Hi-Tech Warriors, or by its official name, Alpha, is a new and unusual program being tested by the IDF to train combat soldiers toward the end of their service in cyber specialties so that upon their release from the army they can more easily be integrated into the employment market, the IDF website reported last Thursday.
The condition for joining the program is that the soldiers sign up for an additional 18 months in Lotem–an abbreviation for Unit for Telecommunications and Information Technology. This way, both sides benefit: the soldiers will complete a significant period of service in various hi-tech fields and leave ready and qualified to integrate into coveted hi-tech jobs, and the military will gain another year and a half’s service from these dedicated fighters.
About three months ago, 19 combat soldiers left their various units, returned their weapons, and sat down in front of the computer screens at the army’s Computer School. and last week, they stood shoulder-to-shoulder with their many-colored berets on the parade grounds of Emanuel base, a.k.a. Julis, in the south, at the conclusion of the first graduating class of the Hi-Tech Warriors program.
According to the course commander, Lieutenant Malachi Weiss, “Our goal is to give the fighters––who did significant combat service and defended the country with their bodies––the training that will open the door for them in the high-tech world, both in the army and in the civilian world, and our biggest goal is to incentivize combat service.”
“Unfortunately, some discharged combat soldiers who are proud of their work, also feel that they have wasted precious time they could have used to better their future as individuals,” says Lieutenant Weiss. “Now, we have the opportunity to tell them: ‘We appreciate and cherish you and what you do, and we want to in return give you tools that will help you find a profession in civilian life.”
As part of High-Tech Warriors, the combat soldiers go through a three-month course at the Alpha Computer Military Academy, where they are divided into different majors and study in small groups with experienced instructors. They are familiarized with various programming functions and different network systems, and work in a network environment. Their daily schedule is very busy, and includes classes, practices, simulations, and many tests.
It remains to be seen whether in 18 months the same soldiers won’t still feel that they wasted precious time they could have used to better their future as individuals.