Watchdog: Israeli Army Failed to Update Its Munitions Supplies After Gaza War

State Comptroller also says that, for more than 18 years, the Air Force did not update its purchasing targets 'despite the significant changes that have occurred over the years in the types of threats facing it.'

An IDF tank during the 2014 war in Gaza.
Elihau Hershkovitz

For more than two and a half years, from October 2013 through July 2015, the Israel Defense Forces did not update its general staff plan for munitions supplies, the operational needs for armaments and the inventory data, according to the just-released State Comptroller’s report. This was in spite of the fact that extensive use was made of the weapons stores during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 and the inventory was depleted. After the operation, the IDF General Staff said the forces fighting in Gaza used more weaponry than was anticipated.

The report, parts of which were not made public for reasons of national security, also says that the Israel Air Force did not promote development and supply of a certain type of (unspecified) weaponry “despite the existing operational need.” Also, for more than 18 years, the air force did not update its purchasing targets for another type of weaponry “despite the significant changes that have occurred over the years in the types of threats facing it and the importance of updating the readiness goals for the sake of building up the force.” Some of this weaponry has not undergone maintenance by the air force since at least 2012.

In regard to another type of weaponry, also unspecified, the report says there was a delay of three years before the ground forces determined that the supply goals were far from being met. The report says that only in early 2014 did the army begin to update the figures on that type of weaponry, and until the work was complete no new goals were set for that weaponry, and no plans to acquire it.

The comptroller also found that there were “serious flaws in the processes of determining readiness targets and building up the ground and air forces in terms of certain types of weaponry, as well as in the oversight of this by the General Staff’s planning division.” The comptroller notes that some of these findings are the same as in earlier comptroller reports.

A spokesperson for the IDF said that it “welcomes the state comptroller’s report, is studying the main points and will draw the necessary conclusions. The comptroller’s report refers to the years 2013-2015 and does not reflect the current situation in the IDF. In January 2016, the munitions plan was updated and disseminated, under the leadership of the Operations Division, in collaboration with the Planning Division and the Ground Forces Command, in accordance with the latest General Staff plans and outlooks for combat in the various arenas.”

The IDF says that development and acquisition of different types of weaponry is routinely ongoing. And that as for the specific type of weaponry cited in the report, its development and acquisition in the air force was suspended in light of its lower priority compared to other issues and in planning scenarios.