By YAAKOV KATZ
The IDF has commissioned a research paper from a professor at the London-based King's College to compare the Israeli, British, American and Swedish militaries, and the way each deals with different challenges in asymmetric conflicts.
The paper's main focus will be on clarifying the nature of victory in modern warfare.
IDF sources said that Prof. Christopher Dandeker, a faculty member at the King's College Department of War Studies and co-director of the Center for Military Health Research, was leading the research, together with an officer from the IDF Behavioral Science Department, located in the Tel Hashomer military base.
Dandeker recently visited Israel and met with company and battalion commanders. He said that his research was focusing on the nature of future conflicts, the kinds of battles that infantry soldiers would face, the different types of stress these soldiers would come under and how that stress could be managed.
Earlier this month, the Behavioral Science Department held a conference during which it raised some of the issues that will be explored in Dandeker's research. One panel focused on the question of how commanders can motivate their soldiers in an era when the results of conflicts are unclear.
"Immediately following the Second Lebanon War there was a sense of disappointment that we lost the war, and this lowered motivation," a senior officer explained recently. "Now, over three years later, we understand that we actually boosted our deterrence. This discrepancy creates a challenge: How [do] commanders explain this to soldiers at the time of the conflict?"
Another panel at the conference focused on the problems that the integration of new technology in the IDF create, such as the Digital Army Program - called Tzayad in Hebrew - which was recently installed throughout Division 36, the main formation in the Golan Heights.
The system displays a satellite map of a battlefield, as well as the location of friendly and enemy forces, enabling commanders to better assess their battle plans.
"The system creates a challenge since all officers now see the same picture of the battlefield, and this breaks up the traditional military hierarchy," the officer explained. "In the past, division commanders saw the big picture. Now company commanders will see the same picture of the battlefield and this creates different cultural challenges."
Interoperability between different IDF branches was another issue raised by the conference.
"It is not natural for the air force to work in close conjunction with the ground forces," the officer said. "Work needs to be done to create the culture."
The conference also tried to think of ways to help commanders in the IDF better understand their adversary, primarily the Palestinians.
"Usually we just look at our adversary through intelligence information," the officer explained. "We believe that there are additional tools that can be used to understand the Palestinians, such as understanding their culture and their customs."
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