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Learning to Mow Grass: IDF Adaptations to Hybrid Threats

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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From the Army Operating Concept to ADP 3-0, the US Army expects to fight hybrid threats in the current operating environment. Hybrid threats combine the characteristics of irregular forces with improved conventional capabilities. This monograph examines the adaptations of the Israel Defense Force against hybrid threats to draw relevant operational lessons for military planners. It links the nature of the hybrid threat, Israeli adaptations, and the adaptations effects on Israeli operational art against the hybrid threat in three case studies spanning the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Operation Cast Lead in 2008, and Operation Protective Edge in 2014.The monograph observed Israeli adaptations in the three areas of materiel, doctrine, and training for comprehensiveness. After meeting a hybrid threat on the battlefield in 2006, the Israel Defense Force invested in equipment like the Merkava IV tank, Trophy active protection system, and Iron Dome. It purged Systemic Operational Designs language from its tactical doctrine. Critically, the Israel Defense Force retrained both active and reserve units for combined arms maneuver to defeat hybrid threats. Altogether, this provided Israeli operational art the means of a conventional ground force to succeed against Hamas in 2008 and 2014. The IDF lacked such a force against Hezbollahs hybrid threat in 2006, and lost. An Israeli ground force reequipped and retrained for combined arms maneuver defeated Hamas in 2008, and enabled Israeli operational art to counter Hamas new subterranean threat in 2014. The Israeli experience from 2006 to 2014 have made clear that a ground force capable of combined arms maneuver remained a necessary component for effective operational art against a hybrid threat.

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,05 Jun 2016,25 May 2017



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Approved For Public Release;

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