New IAF brass all Harvard graduates

"Now we just have to wait and see what they will do with advanced degrees."

ido nehushtan 248.88 (photo credit: IDF )
ido nehushtan 248.88
(photo credit: IDF )
When Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan takes up command of the Israel Air Force in May, Harvard University will be able to take a moment to be proud. Nehushtan and his two new deputies are all graduates of America's oldest and perhaps most prestigious institution of higher learning. Nehushtan, currently head of the IDF's Planning Division, will replace outgoing IAF chief Maj.-Gen. Elazar Shkedy. Nehushtan, 51, was born in Jerusalem in 1957, and enlisted in the IAF's Pilot's Course in 1975. He quickly climbed the ranks, on the way commanding an F-16 squadron, the Hatzor Air Force Base near Ashdod, and IAF Intelligence, and then becoming deputy IAF commander. In addition to graduating Harvard's Advanced Management Program, he has a master's in business administration from Tel Aviv and Northwestern universities. Nehushtan's deputy will be Brig.-Gen. Yohanan Locker, currently commander of the IAF's Air Division, The veteran navigator has logged more than 5,000 flight hours. Locker has a master's in public administration from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government as well as a bachelor's in business from Bar-Ilan University. Replacing Locker is Brig.-Gen. Nimrod Shefer, who in his last post served under Nehushtan in the Planning Division and was one of the authors of the IDF's multi-year plan presented to the cabinet in September. Shefer has a degree in geophysics from Tel Aviv University as well as a master's in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. In contrast to the new top officers, neither Shkedy nor his deputy Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel - who is replacing Nehushtan as head of the Planning Division - went to Harvard. Shkedy has a degree from the US Navy's NPS in Monterrey, California and Eshel is a graduate of Israel's National Defense College. Defense officials told The Jerusalem Post they hoped the officers' higher education would help them in their new positions. "Harvard is a great school," one official said. "Now we just have to wait and see what these officers will do in their new positions with their advanced degrees." Nehushtan and his staff will face a number of challenges, most importantly preparing the IAF for a possible attack on Iranian nuclear sites. They will also work to complete a number of acquisitions, including plans to purchase a squadron of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, as well as Hercules transport aircraft.