The Four Questions the U.S. Military Should Be Asking About Operation Swords of Iron

commentary

Oct 23, 2023

Israel's newest F-16I fighter jets take off for an airstrike mission in the Gaza Strip on October 16, 2023, photo by EyePress News/Reuters

Israel's newest F-16I fighter jets take off for an airstrike mission in the Gaza Strip on October 16, 2023

Photo by EyePress News/Reuters

This commentary originally appeared on War on the Rocks on October 23, 2023.

Operation Swords of Iron—the Israeli military response into Gaza, in the aftermath of the deadly, Hamas-led, Oct. 7th terrorist attacks—is likely still in its infancy. Indeed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Chief of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi have all separately predicted that this will be “long war” as the Israeli Defense Force attempts to dismantle Hamas’ networks inside the Gaza Strip.

For American military observers of this conflict, this war, much like previous Israeli wars, will likely yield a host of lessons. And while it is still too early to say precisely what those lessons are—much less to what degree, if any, the United States military will internalize them—it is not too early to identify the right questions to be asking as the conflict unfolds. And while there is an almost infinite number of areas one could explore, there are at least four big questions that the U.S. military should be asking itself as it watches this war in Gaza unfold.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at warontherocks.com.


Raphael S. Cohen is director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program at RAND Project AIR FORCE. Gian Gentile is deputy director of the RAND Army Research Division.

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