Israel Discovering Transformation’s Limits?
DefenseTech brings us reports that American and Israeli intelligence seriously underestimated the amount and quality of weapons Hezbollah’s state sponsors have managed to smuggle to them, including advanced anti-ship missiles and an arsenal of rockets from Iran that include weapons considered SRBMs. Intelligence is always imprecise, however, and slip-ups like this are to be expected on occasion.
Recent events may have put a more serious dent, however, in some implementation doctrines around military transformation and “the Revolution in Military Affairs.” DID has talked about both transformation’s value and its limitations, as expressed in case studies and situations like the US military’s encounter at Objective Peach in 2003. The Israelis, too, may be finding the limits of transformation, according to some Israeli military observers.
DefenseTech has a link-filled article called “Tech Undermining Israeli Army?” that makes the following points:
“…security experts and military officers not directly involved in the fighting say there are fundamental flaws in Israel’s budget-draining techno-centric defensive strategy,” and especially reliance on networked sensors as the mainstay of surveillance efforts. These failed rather conspicuously in allowing the surprise kidnapping of 2 Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, there are complaints that the level of attention to technology has been harmful in other ways. Israelis aren’t exactly known for shyness, and one IDF brigadier general is quoted as saying…
“With all due credit to technology and the capabilities it provides, we cannot neglect basic soldiering and discipline. But time and again, we’ve seen our training budget gutted to allow for full-bore investment in Tzayad. And now we’re seeing the results blowing up in our faces.”
If Tsayad network-centric warfare project really has impacted training and basic soldiering, then it may well be a costly mistake – no technology, however slick, can ever really make up for that lack (interestingly, a Finnish general recently made similar comments). At the same time, DID would caution readers that these kinds of opinion splits can be found in any military, at any time.
It would be interesting to hear a more thorough assessment after this iteration of the current proxy war between Syria – Iran and Israel has run its course. Even so, real failures have occurred – and the longer-term consequences will impact everything from the US immigration debate (current proposals are dependent on high-tech sensors to stop illegal immigration) to the implementation of transformation programs around the world and especially the USA’s Future Combat Systems and its plethora of UAVs and unmanned sensors.
See also: “Iran-Syria vs. Israel, Round 1: Assessments & Lessons Learned“