Israel has one of the most wired armies on the planet. Relying on overlapping networks of flying drones, hidden cameras, and unattended ground sensors, the Israeli Defense Forces have become a model for how information technology ought to be used in combat. Even the Americans rely on Israeli gear to help them keep tabs on battlefields.But now, some Israeli security experts are beginning to wondering whether all that equipment is such a good idea, after all -- "whether misplaced reliance on high technology created the conditions that have plunged the nation into its first twin-fronted, gloves-off war against Islamic terror," Barbara Opall-Rome writes in this week's Defense News.
In interviews here, security experts and military officers not directly involved in the fighting say there are fundamental flaws in Israels budget-draining techno-centric defensive strategy, which is being funded at the expense of training and discipline throughout the lower echelons of active-duty and reserve forces.It is intolerable, sources here assert, that Hamas commandos from Gaza and Hizbollah fighters in south Lebanon within a 10-day period and despite early warnings were allowed to sneak across borders fortified by a network of manned, unmanned and ground-based systems.Hizbollah operatives found holes in the system of networked surveillance sensors, throwing doubt on Israels highly touted method of low-signature warfare. Particularly shocking was the penetration at Zaarit, which is monitored by an installation heralded as an example of the militarys ability to maintain virtual control over the northern border area.Evading dozens of eyes trained on computer screens in the bases combat information center, the operatives disabled at least one camera, penetrated a so-called dead zone of the border fence, and ambushed reservists dispatched to investigate alarms...While all here appear to embrace the militarys corporate, almost sacrosanct pursuit of information superiority and standoff, remote-controlled capabilities, many are urging renewed emphasis on basic soldiering pending a more thorough validation of high-technology, networked operations...One IDF brigadier general said... "With all due credit to technology and the capabilities it provides, we cannot neglect basic soldiering and discipline. But time and again, weve seen our training budget gutted to allow for full-bore investment in Tzayad [the IDFs digital Army program, a rough equivalent of the U.S.' Future Combat Systems]. And now were seeing the results blowing up in our faces."UPDATE 10:59 AM: Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post has a must-read diary of an Israeli F-16 pilot.
Hitting the target is expected, no misses are acceptable. There aren't any congratulations for a well-performed mission. Only a hammer on the head if something goes wrong. Personally, I think it's a healthy attitude; it causes the whole system to be less rash and hot on the trigger.