New confidence crisis with U.S.

U.S. halts supply of electro-optical equipment to IDF after Israel did not report loss of hundreds of night vision devices defined as ‘strategic weapons’ Severe security crisis: The United States has recently halted for an unlimited period of time all the contracts to supply night vision equipment and electro-optic devices to the IDF, ynet has learned. The reason: Israel did not report the loss of hundreds of devices. The IDF introduced Thursday a new procedure regarding the treatment of night vision equipment in order to minimize the damage already cased and renew the relations with the U.S. A senior IDF official told Ynet that „This is a severe affair that seriously harms every warrior in the IDF, and many people have acted very stupidly here.” On Thursday the IDF introduced a new procedure for dealing with night vision apparatus in a bid to minimize the damage that has already been done and renew ties with the Americans. A document titled „New procedure for the management of night vision equipment and receivers” was sent Thursday to the IDF’s senior officers, and the IDF intends to deal in an intensive and fundamental way with the loss of this sensitive equipment. The new procedure, which was written by two senior officers, is the consequence of a new affair constituting a severe confidence crisis with the U.S. Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Moshe Kaplinsky ordered a thorough investigation into each past case of lost night vision devices. For many years the IDF has been widely using devices which strengthen the light of stars and enable soldiers to better operate against the enemy at hours of darkness. There is a wide variety of devices, some are classified, but others have long been used as a regular „work tool” in operational activities. The price of some of these devices may reach NIS 40,000 (about USD 9,000). According to the agreement between Israel and the U.S., every purchase of such devices must be under close supervision, as conditioned by the U.S. government. Inside the device there is a special receiver that enables night vision. The Americans view these types of devices as strategic equipment, which is supplied only to a limited number of countries, including Israel. According to the agreement, in incidents of losing the equipment, the receiving country is obligated to conduct a comprehensive investigation and immediately report the incident to the U.S. government. The defense establishment recently discovered a fault in the supervision procedures of these devices, which caused hundreds of loss incidents not to be reported to the Americans at all. ‘Israel may face hopeless situation’ Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Chief of Staff Dan Halutz decided, in order to „fall into line”, to send the Americans a document detailing all the loss incidents in the past few years. The Americans’ response came shortly afterwards – and following the document the U.S. halted all of its supply of these devices to Israel, for an unlimited period of time. The defense establishment decided to form a new procedure in order to minimize the damages caused and to present the Americans with a series of obligations, in order to renew the relations with them. The procedure’s writers noted that the loss of these devices had caused economic, security and political damage. „There is no need to mention that the inability to purchase these devices may significantly harm our operational ability in the future,” they wrote. The new procedure, which was distributed on Thursday to senior IDF commanders, sets a series of instructions: a significant reduction in the number of lost devices, an ability to report each loss, a professional probe into each incident, severer punishments, tightening of procedures and supervision of the devices. The document ends with a clear message: „Without the involvement and obligation on the part of commanders, the IDF and the State of Israel may face a hopeless situation regarding the purchase and maintenance of night vision equipment, and this field may collapse within a short period of time.”