The Command and Staff College- "Pum"- is the most elite instructional institution existing in the IDF system and is used by all three military arms (navy, ground and air) of the army. The college includes general studies and lessons geared exclusively to each military arm's specific requirements. The educators at the college are officers from the rank of Lieutenant up to the rank of Colonel. The Staff and Command College first opened its doors on the 31st of May, 1954, following a year of initial preparation. In 1962, the national defense college was established in Jerusalem.
In 1969 an academic curriculum designed by Tel Aviv University was added into the courses at "Pum". The college currently follows the Hebrew University's curriculum.
Until 1991, the Staff and Command College was subordinate to the instructional department of the General Staff. Following organizational changes in the IDF, the Staff and Command College and the national defense college was placed under the Machana Din College Command.
Until 1998, "Pum" was divided into seven different programs.
Two courses that pertained to the Ground Forces: One was a shortened course designated for staff officers and the other a longer version of the same course. In 1989, changes were made to the longer course and it was given the title of "Barak". The course was based on professional, theoretical and universal principles and on the fundamental policies and morals of the IDF. The course instructed the cadets in operational officers' studies and allocated credit for a first degree to its students. In 1994 another long course, "Machatz", was opened for the instruction of ground force officers also earning its cadets an academic degree. The course ran until 1999, alonside to the Barak course and the Ground Forces Command and Staff College. In addition, two Israel Air Force and one Israel Naval course were formed.
The Efek Command and Staff College Course:
In 1998, the shortened courses of the navy, air force and ground forces were canceled and the process of combining inter-branch shortened courses began. The longer courses continued without pause. "Revolutionary Changes", began in 2001 when the three shorter courses, (Air, Navy, Ground) were joined under a joint command and the Efek Command and Staff college course became the fist inter-branch course of its kind in the IDF. (The longer course of the navy and air forces were cancelled as well).
The Barak command and staff college course:
In 1991, short ground force courses were canceled. The Machatz course was canceled in 1999. In 2000 the Barak course was the gateway to earning an operational academic degree for the commanders. In 2001 the Barak course became the "Tachanat Chovah" course geared for battalion commanders who then earned credit for a second degree.
The Tactical command college (also called the Command Academy):
This learning institution joined the military college system in 1999 following a conference of the Chief of General staff in June of 1997, where the foundation for the college was formalized. The cadets of the college earn junior officer class and a first degree from the Hebrew University.