The IDF ground forces’ operational capability will increase to 79% in 2011, based on the exercises in its training schedule. By way of comparison, six months after the 2006 Second Lebanon War, its combat readiness stood at only 70%.
The Ground Forces introduced the standard for evaluating operational capability after the Second Lebanon War, the same standard that the IAF had been using for decades. This standard consists of numerous parameters that are periodically checked, such as the dimensions and level of difficulty of training exercises, combat readiness of the reserves, quality of equipment, and level of the commanders’ knowledge and performance aptitude.
The capability level of each Ground Force’s unit is periodically evaluated. After the Second Lebanon War, due to the low level of the reservists and regular forces performance, capability was judged to be only 70%. Since then, thanks to an increase in inventory and major investment in training programs, the level of operational capability has been consistently on the rise, reaching 78% in 2010, and scheduled to increase by an additional one percent this year. This has been due to the Ground Force’s decision to invest 1.2 million NIS (approximately $340 million) in training exercises. According to a senior Ground Forces officer, “In order to maintain the current levels and raise them by one percent, significant investment is needed. Nevertheless, the level will continue to rise this year as well”.
Ground Forces Training Commander Major General Sami Turgeman notes that in 2011 the level of difficulty in reservists’ training will increase. This year, for the first time since the early 1990s, reserve brigades will engage in live-fire exercises.
In recent years only regular army brigades underwent live-fire training, while the reserve brigades took part in simulated exercises. Representatives of the Ground Forces acknowledge that the professional level of the reserve forces has improved in recent years, following intensive training in wartime scenarios.
The Ground Forces will conduct exercises for the regular battalions in 2011, without advance notice, under simulated wartime conditions.