For the first time in IDF history, a female officer is going to command an artillery corps battalion.Maj. Efrat Kikov Levi, 32, will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and will be assigned as battalion commander of the “Thunder” battalion, which is currently deployed in the Golan Heights.Levi was drafted in 2006 to the artillery corps in the MLRS battalion before continuing to the commanders’ course. After serving for a year as an operational commander, she went to the officers’ course for ground forces and graduated with honors.She was then assigned as platoon commander in an operational company. She served in several other operational positions in the artillery corps, before training and commanding as a company commander in both the training sector and in the battalion in which she began her army journey.She additionally served as the secretary for Yair Golan when he was head of Northern Command.This is not Levi’s first time making IDF history; she was also the first woman to be deputy battalion commander in Eged (artillery brigade) 282 and the commander of Operations Division 215.The announcement came mere days after the IDF announced that it would be increasing the number of women serving as combat soldiers in co-ed battalions.The decision was made in order to transfer male fighters to maneuvering units, which have seen a significant shortage of manpower following the cutting of compulsory service for men from three years to two years and eight months. The IDF has yet to lengthen women’s compulsory service from two years to two years and four months, as it had initially announced.Although the number of women wanting to serve in combat units is increasing, as opposed to a decrease with men, combat remains a voluntary choice for women. But those who do volunteer commit to serving for at least three years, as men must do, if they are assigned to a combat unit.The IDF currently suffers from a lack of manpower in fighting battalions, as reflected in senior companies and platoons.Maariv contributed to this report.