Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz has set into motion a revolution in the Ground Forces Services that will radically change the face of the land forces and retool the general staff.
The concept for the process actually began 21 years ago when then defense minister Moshe Arens set up the Ground Forces Command. The idea was to set up a command structure for the army similar to the navy and air force. It got stuck.
In 1998, then chief of general staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz tried to revive the revolution with his "IDF 2000 plan." But the subsequent outbreak of violence with the Palestinians, not to mention internal army conservatism and opposition, also led to that grinding to a halt.
Enter Halutz. He has ordered the reorganization to begin with the new year.
The new plan calls for the general staff to forego its traditional command over the land forces. This will be the sole responsibility of the Ground Forces Services which will arm, train and command all ground forces from infantry to armored units. The commander of the Ground Forces Services, known by its Hebrew acronym Mazi, will be aided by another major general.
According to the plan, Mazi will draw to it the communications division, armament branch and adjunct units. The Logistics and Technology branch will become subordinate to Mazi so that it can decide what weapons to develop and procure instead of receiving weapons and adopting a doctrine for them. In the general staff, the Operations Directorate will become strengthened while the Planning Branch will be dissolved and the Manpower Branch reduced.
So why is Halutz so confident the overhaul will succeed this time?
"Whether I succeed or not is obviously a function of the degree of cooperation among the various army factors. And there is outstanding cooperation. I'm sure we'll achieve success in what is a collective effort to make sure we are set up best to deal with the present reality and stride forward," Halutz said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
The reorganization also sees the deputy chief of general staff assuming a greater role in running the army, while the Operations Directorate becomes Halutz's "right arm" to implement operational decisions.