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  • Israel's Defense Spending Gets a Scrub
    Posted by David A. Fulghum 5:10 AM on Aug 05, 2010

    Jerusalem’s process for carving out a military budget begins with an intelligence assessment of the full spectrum of threats and predictions of what might happen.

    Three parameters outline the analysis – probability of the threat, the severity of the threat and the cost of addressing threats that can’t be ignored. All the parameters are then discussed for up to 6 mo.

    “For example, you might decide you need two new satellites instead of one or three,” says Army Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland (ret.), former head of the national security council of Israel. “Are electro-optics enough or do you want to add a synthetic aperture radar. If you do, what resolution do you want – 30 centimeters or one meter? You also have to understand the best linkage between capability and cost.”

    The formula is repeated for every project and each is then balanced against  the needs of the other forces for ships, aircraft and divisions. There are a total of 40 independent discussions on the really important items followed by a several-day seminar with the general staff to find a balance.

    “Then you give your analyses to a group of experts in a separate room to examine,” Eiland says. That allows a blind assessment. The decisions are then sorted into three groups: like to have, too important to avoid and compromise solutions.

    “There is a planning department that has the smartest colonels in the IDF,” Eiland says. It’s their job to make the tradeoffs between different capabilities.”

    After the budget is allocated by threat and service, it is divided again into four parts which Eiland considers the most important part of the decision making.

    1. What is the level of operational readiness? How many battalions are deployed on the border and how many aircraft have to be on seven-minute alert?

    2.  The second category is basic readiness, a combination of the levels of training, spare parts and ammunition reserves.

    3. The total size of the armed forces – how many ships, aircraft and divisions?

    4. How much research and development funding is allocated to future projects?

    “The main difference in the categories is the amount of time you need to change a decision,” Eiland says. “You can take the greatest risk with the first category which takes minutes or hours to change. Category two can take up to two years. It takes about five years to change the size of the force which is too long to make assumptions or predictions. In the fourth category changes take about 10 years, so you can’t take any risks. Using this formula, you can make calculated risks in a careful way.”

    However, all the traditional definitions of warfare are now in question.

    “In conventional war, the question was where is the enemy,” Eiland says. “Today’s question is who is the enemy.  So the big issue becomes real-time intelligence. That’s the information you get in time to let you respond effectively. Nowadays, 99 percent of the targets are specific individuals that move quickly. So you have to have the capability to respond in realtime or the intelligence is irrelevant.”

    So the task for government, industry and the military is to develop intelligence tools that are much more advanced to allow quick assessment and an ability to reach the right conclusion in a more efficient way. The concomitant requirement is the creation of cooperation between intelligence and operational elements.

    “So you have to demolish the walls between organizations and provide information from very sensitive sources otherwise you will be late in your response,” he says.

    Tags: ar99, Israel, IDF

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