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Analysis

Analysis: New IDF Strategy Goes Public, by Brig. Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog

On August 13, the Israel Defense Forces published a thirty-three-page document titled “IDF Strategy.” This is a shorter, unclassified version of a comprehensive document designed as the conceptual framework for the new IDF five-year plan, “Gideon,” which has yet to be approved by the government.

This document, bearing the imprint of new chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, is unique in Israel’s history because it not only defines and bases itself on elements of a national security doctrine, but was also released to the public. Israel has not had a formal, written national security doctrine since the time of its first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. The last attempt at developing one in 2004-2007 (the Meridor Comission), was completed but not put to government approval; the “IDF Strategy” draws on that effort.

The unprecedented publication may be motivated by a desire to shape the lively public debate on prioritizing national resources between security and socioeconomic needs — specifically, to shift it from a technical discussion of budgetary inputs to a strategic discussion on required security outputs. The new document explores the fundamental changes in Israel’s strategic and operational environment, which has seen rapid, violent upheavals and the collapse or weakening of state frameworks. The high degree of strategic and budgetary uncertainty has left the IDF without a formal government-approved multiyear plan since 2011.

Read the article in full at the Washington Institute.