Military and Strategic Affairs
No. 1, July 2016 Volume 8
No. 1, July 2016 Volume 8
The Challenges Facing the Israel Defense Forces, 2015–2016Military and Strategic Affairs, Volume 8, No. 1, July 2016Gadi Eisenkot(This essay is an edited transcript of the chief of staff’s speech at the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in January 2016.)The challenges facing the Israel Defense (IDF) Forces (IDF) in the foreseeable future are composed of three main factors. The first is Israel’s rapidly changing strategic environment. The nuclear deal between Iran and the superpowers and the subsequent lifting of the sanctions against Iran constitute a strategic turning point for the IDF’s major threat over the past decade. The crumbling of the old order in the Middle East, existing since the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, as well as the weakening of the state framework over the past four to five years illustrate the region’s instability, which will continue to characterize it for many years to come. In addition, the phenomenon of the Islamic State and global jihad has become a major moving force in the Middle East. The IDF’s General Staff began discussing this challenge in late 2013 and early 2014, and since then it has continued to develop.
Principles of the Israeli Political-Military Discourse Based on the Recent IDF Strategy DocumentMilitary and Strategic Affairs, Volume 8, No. 1, July 2016Relations between the military and political echelons in Israel are complex and multifaceted, both in theory and in practice. The problems resulting from the interface between the two have at times resulted in ineffective military deployment or a crisis of expectations. Moreover, as the positions of the political echelon are never unanimous, its directives to the military have not always been aligned with the government’s position, and sometimes even have been nebulous.In August 2015, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released a document entitled the “IDF Strategy” directly addressing the issue. Signed by the chief of staff, the document is notable in part for its proposal to adjust the discourse between the military and political echelons as well as to clarify the role of the chief of staff and his functional autonomy. In this document, the chief of staff suggests to the political echelon how it should formulate directives to the military so that military action will match the political objective in question, and thereby prevent a crisis of expectations. According to the document, the IDF sees its role of achieving “victory,” which does not necessarily mean defeating the enemy; the political echelon together with the chief of staff must define the concept of victory before the military is deployed. The publication of the “IDF Strategy,” unprecedented in Israel’s civil-military relations, alsohighlights the chief of staff’s sensitivity to Israeli public opinion.
Information-Sharing Challenges in an Intra-Sectorial EnvironmentMilitary and Strategic Affairs, Volume 8, No. 1, July 2016Gabi Siboni,Hadas KleinInformation sharing in cyberspace includes the sharing of attack methods, tools and means of attack, targets of an attack, weaknesses discovered, and ways of dealing with threats. Information sharing constitutes a strategic defensive principle. It is aimed at enhancing general strength in cyberspace. Various and diverse information-sharing initiatives are currently operating in Israel and throughout the world, but they are not as effective as they could be. This article addresses a number of economic and political challenges facing intra-sectorial information-sharing initiative, and examines the extent of their influence, and gives examples of similar challenges in other fields. Finally, we make recommendations in order to minimize the effects of the challenges imposed upon the design and implementation of informationsharing plans in an intra-sectorial environment.
The Israeli Home Front Command: Missions, Challenges, and Future ProspectsMilitary and Strategic Affairs, Volume 8, No. 1, July 2016The Israeli Home Front Command has undergone many phases of change until having reached its present level of preparedness for providing the adequate response to man-made security challenges. This level of performance raises several serious questions regarding its capacity to serve as Israel's primary agent of response to major disruptions, extensive man-made security hazards, and natural novel risks. Its future success in standing up to wide-scale challenges will depend not only on its own level of preparedness, but also on its capacity to work together with the other governmental agencies, the local authorities, NGOs, and the civilians as a whole. This will also depend on the level of societal resilience of the Israeli public. The Home Front Command is well aware of this precondition, and is investing lavishly to enhance it. But above all, it has to be remembered that the ultimate challenge is still ahead of us, be it security related or by natural cause, like a major earthquake.
The Death of Human Intelligence: How Human Intelligence Has Been Minimized Since the 1960sMilitary and Strategic Affairs, Volume 8, No. 1, July 2016Bradley A. LewisSince the beginning of time, the collection of human intelligence (HUMINT) has been the cornerstone of gaining an advantage over one’s enemies. Over the past fifty years, the United States, under three particular administrations, has tried to end the process of HUMINT collection. HUMINT has always been associated with tradecraft and the necessity to work with unsavory characters. The information gleaned from these characters, however, has proven both vital and important in terms of defending against a threat as well as pursuing an objective. The derision expressed toward the methods of collection and those involved in the process has gone from a clandestine operation to front-page headlines. This image has been changed by political factors not associated with winning or losing.
The Khorasan GroupMilitary and Strategic Affairs, Volume 8, No. 1, July 2016Ariel KochThe threat posed by the Islamic State to many nations has led to the formation of an international coalition whose forces have been bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. Some of the bombings in Syria have targeted the strongholds of the Khorasan group. Very little is known about this group. It appears to be an international terrorist cell that settled in Syria under the cover of the country’s chaos in order to plan attacks against the West and train its members to carry them out. In September 2014, the United States labelled the Khorasan group an imminent security threat that is even more dangerous than the Islamic State. The aim of this essay is to shed light on the Khorasan group, its members, and their capabilities, and based on our analysis of this group, determine whether or not it poses a potential threat, which, assumingly, could be aimed at the West and also at Israel and the Jewish diaspora.
Combating Terrorism: Socioeconomic Issues, Boko Haram, and Insecurity in the North-East Region of NigeriaMilitary and Strategic Affairs, Volume 8, No. 1, July 2016Oluwaseun BamideleThe discourse on the root causes of the Boko Haram domestic terrorism group rages on in Nigeria, as extremists continue to lure destitute militants to their cause. Counter-terrorism needs to focus its efforts on eradicating the breeding grounds for these impoverished sympathizers. A new strategy and a new method should be adopted to prevent the threat of domestic terrorism. Fighting domestic terrorism with human development, specifically social and economic development, should emerge as a new public narrative and long-term objective as part of strategic efforts to counter-terrorism. This paper is an attempt to explore the possible linkage between domestic terrorism and the socioeconomic situation in the North-East region of Nigeria. It examines the possible links between poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, health, and the growth of domestic terrorism.