Chief of Staff: IDF faces interconnected threats

Archive photo of Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. Photo: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s Unit

Lt. Gen. Gantz at conference on military use of information technology: “We live in a security-strategic environment defined by its instability”

Date: 22/05/2013, 4:49 PM     Author: Yiftach Carmeli

Israel’s first International C5I Conference, which is currently underway, held its first sessions yesterday in Zichron Yaakov. The conference’s speeches focused largely on the theme of C5I (command, control, communications, computers, cyber and intelligence) as a force multiplier. The event also presented command and control technology, advanced tactical communications equipment, cyber systems and information security technology.

Those attending the conference include Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Head of the C4I Branch Maj. Gen. Uzi Moscovitch, senior officers of the IDF (Zahal)’s various branches, and other representatives of the security establishment and defense industries.

Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz delivered the opening address, giving a survey of Israel’s security situation with a focus on information and communications technology. “We live in a security-strategic environment defined by its instability,” he said. “The situation is volatile and sensitive, and everyday we are involved in making decisions that if they are wrong could lead us to a sudden and uncontrollable deterioration. We face a wide variety of threats in all of our regions.”

The Chief of Staff emphasized the interconnectedness of the threats facing Israel’s various regions. “We can see connections between Gaza and Sinai, between Gaza and the Judea and Samaria region, between Syria and Lebanon,” he noted. “In each of these areas, we are faced with regular military threats, asymmetrical combat and the threat of terror in a complex battlefield – including thickly built areas, civilian population and an enemy to whom we need to respond rapidly and precisely.”

In light of this reality, Lt. Gen. Gantz emphasized the importance of using information and communications technology to effectively expand the IDF (Zahal)’s forces, strengthen cooperation between them and sharpen intelligence capabilities.

“The IDF (Zahal), in contrast to other bodies, is an institution that clearly utilizes cooperation between its forces, but we still must strive [to improve in this regard],” he said. “In light of the security situation that I described, we will need to realize our combat capabilities through an information network that will enable us to use our forces effectively, as well as through increased intelligence ability. Intelligence capabilities are what enable us to strike precisely the targets we want to strike, with exactly the strength we want to use.”

The Chief of Staff nonetheless stressed that information and communications technology must adapt to the unchanging elements of the battlefield.

“In terms of networking, intelligence and operations, we must remember that the only things that have changed are the characteristics of the combat. What has not changed is the nature of war,” he said. “The battlefield is still full of uncertainty and friction, and people are still required to command and to charge and to act together. An airplane dives toward the target, a soldier charges – this is still the nature of warfare. All of our gadgets will not benefit us if they won’t adapt to the battlefield.”