New IDF Chief Warns Staff to Expect Budget Cuts, Organizational Changes

High- and middle-ranking Israel Defense Force officers got the unpleasant news Sunday that for the next four years the IDF will have to scrimp along on reduced budgets and undergo significant organizational changes.

The measures are “painful but justified,” the IDF’s new chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak, told officers of the rank of lieutenant colonel and above, who were summoned to a meeting at General Headquarters here which was closed to the press.

But military correspondents have a fair idea of some of the economies in mind.

Reports circulating since Barak succeeded retiring Gen. Dan Shomron as chief of staff last week said two top-echelon jobs would be eliminated: the chief of staff’s operations evaluation aide and the aide to the chief of military intelligence.

Both posts are held by officers with the rank of general.

Barak was said to have called the meeting to arrest what he sees as increasing estrangement between the army’s top brass and the middle ranks of the officers corps.

He was reported to have stressed discipline and personal example, honesty and professionalism in the performance of duty.

Meanwhile, correspondents say Barak’s plan to invest the Ground Forces Command with greater responsibility does not sit well with the generals who hold regional commands. They have privately expressed concern that the new emphasis will encroach on their autonomy and authority.

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