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Ministry of Defense

    7A Street
    Hakirya, Tel Aviv 61909
    Tel: 972-3-697-5774
    Fax: 972-3-697-6717

The Israel Ministry of Defense is responsible for procurement, contractual, legal, financial and economical aspects of IDF activities, which enabling the IDF to concentrate solely on security and the defense of the nation.

The Israel Defense Force [IDF] has no commander in chief designated as such. The Basic Law: The Army, 1976, vested command in the government. In fact, the minister of defense acts as the highest authority over the IDF and is its link to civilian political authorities. The minister of defense was a civilian (although usually a retired military officer). The cabinet is required to give prior approval to major military policies and operations. Under normal circumstances, the standing Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the cabinet exercises this responsibility. The invasion of Lebanon in 1982 demonstrated, however, that a domineering minister of defense could, by misleading the cabinet or withholding information, act contrary to the government's wishes. Periodic reports on the status of the military were provided to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, through its Foreign Affairs and National Security Committee and on budgetary matters through the Finance Committee.

Within the Ministry of Defense, the senior civilian officer beneath the minister is the director general, who supervises defense production, infrastructure, the budget, and other administrative and technical matters. As the supreme commander of the IDF, however, the minister of defense can intervene in all IDF matters.

In 2000, the defense budget was cut by approximately 140 million USD, and now accounts for less than 18 percent of the GOI overall budget; the lowest percentage since the establishment of the State of Israel. The MOD budget has become less flexible over the years due to large fixed components, i.e. rehabilitation and compensation payments; to sharp increases in operational costs, and growing R&D expenses, making less funding available for procurements. At the same time, the US Defense Aid package to Israel is growing as part of a bi-lateral agreement to compensate Israel for the reduction in U.S. civilian aid. As a result of these developments, the MOD has little choice but to increase its procurements in the U.S.

The Israel Ministry of Defense has been shifting some of its procurements from its local currency (shekel) budget to its US Foreign Military Assistance (FMF) budget. This development has been the result of recurring reductions in Israel's defense budgets and increases in US defense aid. The diversion of procurements from the local market to the U.S. has resulted in strong protests from local manufacturers, some of which have in the course of the years become dependent on MOD orders.

The major goals of the civilian defense system are to develop and prepare infrastructure and resources for implementing IDF objectives; to design and implement procurement, manufacture, development, construction, and service arrangements in order to give the IDF the means it needs to do its job; to rehabilitate disabled veterans and members of bereaved families; to develop and administer the defense export system; to administer, plan, and control the defense budget; and to handle all civilian aspects of the defense system.

The Minister of Defense heads and operates the defense system. The minister is aided by assistants, advisors, and a staff directly subordinate to him. These units are responsible for coordination of operations in Judea-Samaria and the Gaza District, the emergency economic system, internal auditing of the defense system, Youth and Nahal, soldiers' ombudsman, rural settlement affairs, and infrastructure, inter alia.

Civilian agencies include the Ministry of Defense (MoD), embracing all MoD agencies and divisions, overseas missions and offices, and Ministry-affiliated units and corporations. The affiliates are Israel Military Industries (IMI), and the Armament Development Authority (Rafael). The corporations - State-owned enterprises under Ministry responsibility - include Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), Shekem, Beit Shemesh Engines (BSE) and Gappim-Israel Orthopedic Enterprises (rehabilitation and prosthetics).

Several major staff agencies assist the Ministry Director-General in planning, directing, and evaluating the activities of the specific-activity divisions and helping them discharge their duties. The major staff agencies include the Bureau of the Director-General; the Deputy Director-General for Organization and Administration; the Deputy Director-General for International Security Assistance; the legal advisor to the defense system; the economic advisor to the defense system; Foreign Affairs; the Organization, Control, and Data Department; the Human Resources Division; and the Administration and Property Department.

Procurement and Production Directorate (PPD)

The Procurement and Production Directorate (PPD) handles procurement and oversees the manufacture of systems and products, maintenance services for the military and civilian defense systems, and ministry agencies' overseas procurement activities. The PPD also oversees the development of the country's military-industrial infrastructure, thus facilitating more extensive and intensive local production and reducing defense imports. The PPD operates with the defense system's future needs and the country's industrial-technological potential in mind. The PPD also administers the maritime and air transport of equipment and goods acquired abroad for MoD and other government ministries, as well as equipment and goods exported from Israel.

The PPD is composed of five executive and several staff units. Four executive units, organized as divisions, deal with procurement. Each of these (Air, Land, Maintenance, and Sea) coordinates its operations with a corresponding logistical center in one of the IDF branches, two or three specific-area systems, and one or two branches located in IDF logistical centers, in charge of rapid procurement entailing small-scale expenditure. The "office" or unit is the basic entity that performs most procurement coordination work, specializing in procurement areas according to types of equipment and technologies. Each such unit has a corresponding procurement agency in one of the IDF logistical units, and several such units are organized within a divisional framework. The fifth division - Overseas Handling and Transport - arranges the handling and shipping of import and export cargoes of the defense system and other government ministries, draws up contracts and agreements for the purchase of air and maritime shipping and handling services, and is responsible for paying import taxes (customs).

Directorate of Defense R&D

The Directorate of Defense R&D is responsible for sponsoring and enhancing the infrastructure of advanced scientific and technological know-how, facilitating the development and enhancement of high-impact war materiel and auxiliary combat equipment; sponsoring and implementing advanced R&D for the creation of technological opportunities as a basis for the future development of war materiel and auxiliary combat equipment; commissioning, monitoring, conducting, and supervising defense R&D, including follow-up and control of project performance; and maintaining and fostering relations with academic R&D institutions in Israel and with similar entities in friendly countries. The directorate, jointly run by the MoD and the IDF, is composed of specialized professional offices and major staff units.

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