Preparation of reserves increased in recent years

Archive photo of IDF (Zahal) reservists

Since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the IDF (Zahal) has increased the frequency and scope of reserve drills, while adapting these drills in light of specific units’ needs

Date: 05/06/2013, 9:30 PM     Author: BaMahane Magazine and IDF (Zahal) Website

The IDF (Zahal) has dramatically increased the preparedness of its reserve forces in recent years. In addition to improving reserve units’ drills, the military has invested in equipment allowing these units to rapidly prepare themselves in time of need.

Much of the improvement in the IDF (Zahal)’s preparation of its reserve forces is attributed to the lessons learned from the 2006 Second Lebanon War. “The Second Lebanon War was a watershed moment regarding reserve exercises,” explained the commander of the IDF (Zahal)’s Ground Training Center, Col. Asher Ben Lulu, in a recent interview with BaMahane magazine.

In the years since that conflict, the IDF (Zahal) has carried out drills for its reservists four times as often as it did in the six years preceding it. Additionally, the army is currently examining the possibility of extending the length of reserve drills from one week to two weeks, so as to gradually increase both the difficulty of the exercises and continuity between them.

“As a result of the rise in the quantity of drills in recent years, many more reserve battalions have begun to practice varied and complex scenarios – which will be reflected in combat proficiency in the next campaign,” Col. Ben Lulu noted.

Beyond increases in the frequency and scope of reserve exercises, the IDF (Zahal) has increased its efforts to design exercises that are particularly suited to the needs of specific reserve units.

“Since the war, a perspective has developed that it is necessary to invest more consideration in exercises, so that they will be better suited to the needs of the units,” Col. Ben Lulu explained. “For instance, if a commander believes that there are deficiencies in his or her soldiers’ teamwork, we will formulate a special program to fill the gaps.”

The IDF (Zahal) has also invested in its reserve units’ ability to rapidly become fully equipped in time of need. In January of this year, following last November’s Operation Pillar of Defense, the military began providing its reserve units with preparatory kits allowing them to become equipped within 24 hours. The IDF (Zahal) has also begun replacing the mattresses previously used by its reservists with a thinner variety, allowing for easier transport by infantry units.