IDF to establish unified cyber command to face modern warfare challenges

The IDF has set in motion plans to conquer the future cyberspace battlefield – with both offensive and defensive capabilities.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News

In light of the fresh challenges facing the IDF in the cyber sphere, the IDF will create a new command in order to oversee all operational activity in that dimension, the IDF stated on Monday.

This new command, decided upon by Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, IDF Chief of Staff, will be established within two years, and in the meantime, a multi-branch team has been tasked with presenting a comprehensive development plan.

The new center is of utmost importance in the IDF’s mission to adapt to the changes and challenges of modern warfare, both offensive and defensive, the IDF stressed.

“The IDF is required to excel in every aspect of war, including the cyber dimension, which is becoming more significant every day,” Eisenkot state. “This new command will empower the IDF to perform better in these fronts and will utilize the technological and human advantage that already exists in Israel.”

This initiative will be submitted for authorization from Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon.

IDF cyber

A group of soldiers in the rigorous cyber defense course. (IDF)

In an ever-changing, interconnected world, the influence of computers is rapidly increasing. Israel has been called the “startup nation” and is distinguished for producing the highest number of entrepreneurs per capita in the world. As Israeli society becomes more connected to the internet, cyber threats are also becoming more prominent.

“When we look at data centers and information systems, they are almost entirely located in the cyber dimension. Everything can be attacked potentially. Everything is cyber,” said Maj. Gen. Uzi Moshkovitz, the head of the IDF Telecommunications Branch, in April. This puts a nation such as Israel at great risk because it faces constant threats from its enemies who try to breach this cyber infrastructure.

Cyber defense is also becoming increasingly important for the IDF’s Intelligence Corps.

One exercise conducted by the IDF to improve cyber capability involves drills targeting alien spacecraft and warding off a UFO invasion.

In order to prepare the next generation of soldiers for cyber warfare, the IDF has implemented programs to educate high school students in information technologies, computer science and cyber defense.

The 400 students who participate in the Gvahim (Heights) program face a challenging and demanding workload of 900 hours. On a daily basis, they learn programming languages, networking infrastructure and how to deal with cyber threats. The coursework is on par with undergraduate technology programs and pushes students to become the best in the cyber field.