Israeli Border Police Commanders’ Perspectives on Leading Ad Hoc Teams during Routine and Emergency Operations

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Sigalit Shahar
Limor Sagi
Yuval Tsur
Uzi Ben-Shalom


This study asks the question, How do police commanders view leadership in ad hoc formations during assigned operations? In the era of a post-heroic society, security organizations have adopted the negation of risk and the avoidance of violence as important principles. These principles are reflected in the perceptions of those leading ad hoc teams. This article presents an analysis of thirteen in-depth interviews with experienced members of the Israel Border Police who are in command of companies up to the level of battalion. The narratives of the commanders reveal a distinction between a “mission” and an operational “event” as they acknowledge the “flammability” of tasks during command operations in both Israel and the West Bank. We conclude that much of the commanders’ confidence during such operations stems from their close knowledge of the operational arena as well as the practical operational experiences they have had. Specifically, the article concludes that commander competence is manifested by the combination of their leadership style and the intimate knowledge they possess about the professional qualities of the participants in the diverse ad hoc teams they command made up of personnel from military, police, and security organizations.

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