Ex-CIA Director and United States Gen. David Petraeus stated on Tuesday (Jan. 30) at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) Conference in Tel Aviv, Israel that the world-at-large has now entered the period of the weaponization of everything.

Petraeus said that in this new era of the 21st century, human interaction covers the possibility that everything is in the cyber worldwide web of fixations, which is rising rapidly in numbers and now everything can be utilized in some form or another with somebody commandeering it as some assault robot or with an active ability such as cyber-attacks against other nations.

Petraeus’s explanation

Many nations are stressed to the limit in trying to stay abreast and keep up with advances in technology and related enhancements with automation, unmanned airborne aircraft, vessels, and submarines, in which a few of them are genuinely self-directed, Petraeus said. He further stated that although the state of Israel has had to deal with formidable non-state players much longer than other nations, and just recently, other nations around the world are coming to the reality that those non-state individuals are now becoming more like actual nations. Hezbollah is extremely modern and equally good with both their manned and non-manned radical Islamic forces, in which Petraeus referred to their internet reach and their cyber warfare-technology.

Petraeus said there was also increasing credible evidence that certain nation sponsors were using these non-state actors for their own purposes, such as the separatists fighting in Ukraine who are being guided by Russia’s armed forces. He also commended the Israel Defense Forces for showing their willingness to adjust to the various new defense challenges they are faced with.

Israel defense forces leadership comments

Despite Petraeus’s positive outlook, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Brigadier General Shani, who was attending the conference, stated that the Israel Defense Forces have fallen behind schedule in adapting to changes in technology involving data and other societal influences from both the internet and the high-tech transformations.

Furthermore, he said it has created numerous challenges for the IDF when it comes to their screening and interview procedures for new IDF recruits due to the technology advances. He stated that in the future, they will have to change the way they hire new recruits for the defense of Israel and as they have improperly under-emphasized cyber and other unique and imaginative abilities.

Retired IDF Major General Sheffer, said that even as the Israel Defense Forces keep on building up its abilities, it must expand the imaginative utilization of its present capacities…and added that the IDF needs to give innovative alternatives to the political issues in Syria as well as Iran. He said that it needs to invent new processes in engaging with those issues that Israel faces.

He also clarified that the IDF had weapons to achieve its objectives in those fields, however, he added that the IDF had not completely contemplated applying their capabilities in those areas. He added that more prominent innovations could permit IDF’s activities in territories where it has been reluctant to act upon in the past.

Sheffer took an opposite view of what others were saying on the conference panel. He repudiated the Knesset, the legislative branch of Israeli's government and retired Israel Defense Forces Colonel Omer Bar-Lev about Iran's nuclear plans. Sheffer stated that the arrangement won't prevent Iran from getting such nuclear weaponry and that Israel must figure out how to make the Iranian government understand that developing nuclear missiles isn't justified, regardless of the cost.

He further told Brig.-Gen. Meir Elran, who stated that the Israel Defense Forces still has not done enough to stop the rocket attacks into Israel, that it was the responsibility of Israel’s civilian leadership, not the IDF.