LONDON (Feb. 2)
A recently approved strategic plan for the next century will give the Israel Defense Force a global reach, according to the London- based newsletter Foreign Report.
The plan — described by the newsletter as “ambitious, extraordinary and radical” — will enable the IDF to deal more effectively with international terrorism and with potential threats from such countries as Iran, Pakistan and the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.
According to the report, the IDF will build a strategic command to deal with the threats rather than rely on creating ad-hoc forces to deal with emergencies as they arise.
The new command, which will be headed by a general who reports directly to the army chief of staff, will be constructed in four stages:
The first will involve the creation of an intelligence infrastructure in countries that do not border Israel — a massive operation that will involve the installation of eavesdropping devices and other monitoring systems, as well as making preparations for electronic warfare and computer espionage.
This task would normally be handled by the Mossad foreign intelligence service, but the strategic command will turn the project over to Israel’s military intelligence service, Aman, according to Foreign Report.
The second stage will involve the gathering of intelligence data from distant sources. This is expected to occur some two years after the first stage begins.
The third stage will involve building a force capable of operating far from Israel. A first step toward creating that force began with the recent delivery from the United States of a squadron of F-151 jet fighters, which are now operative.
The aircraft are bought “naked” in the United States and, after arriving in Israel, undergo substantial modifications, including the fitting of sophisticated Israeli electronic equipment, the newsletter reported.
The F-151 squadron is intended exclusively for long-distance missions by the strategic command, including a possible bombing raid against nuclear installations in Iran. The jets are capable of traveling to their targets and returning to base without the need to refuel.
At the same time, a special full-time commando force will be trained for strategic missions beyond Israel’s borders.
In the fourth stage, the chief of staff will coordinate all the ingredients of the new command. These include intelligence data from Aman, as well as the training of F-151 air and ground crews and the army commandos.
Also at this stage, Israeli officials envisage cooperation with the United States and Britain through liaison officers.
According to Foreign Report, Israel believes these are the only two governments that share the Jewish state’s security concerns — and are willing to fight terrorism beyond their frontiers.