The decision to cut the length of compulsory military service for new recruits is part of an ongoing effort to streamline the IDF and cut costs. According to IDF projections, the shorter term of service could see the military’s total number of soldiers drop by 6,000 in 2019 (including some 2,500 fewer in combat units). At present, the IDF does not expect to disband any units, nor is it planning to use its reserve forces to compensate for lost manpower.
To adjust for the expected decline in the number of combat troops, the IDF plans to shorten their training periods. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot could choose to cut the training schedule by two months across the board for all combat units, resulting in an average training period of six months. This would force the IDF to have four, rather than the current three, enlistment intakes per year. Alternatively, the IDF could gradually cut back training periods on a unit-by-unit basis. Under the second approach, guard duty and other non-essential activity would be gradually reduced, making sure troops get the necessary expertise despite reduced training time.