The IDF is preparing for the possibility of a significant escalation in the south. Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, issued instructions when he took office that the IDF would increase its readiness for a military campaign in the Gaza Strip.
The readiness process involves a partnership of all bodies in the General Staff headed by the Southern Command. The process focuses on increasing the breadth of General Staff goals, empowering intelligence, linking field units with real-time intelligence, regional organization, training, and extensive logistical effort.
The process of increasing readiness was carried out on several levels. The first was battle conduct; In the first half of 2019 a full procedure for battle conduct was carried out by the Southern Command and the General Staff with all the field units to fight in the Gaza Strip.
In addition, as part of campaign readiness, the Intelligence Division, in cooperation with the Southern Command, increased the range of targets for war, while building fire plans tailored to the campaign.
Another tier was developed in the last six months, when the Southern Command developed a specialized training program addressing a combat scenario in the South. The program included battalion fire exercises called the “Southern Command Test” based on criteria specific to combat in the Gaza Strip.
Over the course of the first half of 2019, 30 such exercises were conducted. In addition, the “Coiled Spring” course was held, which trained commanders from the company level and above using a virtual reality simulation, simulating the expected combat conditions in the Gaza Strip and emphasizing the enemies' preparedness.
About two weeks ago, a large-scale exercise was performed that examined the effectiveness of commanders in combat. Eight divisional commanders, hundreds of reserve personnel, air force and naval forces from the Ashdod arena participated in the exercise.
In recent months, a concentrated effort has been made to organize civilian and military space on the border of the Gaza Strip, led by the Gaza Division's engineering forces. The efforts have been made with the knowledge that a shift from routine to emergency scenario in the region can happen very quickly.