In one of his first major directives since taking over as Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in February, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot has ordered the military to make combat training and readiness its number one priority.
Senior security officials said on 24 March that the directive would very likely mean cuts being made in other areas.
The officials are bracing for another tough year after what they describe as budget shortages that fell billions of shekels short of the required level in 2013-14: one of the reasons why training programmes for all units faced systematic cuts throughout those years.
Conscripted forces are now expected to receive top training priority in 2015, followed by the reserves.
According to the officials, Lt Gen Eisenkot has told commanders that his main concern now was to ensure that the IDF was ready for a sudden outbreak of conflict anywhere in the chaotic region and that a return to full-scale training by all three branches was the key to achieving this goal.
Sources quoted him as saying: “Training will occur at any price.”
Lt Gen Eisenkot signalled his intent to prioritise training at the start of March, when he ordered a surprise, large-scale exercise for the Central Command, which is responsible for the West Bank.
Thousands of reservists were called up during the exercise and many conscripted combat units took part, holding live-fire drills in some cases, in the biggest exercise of its kind in recent years.