Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot presented to members of the General Staff the "Gideon" five-year plan for the IDF in the coming years. Iran stands in the center of the plan as a major task, mainly regarding an intelligence gathering effort by the Military Intelligence Directorate, in order to check whether Iran is violating its agreement with the West. The chief of staff of Iran believes that Iran's vision has not changed following the agreement with the superpowers.
A senior officer from the General Staff says that "the removal of the sanctions will allow Iran to invest more money in the region, beyond the $4-5 billion it is investing today. The Iranians ignore the Security Council resolutions and continue to support terrorist organizations in our region". The IDF would like an American compensation, in the form of increased aid in the multi-layer intercepting systems and aerial platforms such as the F-35.
Under the "Gideon" plan it was also determined that the central scenario the IDF is preparing for is a lengthy regional war. The working assumption is that over the next few years the IDF will be required to present its strength in war.
The main changes will affect the IDF in the next five years, if the new plan is approved. These are its main objectives: Dismissing another 2,500 professional soldiers; Reducing the commanders' age; Cutting down the reserve force by 100,000 soldiers, cutting down artillery brigades and light infantry brigades. The reserve soldiers who will remain will be trained, equipped and qualified for a war; Cutting down the commands by about 6%; Shutting down systems and cancelling redundant positions; Establishing a cyber arm; Purchasing surface combatants and introducing a submarine towards the end of the year; Purchasing F-35 planes, introducing an unmanned aircraft lineup and multi-layer protection.
According to IDF estimates, Hezbollah is the most significant enemy in the area around Israel. According to Israeli intelligence estimates, Hezbollah has already lost more than 1,300 combatants and 5,000 wounded in Syria.
As for Syria, in the last 6 weeks the IDF began to check the identity of rebels who are being brought to Israel for treatment across the Syrian border in the Golan Heights, in order to ensure that activists of the Jabhat al-Nusra organization affiliated with al-Qaeda did not receive treatment in Israel.
At the center of the IDF status assessment is a decline in the conventional threat to Israel, due to the disintegration of the Syrian army and an increase in sub-conventional threat from organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. Eizenkot sees that last year, since the end of Operation Protective Edge, was the quietest year in Gaza since 2000. With that being said, Eizenkot also sees Gaza as the most explosive theater that could lead to a new conflict.
IDF is occupied in adapting itself to the wars of the present and the future: Since 1985, the number of tanks was cut down by 75 percent, the number of aircraft by 50 percent and the number of UAVs increased by 400 percent.