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Thursday, August 4, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Report: Israel's civil defense systems not adequate to cope with missile war

TEL AVIV — Despite several major exercise, Israel still lacks interagency cooperation required to counter a missile attack, a report said.


The Institute of National Security Studies asserted that civil defense exercises staged by Israel's military highlighted the lack of coordination between civilian and defense agencies. In a report, the institute said the government has been unable to assess the degree of Israeli preparedness for a missile war.

"In face of the developing threat there is still no concrete knowledge of the degree to which the civilian front is adequately prepared for a security — or any other — emergency," the report, titled "The National Home Front Exercise: The Improved Preparedness Is Not Enough," said.

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Authored by Meir Elran, the report said Israel has improved civil defense since the Hizbullah war in 2006, in which 4,500 rockets and missiles fell on the Jewish state. But Elran warned that Israel remained unprepared for a major multi-front missile attack.

"There is a natural tendency to paint rosy pictures, and indeed there have been important improvements, particularly if 2006 is the basis for comparison," the report said. "However, it is doubtful whether these improvements adequately match the developing security threat. Only a regulated process of measuring preparedness will give realistic answers to this critical question."

In June, Israel held its annual civil defense exercise, the fifth since 2007. The exercise contained numerous and updated threat scenarios that included sustained missile and rocket strikes on cities.

"Problems of coordination exist not just between government ministries but also between the governmental headquarters on the one hand and their regional extensions and agencies on the other, as well as among the various first responders and their interaction with the local government," the report said.

The report said civilian authorities were unable to form a civil defense infrastructure that could even approach the efficiency of the military. Elran said this failure was demonstrated in the latest exercise.

"This severe deficiency must be systemically addressed, from the bottom up," the report said.

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