Sunday, August 20, 2006

Gantz Reveals the Faults

Mideast Crisis To Drive Future Needs

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Gantz, commander of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Army Headquarters, was interviewed in Defense News and said, among other things:-

...broader "legitimate and reasonable" considerations by Israeli political leaders served to alter the timing in which the four planned phases of the war have been executed. The former paratrooper stressed the psychological and societal factors underlying the government's reluctance to re-enter the Lebanese quagmire, Israel's own version of America's Vietnam.

Instead of the rolling, sequential campaign initially conceived - up to a week of standoff air-land battle, a three- or four-day intensive ground control assault, more than a month of what he called "cleansing" operations and another two to three weeks to return to the border - IDF ground forces still have not begun full-strength ground maneuvers, Gantz said Aug. 10.

"We planned for a bullet train, but what we got was an urban bus with several stops," he said of the planned nine- to 10-week operation which should have driven down the rocket threat to Israel's homefront within two to three weeks.

While unstated, Gantz seemed to blame himself and the system for the huge disconnect between war planning and reality. "The concept I described was divorced almost completely from other [political] considerations, which were perfectly legitimate, but not necessarily operationally correct," he said...

...For the past five years, as corps commander and then top boss of Israel's entire Northern Command, Gantz had been studying the enemy, managing periodic eruptions and planning for the war against Hizbollah now unfolding.

While many in Israel, including those in leadership positions, had arrogantly dismissed Hizbollah as a terrorist gang, Gantz was one of the few who eyed the enemy with professional respect.

"When we started this planning, I said I didn't want to deploy a single soldier there," he said. "My force was the last to leave and I couldn't stomach the thought of going back. . But after months of careful study, I understood that if we didn't put in three divisions, we wouldn't get out of the situation with any meaningful advantage."

Gantz firmly refutes those who faulted Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, IDF chief of staff and former Air Force commander, for a misplaced reliance on the air campaign.

"There was absolutely no one in any military leadership position who claimed airpower alone could deliver the goods," he said. "But the political level wanted to maximize the standoff firepower and the air campaign and, if there wasn't any other choice, to implement the ground war.

...What is painfully clear is the need to defend against high-trajectory rockets and short-range missiles, said Gantz, who now is entrusted with designing, training and equipping Israel's land combat force.

"Now we have no active defense against Katyushot and short-range rockets, and we will need to invest in this area," he said.

Gantz and others, like Uzi Eilam, a retired IDF general and former military research-and-development director, acknowledge that even the most capable system will be unable to defend completely against the type of salvos that have terrorized Israeli citizenry over the past month.

Nor, they say, will Israel be able to afford enough systems to completely cover broad areas.

"But at a minimum, we need to have a robust [oh, no, robust again], deployable capability to defend highly populated and strategically sensitive areas," Gantz said.

Eilam admits that Israeli decision-makers within the General Staff and Israel's Ministry of Defense, himself included, "didn't give proper respect for this threat."

He said Israel's defense establishment will be forced to include new parameters in the cost-benefit calculations driving military development decisions.

"This war surely has taught us that we need to start calculating all those
nonconcrete benchmarks, such as damage to morale and deterrence," Eilam said.

Another huge lesson that Gantz said will require extensive assessment is the
desired balance between airpower and other precision, stand-off strike systems and ground-maneuver capabilities...

And there's a lot more there.

(Kippah tip; IMRA)


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

General Gantz was much more concerned about right wing orange protestors than he was about the Hizbollah Katyusha theat. No wonder we ended up where we are now.,7340,L-3031223,00.html

However, as things in Israel always go, the more you make mistakes, the higher up you get promoted.

YMedad said...

You are so right. Er, correct.