Imitating the enemy, advanced technology, and emergency drills are only part of “Or HaDagan,” the largest IDF exercise in the past 19 years. The main goal: To improve combat readiness on the northern front. “It’s not enough to just be strong,” an IDF official said, “we need to adapt the response to the challenges facing us.”
Today, the IDF is kicking off its largest and most important exercise in the past 19 years: “Or HaDagan.” This 10-day-long exercise will involve active divisions in addition to reservists, 20 different brigades (including infantry, armored, artillery, and regional), Combat Intelligence, special forces, the Israeli Air Force, the Israeli Navy, the Intelligence Directorate, the Home Front Command, and many other units.
The various forces will be trained to operate in unexpected situations in the Northern Command. “The enemy is developing greatly in warfare, learning and understanding combat,” says a senior official. “There’s a significant threat to the IDF, and especially to the home front.”
“Or HaDagan” translates to the “Light of Dagan,” in honor of the late Major General Meir Dagan, who commanded the last exercise of this scale nearly two decades ago.
This is a unique exercise in its scope, which takes place at all levels and ranks – from soldiers in the field to the top of the chain of command. Forces will act at the tactical and operational levels. At the same time, the Northern Command and the General Staff will strategically plan the battle and its operations.
Over the past year, the “Or HaDagan” Administration, lead by Major General Yossi Bachar, has built the exercise in accordance with the objectives of the General Staff and the operational needs of the Northern Corps. In the framework of the Northern Command Exercise, the Ground Forces will be spread out among the various participating commands and divisions. In addition, the “Sky Rider” artillery unit will hold its first unit exercise, in which it will disperse teams and provide intelligence assistance to all forces.
During the exercise, the navy will carry out defense missions to maintain their edge at sea. The submarine fleet will collect intelligence at enemy depth, perform special missions, and direct forces.
In the Technology and Logistics Directorates, soldiers will drill emergency operations of advanced technology, including unmanned vehicles, autonomous hummers, robots for carrying equipment, and new technological developments in the field, some of which for the first time.
“The IDF is very advanced in the technological world, the world of intelligence, combat, and maneuvering,” the senior official asserts. “The exercise is a clear expression of this. We’re adapting the improvements to the challenges that we see in the context of the northern region and Hezbollah.”