The IDF is planning to move many units from separate bases in central Israel to the new, more centralized bases in the Negev
Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz carried out a comprehensive tour of future IDF bases in the Negev yesterday (Tuesday, October 9), visiting the main sites to which the IDF plans to transfer much of the activity currently carried out at bases in central Israel.
The Chief of Staff was briefed on the construction of a large complex that will house various IDF training bases, on the IDF's new intelligence complex in the Negev, and on the military's technological campus being constructed in Be'er Sheva. He met with senior civilian officials, discussing the expected changes in the Negev following the transfer of large parts of the IDF's activities to the south.
The relocation of forces in the Negev, which is expected to take place over the next several years, will bring together many forces that are today spread throughout separate sites in central Israel.
"The southward move is much more than an infrastructural change," said Lt. Gen. Gantz in a meeting with leaders of the projects involved in the move. "This is a national mission of military and political significance. In addition to the development of the Negev and the advancement of the vision of its blooming, for the army this is not just a change of location, but rather a change of outlook. We will utilize the modern infrastructures in order to be more efficient and smarter, in addition to opening large areas in the center [of Israel], which is an important goal for the state."
The Chief of Staff emphasized the importance of green energy and environmental protection in the next generation of IDF bases. "The environmental issue must be at the forefront for us; every such base in the Negev must be an oasis in the desert," he said.
Lt. Gen. Gantz, together with other senior officers of the General Staff, began the tour with a visit to the construction site of the Negev's complex of training bases, the first of which is expected to open in 2014.
Providing a survey of the project's progress, Chief Logistics Officer Brig. Gen. Mufid Ganam stated that the construction of the training bases has already begun. He emphasized that the Technology and Logistics Branch has recently decided on strict standards for the level of study that will be required on all of the new training bases. "The new standard for training has been set," he declared.
Afterwards, the Chief of Staff met with Be'er Sheva mayor Reuven (Ruvik) Danilovich for a discussion and survey of the new military projects planned for that city. Be'er Sheva will be home to a new technological campus – which will host the central units of the Teleprocessing Branch – and a new intelligence campus – which will hold pre-military courses on various intelligence topics, as well as advanced training courses focusing on languages and computers.
"We are eager for you to come to the city," said the mayor during the meeting. "We know what a boost it will give to the city and to the Negev in general.
The Chief of Staff also visited the Negev's new intelligence complex, to which most of the Military Intelligence units currently stationed in central Israel will move, in an unprecedented infrastructural project. Chief Intelligence Officer Ariel Karo emphasized the base's importance for the Military Intelligence Directorate and said that the assembly of various units that are currently distributed among a number of bases will allow them to better handle intelligence challenges.