IDF learning lessons from failed Lebanon war…

ANALYSIS: IDF has already learned lessons of Second Lebanon War
By Yuval Azoulay, Haaretz Correspondent
The Israel Defense Forces did not exactly wait trembling for the conclusive Winograd war probe report. This is mainly due to the fact that senior members of the establishment have already taken responsibility for their actions and quit the army a number of months after the war.

It should be recalled that the IDF already referred to the subject with the publication of the report into the Second Lebanon War by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. The army continues to stick to the line that it is learning the lessons of the war, and is doing all it can to correct mistakes it made.

Nevertheless, this is a long process which includes institutional and outlook changes, establishing a training program and more.

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The principal goal of this program is to ensure that in every future conflict, the IDF will achieve a different result to that which it reached in the 34-day conflict with Hezbollah in 2006. At present it can be said that a substantial part of the areas requiring improvement have already been taken care of, and some have already been implemented in the field, and other areas are in the course of being assimilated in work plans.

The IDF did not wait for the report and immediately after the war, under the instruction of former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz, initiated a thorough and fundamental process of investigation and lesson-learning-including all issues and at all levels. These probes were executed by over 70 different teams, which were made up of experts, senior and junior officers, as well as reservists with a wealth of experience.

As a lesson from the Second Lebanon War, the IDF’s operational perception has been updated, and today there is an emphasis on integrating the different corps in training and warfare, and strengthening ground forces’ maneuvering ability. This outlook has even been tried out and assimilated within the framework of recent training operations.

A central conclusion made by the investigation process related to the area of training, and the need for the frequent training of regular and reservist ground forces. It should be stressed that also with regard to this subject the IDF has not waited for the final Winograd committee report, and has executed wide-ranging training exercises since the war.

As part of the accelerated process of increasing its readiness and fitness, the IDF has prepared a comprehensive training program for combat units, including an extensive one for the reserves. As such, there has been a 200 percent increase in the number of regular brigade-level training exercises in the IDF Northern Command as opposed to in 2006, and a 200 percent hike in the number of reservist brigade-level training exercises at the IDF center for ground forces training at Tze’ilim since 2006, in addition to an 80 percent increase in all ground forces training exercises since 2006.

Furthermore, Current Chief Of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi approved last year the “Tefen” multi-year and multi-dimensional procurement program to implement lessons learnt in the war, while at the same time preparing for future strategic threats and challenges, based on an analysis of the different zones of combat. The budget for the multi-year program stands at NIS 250 billion.

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