"Logistics Will Continue Functioning Under Fire”
Brigadier General Ofer Wolf, director of the IDF’s Technology and Logistics
Branch, reveals how the branch will function during a heavy missile and
Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah has increased its rocket and
missile arsenal by 500% (most estimates put the number at no less than
50,000 projectiles). Syria and the Palestinian organizations in the Gaza
Strip have also stockpiled vast quantities of weapons.
“We are aware of the significance of the threat. The need to guarantee
operational continuity under intense fire is a key factor in our strategic
planning, just as training and replenishment are,” says Brigadier General
Ofer Wolf, head of the IDF’s Technology and Logistics Branch.
Wolf began his career in the IDF as an officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal
reconnaissance unit. After studying engineering, he entered the field of
“Our task is to maintain an emergency logistics layout so that the IDF can
continue to function under any condition,” states Wolf. “Military logistics
is the art of moving material and forces. This includes the transportation
of supplies and troops, medical evacuations, hospitalizations, weapons
maintenance, construction, and infrastructures – all vital elements in
What practical preparations have been made to guarantee the continuous
functioning of the logistics layout under fire?
“First, it is important to disperse the inventory and not to put all our
eggs in one basket. Until a few years ago, we tended to stockpile equipment
in a central warehouse. Today, certain equipment, such as spare parts for
tanks and vehicles, is dispersed throughout the country.
“Another principle that we’re working on is redundancy. For every logistics
line, we have an alternative solution, some of them based on civilian
resources that the IDF mobilizes in an emergency. Redundancy enables
functional continuity if any of the logistics centers are temporarily
“Another modus operandi is enhanced protection – especially for military
bases that have to operate 24/7.
“Maintaining underground structures is also an area that has to be advanced.
I believe that a certain percentage of our material, and even part of our
production layout, has to be kept in underground bunkers in case of an
emergency. The ideal scenario is for a vehicle to enter the underground
warehouse, load up with equipment or ammunition, and continue on with its
assignment. Many armies work like this. We’ve drawn up a plan for
underground. It now depends on getting the necessary budget in the next
“Other elements that guarantee continued functioning are improved personal
protection for logistics forces in the field and, above all, strong morale
and units that are trained to operate under fire.”
Lessons from Lebanon
Wolf explains that in every war scenario, the IDF relies on both military
and national stockpiles. “These are reserves of aviation fuel, gasoline,
diesel fuel, and food. We keep only enough for a certain number of days of
combat. In an emergency, the IDF will mobilize all civilian vehicles,
trucks, and motorcycles, and even cargo ships.”
In the beginning of the Second Lebanon War, the supplies sank below today’s
red line. How would you assess the IDF’s current emergency stockpiles?
“One of the many lessons from the war was the need to bolster our reserve
supplies. After exhaustive work, I can say that today, in the first of half
of 2012, the IDF is in the best position it has ever been in from the point
of view of logistics supplies.”
Does this imply that the reserves could deplete again?
“Unless the necessary funds for maintaining the reserves are forthcoming,
then yes. It takes five or six years to build a stockpile; to deplete it
takes only half a year. Improving the situation of an individual item, such
as a tank motor, takes at least two years from the moment you define the
need until the day the item arrives.
“If the situation on the eve of the Second Lebanon War is repeated, we’ve
already defined the red lines. Dropping below the emergency level of a
critical item requires approval by an officer with the rank of brigadier
general or higher.”
The US Congress announced that the US plans to increase the value of its
emergency stockpile in Israel from $800 million to $1.2 billion. Is Israel
also relying on this emergency equipment?
“In an emergency we depend on every reserve supply. Our partners in the US
understand our needs. They can inform us of what is available, how we can
receive the supplies, and how to convert the equipment that is already in
Is the Technology and Logistics Branch taking into account the possibility
that the southwestern front (Egypt) could remain a military threat in the
wake of the recent revolution? Wouldn’t fighting in Sinai demand very long
“We are examining the implications of all the regional developments,” Wolf