TEL AVIV (May. 14)
The lessons learned from the Lebanon war are not being applied to the Israel Defense Force, State Comptroller Yitzhak Tunik charged in a report released today highly critical of the General Staff and the defense establishment.
The 90-page report expressed concern about the cumulative effects on the IDF’s operational capability as a result of defense budget cuts and the war in Lebanon and the General Staff’s lack of emphasis on the lessons learned. According to Tunik, the Chief of Staff’s demand that every change in training programs must be brought to him personally for prior approval makes the process cumbersome. He found that the General Staff has neither set priorities nor provided the wherewithal for the lessons to be incorporated into doctrine. Although the IDF has been increased in size, its training budget has been reduced with profound effects on the quality of the army, particularly its reserve forces, the Comptroller said.
He criticized the shortage of simulators which would allow reservists to train at their bases rather than going into the field for training in tanks and other expensive heavy equipment. The report quotes the head of the IDF’s Manpower Division that the already serious problem of skilled manpower will worsen because of budget cuts and competition from the civilian sector of industry.
The report found no coordination between the army and the education system to solve the growing lack of qualified, skilled technical manpower. It recommends the creation of a national body to deal specifically with the need for skilled manpower in the armed forces.