Tuesday, May 15, 2007
War Game Puts Political-Mil Leaders to Postwar Test
By BARBARA OPALL-ROME, TEL AVIV
In their first test of crisis management since the Lebanon war, Israeli political and military leaders will subject themselves to an extreme simulation aimed at determining how well they have internalized lessons from last summer’s deadly misadventure.
While details of the intensive, four-day war game remain classified, sources here say scenarios developed by the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) Training and Doctrine Division will make last summer’s 33-day war seem like a walk in the park.
Not only will they have to deal with a direct attack on one or more strategically sensitive sites and the massive amount of civilian casualties and economic upset that ensues, but they’ll have to prosecute and manage asymmetric wars beyond their borders without dragging neighboring states into the fight.
In parallel, Israel’s leaders will be tested on how well they manage the increasingly critical issue of legitimacy in the diplomatic arena and through the international media.
Normally an annual event, the national command post war game was suspended last year due to the fighting in Lebanon. Sources here said this year’s exercise is particularly important, given interim findings from the government-appointed investigative panel that damned Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Israel’s former chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, for poor judgment that led them to rush unprepared into a war whose declared goals were “overly ambitious and not feasible.”
Unlike in recent years, where Cabinet officers and other notables play-acted the roles of the nation’s top leaders, Olmert, Peretz and Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh will be participating directly in this year’s event.
In parallel, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of General Staff, will personally lead the Israeli war effort, which will involve full staffing of the national military command center and multiple command posts in all of Israel’s operational theaters as well as the nation’s Home Front Command.
Amir Oren, a veteran Israeli defense analyst, said the May 14-17 war game may allow Israel’s top political leaders to redeem themselves after their dismal mismanagement of last summer’s war.
“Usually, the prime minister and the defense minister shy away from these exercises. They don’t want to commit themselves to hypothetical scenarios and telegraph their intentions and their capabilities ahead of time. But this time around, in the aftermath of the Winograd interim report, they truly have nothing to lose. They need to show they’ve learned from their mistakes.”
Meanwhile, all units and service branches of the IDF have spent the nine months since the war improving readiness levels and preparing for the next round of fighting in the north, in the Gaza Strip in the south, or in both operational theaters.
In a recent interview, Maj. Gen. Beni Gantz, commander of the IDF’s Land Forces Command, said Israel’s ground warriors have demonstrated significant improvements in readiness throughout the various echelons. In the first three months of this year, said Gantz, Israel’s active duty as well as reserve forces were put through full brigade-level exercises and numerous battalion-level exercises, all of which include elements of air-land battle. And last week, Gantz’s command executed a multidivisional exercise along Israel’s northern front.
“Through the end of March, we did 34 battalion exercises, 26 command post exercises at the level of division and brigade and another 11 commanders’ drills. The numbers are not important; it’s the pace that’s important here. We’re gathering momentum and we’re definitely seeing results,” Gantz said. •
Source: Defense News
Israeli army launches most extensive drill
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Monday morning commenced the most extensive exercise ever held in the last two years, army sources said.
Major-generals of the General Staff, different branches of the IDF and various commands will be forced to deal with numerous war scenarios to be revealed only during this exercise, the spokeswoman of IDF told Xinhua.
The military exercise is aiming at examining the decision- making leadership of the IDF in real time as part of the lessons from the Second Lebanon War.
Reservists will also take part in the exercise alongside IDF officers in order to examine the IDF's conclusion that the military ranks did not consult reservists or use their expertise enough.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Deputy Minister of Defense Efraim Sneh will also take part in the drill.
The exercise is expected to continue for a couple of days and emphasize defense systems while dealing with sudden changes in the field.
No infantry, airplanes or live fire will be incorporated in the exercise.
Source: Xinhua News Service
Major General Gadi Shamni Named New Central Command Chief
Monday 14/05/2007 13:20
Defense Minister Amir Peretz approved the recommendation of the IDF Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi to appoint Major General Gadi Shamni to the post of GOC Central Command. Major General Shamni will succeed Major General Yair Naveh, who will leave his position and take time off.
Major General Shamni is currently the Prime Minister's Military Secretary. He will assume his new role in the coming weeks. Major General Shamni spent most of his military service in the Paratrooper Brigade. In addition, he served as company commander as well as chief infantry and paratrooper officer.
Major General Gadi Shamni - Curriculum Vitae
Major General Gadi Shamni was born in Israel in 1959 and enlisted into the Paratrooper Brigade in 1977.
His primary tasks were in the Paratrooper Brigade, where he served as company commander, commander of the crack sayeret unit, battalion commander, commander of the paratroopers' reserves brigade, and brigade commander. In addition, he served as battalion commander in the Officers School and as the sectoral brigade commander in Hebron ('Yehuda').
2001: Was promoted to Brigadier General and named chief infantry paratrooper officer.
2003: Was appointed Gaza division commander.
2004: Was named the head of the Operations Division.
2005: Was chosen as Military Secretary to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He was subsequently promoted to the rank of Major General.
Major General Gadi Shamni earned a bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science as well as a master's degree in National Security studies.
Major General Shamni is a graduate of the IDF's Command and Staff College, successfully completed a special forces course in North Carolina given by the U.S. Army, and studied in the U.S. Army's War College.
Major General Shamni is a married father of four children.
A knife and knuckle duster were uncovered on a Palestinian who arrived at the Border Police checkpoint near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The weapon was uncovered by Border Policemen manning the checkpoint. The weapon was confiscated and the man was transferred to the Israel Police.
An Israeli civilian was lightly wounded by rocks hurled at his vehicle while he was traveling near the Israeli community of Beit Hagai. The man received medical care on location.
This morning, an IDF force identified two gunmen moving towards the northern section of the Security Fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The force opened fire and confirmed hitting one of them
Source: IDF & Security Srrvices