Leadership: The Cycle Of Survival

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February 1, 2016: Israel is implementing a new round of military reforms called Gideon. This effort means spending half the military budget through 2020 on increasing missile and network defenses while also taking advantage of the Israeli lead in networking to eliminate a lot of staff and support jobs. Israel already has the most effective anti-missile and network defenses in the region and is investing billions to maintain and improve that edge. This means working with American defense firms to share the cost (and access to the new technology) in order to pay for keeping the lead in many categories of military gear. The Americans have long worked with Israel to jointly develop and share new military technologies. Until 2001 the Israelis were the ones that were able to test this new tech under combat conditions and share their findings with the United States. Since 2001 the Americans have acquired a lot combat experience, often using (quietly, so as not to anger Arab allies) Israeli tech and tactics. The U.S. is particularly eager to acquire more Israeli tech and expertise in Cyber Warfare, especially network defense. Israeli networks are rarely penetrated while American ones are, often in spectacular fashion.

For Israel the other priority, missile defense, is not as urgent for the United States. Currently Israeli Iron Dome, Arrow 3 and the new Magic Wand systems set the standard for layered missile defenses. The U.S. needs this tech to improve the missile defenses that protect American bases in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world (especially in South Korea and the Pacific in general). The Americans have found Israeli counter-terror tactics and technology extremely useful along with new intelligence gathering and analysis tech and techniques the Israelis continually develop and put to use.

Like the United States Israel is reducing its military manpower. In this case full time career military personnel are being reduced about six percent to 40,000. The bulk of Israeli manpower consists of conscripts (on active duty for only a few years) and over half a million reservists (what most conscripts become after they complete their active service). The Americans have learned much from the Israelis about how to get the most out of reservists and these lessons were successfully applied by the U.S. after 2003. Thus if the Gideon plan seems similar to military reforms in the United States that is no accident. Both countries are working from the same playbook and shared experiences. That includes the custom of constantly reorganizing and rearming to take advantage of new ideas and technologies.

 


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