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Sunday, January 21, 2007

MK Maj. Gen. (res.), Matan Vilnai: take politics out of IDF

MK Maj. Gen. (res.), Matan Vilnai: take politics out of IDF

For live feed of conference

The 7th Herzliya Conference > Lecture Summaries
MK Maj. Gen. (res.), Matan Vilnai, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense

We must smash the amoeba arms. For that purpose we must remove politics from
the IDF, build an appropriate decision-making model, and enlarge the
military arm.

We have a heavy question on our door step, which I don't have an answer for.
How is it that a trained, equipped army, who knows Lebanon like the palm of
its hand, does not achieve its targets? We have to point to the real issues,
the central causes for this failure. Those are centered around two main
issues: the national level and the military one.

At the national level, the decision-making model is deficient. In a country
that was founded on the sword there is no such model. There is no clear
method to deal with threats. There is a National Security Council, but we
did not hear from it during the war. Therefore, there is an immediate need
to build a national decision making system.

The process of decision making should be transformed from its current basic
model. Even the Americans, who have a more efficient model than we have,
have failed. To build such a system, we must reach a deeper understanding of
our strategic and security situation.

At the military level, we must destroy the ameba's arms. We must deal with
the simple things, through enlarging the military arm. The army has built as
a system of decision making with the Israel Democracy Institute, by which
one should analyze the
threats; say what are the odds and considerations, and decide. This is how
we should run the state. Otherwise we reach a situation in which we need
active protection for tanks, and there is no money for this, while there are
funds for crazy building projects.

The government of Israel should discuss the issue, and define and show how
the army should look, and from there draw the budget.

The reserves are the biggest volunteer organization, and are an organization
which should be taken care of. In the Military Reserve Law, which I'm
dealing with these days, the exercises, compensation and rewards should be
defined for all volunteers.

One more thing that no one is talking about is politics in the army.
Politics should be taken out of the army! I don't mean the kind of politics
which exist in every organization. Politics include the media, which causes
people to think 'it doesn't matter what I do, it matters how it looks'. In
such a situation there is no real work. As long as this is the spirit in the
army, nothing will happen.

To the Lebanese war, which I call the former and not the last war, there was
a beautiful action plan, which was based on division 98. This plan was
exercised, but no one activated it. Why? Perhaps its politics. If the army
will not handle its spirit, and will not remove politics from its system,
nothing will happen. There are deserved people in each and every place in
the high command. Most of them I trained and coached. But I have doubt. The
people in Israel and the fighters in the IDF are worthy of the most
efficient command possible.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

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