The young men being inducted in the upcoming July-august draft will be making history – they will be the first to serve less than three years, forcing the military branches to adopt some unique solutions to bridge the manpower gap. In accordance with a decision made by the last government, male soldiers will serve two years and eight months.
The IDF hoped that the gap in personnel (equal to nine battalions), would be minimized by extending female service by four months, and increasing the number of Haredi draftees; however, the government decided to leave the situation as is.
The ground forces branch is expected to have all Special Forces troops, field commanders, and all special position holders, sign on for three full years – being granted career army conditions in the last four months. The air force, however, has come up with a different plan.
Israel's strategic arm, the air force, is looking at a loss of hundreds of soldiers serving in critical combat support roles.
As a substitute to a draftee, the air force is looking to outsource some technical aspects to civilian companies, in a manner that would also save the air force millions every year. "We are at the height of mapping our needs to create alternatives to the decline in manpower, like outsourcing tasks relating to repairing F-16 avionics," a high ranking air force officer said to Ynet.
"We are working towards a contract with one of the major defense companies, which will see the establishment of a maintenance center for parts and systems within the company, which will replace existing air force repair labs. There are a lot of advantages to this process in terms of preserving data and updated equipment. This process alone will eliminate multiple personnel positions."
In addition to the civilian maintenance center for fighter jets, the air force is planning to outsource its stock warehouses for the UAV division. "We are introducing advanced technology that will replace soldiers, for example a guided robot that is currently in service with the American army, which opens and closes screws on aircraft, a process that is currently done by soldiers," the officer said.
In addition to these changes, the IAF's courses are expected to change in a way that will make them more efficient, and most likely shorter. According to the officer, "we are examining the whole training process, from the beginning, with the trade school students, who also need to undergo a multi-month course in the military. We will find a better way to utilize their time in the courses, including doing less kitchen duty, in addition to shortening the courses and extending the on site training period."
The air force also plans on enlarging the amount of soldiers serving in technical positions. Today 30% of the force's technical staff are women; the air force is looking to increase the number by at least 10%. The force is looking to expand the technical positions available to women, and just recently marked a mile stone when two female officers at the rank of major where appointed as technical officers at Iron dome batteries, maintaining thier rader systems.
Three female officers of the same rank where appointed to key positions as air force representatives in the US: Communications officer in charge of engines in the attaché's office in Washington, a key officer in F35 (Adir) program, and project head of C-130j (Shimson) program.