IDF to implement 40% training increase

IDF asks to increase reserve duty service; "Red Unit" to impersonate the enemy.

soldiers train 298.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
soldiers train 298.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
New urban warfare centers modeled after Nablus and Gaza City, specially-trained units to impersonate Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad terror cells and a 40 percent increase in overall IDF training are some of the steps the IDF plans to take to rehabilitate its infantry and armored units, OC Ground Forces Command Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz said Tuesday. According to a high-ranking IDF officer, the 65 internal military commissions of inquiry reached the same conclusion - the cuts to the defense budget led to a drastic decrease in the amount of money allocated to training. In 2005, NIS 767 million was allocated for training and in 2006 the amount dropped to just over NIS 500 million. Following the war and the IDF's poor showing, Gantz slammed the brakes on the continued cuts and succeeded in increasing the amount to NIS 830 million. "The emphasis in 2007 will be on training and preparing troops for future challenges," Gantz told reporters during a tour of a new urban warfare center at the Ze'elim training base in Southern Israel. In addition, Gantz passed restrained criticism on the Knesset for the passing of a new law, scheduled to go into effect in a year, limiting the amount of reserve duty for Israeli citizens. According to Gantz, the number of days allowed by the law - 45 over three years for soldiers and 70 for commanders - did not suffice for the needed training. Instead, the IDF wants to call up reservists for 70 days over three years and commanders for 95. In another step, meant to improve the IDF's operational capabilities, the Ground Forces Command has also decided to reinstate an obligatory training course for division and brigade commanders. Brigades, which have not exercised in their entirety since 2000, will also undergo annual 12-week exercises. 30,000 M-16 automatic rifles have already been sent to be shortened and improved in order to bridge the gaps between the various IDF and reserve combat units. Gathering of intelligence by field units in combat situations was also mentioned during the military probes as issues that required improvement alongside the cooperation between the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). An interesting initiative, presented by the Ground Forces Command was the establishment of a "Red Unit" - used by the US Armed Forces to impersonate the enemy during training exercises.