The first stages of bidding to build the largest new IDF base for Military Intelligence – as part of the broader program of moving the army’s major operations from the country’s Center to the South – have started, the Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday.Several arms of the military currently residing at the headquarters in Tel Aviv and in the country’s center have already started to move, to free up space for building residential units to address the country’s housing supply shortage.But the new 2,500-dunam, 350,000 meters of built-up space for around 15,000 soldiers, constituting 80 percent of the military’s intelligence arm, will be the largest.Military Intelligence includes the famed Unit 8200 and cyber divisions.Further stages of the bidding are to kick in starting in early 2017, with a winning bidder selected by the end of the year and construction to commence immediately after. The deal will also include a 25-year deal to continue to operate aspects of the base long after it is expected to be filled in 2022.The IDF’s training arm has mostly made the move already to its new base in the South, and the communications and technology arm is also due to make the move with over 30,000 soldiers expected to eventually serve there.A ministry statement said that the new base will operate on a more environmentally friendly basis. The moves includes plans to build housing for officers, many of whom are expected to relocate to the South.“This is the largest project in the national effort to move the IDF to the South,” said Brig. Gen. (res.) Nati Efrati, head of the Defense Ministry’s division for the move south. “Its success will require the commitment of the government’s ministries to provide the needed national infrastructure in order to ensure that the move will take place as planned.”No official numbers were given for the cost of the move, but reports estimate it at several billion shekels.Major changes have occurred in recent years, including moving the massive Tzrifin army base that started in January 2015, to provide room for an estimated 100,000 new housing units.