Throughout its existence, the State of Israel and its defense armed forces have had to face military and security challenges. Those challenges appeared in the shapes of wars and military campaigns that brought the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to its current advanced capabilities. Nevertheless, the IDF's achievements, if not being carefully looked over, might become a trap in terms of future operational and capability needs.
Israel is facing security challenges on every front. These challenges are a result of the unstable times we live in. As such, the IDF is confronted with semi or non-state actors — Hezbollah, Hamas, Nusra Front and the Islamic State. At the same time, although reduced and improbable, traditional threats of military formations have not disappeared. We are faced with the extensive threat of "rocket terrorism" in the hands of those organizations. These trends are taking place in the shadows of the nuclear aspirations of Iran.
ABOUT THIS SERIES: Defense News asked 15 thought leaders in military, government, academia and industry -- from Europe to Asia to the US to the Middle East -- for their perspectives on their region and how they fit into world events. The result is a comprehensive collection of viewpoints that puts 2014 into context while forecasting the challenges -- and what must be done to meet them -- in 2015.
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Hezbollah, together with Iran, have amassed thousands of rockets and missiles that are mobile, concealed and precise.
Syria poses a challenge, not only for Israel, but also for Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Europe, with hundreds of Europeans who later return home from jihad. Everybody has a vested interest in this.
The challenge of the Syrian civil war threatening to spill over into Israel — and jeopardize the stability we have grown so used to in the past 40 years — is real. The reality in Syria, where the rule of law has been replaced by the rule of gun on our border, requires the IDF to be prepared to stand guard, ready for action to defend ourselves. Similar, although on a lesser level, are the threats on our southern border with Sinai, Hamas' Gaza and the terrorism originating from Judea and Samaria.
We are building our force to meet these threats: precision striking capabilities, swift maneuverability, all based on extensive intelligence. We have developed and modified the IDF's defensive and offensive capabilities on the borders. Today, the borders on the Golan Heights or in the south have a substantial barrier.
All of these components must work in perfect synchronization and the different forces must complement each other's strengths and make redundant their weaknesses:
Warning surveillance and new units established with all of the operational tools at hand to protect Israel from these unstable developments.
Operational action in the field must be driven by intelligence that is quality, precise, timeworthy and able to encompass the entire scope from social trends to strategic implications.
A robust force superiority that will give Israel that added value, having that edge in the air, at sea and on the ground.
Our preparedness will be based on our ability to arrange our future forces to be hybrid and capable of operating in different operational environments, to face multiple challenges in shape and form. In short, a military that is most able to adapt.
Victory cannot be achieved through only defensive campaigns. Yet, you can be strong in offensive as much as your defensive measures allow you to be. In the case of Israel, where much of the threats are directed to harm its strategic sites and civil population, the defense capability is indeed in need. Therefore, there's need for a balance between the different aspects of the force.
All these challenges extend several opportunities for regional cooperation and international cooperation. There is much to gain from working with allies, regional and global, that are also faced with the challenges of our times.
The characteristics of wars might have changed a bit over the years, but the nature of it hasn't. Ambiguity and the unknown is still so much there. Flexibility and the capability to quickly adjust your structure and plans into reality as you actually face them is the top priority of any military force. That was the case in the past and it won't change in future times as well.
So while learning the right lessons from past experience, we'll do right by adopting hybrid capability, keeping the balance of our force and decisively educating ourselves to show some real-time flexibility.