IDF's Border Defense Array school trains thousands of troops each year

The school started out with 70 instructors, by next year it will have 150

Defense Ministry begins construction of smart-fence along Gaza border. (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Defense Ministry begins construction of smart-fence along Gaza border.
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Three years after the IDF’s Border Defense Array was established, the force has grown significantly and thousands of troops have undergone intensive training on advanced systems at its training facility near Eilat.
The number of courses and instructors have increased almost threefold since the unit was established, and according to Maj. Naama Dill-Saat, the head of professional training, the numbers are going up.
“Two years ago, there were 70 instructors, right now we have 110 and in November there will be another 40,” she said.
There has also been an increase in non-commissioned officers joining and new weapons and surveillance courses “because of increased demands at the school.”
The IDF formed the Border Defense Force in 2017, bringing all units who secure the country’s frontiers under one roof. They can be identified by their speckled, yellow, green and brown berets.
The force includes the older combat intelligence collection corps and Bedouin scouting units, as well as troops from the army’s four mixed-gender battalions and the teams of female soldiers who monitor Israel’s border and in the West Bank.
With the mixed-gender border defense battalions firmly established, the IDF has in recent years increased female recruitment to combat units and a record 1,000 women were inducted last summer.
According to the army, 80% said that joining a mixed-gender unit was their top preference when they enlisted.
Troops that have trained at the school have been deployed long all of Israel’s frontiers. They gather intelligence on enemies like such as Hezbollah and Hamas and they conduct security surveillance in the West Bank.
Soldiers are stationed in a specific area for the duration of their service as that is the best way for them to gain experience and expertise in their sector.
They are also an essential component in thwarting terror attacks, such as the recent incidents along the border with Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
According to Dill-Saat, three weeks ago, when IDF troops patrolling along the Lebanese border were fired upon by Hezbollah snipers, they aimed at the observation system and not at the soldiers and this prevented casualties.
The IDF has installed multi-sensory MARS surveillance systems at many monitoring posts, although she could not give more details.
This next-generation thermal imager uses uncooled sensor technology and combines a laser range-finder, GPS, compass, day channel, and recording.
MARS is just one of many advanced systems used by the Border Defense Array to guard the country’s borders. The school, which also serves as a training center for surveillance drones, trains troops on simulators for reconnaissance systems and for automated vehicles.
“We are always looking at new technology,” Dill-Saat said, adding that the IDF has taken in many new systems, weaponry, drones, observation balloons and robotic and automated systems that make it much harder for the enemy to identify soldiers and target them.
One such system that the school received last month was a new armored Hummer vehicle that has a machine gun on the roof which is operated from inside to protect its operator.
“While we are training the troops for border defense, this technology can also be used behind enemy lines during wartime,” she hinted.