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State Comptroller slams IDF inefficiency

Yosef Shapira releases report on defense budget: IDF has increased manpower while cutting maneuvers and army preparedness.

IDF Paratroopers over tunnel opening


State Comptroller Judge (ret.) Joseph Shapira has published a special scathing critique of the IDF and the Ministry of Defense.

The report said that the defense establishment had failed to meet the main efficiency targets set in the framework of the budget format formulated by the Brodet Committee in 2007, inflated the permanent army apparatus, and cut maneuvers and army preparedness as a result of budget constraints; and that the senior command had not audited and inspected implementation of decisions made about economies and expenses.

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  • the Brodet Committee stated explicitly that the defense establishment should cut its spending by $7.8 billion within a decade at the rate of 1% a year –  The amount actually cut was less than half – $1 billion.
  • Spending on the building up of forces accounts for 15% of the defense budget.
  • Repeated decisions by the Ministry of Defense director general and IDF Deputy Chief of Staff in 2011-2012 relating to streamlining in the Ministry of Defense Tank Program Directorate and the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure had not been implemented.

 “The parties made responsible for carrying out these decisions did not do so. Furthermore, the high steering committee that had been founded in the defense establishment for this purpose had not followed up the decisions taken, and it was not found that its leaders had demanded explanations of the reasons why their decisions had not been carried out. This is a substantial fault. A situation in which a committee headed by the Ministry of Defense director general and the IDF Deputy Chief of Staff determine targets and presents clear timetables for carrying them out, but they are not carried out, and the committee did not conduct an audit of the implementation of its decisions, should be regarded with the utmost gravity.”

  • Spending on salaries for members of the permanent army accounts for 18% of total spending by the defense establishment, but that the IDF had not agreed on a personnel cutting program by the end of 2012.
  • IDF not reduce the number of those serving in the permanent army, but the number had actually increased by 9% at that time.

The defense establishment contracted with the McKinsey international consultant firm,  Following the Brodet report. The firm drew a report including recommended cutbacks in construction, procurement, and maintenance in the IDF and the Ministry of Defense. McKinsey considered the question of maintenance in the IDF land forces deployment, and warned that “better use of resources is necessary.”

  •  implementation of the McKinsey recommendations faced difficulties, resulted of lack of cooperation within the system.

The report bring an internal report wrote by a senior officer in charge of carrying out this streamlining. The report was distributed to IDF Deputy Chief of Staff , the Ministry of Defense and officials. This report said:

“Activity in this aspect was replete with difficulties and opposition by many parties. As I see it, the situation has to be substantially changed. All the analyses showed waste of resources, lack of efficient management, and significant potential for economizing. It is unacceptable for such an important general staff process to be affected by the level of motivation and cooperation among junior staff levels.”


The State Comptroller marked :

“The situation described indicates an absence of proper command and control over the economizing process on the part of the senior echelon in the defense establishment, which has caused, among other things, failure to achieve the expected cost cutting in the maintenance sector. Economizing should be continuous. In some areas, no comprehensive examination of cost cutting took place for years, while at the same time, the defense establishment was complaining that the budget was inadequate. Had such an examination revealed that shifting resources from some areas was possible, it is possible that this could have led to the reassigning of resources to areas such as combat readiness, which were for years a target for cutbacks due to an alleged lack of money.”

the State Comptroller called on to formulate clear and orderly rules for the process of inspection and supervision by the Ministry of Finance of economizing in the defense establishment.

  • The prime minister had conducted only one discussion, in October 2008, about economizing in the defense establishment.
  • Head of The National Security Council had not given PM reports on the matter.
  • The security cabinet did not conducted one even  one discussion a year on this topic.
  • The National Security Council had not conducted continuous supervision on the question of economizing in the defense establishment.

The State Comptroller also addressed the cuts in the budget for IDF training and preparedness caused by the defense establishment’s perpetual lack of money.

The Ministry of Defense director general commenting on what was defined in the State Comptroller’s report as a “phenomenon.” He told the State Comptroller’s representatives,  “A large proportion of the defense budget is locked up in the short term for pensions, salaries for soldiers doing compulsory service, and rehabilitation for army disabled. Only part of the IDF budget is considered ‘flexible, ‘ and can be immediately cut.” The report replies:

“In the long term, all the inflexible elements of the defense budget can be made flexible, but whenever the defense establishment is told it must make cutbacks, it was found that it had economized primarily in areas affecting the IDF’s battle fitness and readiness – in particular exercises for reserves. This mode of operation highlights the need for a continuous process of streamlining involving all sections of the defense budget, and for an examination of the sources for a situation in which a budget cut is required, according to the priorities to be set, with minimal damage to the core IDF deployment.”

  • No evidence had been found that the IDF had done any work during the period under review on reducing activity not part of the core IDF task, such as military censorship, Galei Tzahal (Army Radio), Gadna (pre-army youth battalions), and more.

“It is desirable that the possibility of considering substantial changes in IDF structure, while cutting back activities that are not part of its core business, take place as soon as possible, “


The IDF and Ministry of Defense said in response:

“The State Comptroller’s report refers to 2008-2012, and does not reflect what is currently taking place in the IDF. We note that starting in 2012, for reasons beyond its control, the IDF has been operating without a multi-year plan, in contrast to the usual practice in organizations on the scale of the IDF and the defense establishment, despite its efforts to implement the “Tarash, ” “Oz, ” and “Teuza” multi-year budget plans.

“The Brodet framework was eliminated in 2013. Nevertheless, concurrently with the defense budget cut, the defense establishment is continuing its cost-cutting efforts, and expects to achieve 90% of the target ($7 billion out of $7.8 billion) by 2017. The IDF has also continued its economizing efforts on its own initiative in a difficult process in which thousands of permanent army personnel were laid off.”




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