Comptroller report slams deficiencies, lack of preparedness in Israel's defense

Shapira's report cites deficiencies relating to elite navy unit, readiness of reserves, unpreparedness for chemical weapons attack.

IDF soldier on Quneitra border Golan 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF soldier on Quneitra border Golan 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There are failures in the organization of the navy’s top Flotilla 13 commando unit and the IDF’s reserve call-up system, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira said.
His office published a report on defense-related issues, which also noted flaws in measures taken to protect natural gas installations.
A declassified version of the report was made public on Wednesday, two days after a complete, classified version was handed to the Knesset.
From July 2012 to April 2013, the Comptroller’s Office examined Flotilla 13’s preparations to respond to simultaneous challenges.
The report recommended that the military repair a number of flaws in how the IDF activates the unit, secures its members, plans for the future, and maintains its personnel. A number of organizational problems, which cannot be published, were cited in the report.
Regarding the IDF’s ability to quickly call up the reserves while under fire, the report said, “Despite the threat increasing, and the strategic importance of reserve forces in war, we found failures, some of them substantial, in the amount of investments made to improve the readiness of reserves to fulfill their duties under such conditions.”
The report noted a decrease in the level of preparations for drafting reserves. It criticized what it described as partial monitoring, and an incomplete presentation of these problems to senior IDF officers.
“The military power of Israel largely rests on drafting civilians to reserve duty during emergencies,” the report said, adding that this formed “a strategic and necessary ability for realizing most of the IDF’s operational plans.”
The Comptroller’s Office said the IDF had insufficient gas masks for one of the branches of the armed forces. The declassified version did not say which one.
Training exercises were insufficient for maintaining battle readiness, and exercises were taking place without using equipment that would be required under wartime conditions.
Regarding attacks on natural gas installations, Shapira criticized national security bodies for failing to take measures for the sites’ defense, leaving them at risk. Describing the existing and future offshore gas rigs as “targets for hostile states and terrorist organizations,” the state comptroller stressed that harm to them would severely damage the nation’s economy and security.
Shapira also examined the status of strategic sites onshore – and their environmental degradation.
The report faulted the Defense Ministry for its slowness regarding the cleaning of Lod Air Force Base 27 and its return to the Israel Lands Authority. The ministry’s inaction cost the state money and needlessly damaged the environment.
Another section of the report looked at contamination of groundwater and soil allegedly caused by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems at its David Institute site in the North. The state comptroller argued that explosives and other materials had likely seeped into the soil, making the groundwater unusable.
Shapira called on Rafael, the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Water Authority to conduct investigations and removing impurities as necessary.
Also, Shapira reviewed whether the Border Police had addressed criticisms of deficiencies from a 2010 report regarding revising IDF directives, job placement, virtual (not fully approved) budgeted positions and other human resources issues.
Next, the report criticized the defense establishment for insufficiently caring for disabled veterans.
It cited a lack of support for disabled veterans in the periphery, inefficient planning behind a support center operating in Beersheba and a delay in establishing a similar center in Ashdod.
The report addressed a plethora of other issues, from properly preserving, using and benefiting from the Defense Ministry’s intellectual property rights, to issues with payments to private sector suppliers.