Adopting the British model for military education and in line with the lessons of the Second Lebanon War, the IDF kicked off its first multi-branch course for senior officers at the Command and Staff College in Glilot last week.
Headed by Brig.-Gen. Avi Ashkenazi, the college, known by its Hebrew acronym PUM, opened the IDF's Command and General Staff course to 60 prospective lieutenant-colonels.
The more than nine months of intensive high-level academic and military studies was formerly taught separately by each military branch - ground forces, navy and air force. Even before the Second Lebanon War, Ashkenazi led a delegation of officers to the United Kingdom's Defense Academy to study how things were done there.
Following the visit, the delegation decided to adopt the British model of having officers from all branches study together.
"Ten years ago, the British decided to unite all of the branch courses into one," a high-ranking IDF officer said Monday. "We took that idea and adapted it to our own needs."
The officer said the joint course helped create a common operational language and better understanding the roles each officer plays. According to the senior officer, 35 percent of the classes are attended by all students. The remainder are specialized and are delivered by the officer's branch of origin.
Two of the students this year are F-15 pilot Maj. Oded and Maj. Eitan, a commander from the Paratroopers Brigade. Both were in active duty during the war last summer and said Monday that there were definite "cultural differences" between officers in the IAF and the ground forces.
"We speak differently and have a basically different culture," said Maj. Oded. "The joint course is an opportunity to learn about one another and to be exposed to the other side's language and methods of operation."