“In the Fields of Warheads & Rockets We are Among the Global Leaders”: Ami Rojkes Dombe, Israel Defense, Jan. 6, 2016 — IMI’s Corporate VP Marketing speaks about the challenge of maintaining the technological edge in a world where American and European defense industries have switched into an export-oriented strategy.
Israel's 5-Year Plan Bulks Up Combat Capabilities; Cuts Manpower: Barbara Opall-Rome, Defense News, Jan. 7, 2015 — The Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) latest five-year plan, roughly half of the 310 billion shekel ($78.6 billion) projected for defense spending through 2020, aims to bulk up cyber-protected, networked combat capabilities while cutting back on manpower and non-combat support services.
Former U.S. Defence Secretary Warns of ‘Real and Growing Danger’ of Nuclear Doom: Robert Burns, Global, Dec. 29, 2015— Late in a life lived unnervingly near the nuclear abyss, William J. Perry is on a mission to warn of a “real and growing danger” of nuclear doom.
The Myth of Peacekeeping’s Effectiveness: National Post, Jan. 4, 2016 — The tiny central African country of Burundi may be on the verge of a serious outbreak of violence drawn on ethnic and political lines, similar to the horrors that engulfed neighbouring Rwanda in the 1990s.
The IDF in 2016: Cyber Protection, a New Submarine and Less Alarms: Tom Dolov, Jerusalem Online, Jan. 2, 2016
Israel's First Stealth Fighter Jet Enters Advanced Production Stage in Texas: Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 10, 2015
Israel — Cleared But in the Dock: Elliott Abrams, National Review, Dec. 14, 2015
Ami Rojkes Dombe
Israel Defense, Jan. 6, 2016
IMI’s (Israel Military Industries—Ed.) Corporate VP Marketing speaks about the challenge of maintaining the technological edge in a world where American and European defense industries have switched into an export-oriented strategy. Over the last few years, IMI has undergone a process of marketing focus led by Avinoam Zafir, who has served as IMI’s Corporate VP Marketing for the past nine years. From a company that manufactured ammunition primarily, IMI switched to the manufacture of state-of-the-art weapon systems for the modern battlefield.
“We have identified a trend among countries worldwide of switching to high-precision weapons,” says Zafir. “Such weapons make it possible to hit the target with the first shot, thereby denying the enemy the ability to reorganize. This is a substantial operational advantage. The same applies to infantry operations. Some weapons can place a 40mm round into a window from a range of 150 meters with the first shot.”
Along with high-precision weapons, another field on which IMI focuses is ground platforms. IMI’s subsidiary Ashot Ashkelon manufactures the transmission for the Merkava tanks. IMI also developed light combat vehicles for special operations units, including the Wildcat and more recently the CombatGuard – a modular off-road vehicle that may be fitted with a weapon station and an active protection system, among other things.
“We also focus on the field of protection for ground platforms,” explains Zafir. “Over many decades, IMI has been the armor protection house of the IDF: modified Patton tanks, Merkava tanks, we also provide protection in the context of projects overseas, including everything from passive protection made from sheet steel, ceramics and composite materials to active protection. We have a cooperative alliance with Rafael in this field.
“Another field we focus on is warheads. IMI is a national excellence center in the field of warheads for different applications: against bunkers, armored vehicles and personnel targets. We serve as consultants to all the other Israeli industries. One example of our specialized knowledge is the MPR-500 bomb – an air-to-surface bomb weighing 250 kg. Following the Second Lebanon War we identified a phenomenon of unexploded bombs. They took a ‘dumb’ bomb costing US$ 3,000 to 4,000, attached a guidance kit costing US$ 30,000 to 40,000, and the bomb failed to explode on the ground.
“The operational significance of this phenomenon cannot be overstated. You dispatch a fighter aircraft, place the pilots at risk, try to make the most of an intelligence window of opportunity – and the bomb does not work. Either the bomb breaks, the fuse breaks or the bomb fails to detonate. The entire sortie goes down the drain, including the cost of the bomb and the guidance kit. So we came up with a more effective bomb with 98% reliability. Since then, IAF has only purchased this bomb. You can fit it with any guidance kit available in the market. It produces controlled fragmentation of 28,000 tungsten pellets in a manner that minimizes collateral damage. You can use it to knock down a floor in a building, and the next-door building will not be affected in any way.”
What about UAVs and cyber technology? “We focus on the core activities we had set for ourselves. In UAVs we do not have a relative advantage over other companies. We currently sell artillery systems that include UAVs by a third party. They serve as our sub-contractors, and we are the prime contractor.
“Regarding cyber technology, as far back as 12 years ago I was engaged in a conversation with a major American company when the issue of cyber warfare came up. We did not know what it was back then. They had already invested hundreds of millions in protecting their assets. Today we understand that if you sell a system, you must provide it with adequate protection. It is a necessity and the client expects it. For this reason, we developed an in-house unit that provides such solutions. As far as selling cyber technology systems based on in-house capabilities is concerned – that is not one of our primary activities.”
Along with the product-oriented focusing, IMI also focuses on markets possessing a substantial potential. Zafir explains that these days, the potential is to be found in Europe and Asia. “Some of the countries in Europe acquire resources for symmetrical warfare. South East Asia is also developing,” explains Zafir. “At the same time, there is also a decreasing trend in the defense budget of the USA and you see American industries investing in exports, unlike anything they did a decade ago, and they enlist the government’s support in promoting their business.
“At the technological level, some countries invest in defensive procurement – especially air-defense systems against aircraft and missiles. Over the last decade we have seen more missiles and rockets as the reference threat. This technology has become inexpensive and readily available and provides a long-range threat for a low cost and with almost no risk. Additionally, it is a direct threat to the civilian population…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Defense News, Jan. 7, 2016
The Israel Defense Forces' (IDF) latest five-year plan, roughly half of the 310 billion shekel ($78.6 billion) projected for defense spending through 2020, aims to bulk up cyber-protected, networked combat capabilities while cutting back on manpower and non-combat support services.
Dubbed Gideon, the plan is designed to augment the IDF's capacity to fight in multiple theaters, with sufficient war stocks to allow for protracted combat along its northern border with Lebanon and Syria — which is considered two fronts of the same theater — and at least one other theater, whether that be Gaza, the West Bank or Iran, officers here said. "We certainly don't intend to reduce our current capabilities for Iran," an IDF general officer said when asked if the recent nuclear deal with Iran would allow Israel to divert resources to other theaters. "Gideon also allows flexibility to enhance these capabilities, if needed," he added.
In parallel, Plan Gideon bolsters home front defenses, with at least one more battery of the Iron Dome air defense system and deployment of the new David's Sling and Upper Tier Arrow-3 intercepting systems, in addition to continuous upgrades of Israel's existing Arrow-2 system.
"We'll continue to expand our air and anti-missile defenses, where funding is heavily influenced by our strong connection with the Americans," the officer said of joint US-Israel missile development programs. "We understand the importance of maintaining funding according to previous agreements. So there will be no changes; no cuts."
In a recent interview, the officer from J5 planning of the IDF general staff said Plan Gideon does not presume a hike in annual US grant aid, despite the fact that both sides are working to conclude a new 10-year aid package before the current agreement expires in 2017. "As far as our plan is concerned, we are not counting on a hike in aid. Our plan presupposes current [Foreign Military Financing (FMF)] levels of at least $3.1 billion." He quickly added, "If and when our governments agree to a hike in FMF, we will know what to do with it. But at the moment, we are not there."
Under an existing $30 billion agreement signed in 1997, Israel is scheduled to receive $3.1 billion in annual FMF through fiscal year 2018, minus any necessary adjustments due to sequestration. Of that amount, Israel is permitted to convert 26.3 percent — some $815 million — into Israeli shekels for local research, development and procurement needs. Funds for joint missile defense programs are separate budget items, above and beyond annual US military grant aid to Israel.
In a meeting of the Saban Forum early last month, Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the two sides may be able to conclude a follow-on FMF agreement as early as next month. "Hopefully, we will be able to conclude the MoU for the next decade and to have a good plan to build up the IDF especially and our intelligence agencies. This is a US commitment that is very important, and we appreciate it very much," Ya'alon said.
According to materials published by the IDF spokesman's unit, Plan Gideon prescribes heightened readiness, organizational streamlining; enhanced air-, sea-, ground, and subsurface combat capabilities; new infrastructure and cross-the-board efficiency measures, including cuts to professional and conscript cadres. The plan merges the technology and logistics branch of the IDF General Staff into the IDF's Ground Forces Command for more holistic and efficient planning, procurement and operations. It also calls for standing up a Joint Cyber Command that ultimately aims to integrate defensive capabilities now provided by the IDF's C4I Branch with collection and offensive operations now performed by various communities of military intelligence…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Global, Dec. 29, 2015
Late in a life lived unnervingly near the nuclear abyss, William J. Perry is on a mission to warn of a “real and growing danger” of nuclear doom. The 88-year-old former defence secretary is troubled by the risks of catastrophe from the very weapons he helped develop. Atop his list: a nuclear terror attack in a major U.S. city or a shooting war with Russia that, through miscalculation, turns nuclear. A terrorist attack using a nuclear bomb or improvised nuclear device could happen “any time now – next year or the year after,” he said in an interview with reporters earlier this month.
Perry chooses his words with the precision of a mathematician, which he was before entering the defence world in the mid-1950s. He played a central role in developing and modernizing nuclear forces throughout the Cold War – first as a technology whiz-kid and later a three-time senior Pentagon executive. During the 1962 Cuban missile crisis Perry was secretly summoned to Washington to analyze intelligence on Soviet weapons in Cuba.
“Every day that I went to the analysis center I thought would be my last day on earth,” he writes in a newly published memoir, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink.” He says he believed then and still believes that the world avoided a nuclear holocaust as much by good luck as by good management. In the interview, he recounted a harrowing incident in November 1979 when, as a senior Pentagon official, he was awakened by a 3 a.m. phone call from the underground command center responsible for warning of a missile attack. The watch officer told Perry his computers were showing 200 nuclear-armed missiles on their way from the Soviet Union to the United States.
“It was, of course, a false alarm,” Perry said, but it was one of many experiences throughout the Cold War and beyond that he says have given him a “unique and chilling vantage point from which to conclude that nuclear weapons no longer provide for our security – they now endanger it.”
His views are remarkable, not least because they strike at the heart of the conventional wisdom about nuclear weapons that has been embraced by both political parties for decades. For example, Perry thinks the U.S. nuclear force no longer needs land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, and can rely on the other two “legs” of the force – bomber aircraft and submarine-based missiles. ICBMs should be scrapped, he says, adding, “I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I think it should happen. They’re not needed” to deter nuclear aggression. He also opposes the Obama administration’s plan to build a new nuclear-capable cruise missile.
Perry looks at Russia’s nuclear modernization and U.S. plans to spend hundreds of billions to update its nuclear arsenal and sees irrational nuclear competition. “I see an imperative to stop this damn nuclear race before it gets under way again, not just for the cost but for the danger it puts all of us in,” he said.
When the Cold War ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Perry thought the world had dodged a nuclear bullet. In his first book, co-authored in 1999 with the man now running the Pentagon, Ash Carter, Perry argued that the demise of the Soviet system meant nuclear disaster was no longer an “A List” threat.
By 2014, his optimism had faded, in no small part because of the collapse of cooperative relations between Washington and Moscow, which has ended any realistic prospect of new arms control agreements and, in Perry’s view, has put the two countries on a dangerous path toward confrontation. “We are facing nuclear dangers today that are in fact more likely to erupt into a nuclear conflict than during the Cold War,” Perry said in a recent speech.
A soft-spoken man not given to hyperbole, Perry is on a public crusade to persuade people that nothing less than the future of civilization is at stake. What worries him most is that few seem to notice. “Our chief peril is that the poised nuclear doom, much of it hidden beneath the seas and in remote badlands, is too far out of the public consciousness,” he wrote in his memoir. In his book’s preface Perry outlines a nuclear terror scenario, which he calls “my nuclear nightmare, born of long and deep experience.”
In his scenario, a small group gets its hands on enough uranium to fashion a crude nuclear bomb, flies it undetected to Washington’s Dulles International Airport and slips the bomb into a warehouse in the District of Columbia. From there it is loaded onto a delivery truck and a suicide bomber drives it onto Pennsylvania Avenue midway between the Capitol and the White House. When detonated, it kills 80,000 people instantly, including the president. The news media report a message claiming that five more bombs are hidden in five different U.S. cities, and one will be set off each week.
“The danger of a nuclear bomb being detonated in one of our cities is all too real,” Perry writes. “And yet, while this catastrophe would result in a hundred times the casualties of 9/11, it is only dimly perceived by the public and not well understood.”
National Post, Jan. 4, 2016
The tiny central African country of Burundi may be on the verge of a serious outbreak of violence drawn on ethnic and political lines, similar to the horrors that engulfed neighbouring Rwanda in the 1990s. Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza was elected to a controversial third term in July, despite a two-term limit in the country’s constitution, which led to a failed military coup. The cycle of unrest has only escalated in the landlocked state since then, prompting pleas for intervention, directed at both the African Union and the United Nations.
Last week Nkurunziza declared that any intervention would be treated as a violation of Burundi’s sovereignty and forcibly repelled. “Everyone has to respect Burundi’s borders. In case they violate those principles, they will have attacked the country and every Burundian will stand up and fight against them,” he said. His threat suggests any international peacekeeping initiative might escalate the situation, revealing one of the prime flaws of peacekeeping in the first place.
For decades idealists have argued that violent outbreaks in foreign regions should be dealt with via neutral but armed third parties. Nowhere is faith in international peacekeeping stronger than in Canada, which has long held to the notion that our status as a middle power and honest broker is best served by our peacekeeping efforts rather than direct military involvement.
It’s a myth that has held up despite the facts. The face of international peacekeeping has changed dramatically in the decades since Canada played any meaningful role. Nonetheless, the Liberal party’s recent election platform faintly dripped with nostalgia for an imagined past. “We will renew Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping operations,” the party promised. “Under Stephen Harper, Canada has dramatically scaled back its involvement in peace operations,” it added, although in reality Canada’s involvement in peacekeeping operations has been on a steady decline since the mid-1990s, long before the Conservatives took office. “As the number of violent conflicts in the world escalates, demand for international peace operations has never been greater,” the Liberals noted. Which may be true, but is no guarantee Canada could play a meaningful role.
Canada’s affection for peacekeeping dates to 1957, when then-diplomat and later Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to facilitate the departure of Britain and France from Egypt during the Suez Crisis with the aid of a UN peacekeeping force. Though largely a face-saving measure to cover for French and British withdrawal, it drew accolades from which Canadians have never quite recovered.
Throughout the Cold War period, most peacekeeping efforts were failures. Further, far from acting as a neutral “honest broker,” Canada often took the side of Western interests, both political and economic. Even in this era, only 10 per cent of Canada’s defence budget was funnelled into peacekeeping. The rest was diverted to NATO, NORAD and other more conventional military expenditures.
When peacekeeping is effective — as it was in 1964 in Cyprus, for example — it is usually because both sides of a conflict genuinely desire to keep the peace. This is rare. It is far more common for peacekeepers to instead find themselves caught between fighting forces with little interest in peace. Too often, the troops are poorly equipped, poorly trained, under-manned or so constrained by rules of engagement that hinder any hope of success. Canada discovered this first hand two decades ago when Canadian soldiers become embroiled in ugly disputes in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia and, most notoriously, Rwanda, where Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire was unable to save either the Belgian troops under his command or the Rwandan civilian population in the face of a hideous genocide.
Nonetheless, the new Liberal government hopes to turn back the clock, promising to support “international peace operations with the United Nations,” even as more questions arise about the UN’s capacity and reputation. UN peacekeeping has become increasingly dependent on troops from struggling countries that are paid a cash fee for their soldiers. The top suppliers of peacekeeping troops, police and military experts today are not first-world countries that can boast well-trained militaries, but rather Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Rwanda. In that order. Indeed, Burundi has become such an enthusiastic contributor to African Union peacekeeping forces that there are doubts Burundi’s army would be willing to obey an order to resist them.
In recent years, reports abound of peacekeepers participating in widespread corruption and rape. Like so much of the Liberal platform, its hopeful commitment to peacekeeping is based on fuzzy feelings and woolly mythology, along with a poorly articulated discomfort at the occasional necessity of going to war.
Peacekeeping works, sometimes, and in certain and specific situations. Canada has much to contribute in the way of specialist training and humanitarian aid. It should not be used as an excuse to withdraw Canada from playing a meaningful role in the world’s hot spots, however. And Burundi may be about to offer yet another example of peacekeeping’s limitations. Which begs us to ask: would shipping well-intentioned blue helmets from Petawawa to Bujumbura really be in Canada’s best interests? More importantly, would it be in Burundi’s?
As the Mideast Descends into Chaos, Israel Must Have Defensible Borders (Video): JCPA, Jan. 3, 2016—The Middle East is imploding in waves of violence whose impact has reached Israel.
The IDF in 2016: Cyber Protection, a New Submarine and Less Alarms: Tom Dolov, Jerusalem Online, Jan. 2, 2016 —After the Israeli security budget was approved in December, the year of 2016 marks the beginning of a time of many changes for the IDF, which is required to respond to new threats, such as cyber attacks.
Israel's First Stealth Fighter Jet Enters Advanced Production Stage in Texas: Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 10, 2015—The first Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jet, due to be delivered to Israel later this year, has entered an advanced production stage.
Israel — Cleared But in the Dock: Elliott Abrams, National Review, Dec. 14, 2015—The perversity of European attitudes toward, and treatment of, Israel were on ludicrous display in recent weeks.