by: Yoav Zitun
Friday, 14 February 2020 | Efforts to counter the Iranian threat and the integration of new technologies take center stage in the military’s five-year plan presented Thursday by Israel Defense Forces [IDF] Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.
“If carried out as planned it will allow a substantial increase in the IDF’s abilities,” Kochavi said, adding that it will “strengthen our lethal capabilities both in scope and in accuracy.”
Iran is high on the army’s list of priorities and Kochavi intends to appoint a full general to oversee all elements of the Iranian threat, from the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program to its military expansion in the region.
The IDF will form a dedicated command that will work with its counterparts in the Mossad [Israeli] intelligence agency.
The plan, dubbed the Momentum Plan, calls for strengthening the operational capabilities of the regular army, upgrading the quantity and quality of armaments for the Air Force, and turning the military into a deadly, high-tech force that fights in a unified manner at sea, on land, in air and in cyber and electronic warfare.
The IDF believes the new plan will improve its capabilities in the area that has taken precedence over the past eight years: a confrontation on two fronts, one primary and the other secondary, against Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north.
The plan takes the basic premise that Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran have narrowed the IDF’s advantage over them and aims to once again increase the advantage to levels required to maintain state security, prevent war and reinforce Israeli deterrence.
The IDF has already reallocated 600 million shekels [US $175 million] of its own budget to the plan, funding equipment set to be in use in the next two months, including thousands of drones, night vision capabilities and anti-aircraft missiles.
The plan’s bottom line calls for dramatically increasing the number of Hamas or Hezbollah targets destroyed during war and improving the quality and frequency for thousands of targets that can be attacked in one day.
Kochavi presented the plan to the IDF General Staff in recent days, opting not to wait for a new government to be sworn in.
He warned that the challenges Israel is facing are too great to put off and therefore the plan must be put into action swiftly.
Israel will be holding its third election in less than one year on March 2.
The plan, which was officially approved by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, does not yet have budget approval and may see the new government rejecting elements of it.
During the drafting of the plan, Kochavi consulted with his predecessor Gadi Eisenkot and also held talks with former IDF chiefs Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi of the Blue & White party, who would not then be surprised by the plan should they assume the respective posts of prime minister and defense minister after the elections.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in response: “The prime minister was presented with the IDF’s five-year plan and supports extensive aspects of it but requested the military’s offensive capabilities be further advanced.”
The statement said that in light of the budgetary requirements of the plan, cabinet approval would be necessary.
Posted on February 14, 2020
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