IDF in midst of network revolution

Senior source: No end to the possibilities of cooperation and accuracy in firepower.

IDF cyber warfare room 370 (photo credit: Courtesy IDF)
IDF cyber warfare room 370
(photo credit: Courtesy IDF)
The IDF is in midst of a technological revolution that will convert it into a network-centered military, a senior security source told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Thanks to the backing of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, and his deputy, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the coming 2014- 2018 multiyear-budget plan is set to fund sweeping changes under a plan called “Network IDF.”
The plan will promote unprecedented levels of interconnectivity among various units, intelligence sharing along with enhanced command and control that will improve accuracy in firepower, the source, who hails from the IDF’s C4i (Teleprocessing Unit), said.
He spoke of a future battalion or brigade commander accessing an “operationalintelligence Internet” in a battle arena, which would provide him with major advantages during the uncertainty of war.
Commanders will enter a “cloud computing” zone after receiving authorization, and during the course of a battle, will receive relevant intelligence for their sector, the source continued. The commanders will have access to a military “search engine” providing information on targets, hostile force locations, and other IDF units in the air, sea and land.
With precise enemy target locations shared by units in the air, sea, or on the ground – all logged in to the network – a division commander could quickly assign a “destroy target” mission to the unit best suited for carrying it out.
“There’s no end to the possibilities,” the source said. “This can create very high operational effectiveness.”
“Whatever the lookout will see in her operations room will be accessible to the mission commander in the field.
Compare this to where we were in 2005 along the Lebanese border. Imagine if we had these capabilities during the 2006 Second Lebanon War,” the senior source said.
Units that are central to this revolution include highly classified communications battalions that answer to the IDF’s General Staff, and computer units known by their Hebrew acronyms, Hoshen and Mamram.
“They make up the backbone of the IDF,” the source said.
The new technology, with its focus on accuracy, is expected to greatly reduce accidental deaths and wounds among noncombatants.
“We know what world we live in; harming noncombatants can disrupt a war,” the source said.
Gantz’s vision is for the IDF to become completely interconnected and network-based by 2025, with all military components linked up to one another. At the current rate of development, his vision will probably be realized well before that time.
Gantz sees the C4i Corps as the entity that will lead the way, the source said.
“This is one of the top priorities for the IDF,” he added.
In recent months, the IDF’s target identification capabilities have taken another leap forward, the source said, adding that the IDF witnessed the changes in recent General Staff drills.
“Our direction is to acquire as much cooperation and accuracy as possible,” he said.
Even today, maps have become a thing of the past, he added.
Accompanying this revolution is the expected move of the C4i Corps to southern Israel in 2016-17. The new headquarters will provide the corps with the most technologically advanced infrastructure available.
As part of the move south, the IDF will soon begin providing high school pupils in the South with technological courses to make their recruitment into a C4i unit smoother. That in turn has got hi-tech companies already showing interest in hiring the soldiers after their military service.
“It’s a win-win situation,” the source said, adding that the mayors of Beersheba and surrounding communities have all shown enthusiasm for the high school training projects.
Yet many challenges lie ahead, like ensuring commanders stay fully functional while accessing all of the information, he acknowledged.
“How does a battalion commander function when he sees his company commander on a Tablet? This is one of the things we’re working on,” the source said.