The government should remove noncombat defensive tasks from the purview of the IDF to allow it to better prepare for battle situations, according to a paper to be submitted to the Herzliya Conference. These would include responsibility for patrolling peaceful borders, border terminals and home front preparedness, the paper says.
"The government has to think about how it can help the IDF carry out its mission," Col. (res.) Gideon Hoshen, the lead author of the position paper, told The Jerusalem Post. "It has to define for the army the goals of its training, to say, 'I want you to be able to fight on two fronts, or three. I want you to create this many layers of defense.'"
To that end, the paper advocates that the IDF be allowed to focus on its "core mission" of developing a response to military threats. Assignments such as border patrols are distracting, since they use valuable "managerial bandwidth" and significant manpower and resources.
"It is hard to see the significance of the split in managerial attention in times of routine," the report says, "but when war breaks out, the collective ramifications over many years have a significant effect."
The position paper also focuses on recommendations for change outside the military.
"We [Israelis] have a tendency to watch from the side as the new chief of General Staff fixes what's broken," Hoshen said. "But it doesn't work that way. Each of the three partners - the army, the government and Israeli society - has work to do."
To that end, he said, they must strive to fix the "atmosphere of defeatism, of acceptance of a perception in which everything is terrible - the army, the police."
Israeli society must not succumb to this tendency, Hoshen said, since "it begins with a perception and ends with disintegration." The government, on the other hand, must provide the broad strategic line that the army must follow, he added.
According to Hoshen, this is evident in determining the budget.
"The army has to give a reason for a budget, and this reason must be tested according to the goals set by the government," he said. "Then the compromise is done, not politically, but through some sort of analysis," he added.
In the current method of political infighting, Hoshen said, the prime minister's duty was to reach a political compromise between the defense establishment and the Treasury.