IDF Principles of War


(1) Mission and Aim -- Adherence to the missing by being guided by the aim (understanding the force’s mission within the framework of the aim -- and acting according)

(2) Optimal utilization of forces (achieving the maximum with what is available while correctly combining capabilities)

(3) Initiative and offensive (the commander in the field determines action; he must aim for contact and engagement with the enemy)

(4) Statagem (achieving surprise, but more importantly, identifying, targeting, and exploiting weak points of the enemy)

(5) Concentration of efforts (every effort, action, and effect are made to attain the principal mission and aim)

(6) Continuity of action (unswerving pressure to prevent the enemy from reorganizing; exploiting our forces’ successes)

(7) Depth and reserves (to distance threats in order to enable continuity of action in crises)

(8) Security (to avoid exposure of the flanks and weakness following a concerted effort)

(9) Maintenance of morale and fighting spirit (impels the soldier forward and preserves the unit’s vitality under pressure; essential for a small army to compensate for its materiel weakness)

(10) Simplicity (each element of the stratagem must be simple to execute even if the broader plan and mission are complicated)

*parenthetical explanations are the author’s


Source: Maj. Gen (res.) Yaakov Amidror, “Winning Counterinsurgency War: The Israeli Experience, ” The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, p. 30.