the changes would be the enhancing of all military systems and offshoots by dividing cyber networks between the various bodies.

The decision is a reversal of a process which began in July of last year when it was reported that the IDF would be setting up a unified offensive and defensive cyber-warfare center within two years to address the significant challenges that the military faces in the cyber world.

Two months ago, Eisenkot ordered the army to examine the possibility of setting up a cyber arm, but senior military officials had expressed concern over rapid progress toward the change.

According to the senior officer, while the army currently rejected the decision to establish an independent cyber military branch, it will be discussed again at a later date.

While Israel remains one of the top countries in regards to cyber defense, there are many needed updates in the field of telecommunications and according to the senior officer.

“We do so with caution so as not to make any mistakes, mistakes that have been made elsewhere, and to not harm things that are currently working well. At the same time we are strengthening our intelligence gathering area, and in light of our achievements, that is something that we do not want to hurt,” the senior officer said.

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