IDF Officers Brief U.S. Military Academy at West Point and U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 2013
2013 saw the two most senior IDF officers in the United States brief past and future cadet and midshipmen participants in JINSA’s Military Academies Program in Israel.
2013 saw the two most senior IDF officers in the United States brief past and future cadet and midshipmen participants in JINSA’s Military Academies Program in Israel. Major General Yaakov Ayish, Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to the United States and Canada, met with and briefed cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, while Brigadier General Ya’akov Shaharabani, Israel Air Force Attaché & Deputy Defense Attaché to the United States and Canada, did the same at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.
While at West Point, MG Ayish spent time with USMA superintendent Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon, Jr. and Brigadier General Timothy Trainor, the Dean of the Academic Board. The discussion centered on the importance of the JINSA program within West Point. Both American generals described it as the preeminent international summer program for Army cadets at West Point. MG Ayish was given distinguished guest honors at the Cadet Lunch, in which he oversaw the entire Corps of Cadets muster on the parade ground and subsequent march into the cavernous dining hall by company.
The cadet and midshipmen talks centered on the importance the IDF places on the visits to Israel. The briefings, delivered by each of the IDF generals, consisted of a wide-ranging discussion of the threats and challenges Israel is facing including regional instability engendered by the Arab Spring, the Iranian nuclear weapons development program, the Syrian civil war, as well as new strategic issues including securing the natural gas fields lying off the Israeli coastline.
In addition to Senior IDF Officer briefings, JINSA Military Academies Program (MAP) Educator Captain (CPT) Shmuel Zohar (IDF res.) held meetings with MAP escort officers and cadets and midshipmen at the USMA and the USNA. CPT Zohar was also a guest lecturer for the USNA’s senior level course, FP407, “Intelligence and National Security.”
During the academy visits, CPT Zohar briefed groups of cadets and midshipmen on developments in Israel and the region. He spoke directly about Syria and Egypt and how the chaos on Israel’s borders is likely to affect the Israel-Palestinian peace process.
At the USNA, CPT Zohar lectured on the subject of strategic surprise. Drawing on Israel’s experiences in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, he explained that although the Egyptian attack has been portrayed as a complete surprise to Israel, researchers have discovered that indicators of an impending Egyptian attack were actually logged into the IDF system. Yet, in some cases these warnings were outright dismissed, especially those by IDF Intelligence, which was overruled by the head of the Mossad. Lessons learned from that intelligence failure resulted in the establishment of an independent branch of the Israeli intelligence system to provide an additional assessment beyond those of the Mossad and IDF Intelligence. CPT Zohar challenged the cadets to come up with American parallels to Israel’s experience, which produced a lively discussion.