IDF attracts better combat cadets

After a 3-year slump, IDF improves officer quality.

IDF reservists 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IDF reservists 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Following a three-year slump, the IDF has succeeded in improving the quality of its officer corps.
The slump began following the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006 and lasted until 2009. A top officer in the IDF Manpower Directorate told The Jerusalem Post that due to the military’s poor showing in the war, quality combat soldiers kept away from Bahd 1, the IDF’s Officer Training School.
“There were quantity and quality gaps,” the top officer said. “We were not able to fill the ranks, so we had to compromise on the quality of the soldiers accepted as cadets in Bahd 1.”
Upon taking up his post as chief of general staff in 2007, Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi ordered the Manpower Directorate to immediately draw up an emergency plan to improve the quality of the IDF’s low officer rank. Implementation of the plan was overseen by the head of the directorate, Maj.- Gen. Avi Zamir.
After three years, these efforts have finally paid off with over 3,000 officers signing up for additional service, an increase of over 1,000 officers in three years. To make this happen, the IDF diverted NIS 25 million to help create specialized service tracks for young officers in an effort to keep them in the military.
“We understood that we had to invest money to keep people in the service,” the senior officer said. “While we could not compete with the private sector, we have other incentives to offer: Zionism, a sense of contribution to the state and meaningful work.”
A recent survey conducted by the IDF among the junior officer corps showed that a vast majority were satisfied with their positions and salaries and were not looking for jobs outside the IDF. At the same time, many of the officers complained of an increase in their workload.
“This has to do with the drop in the number of soldiers,” the officer said, pointing out that the IDF currently has 10,000 fewer soldiers than it did five years ago.