'Solution needed ASAP.' Lindenstraus
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Reuters
'Home front not prepared' (Archives)
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Dudi Waknin
Security fence around Jerusalem
Photo: Dudi Waknin

Comptroller finds 'severe flaws' in development of anti-missile systems

Lindenstraus' report notes billion shekels were spent on 'Iron Dome', 'Magic Wand' defensive systems before IDF ever specified operational needs; adds home front ill-prepared for chemical attack

The 2008 State Comptroller's report points to severe deficiencies in the Defense Ministry's decision-making process regarding Israel's anti-missile systems.


According to the report, published Monday, the State spent considerable funds, amounting to billions, on developing defensive systems before determining their actual operational objectives.


State Comptroller Micha Lindenstraus also noted defense establishment failures in addressing additional threats, mainly the possibility of a chemical attack on the IDF and Israel's civilian population.


"The security establishment is obligated to find a comprehensive solution to Israel's defensive and offensive needs as soon as possible, including the development or acquisition of defense systems," the report stated.


Lindenstraus also cited substantial flaws in the Defense Ministry's Research and Development Administration's (RDA) development of the "Iron Dome" and "Magic Wand" anti-missile systems.


According to the report, the systems had been fully developed even before the IDF specified its operational needs for defense against surface-to-surface missiles and prior to the costly projects' approval by the military and the government.


The IDF said in response that "for the past year or so the RDA has been working on ways to deal with (various threats). The military is required to develop defense systems against the Qassam and mortar fire on the South and the Katyusha rocket attacks emanating from south Lebanon."


'Ongoing fiasco'

As for the threat of chemical warfare, the comptroller's report called the Home Front Command's preparations for such a scenario "an ongoing fiasco," which has manifested itself in a steady drop in the number of usable gas masks since 2003. The report determines that the current state will not allow for maximum protection for Israel's citizens in case of a chemical attack.


Regarding the IDF's level of preparedness for chemical warfare, Lindenstraus said an inspection of the army's ground forces in 2007 found severe deficiencies in this regard, which, according to him, stemmed from the fact that the issue had been de-prioritized by the IDF between 2004 and 2006.


He said the General Staff must draft a perennial plan for the purchase of medical supplies and defense apparatus in preparation for such a possible attack.


The IDF responded by saying that additional funding is required to complete the redistribution of gas masks to the public. The Defense Ministry added that "gas masks will be distributed to all of the citizens by 2013."


The defense establishment said that the distribution was a complex one and must be done gradually, adding that if need be, the gradual distribution process would be stepped up.


The report also criticized the State for not completing the construction of the security fence around Jerusalem and 13 planned crossings along its route. Some NIS 3.7 billion (approx.$880 million) had been allocated toward the project, but according to the report, only 70% of the security fence in the Jerusalem area had been completed by 2008; and only 10 of the 13 crossings had been built.


According to Lindenstraus, the delays in the fence's construction stems from budgetary and legal obstacles.


The army said the construction of about 68 miles of the security fence's planned 102 miles around Jerusalem has already been completed, and that the construction of the remaining segment is expected to be finished in 2009, apart from a 2.7- mile stretch which is still being debated in the courts.


"The delay in construction is due to complex legal procedures that are still ongoing," the IDF said.


Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 03.02.09, 18:00
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