Transformation Deja Vu? A Comparison of Military Improvements of Israel (1967-1973) and the United States (1990-2002)
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV NORFOLK VA JOINT FORCES STAFF COLL
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In 1967, an outnumbered and outgunned Israeli military achieved a stunning and militarily decisive victory in six days. It decimated the Arab coalition forces, achieving destruction of 85 percent of the Egyptian air forces and 80 percent of their ground equipment, and inflicted over 10,000 Egyptian casualties Gawrych 3. In 1973, when the Israelis again fought the Egyptians, the Israeli experience proved markedly different. While the Israeli Defense Force IDF eventually gained a tactical success, it achieved only a political stalemate. Much more significantly, it suffered three times as many casualties as in 1967, an unprecedented incidence of combat shock. The clear tactical losses early in the campaign erased the Israeli image of invulnerability, and helped create a backlash from the Israeli publics expectation of quick, bloodless victory that led to internal political upheaval and recrimination in Israel Gawrych 79. The Israelis learned after their painful experience in 1973 that the fruits of their 1967 success had sown the seeds for future military failure their dramatic tactical successes in 1967 had created expectations of quick and bloodless future victories. After their 1967 successes, the IDF overestimated the superiority of its own soldiers, equipment, and doctrine while grossly underestimating the capabilities of its enemies. The internal development of the IDF after the 1967 War centered on three pillars that overemphasized the traits to which they attributed their success superior intelligence, air power, and rapid, tank-centric maneuver. As a result, these developed at the expense of other elements of combined arms and joint warfare, creating the vulnerabilities that were successfully exploited by a militarily weaken Egypt in 1973.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics