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In preparing for future battlefield, IDF focuses on speed and lethality



In preparing for future battlefield, IDF focuses on speed and lethality

Despite the absence of a new government or fresh defense budget, the Israel Defense Forces is wasting little time in its race to adapt to the security challenges that lie around the corner. It has launched into its new Tafnit (“Momentum”) multi-year working program without waiting for a new government to take shape.

Now underway, it’s being led by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who has told the IDF’s senior officers to think about the challenges that lie in store a decade ahead throughout the volatile Middle East.

As part of the planning stages, the IDF created three categories of teams along the lines of the colors of the French flag. The red teams analyzed changes among Israel’s enemies. The blue teams looked at the IDF’s future, and the white teams were in charge of assessing the changing environment. All of them had to answer the same question: How would the year 2030 look like from their perspective?

Their answers formed the basis for the entire Momentum program that followed—one of the most ambitious adaption programs ever embarked upon by the IDF.

A central conclusion reached by the red teams is that Israel’s adversaries are increasingly arming themselves with precision strike weaponry, and that they are benefiting from the miniaturization of technology that was once the reserve of great powers. Additionally, they found, enemies are increasingly entrenched in urban environments among their own civilians. Adversaries can today purchase off-the-shelf quadcopters and arm them with grenades and RGPs. They can use these to launch airstrikes on targets, with this trend almost certainly to become more prevalent.

The blue teams look at expected Israeli troop numbers, and the infrastructure and budgets that would be needed to support the next generations of Israeli forces. The white teams looked at the rapidly changing Middle East, and what potential coalitions and groups of adversaries could evolve in the future.

In April 2019, the IDF brought together every brigadier general and major general to a forum, and asked them to present their strengths and weaknesses before everyone. Thirty teams of analysts then dissected issues placed on the table, and the result was a kind of “MRI” that covered the entire military—an unprecedented and at times painful self-examination.

Next, the IDF’s Operations Directorate took these assessments and formulated a new concept for how to activate force to achieve decisive victory. The directorate’s new concept calls for defining victory as the rapid destruction of enemy capabilities, rather than merely seizing enemy territory, and for doing this in less time with fewer casualties, and incurring fewer economic costs than ever before.

This is based on the understanding that an Israeli home front under heavy enemy rocket and missile fire would mean that the national economy would be paralyzed. Every day that conflict is shortened is therefore critical.

Widen the gap in Israel’s favor

The IDF determined to shape a new military machine designed to function at a much faster pace and with more lethality than ever before.

One way the IDF plans on achieving this is to give its field battalions abilities that were once reserved for central IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. This would mean that a battalion commander receives all of the latest relevant intelligence, has his own access to the air force, and is digitally connected with the remainder of the military.

By October, the IDF had completed defining its vision for itself in 2030—a vision in which the IDF forms a single digital fighting network, capable of rapidly detecting and destroying wily foes hidden in apartment buildings and tunnels. It will be a military in which a company commander on the ground has his own drones in the air, can interface with tanks over the horizon or helicopters overhead, and can fight on the electromagnetic spectrum and in the cyber realm all at the same time.

Also read:  Netanyahu’s overwhelming victory and Gantz’s parliamentary putsch

It will, however, take years to reach such capabilities. To do so, the Momentum plan calls for the creation of a new kind of ground offensive force. It also calls for new levels of firepower (including air) strikes. The third pillar of the plan is to defend the home front.

The force buildup planning involved 40 teams, each headed by a brigadier general and each one responsible for designing a different aspect of the future military. One team, for example, was in charge of cyber operations and how these would look like in 10 years. Another was in charge of air supremacy.

The entire planning process for Momentum lasted a year; in January, it reached its completion.

Ultimately, the IDF has concluded that Israel’s enemies are eroding the qualitative gap with it, and that action is needed now to widen the gap again in Israel’s favor.

A failure to do this would mean that enemies on multiple fronts with their accurate firepower, urban-warfare techniques and vanishing forces would end up canceling out Israel’s military advantage—a situation the defense establishment cannot tolerate.

At this time, the IDF is running on the past multi-year plan’s budget, receiving its monthly sum accordingly. But defense chiefs have already indicated that they will need a significant defense-budget increase in the next national budget if Momentum is to be fully realized.

In the meantime, Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran, Shi’ite militias and others are building up their own forces, as all sides race to achieve the upper hand in the coming decade.




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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’



The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin



Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel



A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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