IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz unveiled on Wednesday an extensive plan to restructure the IDF and slash its operating costs. The plan is in accordance with a cut in the defense budget that was agreed upon several months ago, though the IDF was planning a restructuring in any case.
The plan will see between 3,000 and 5,000 permanent service soldiers being laid off over the next five years. As well, some tank units, artillery units and units of the Navy and Air Force will be shut down.
At the same time, the IDF will reinforce its abilities in the area of cyber warfare and will strengthen its offensive capabilities, especially in Syria and Lebanon.
The IDF stressed that the organizational changes are designed to adapt to the new military reality in the region. The changes are based on new technologies and improved intelligence. The assumption is that even after the changes, the IDF will be able to respond to any threats.
Meanwhile, Channel 2 News reported, officials in the Finance Ministry accused the defense establishment on Wednesday of making up “horrific defense scenarios” so that “MKs and ministers tremble" and approve only moderate cuts in the defense budget.
Source in the Treasury told Channel 2 that the Ministry of Defense was “dragging its feet" and so far has not submitted a plan for the budget cuts. The office of Defense Minister Yaalon said in response, "We are not backing down from any commitment. We will cut the budget as needed."
The IDF said in response, "The program is being put together in accordance with the budget constraints determined by the political leadership. As part of this program, a number of changes in the branches and departments are being examined. The army is prepared and determined to carry out its tasks and continue to operate towards the safety of residents of the State of Israel.”