"Ghost Unit" - the IDF's new multidimensional unit

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Arie Egozi

Brigadier General Yaron Finkelman

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are currently fighting the "war between wars" – small operations to stop the enemies far and near, accumulating mass potential to perform major attacks against Israel.

This is achieved by attacks on shipments of Iranian made accurate missiles to the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and allegedly disrupting the Iranian nuclear program by "A variety of means". According to Syrian media two such attacks were performed this week.

To be more effective in the War Between Wars and in major fighting the IDF decided to implement a multi-dimensional strategy. In simple words- closing the sensor to shooter cycle as fast as possible and then attacking the target with massive fire that will end the fighting in a short time.

In late July the chief of Staff of the ID Lt. General Aviv Kochavi and members of the General Staff Forum watched for the first time a training session of the 98  "Ghost" unit, the multidimensional unit established with the aim of formulating a new concept for shortening the time span from target detection to hit, with inter-arm cooperation and use of advanced technologies. The training was conducted under the command of the unit's commander, Lt. Col. E., and was led by the Fire formation Division under the command of Brigadier General Yaron Finkelman.

This training session was part of a radical change in the way the ground forces of the IDF will operate in any future war.

The "Ghost" unit, which was established about a year ago as part of the multi-year program "Tnufa" (Swing), is on its way to becoming operational. It will fight in all arenas and terrain, while serving as a multi-armed maneuvering force, capable of locating, exposing and destroying the enemy.

The IDF's new multidimensional unit is based very generally on the idea of the U.S military concept of Revolution in military affairs (RMA) that was developed years ago in order to lay the basis for change in the U.S army. The new unit is described as a "Battalion with the capabilities of a   division".

Israeli sources said that the unit will be equipped with highly sophisticated weapon systems and will be able to directly operate air and sea units to get the advantage in battle without the need to ask other military echelons to aid or even coordinate.

The unit will operate under the elite 98 brigade, the main commando force of the IDF. Teams from the various IDF brigades, alongside Air Force pilots, were invited on January 1 to join the new unit.

"This unit will be able to produce very accurate fire power based on intelligence generated by tools that have never been in the tool box of any unit in the IDF" an Israeli source said.

The formation of this unique unit is one of the major building blocks of Chief of Staff, Lt. General Aviv Kochavi, aimed at creating a force that will be able to "change the situation in the battlefield in record time " using all the sensors and all the weapons.

Prior to taking office, Kochavi analyzed the weaknesses of the ground forces on the battlefield. In his view, a change is needed that will come from creating a common language between the air, sea, land and intelligence forces that will shorten processes and change the battlefield dramatically.

Based on these insights, the Chief of Staff decided on the establishment of the new unit, which would be a source of knowledge for the entire army.

At the beginning of 2019, the task to build the unit was assigned to the commander of the 98th Division, Brigadier General Finkelman, one of the elite commanders in the IDF who also specializes in combat methods. Lt. Col. E., with extensive operational experience and a deep understanding of target hunting and ground maneuvering in built-up areas, was elected to command the unit, along with another Lt. Col. from the Air Force's Shaldag unit, which specializes in air-to-land liaison forces and special commando operations.

As part of the establishment process, outstanding fighters and officers were carefully selected from among the air crew members with knowledge and experience in operations with ground forces.

Among the goals set by Finkelman when the unit set out: writing an advanced and evolving concept in response to ground threats, rapid organization to meet the goals and schedules set by the Chief of Staff, advanced and effective capabilities against the enemy, combat methods to streamline combat and shorten deadly cultural damage schedules, and Operation based on accurate real-time intelligence.

According to an IDF source, the unit's commanders were able to prove that command and control systems and data transfer could be combined between fighter pilots, intelligence and ground forces in a way that would detect terrorists and respond with a rapid and accurate attack on an unprecedented scale.

"The unit has been able to develop methods that will help the IDF to locate targets in enemy territory and attack them almost immediately with a variety of weapons systems to get the ultimate target- take this target out and I mean out completely."  The source said.

The very close cooperation between the unit and the air force has been demonstrated recently in a joint exercise.

"The Air Force is a full partner in the multidimensional unit and is an integral part of the force building and the competence building. The unit combines air crews, UAV operators, and special air force fighters along with the leading squadrons representing the range of aircraft in the Air Force's possession", head of the participation division, Brigadier General Noam Riff said after the exercise