How Soldiers with Autism Are Benefiting the IDF | IFCJ
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How Soldiers with Autism Are Benefiting the IDF

The IDF works tirelessly to keep Israel safe – and now one unit is benefiting from the integration of volunteer soldiers on the autism spectrum who are helping them interpret aerial photography.The army has at its disposal, among other aerial reconnaissance vehicles, five military satellites orbiting the globe. The surveillance satellites deliver 3D images, at night and through any sort of cloud cover, to Tel Aviv in real time. Military intelligence’s Unit 9900 is in charge of interpreting the images. The work can be Sisyphean. It requires long hours of concentration and constant attention to detail.The unit, like others in military intelligence, has the pick of the draft, selecting, from among the top tier of students, those with the necessary spatial intelligence and visual perception for the task. The commander of the unit, though, told T that he suffered from a dearth of decipherers. The soldiers he got, generally from the best schools and with the best grades, wanted to move on quickly and take command positions. “I live in a constant lack of manpower,” T recalled him saying.Software that might replace the human decipherer, he added, was nowhere on the horizon.For T and another Mossad alumna, L, a mother to an autistic young adult who came from the technology side of the secret service, the predicament in Unit 9900 presented “a win-win situation.”Read more.


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Landscape photo of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock in the foreground.

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