Winograd seeks to change way gov't makes decisions

Committee to elaborate on recommendations in final report.

The Winograd Committee wrote in its interim report that the government must conduct a "mini-revolution" in the way it makes decisions on critical matters having diplomatic and security repercussions. The committee devoted a short chapter at the end of its 250-page interim report to recommending changes and improvements in the system, and added that it would go into greater detail on the subject in its final report. It said that the decision-making system of the political echelon urgently needed to be improved. For example, the army does not present crucial details of its operational plans to various government forums because of the danger of leaks to the press. During the war, information was withheld from the cabinet plenum, the security cabinet and even the forum of seven ministers appointed to approve operational plans for that reason. The committee said measures must be taken to put an end to the leaks. In order to conduct a serious discussion in government forums, the ministers must be provided with all the essential information including "the place of the issue within the overall perspective of national security and diplomatic-security strategy, alternative plans, timetables, end scenarios and expected short- and long-term results. The government must establish guidelines to make sure all these factors are discussed at every government meeting." The committee recommended that the government arrange workshops, symposiums and in-depth discussions for the ministers on diplomatic and security matters they might some day have to vote on. Many ministers do not know enough about these matters and must be taught them. It said the Foreign Ministry should be included in all discussions involving diplomatic and security issues. A guideline should be drawn up to formalize the Foreign Ministry's role in such deliberations. The National Security Council, which provides the prime minister and the rest of the government with information and opinion papers on issues of national security, must be strengthened immediately, the committee continued. The NSC should prepare the meetings of the Ministerial Security Committee and provide in-house expertise on security and other matters. The existence of a strong and independent advisory body to the prime minister would enable him to confront the army on a more equal basis rather than being entirely dependent upon it for military advice and planning, according to the committee. The committee also recommended establishing a center for crisis management in the Prime Minister's Office to cope with any kind of national emergency.