Wars are not cheap. During Operation “Protective Edge”, for example, the IAF was budgeted more than 3 billion NIS, a significant amount of money. In times of war, the allocation of funds is based on immediate need, yet ongoing operations must not be affected. How is this done?
“During our routine, we plan the IAF activity in accordance with the budget, but in times of war the tables turn and we focus on enabling the force to reach its maximum operational potential”, clarifies Colonel Alon, Head of Department of Finance in the IAF
Preparation Is Vital
“We believe that the army should always be prepared for a future war”, highlights Colonel Alon. “The financial part of war is based on preparation – There are things that even a large amount of money could not buy during actual fighting”. The department strives to provide a “safety net”, focusing mainly on equipment for the most extreme possible situations.
“One of the major lessons from previous wars is the force’s need for operational durability. We strive to have the ability to respond to any scenario at any time”, says Colonel Alon.
The problems can be caused by many reasons, such as the lack of ammunition or spare parts.
“In recent years, we have come to realize that it is wise to conduct perennial ammunition transactions and in the past three years we have been purchasing different types of ammunitions while improving existing transactions. These transactions have proven themselves in past campaigns and especially during Operation ‘Protective Edge'”, Colonel Alon adds.
In times of war, the IAF uses funds transferred by the government, in addition to its existing budget.
“During Operation ‘Protective Edge’ the IAF was budgeted billions of NIS. The scope of the force’s operational activity was very extensive and required funds to cover flight hours, purchases and fuel. These are all expenses that the IAF budget cannot cover by itself”, he explains. “Nonetheless, we control the allocation of funds carefully. We want to make sure we budget and siphon off funds appropriately. Finding the balance between being operational and being economical in times of war requires prioritizing”.
The next challenge is already here
The Department of Finance knows that the day after Operation “Protective Edge” is the day before the next campaign. The IAF is looking forward.
“In terms of the budget, we didn’t experience a bottleneck effect during Operation ‘Protective Edge’, but having said that, we do thoroughly examine the process and we strive to improve it for future conflicts”, said Colonel Alon.
“We are preparing ourselves for a more extensive and expensive war”.
Over the past few years and especially after the operation, it has become clear that financial preparation, correct allocation in times of war and economical thinking at every moment are crucial. Yet, the question remains: What scenario does the Department of Finance need to prepare for next? Will it be a similar campaign or will it be an all-out war?
”You cannot always prepare for the worst”, adds Head Department of Finance. “We cannot use the entire state budget for security and that is why there will always be financial limitations- and that is a good thing. One of the special things about the IAF is the connection between its branches, a connection that allows the IAF to reach its potential”.