IDF soldiers in Hebron.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Knesset State Control Committee on Wednesday said the IDF’s ability to call up and equip reserves when the country is under heavy rocket and missile fire has improved substantially.
The strong compliments followed a March report by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira in which he cast doubt on the military’s readiness on such issues.
“Despite the threat increasing and the strategic importance of reserve forces in war, we found failures, some of them substantial, in the amount of investments made to improve the readiness of reserves to fulfill their duties under such conditions,” the State Comptroller’s Report had said.
The Knesset committee statement, however, said the “IDF has acted to fix the deficiencies noted in the report” and that the IDF is currently “in a different place entirely on the issue.”
Furthermore, the committee expressed satisfaction that, in contrast to the past, “sufficient funding” was being provided for the reserves’ readiness issue with the 2015 budget.
Funds earmarked for reserves’ readiness for 2015 must be directed specifically for that purpose and “not redirected to other needs,” the committee said, adding that it would continue to follow up on the issue.
The IDF is “substantially dependent on the calling up of citizens for reserve service in emergencies,” the committee said, noting that “an orderly calling up of the reserves constitutes a strategic necessity” for the IDF to operate properly.
The March report had complained of a decrease in the level of training and preparations for drafting reserves, most acutely in 2012, and also criticized what it described as partial monitoring and an incomplete presentation of these problems to IDF brass.
In the past, the IDF did not have to face heavy projectile fire when drafting reserves, and its logistics and command and control centers were not threatened significantly. But this has changed in recent years due to the increase in rocket and missile threats to the home front, the report said.
During emergency call-ups, reservists gather at rendezvous points, are taken to territorial reserve centers, and then are brought to emergency- warehouse units where they equip themselves.
Rocket and surface to surface missile fire targeting reserve call-up centers, roads and units can disrupt any of the above stages, the report had warned, “turning this process into a potential point of failure.”
The comptroller went on to say that “due to limited budgets, a training model for calling up reservists, designed to maintain minimal readiness, was only partially adhered to between 2005 and 2010,” which “damaged the level of readiness, and the chief of staff was not informed of the problem.”
A check carried out by the State Comptroller’s Office from March to August 2012 focused on steps the Operations Division within the IDF Operations Branch took to address the issue.