“The threats won’t wait for us; we’re getting underway,” IDF Chief of Staff Lieut. Gen. Aviv Kochavi said in presenting the IDF’s multi-year plan for 2020-2024, entitled “Tnufa” (“Momentum’). One year after becoming chief of staff, Kochavi is launching the plan, although there is still no elected government that can approve it and discussions of its budget with the Ministry of Finance have not officially begun.
The IDF declined to disclose the additional budgetary cost of the plan. Nevertheless, the IDF mentions a figure of NIS 40 billion over a decade (NIS 4 billion a year) as being a reasonable figure. The number comes from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s National Security Concept 2030. The IDF explained that National Security Concept 2030 overlaps a great deal with Tnufa.
The IDF spokesperson said, “Tnufa is getting underway. It’s main thrust is greater lethality, in quantity and precision.” The spokesperson noted that the plan had been approved by the minister of defense, presented to the prime minister, and would be later brought to the cabinet for approval. The prime minister supports the plan, but believes that Tnufa does not sufficiently emphasize strengthening the IDF’s attack capabilities, and wants to enhance those capabilities.
Finance Ministry wants IDF to cut fat
The budget cost of the plan is, as mentioned, still unknown. The IDF is willing to do without some tanks and to shut down one air force squadron, but is demanding in return the formation of two new squadrons and procurement of a broad range of sensor, communications, and intelligence gathering equipment, some of it airborne. The Ministry of Finance expects the IDF to agree to shorten compulsory service for men to 24-28 months, and to cut fat, above all supplements for unfunded pensions for IDF retirees. The Ministry of Finance estimates the saving from this measure at NIS 800 million.
The IDF declined to disclose details of matters in dispute with the Ministry of Finance, saying that its relations with the ministry were “very good.” The IDF adds that implementation of Tnufa can begin this year only if the security cabinet approves a NIS 2 billion defense budget supplement. This has already been approved in principle by the prime minister and the minister of defense, but Ministry of Finance Accountant General Rony Hizkiyahu, who is managing the continuation budget, needs approval from the security cabinet in order to transfer the money requested by the IDF. The Ministry of Finance explained that since a temporary budget is involved, there is no need to cite a budget source for the plan, but since no deviations from the NIS 402 billion general continuation budget are allowed, the amount added to the defense budget must come at the expense of budgets for other government ministries.
Budget deficit narrows sharply after Jan surplus
In presenting the plan, Kochavi said, “The multi-year plan is not just money and projects. It is first of all calibrating all of us in relation to the concept, priorities, and an organizational orientation, which everyone breaks down according to this compass, this lodestar, into the aspects for which he is responsible.”
The IDF announcement states, “Over the past year, the IDF has conducted a thorough process in which dozens of teams conducted critical analyses of the strategic and operational situation and the state of the IDF with respect to the developing threats. As part of this process, an operational concept for victory was written that is totally focused on improving the IDF’s combat effectiveness and increasing its military advantage.”
“At the heart of the multi-year concept is increasing lethality in quantity and precision,” Kochavi said at the conclusion of the conference for presenting the multi-year plan. He explained that this goal would be achieved through “greatly enhanced ability to expose the enemy, greatly enhanced ability to destroy the enemy, and multi-branch operations.”
Goal: Strengthening land forces’ capabilities
The Tnufa plan is designed to replace the Gideon plan, which is ending in 2020. The Gideon multi-year plan, which began in 2015, is scheduled to end at the end of 2020, but the chief of staff wants to end it now and move on to a four-year format (Tnufa is slated for completion in 2024). The purpose of the plan is to enable the IDF to defend the country, prevent military conflicts to the greatest possible extent, and achieve victory in unavoidable conflicts, while at the same time building up military force for the long term and keeping high-quality personnel in the army.
The plan is based on an assessment of the threats stating that Israel is surrounded by terrorist armies in Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and Sinai, operating in territory in which there is no clear state control. Israel also faces direct threats from countries in the second circle (which have no common border with Israel) and from Iran in the third circle. The IDF puts special emphasis on the threat of precision-guided missiles. Iran currently holds a stock of 1,000 precision missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv, some of which have multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) that are difficult to intercept. Hezbollah is also advancing in its own precision rockets project.
In response to the threat of land-based missiles, Tnufa includes reinforcement of the three-layer anti-missile missile system, based on Arrow 3 missiles in the upper atmosphere, David’s Sling in the intermediate layer, and Iron Dome in the short-range layer. In addition to the multi-layer air defense system, the IDF wants to establish “smart areas” on the borders and in areas in Judea and Samaria, including completing construction of the barrier on the Gaza Strip border and the beginning of construction of a fortified line on the Lebanon border.
The main effort in the plan is enhancement of the IDF’s attack capabilities and the creation of what the IDF calls “a machine capable of delivering a series of multidimensional strikes utilizing air, sea, land, cyberspace, and electronic warfare.” As part of this, the IDF seeks to strengthen the capabilities of the land forces, and to take advantage of aerial range to enable combat units to attack and destroy a maximum number of targets in as short a time as possible. The IDF wants to improve its intelligence gathering and internal organizational communications systems, in order to attain a situation in which “every part of the IDF can communicate with every other part,” and in which field units, for example an isolated company operating on the outskirts of a fortified village in Lebanon, have access to information and broadband communications capabilities at the same level currently existing in rear command rooms.
The IDF also wants to improve its information storage capabilities. Current information storage infrastructure does not enable the IDF to store for an extended period all of the information gathered by field intelligence units.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on February 13, 2020
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020