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Israel Defense Forces: Change in Promotion Policies

(September 2014)

In an effort to bring down the average age of it's field commanders and have a younger, sharper military, in September 2014 it was revealed that the IDF is unveiling a new promotions policy.  The policy is designed to lower the average of batallion commanders from 34 to 32, in order to give older individuals more time with their families.  In addition, the older generation of batallion commanders sometimes do not get along well with the young men coming in for their service. 

The IDF is planning to lower the average age of batallion commanders by reducing the number of positions an individual must be promoted too before becoming a batallion commander.  After serving time as an individual company commander, currently officers in the IDF serve an average of 4 more positions in the army before they are promoted to batallion commander.  These other positions include company commanders in training units or patrol battalions, and staff positions such as battalion operations officers or as deputy battalion commanders.  The IDF is looking to shorten the list of positions in the officer career path that one must hold before becoming a batallion commander. 

An article published in early 2014 by Col. Yehuda Yohananoff in the Ma'arachot military journal demonstrates and provides substantial evidence for the fact that the age of brigade and general division commanders in the IDF has been slowly climbing over the years.  Yohananoff cites Benny Gantz who was promoted to batallion commander at age 28 in the 1980's, Rafael Eitan who was made a batallion commander at age 26 in 1968, and Avigdor Kahalani who was a batallion commander during the Yom Kippur war when he was 29 years old.  In contrast, Yohananoff points out that the average age of a batallion commander today is 34 years old. According to Yohananoff this increase in average age calls into question "the striking ability, combativeness, courage and initiative of the IDF’s commanders".  Through this new promotions structure, the IDF hopes to bring down the average age of it's batallion commanders and therefore have a younger, sharper, and ready fighting force. 

Sources: Haaretz