Investigation: IDF ready for war, but budget cuts could weaken military

I can say in the name of the committee that the level of readiness in the IDF for war is higher today by any measure than it was after Operation Protective Edge.

December 19, 2018 16:29
2 minute read.
Investigation: IDF ready for war, but budget cuts could weaken military

Knesset committee on IDF readiness. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The IDF is ready for war, but budget cuts could weaken the military in the future, a report on IDF readiness published by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday concluded.

“When we look forward to the IDF of 2030,” Subcommittee on Preparedness chairman Omer Bar Lev (Zionist Union) said, “the prime minister is leading a budgetary paradigm... that, in my opinion, will cause the military’s ability to conduct large-scale ground maneuvers to grow weaker – unless it embraces a new model that will be more suitable to future wars than past conflicts.”

However, the Knesset painted a starkly different picture of IDF readiness than that presented by former IDF ombudsman Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick, a major critic of the IDF General Staff’s decision-making processes as well as the situation in the Ground Forces. Brick, who retired last week, and the IDF General Staff have been engaged in a public war of words, in which he accused the generals of lying, to the consternation of some members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Bar Lev said of Brick: “He thinks the IDF is not ready for war, and we say that there is constant improvement.

“I can say, in the name of the committee, that the level of readiness in the IDF for war is higher today by any measure than it was after Operation Protective Edge [in 2014],” Bar Lev added.

The improvements can be found in almost any quantitative measurement, the report found, including in time spent training and weapons inventory. On a qualitative level, most battalion commanders who were interviewed found that the level of training has improved.

“The IDF is ready. While there are weak points, most are identified, and we have pointed to some in this investigation,” he said.

The committee’s report is based on 18 meetings and tours of IDF bases, including conversations without commanders present, so people could talk to the MKs freely about preparedness and human resources. The MKs also met with Brick, officers in the reserves and career officers, including the IDF chief of staff and generals.

The report also praised the IDF for instituting its first-ever multiyear plan, called “Gideon.”

The MKs said the IDF should make it a high priority to raise the salaries of noncommissioned officers so that the more talented staff will continue working in the IDF and reduce the high turnover, which lowers the level of preparedness.

Another high-priority recommendation is to follow up on whether the IDF is fixing problems listed by its ombudsmen. The MKs suggested the deputy chief of staff be responsible for this.

The final recommendation marked as high priority is to ensure that operative plans, including time frames for reservists to report for duty in wartime, are made to include situations of massive enemy attacks on major roads and emergency stores, and to hold exercises to that effect.

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