'Significant shortcomings' in IDF's ability to stockpile certain munitions

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May 24, 2016 16:01

State Comptroller's report says Ground Forces, IAF, have not set targets on maintenancy and acquisition of arms to keep up with changing security needs.

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idf gaza

IDF FORCES operate inside the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge. (photo credit:IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira found “significant shortcomings” in the IDF’s ability to acquire weapons in the ground forces and air force.

In a report published on Tuesday, Shapira noted that the IDF is “committed to making changes in its force build-up plans and operational plans, and adjust them to the changing reality, as well as to the reality it expects [to encounter] in the long-term.” The need to change force build-up plans, the report said, is in line with research carried out by the headquarters of the IAF and Ground Forces Command, which take into account emerging risks in the unstable Middle Eastern security environment.

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Nevertheless, the report said it found failings, some of which were found in previous checks as well, into “selected issues relating to the interaction between planning processes and budgeting in the IDF.” Problems were also found in acquiring certain, unnamed types of munitions, and “infrastructure for the national production [of munitions] in the weapons industries,” the report said.

Shapira called on the defense establishment to hold itself to account and repair the failings, as well as “to learn the required lessons to prevent their repetition.”

In listing the main failings, the report said that from October 2013 to July 2015, the IDF did not update its General Staff munitions acquisition plan, which includes figures on operational needs, and the status of stockpiles of various types of arms.

After a three-year delay, the Ground Forces Command concluded in January 2014 that it was failing to meet guidelines in stockpiling a certain type of munition, the report said, without naming the weapon in question.

“Only at the start of 2014 did the Ground Forces Command begin reevaluating and updating its headquarters research work, which was written up between 2008 and 2010, on this certain type of munition,” the report said. By July 2015, when the comptroller completed his check, the IDF’s Planning Directorate and Ground Forces Command failed to stipulate set targets for the above-mentioned munition, and the Ground Forces Command did not have an updated plan on acquiring this munition, according to the report.

The air force, for its part, did not take necessary steps to promote the development and acquisition of a certain type of munition, even though the deputy chief of staff at the time (and current chief of staff), Gadi Eisenkot, called for this to be done.

“For more than eight years, the air force did not update its goals on preparing munitions of certain types. This, despite the changes that occurred in recent years in the threats, and the importance of updating goals for the force build-up process,” the report said.

“Since at least 2012, the air force did not set a budget for maintenance and safeguarding of some of these munitions,” it added.

The report called for the Ground Forces Command to quickly complete its research into munitions of a certain type, and reach decisions on the build-up of its force. It called on the air force to complete its examination of how best to acquire certain types of munitions, and formulate a policy on the need to maintain, develop, and acquire them.

Responding to the report, the IDF said it welcomes the findings and is studying “the necessary conclusions.” It noted that the report relates to the years 2014 to 2015, and “does not reflect what the IDF is doing these days.”

In January 2016, the IDF updated and sent out its munitions program, an initiative led by the Planning Directorate, the IDF Spokesman said.

The plan reflects the latest threat scenarios and the General Staff’s updated combat plans in multiple arenas, it added.

The IDF is developing and acquiring different types of munitions on a regular basis, and a plan to acquire specific munition cited in the report for the air force was frozen “due to it being a low priority issue compared to other issues in the working plan, and in light of threat scenarios,” the IDF said.

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