The IDF General Staff, headed by Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot, has approved its new multi-year cut plan, in which a quarter of home front-related military institutions will be cut, logistics units merged, and a regional brigade will be closed.
The IDF General Staff approved on Wednesday the multi-year plan, codenamed Gideon, lead by IDF commander Gadi Eisenkot. It includes significant step meant to reduce the IDF’s expenses. According to a senior military official, the plan includes a reduction of IDF staff down to 40,000 officers and non-commissioned officers, as well as the closing of the Arava Regional Brigade in the Southern Command. The Gideon plan will require approval from governmental ranks before it can be implemented.
Ultimately, the plan is largely concerned with reducing military staff, while focusing more of the available resources toward combat operations and intelligence. Among its major elements are reducing the number of officers and NCOs in the Home Front Command and reducing staff in IDF commands.
Several home front IDF departments are set to have their staff cut by 20-25 percent, as well as to be partially turned into civilian institutes. Among these are the Military Advocate General’s Office, the Education and Youth Corps, the Military Rabbinate, the Military Censor, the Chief of General Staff’s economics advisor’s office, and the IDF research directorate. All together, staff is set to be reduced by 6-9 percent.
Eisenkot has further ordered the transfer of Division 162 to the Southern Command, and has determined that the Givati Brigade will now be under its umbrella. Meanwhile, an introductory drill for the new Commando Brigade, which Eisenkot has determined to create, will take place in the coming months. A third IDF battalion will be established and dedicated to border patrols, allowing more training time for regular infantry battalions.
Lieutenant General Eisenkot has also ordered the unification of some Logistics and Technology Department bodies into the Army. That step is intended to put the Army’s authority in sharper view, in a similar manner to that of the Air Force. It will also prevent overlap.
A 35 percent reduction in the number of IDF trackers was also decided upon. “We are in a different time, and it’s no longer the age of chases. We will make this move with sensitivity (in relation to the Bedouin sector, of which most trackers are a part –ed), and there are already advanced technological means at the borders as a substitute,” explained the high-ranking military official. “Some of the decisions, like the many cuts, aren’t dependant on Cabinet approval and will take place anyway by the IDF CoGS’s decree, in order to transfer more resources to combat ranks and turn the IDF into a small military, sharp and combat-ready.”
The IDF estimates that the different changes will increase the reduction in manpower, in addition to the reduction in the number of officers and NCOs. A new officer/NCO service model has also been proposed, setting the age of 35 as the point at which it will be decided whether the officer/NCO will stay in the IDF until retirement age, or leave it with a severance package.
The new officer/NCO retirement age has not yet been determined, and will probably depend on specific individual’s roles. The new retirement model, the IDF says, will make the IDF a younger organization.