The IDF on Tuesday announced “significant changes” to the makeup of its General Staff, including the wholesale creation of a new Iran-focused directorate and the restructuring of an existing department.
These changes — part of the military’s multi-year Momentum Plan — will go into effect this summer and has been approved by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.
A commander of this new directorate — to be known as the Strategy and Iran Directorate — has not yet been chosen, though an appointment committee is set to convene soon. The actual formation of the unit will remain on hold until a superior officer is chosen.
It was not immediately clear how large this new directorate will be.
The directorate will focus not only on Israel’s efforts to counter Tehran's expansionist aspirations in the Middle East but also on the development of the military’s strategic and international relations.
As such, the IDF’s Liaison Unit, which maintains relations with foreign militaries, will be moved into this new directorate, along with the Planning Division. Currently, these two units are part of the IDF Planning Directorate.
The directorate will oversee counter actions against Iran only and not its proxies.
Currently, the issue of Iran is divided between various military branches such as Military Intelligence, the Operations Directorate, the Planning Directorate, and the Air Force among others.
The commander of the new Iran directorate will answer directly to the chief of staff.
As part of this restructuring, the Planning Directorate will be transformed and renamed the Force Design Directorate. It will be tasked with overseeing the development of new combat and weapons techniques, specifically in tactics and techniques that require cooperation between various military branches — area to which Kochavi attributes great and growing importance.
Kochavi’s Momentum Plan deals extensively with the Iranian issue, envisioning a far more integrated military.
This new Force Design Directorate will complement the current system, in which each branch of the military is responsible for developing and implementing its own tactics, allowing for techniques that use both air power and ground forces, for instance.
The commander of this directorate will also be able to work with the Defense Ministry and defense contractors to develop and acquire new weaponry and equipment.
Last week, Kochavi presented the main aspects of his Momentum Plan to the military’s top officers. It is meant to serve as an overarching guide for the IDF’s planning and development over the next five years, succeeding the five-year Gideon Plan created by Kochavi’s predecessor, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.
The plan calls for large-scale acquisitions of new missiles, drones, armored vehicles, air defense batteries, helicopters, and ships alongside the upgrading of existing equipment. It will not come cheap, requiring a significant budget increase — made yet more difficult by the lack of a fully functioning government.
The guiding principle of the Momentum Plan is to take full advantage of the areas in which the IDF has superiority over its enemies — air power, intelligence and technology — in order to ensure the Israeli army maintains a constant and significant edge over its foes, notably Iran and Hezbollah.
The military plans to use this superiority to achieve a swift and decisive victory in any future campaign, knowing that the longer a conflict drags on, the more the result will look like a loss, regardless of which side is victorious on the battlefield.
To do so, the IDF believes it must significantly improve its ability to identify enemy targets and strike as many as possible, as quickly as possible. Kochavi's plan will also involve improving the quality and quantity of equipment and weaponry and offer those capabilities to a larger number of troops through better communication and accessibility.
“Carrying out the multi-year Momentum Plan will allow the IDF to significantly increase its capabilities. The plan will increase the lethality of the IDF… [it] will create conditions to shorten the duration of a war,” Kochavi told top officers last week.