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IDF intel units grow to cope with Mideast upheaval
By YAAKOV KATZ
12/07/2012
Military Intelligence marks graduation of largest course in directorate's history, sees 25% increase in number of participants.
 
Military Intelligence has boosted its ranks with additional officers to fill new positions in its research, analysis and technological units due to the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East and the perceived increase in threats to Israel.

On Thursday, Military Intelligence marked the graduation of another course of new intelligence officers. A senior officer said that the course was the largest in the directorate’s history and saw a 25 percent increase in the number of participants.

“MI is growing due to the changes in Israel’s strategic and operational positions, the need for more technology and the increase in the areas of interest that we follow,” the officer said.

According to the officer, among the new areas of interest that Military Intelligence has added to its list are Sudan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan. In addition, it has beefed up the unit that had previously covered the Sinai Peninsula.

He said that Libya and Sudan were of interest since they are both countries used to smuggle weapons to the Gaza Strip. Military Intelligence’s interest in the Sinai has grown due to the instability in the peninsula, the increase in terror activity there and the Egyptian government’s lack of control.

Turkey, which has cut off diplomatic and military ties with Israel, is also looked at differently today, he said.

“The changes require MI to grow and develop new capabilities to a resolution that it didn’t need to before,” he said.

The officers who graduated on Thursday were part of the three-month course at the the directorate’s training base near the Glilot junction, which is mandatory for soldiers who graduate from the IDF’s Bahad 1 Officer Training School before taking up their new command posts.

“During the course, we focus on three main issues – command and leadership values, interpersonal skills and professional capabilities,” he said. “We basically reveal all of MI to them and show them new topics that they will have to deal with like cyberwarfare.”

The officer said that Military Intelligence was also working to create capabilities that would enable it to analyze public and population trends.

“We deal not only with terror groups but also with public opinion and the Arab street. One way to do this is to follow trendsetters to understand what will happen,” he said.
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