Mission command between theory and practice: The case of the IDF

Uzi Ben-Shalom, Eitan Shamir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The article focuses on the Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) doctrine by examining the official IDF doctrinal publications on command and control. The Command philosophy adopted by the IDF is a result of the operational challenges which it faced, as well as its origins in patriotic, semi-military organizations. Its founding fathers, Brigadier General Charles Ord Wingate and MG Yitzhak Sadeh, instilled a culture of independence and initiative into a younger generation of commanders such as Allon, Dayan and Yadin. IDF commanders adopted a decentralized command approach in order to facilitate strategic initiative and maneuver warfare as a means of dealing with Israel's basic strategic imperatives. A review of operations conducted during the Second Lebanon War reveals that command decisions were not always dictated by operational needs. For instance, fear of casualties was a central consideration in the choice of the commanders to slow down the execution and tempo of operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-117
Number of pages17
JournalDefense and Security Analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


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