is how one ofcer described the IDF’s response tothe 2006 conict.
Clearly, Ashkenazi and Barak wasted little time in implementing a sweepingtransformation within the IDF.One of the rst items on the agenda was theincoherent doctrine that several of Halutz’s ownfact-nding teams had already branded as “com
pletely wrong.” They concluded the doctrine usedduring the 2006 campaign created “confusion interminology and misunderstanding of basic military principles.” The IDF had replaced proven methodswith “an alternative ‘conceptual framework’ for military thinking, replacing traditional notions of ‘objective’ and ‘subjection’ with new concepts like‘campaign rationale’ and ‘conscious-burning’ of theenemy. . . based on this doctrine, the IDF was to relyon precise stand-off re, mostly from the air, usingground maneuvers only as a last resort.”
The “coreof this document is the theory of SOD (SystemicOperational Design)” noted one its creators, retiredIsraeli Brigadier General Shimon Naveh.
The IDF quickly jettisoned SOD elements inits doctrine. Asked what changes the IDF made toits doctrine after 2006, one ofcer replied, “SODcancelled.”
The IDF’s transient embrace of SOD post-mod
ern theories at the expense of traditional principlesof war was, arguably, one of the strangest episodesin the history of military doctrine. Using JohnEllis’ work
as a backdropto describe the failings of SOD, Yehuda Wegmanwrites that SOD was “the image of intelligence andcomplexity . . . the use of rhetorical means in order to create the illusion of intelligent analysis at a timewhen there was no such analysis.” Wegman adds,“The rst casualty of the new language was themain principle of war: adhering to the mission.”
Having abandoned SOD, the IDF went to work on a new doctrine, which it has yet to nalize. As astopgap measure, the Israeli military has apparentlyreturned to the doctrine in place prior to 2006.
Drastic changes within the IDF continued under Ashkenazi and Barak. “There was an almost imme
diate adjustment in training,” one expert in the eldacknowledged. “The IDF started training more on theoffensive and defensive, what we call conventionalwarfare skills.”
Indeed, within the IDF ArmoredCorps, the changes in training were swift. Tank unitsonce again focused on their traditional roles andadvantages, that of “speed and repower.” Israeliarmored brigades trained for months at the IDFGround Forces Training Center in Nagev, Israel. Asan example, Armored Brigade 401, which had lost 8tank crewmen in 2006, conducted a 12-week train
ing exercise in which it trained in urban terrain, butspent most of its time “sharpening the skills neededfor armored combat,” according to the
. “Our advantage is our ability to move fastand our repower,” a brigade commander empha
sized. “The tanks are now driving faster and usingsmokescreens—something they didn’t use duringthe war—since we now understand that the threatof anti-tank missiles is 360 degrees.”
At the com
pany and battalion levels, IDF units also conductedextensive and realistic training in an area meant toreplicate southern Lebanon and Hezbollah tactics.
The IDF reserve forces, particularly tankers andartillerymen, returned to their designated weaponssystems and trained on the basics. More impor
tantly, the reserve forces started to receive their fullequipment sets. In the immediate aftermath of the2006 war, the IDF procured tens of thousands of ballistic helmets and vests and night vision goggles,as well as signicant quantities of grenades, smallarms ammunition, and magazines. After years of performing “other” duties, the reserve soldiersreturned to their equipment to address what oneobserver called “classic warfare needs.”
With a new lengthened training program in place,the reserve armored corps began conducting live-re exercises and participating in full-scale divisionmaneuver training. These exercises included allrequired combat support units. Unlike 2006, whensome reserve ofcers rst met their soldiers onmobilization, these large exercises, the rst in years, brought the organization together. Furthermore, allreserve ofcers selected for command were sent to
After years of performing “other” duties,…reserve soldiers returned totheir equipment to address…“classic warfare needs.”