Delivering critical aid to Israel is a multi-step complex challenge, 360,000 reserve soldiers drafted in days. An entire civilian population at war.
This is a new scale of challenge, presenting many regulatory and logistical hurdles. There is so much wasted capital due to lack of expertise and infrastructures. Good will is just not enough.
Scarce Local Supply
There are severe shortages of protective gear, such as Ceramic Vests, Night Vision Scopes, Tactical Helmets, and other equipment that can no longer be sourced in Israel at the moment. They need to be sourced and shipped to Israel urgently.
Any gear that enters service with IDF must meet particular compliance requirements and testing. Gaining accreditation by IDF, especially now is extremely challenging. Without it, all equipment sent is confiscated and not allowed into circulation. Donated funds are rendered useless.
Export & DoD Regulation
Without an ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulation) approval, which takes time and expertise to gain, equipment cannot leave the country and reach its destination. Impediments with this approval are lethal to the cause. Our boys need the equipment with no delay.
With commercial flights mostly canceled, privately chartered cargo flights are needed in order to get volumes of freight into Israel. At this time the availability of capacity is very limited and requires a network and existing infrastructure to secure. Without pre-vetted capacity, equipment that is paid for by donations is not able to arrive to its destination.
As Israel is in a state of war, and alignment between all causes and organizations is more challenging than ever, without proper relationships and process in place vis-a-vis customs, equipment gets stopped at the border and is not able to help the forces on the ground.
All incoming equipment needs to be tested by IDF Logistic arms, without such acceptance tests - equipment cannot enter circulation. At this time, ensuring such testing and timely approval is a critical challenge.
At small scales, distributing to particular units or soldiers that need help is fairly straightforward. At present the IDF and local relief organizations are challenges with alignment and process, and having boots on the ground to effectively lead the logistics of the last mile is mission critical.
If, and only if, all of the hurdles above are overcome, the procured equipment will reach its destination. The cost of each vest, from factory to soldier is approximately $450, a level 4 helmet would range between $400-$500. Typical requests from the field are for 15-20 sets for a small unit trying to secure life-saving gear. The need is immediate and the cost of protecting our soldiers is high.
The Team at Shields of Steel has unique experience and deep acquaintance with each and every one of these steps. While the reality on the ground is changing rapidly, we have dealt with similar circumstances in providing tactical protective gear, thermal imaging devices, and more for the war in 2006. It is critical you place your donations with organizations that are able to navigate through these critical challenges. If you are an aid organization with equipment, and need help navigating these challenges - please reach out, we are here to help. We are in this together, and together - we will win, while protecting our brave sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, risking their lives for our homeland.