“DEFENSE REFORM AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF A SECURITY CONCEPTION FOR THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION: A SYSTEMIC AND DYNAMIC EVALUATION”
Si vis pacem, para bellum (“If you want peace, prepare for war”)
Cornelius Nepos, Roman historian
Vice-Admiral Stepan Makarov, hero of the defense of Port Arthur
The Main Theses and Summary of the Evaluation
Last year’s important personnel changes in the upper echelons of the Russia Defense Ministry once again underscored the need for a national security conception, including a military component, which would be developed as an integrated and systemic conception, satisfactory not only for current conditions, but over the next three to five decades.
During the last decade, our country’s leadership has made a genuine breakthrough in this area, as manifested in the presidential decree “National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation for the Period to 2020,” dated May 12, 2009. The pioneering nature of this document, however, resulted in both strengths and weaknesses.
The strong points are exemplified by the very way the problem was posed: national security was defined as an independent and coherent concept, which cannot be reduced to any of its aspects, such as military, political, economic, informational, structural, or institutional security.
Among the weaknesses, in our opinion, are an insufficient elaboration and interconnection of key, strategic national security problems, which considerably reduces the practical validity and predictive capability of the document.
Without seeking in any way to critically reframe or rewrite the document, we, a group of experts gathered under the auspices of the Izborsk Club, nonetheless believe it desirable and timely to begin work in that direction. Insofar as the global geostrategic situation in today’s world is evolving swiftly and often unexpectedly, an inappropriate assessment of challenges and threats to the Russian Federation’s national security could result in inappropriate actions with disastrous consequences.
The report below consists of three interconnected sections: “A Systemic and Dynamic Evaluation of Threats to the Russian Federation’s National Security”; “An Assessment of the Past Phase of Defense Reform and Shaping New Approaches to its Improvement”; “Coming Military Technologies and the Wars of the Future”. These should be seen as an invitation to a nationwide discussion, rather than as fixed guidelines.
The agenda of such a discussion, in our opinion, may be formulated as follows:
1. Today’s and tomorrow’s system of national security will depend primarily on the Russian leadership’s taking appropriate actions to evaluate external and internal threats, a systemic and well-considered approach to building up the military, and a balanced socioeconomic policy to prevent social disruptions and the degradation of the population.
2. The geopolitical notions of the 1990s, based on the idea that Russia no longer had “external adversaries” and proclaiming a strategy of evading direct challenges through unilateral foreign-policy concessions, which sooner or later would convince the Western powers of Russia’s peaceability and compel them to admit it to the club of “civilized nations” as an equal partner, have proved totally unsound.
We live in a fast-evolving, dynamic world, in the period of a downward wave of crisis in the global economy, which generates geostrategic tensions in various regions of the planet, including those on the perimeter of Russia’s borders. Over the last two decades, a wide range of countries bordering on the RF have openly voiced a variety of claims on our country, from economic ones to territorial. Many of those claims may give rise to crisis situations in the future and attempts to resolve them by force.
3. Today, as in the past, the principal external threats to Russia originate from the USA and its western allies. They are not interested in seeing Russia reestablished as a global “power center,” and therefore pursue policies that aim to weaken Russia, force it out to the fringe of the “civilized world community,” and consolidate its position as a raw materials producer and the dump for the world’s waste. In attempting to achieve decisive military-strategic supremacy over Russia, the USA and its allies are employing the conception of “soft power,” which involves a combination of various transformation, information, and deformation actions, aimed at a targeted country. One key political and diplomatic technique employed against Russia is the imposition of unbalanced agreements on the reduction of strategic nuclear missiles and tactical nuclear weapons. In light of this, special caution must be exercised regarding any western diplomatic proposals in that vein.
4. Russia’s defense capability should be ensured through its foreign policy. The posture the Russian leadership adopts in an escalating strategic confrontation between China and the USA will play a decisive role. That confrontation widens Russia’s range of options for strategic maneuver, allowing it to vary its relationships with each of the two global power centers, depending on specific geostrategic (including military-political) conditions, and, at the same time, it requires that Russia improve and strengthen its Strategic Nuclear Forces (SNF) as a principal factor for the protection of its national sovereignty.
5. Characteristic of twenty-first-century wars are a variety of modes and ways of triggering armed conflicts, as well as the infliction of maximum damage on the targeted country, well in advance of the outbreak of armed hostilities, by means of “disruptive measures,” a state-of-the-art modern warfare technique. This involves primarily remote-controlled and “noncontact” interference with the functioning of the target country’s government agencies, polarization of its political elites, and disruption of social stability by a combination of psychologically profiled propaganda, economic and special operations, etc.
6. The phase of armed hostilities typically features fast-moving combat operations that aim to cause unacceptable damage to the target country’s systems of control and military infrastructure in as short a time as possible, and the conduct of combat operations throughout the theater of operations (battlefield) as well as “vertically” – in the air and in outer space. The armed forces of technologically advanced countries seek to conduct war by remote control, without coming into direct contact with the adversary. Therefore, their military programs give priority to the development of electronic intelligence and automated control systems, and high-precision weapons to exploit superiority in the acquisition, processing, and utilization of information.
7. In this light, it should be understood that at present, and especially over the next five to seven years, Russia will find itself in an extremely difficult and dangerous position. Russia has lost much of the late USSR’s geostrategic potential, including its military-industrial, scientific-technological, mobilization, and information-financial components, and is thus unable to counter today’s threats head-on. Therefore Russia’s political leadership is called upon to develop unconventional, asymmetrical approaches for fending off these threats at a significantly lower financial and economic cost. These principles should to be fundamental in elaborating the Russian Federation’s new national security doctrine, and in implementing military reforms within that framework, as well as in building organized political and information support for those efforts.
8. It must be admitted that the structure of military organization that was inherited from the USSR and remained unchanged until 2008, has in actual fact been destroyed under the chaotic and poorly conceived reforms of 2008-2012. The reforms have not helped to upgrade the Armed Forces, and by a number of criteria they have resulted in their degradation. Reinstating the previous organization is now impractical, because it would require budget spending far in excess of the country’s capabilities. At present, therefore, it is vitally important to assess the past reform period, define present-day military development priorities, and redefine the military doctrine, making it more specific and better grounded politically. Based on the redefined doctrine, a plan for further defense reform should be worked out and discussed in the community of military scientists and experts, and ultimately submitted to the Security Council for approval. The present report is one of the initial steps in that direction.
9. It has become apparent that specific steps should be taken today, as soon as possible, to minimize the factor of surprise in the political leadership’s decision-making. Institutionally, this could be done by a center for crisis early warning and military-political situation assessment, reporting directly to the RF Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief. Its mission would be to conduct continuous monitoring of national security threats and report to the top leadership on a regular basis regarding relevant developments in this area.
10. The time has come to create the following new organizations and branches of the RF Armed Forces:
- A Special Operations Command and Special Operations Forces (SOF), as a full-fledged offense force, which is still lacking within the Russian Armed Forces in fully developed form.
- Radio-Electronic Combat Forces (RECF), a necessity because the potential adversary’s increased and upgraded automated battlefield facilities, and expanded use of electronic communication and information-exchange systems, have made the development of radio-electronic combat forces a matter of heightened priority.
- An Agency for Information Networks Counteraction and Information Warfare Operations, as an organization to provide information support for actions of the armed forces, as well as to conduct propaganda, counterpropaganda and other active operations in the Internet and through the media.
11. It is necessary to reform the country’s mobilization machinery and build up the National Military Reserve. Armed forces without reserves cannot achieve victory in modern war.
12. Creation of new types of weapons, improvements in military equipment and armaments, and military R&D are intended to strengthen the Armed Forces. At the same time, they can create opportunities for advances toward innovative dual-purpose technologies, transitioning to the “sixth wave” or “sixth phase” of technology (in Kondratyev’s terms) on a global scale. These could become a development driver, capable of pulling the country’s industry and economy to a higher level. In this perspective, much will depend on the activities of the emerging Advanced Research Fund, which should coordinate the efforts of researchers and demands of the military.
Our assessment of available information indicates that, as of today, special attention in R&D should be given to the following areas:
--- Remote-controlled automated devices simulating human physical, verbal or even intellectual activities (robots);
--- Remote-operated unmanned aerial vehicles with various functions and purposes;
--- Intelligence-gathering, communications and control systems, their hardware components, and corresponding algorithms and software;
--- Means of combat based on new physical principles and effects (remote sounding of the Earth’s ionosphere, geophysical and climate weapons, etc.);
--- Genetic engineering and biophysical technologies.
13. It should be anticipated that “disruptive measures” will continue to be the principal machinery for multi-faceted subversion against Russia, up to and including its territorial dismemberment. This undeclared warfare will aim to undermine political stability and influence the country’s financial and economic strategy, pushing it in a direction that will foment social unrest and other internal conflicts, akin to what developed in the USSR in the late 1980s. Similar subversive actions will target policies related to defense-sector development and military reform. To counter such threats, the political leadership of the country ought to elaborate and implement a meticulously verified policy for governing the country.
A scientifically valid conception of corrective actions in the realm of defense reform is needed today. In this area of work, it is important to guard against the kind of errors committed in the past, when the implementation of reform was left to the discretion of a narrow circle of officials, and made dependent on their competence, personal preferences or biases.
At present, Russia has a historic chance to implement a large-scale defense reform, and upgrade its Armed Forces, arming them with up-to-date equipment and weaponry. The creation of such Armed Forces, if combined with vigorous political leadership and a verified and balanced foreign policy, would become a weighty response to the challenges of the 21st century.
Systemic and Dynamic Evaluation of Threats to the Russian Federation’s National Security
What is the condition of the Russian Federation’s national security system at present? How is the reform of the armed forces related to it? What kind of potential challenges does the country face, and which strategic priorities should the country’s leadership choose in the 21st century, in the face of an international situation that is becoming more and more complicated by the month?
To answer these most essential questions properly, it is important first to comprehend where contemporary humankind is going and how it is getting there. The importance of such an understanding has been demonstrated not only by our own experts, but also in studies conducted by the Pentagon, the NATO system as a whole, and in the countries of the Asia-Pacific Region, such as Japan, China, and South Korea.
Russian political-military thought during the past two decades has been dominated by the “for export” versions of liberal and monetarist approaches. These have argued for the necessity of Russia’s rapid and close rapprochement with the USA/NATO, opining that a large-scale war with China, along with local armed conflicts, or even terrorism, were the major strategic military threats for Russia.
Authors writing within this framework have persistently falsified the true geostrategic and political-military situation in the world today, doctoring their picture of reality to fit their preconceptions. It is noteworthy that such documents as the Valdai Club report, or the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (CFDP) report, or the studies done by A. Arbatov and V. Dvorkin for the Carnegie Endowment, vigorously approved the pathway adopted for defense reform in Russia and almost completely endorsed its outcome.
It is obvious that a share of the responsibility for the failure of the reform rests with those authors: they did not wish to leave the confines of their misconceptions, ranking their personal or group interests above the country’s real security problems.
Without being alarmists, we nonetheless should note that the ultimate “centers of power” in the world today are transnational corporations (TNC), more so than nation-states. The latter, even such powerful ones as the USA, increasingly function as political and military operatives of transnational finance capital (aka the Finance International, nicknamed the “Finintern”). There is, therefore, an increasingly clear tendency for the “knots” of international conflicts to shift into the sphere of geostrategic and economic interests. Sovereign states and political-military blocs of allied nations no longer play the decisive role in world events, as they did for over two centuries, from the end of the 18th to the end of the 20th century.
Qualitatively new and intensifying forms of informational, ideological, technological, and economic pressure are being exerted on “traditional” sovereign states and societies, including the spread of ideologically motivated terrorism, illegal arms and drug trafficking, etc.
At the same time, due to the crisis-ridden process of transition from the fifth to the sixth technological phase, various ‘traditional’ types of conflict (resource-related, ideological and religious, interethnic, demographic, territorial) remain in force, or are exacerbated.
It follows that, at present, the strategic security of nation-states depends directly on how they interact with the world’s two principal power centers - the USA, including NATO under U.S. leadership, and China. Despite its status as the third most powerful country in the world by all parameters taken in combination, Russia Is no exception to this rule. The aforementioned “mainstream” political analysts would have us believe that the world today is free of antagonisms fraught with the danger of various types of military conflict, and that there are no direct military threats to Russia. But the events of the past decade, especially the last two years, clearly indicate a very different paradigm. The Russian Federation is a target of “soft” aggression, and is being subjected to growing pressure both along its existing borders and more generally, by way of encroachments on the RF-USA strategic military parity. This is evidenced in an expanding array of military conflicts near Russia’s borders and in countries which are Russia’s potential allies. Furthermore, the territory of the RF has been directly subjected to armed aggression originating from yet another emergent “power center,” the pan-Islamic Salafism project, sponsored by the oil monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. They are providing extensive organizational support and funding to Wahhabi extremist movements not only in Russia’s Muslim-populated regions, but also throughout Russia. It is an open secret that the Salafism project is being implemented largely at the instigation of the USA and, to an extent, the EU, who regard the billion-strong Islamic world as demographic potential to be used against China, India, and Russia, as well as some other developing countries.
Moreover, Washington is escalating its efforts to achieve overwhelming military-technological superiority over Russia, such that the RF would dismantle its strategic nuclear arsenal, thus losing its retaliatory nuclear-strike capability and, consequently, losing strategic parity with the USA. Washington is pursuing this goal both by developing advanced strategic rearmament programs, and through diplomatic efforts to impose upon Russia strategic and conventional arms reduction agreements that are advantageous to the USA.
The specific trends that point to a ratcheting-up of the threat of various types of wars, up to and including “global war,” are, in our view, the following.
First, the past ten to twelve years have seen the growth of defense spending, in terms of both quality and quantity. Thus, in 2000, the overall world volume of such expenditures was $597 billion (the world arms market was $36.9 billion); in 2006, these amounts were $1.2 trillion and $40.3 billion, respectively; and in 2012, the totals were $1.8 trillion and $69.8 billion.
Second, we are witnessing the intensification of unadvertised yet relentless competition between rival global strategic-military projects, most notably the American and Chinese ones.
Thirdly, the role and influence of the military intelligence elites are increasing in leading countries. The concept of ‘intelligence’, in this case, needs to be interpreted broadly, as a type of so-called “smart weapon.”
The current escalation of the number and intensity of conflicts in the world results directly from the ongoing systemic world economic crisis, which is centered in the USA. It is evident that, as its geostrategic potential diminishes, Washington is attempting to compensate for these losses by enhanced political activity, using its military-technological and information-financial supremacy to maintain its leading global position. Over the last decade, Washington has been the instigator of most of the local wars on the planet, and a direct participant in many of them. It should be added that the USA conducts both direct interventions (Afghanistan, Iraq) and covert operations under the so-called “strategy of indirect action” (Libya, Syria, Egypt), employing qualitatively new military capabilities in the form of the new Special Operations Forces (SOF), as well as private military companies (PMC). In terms of combat capabilities, PMC in fact are “shadow armies,” which are employed extensively against countries and governments that are insufficiently obedient to the USA.
As world history shows, however, global changeovers in technological modes of production have always been accompanied by changeovers in global geostrategic leaders. Therefore, all the USA’s efforts to maintain its global leadership by military-political means, without changing the existing socioeconomic model of development, have no chance of succeeding.
The systemic crisis of the U.S.-centered world is not a matter of the future, but is today’s reality. The next 10 to 15 years will see the emergence of alternative global projects, with fundamentally new ideologies and leaders. This fact also points up the growing probability of a “major war” between the world’s main power centers, first and foremost the USA and China.
Finding itself, as indicated above, between the world’s two main power centers, Russia, for the foreseeable future, should maintain its independent position as much as possible (even though, in the setting of an escalating potential for conflict between the USA and China this will be extremely difficult, insofar as Russia, with its gigantic geostrategic potential, will not be allowed simply to “stand aside” from this conflict).
Washington’s likely line in its Russia policy in the near future will be to involve Russia in a “NEW RESET” scheme, using the NATO alliance in order to (a) prevent Russia’s rapprochement with China, and (b) weaken Russia’s military potential as much as possible. This weakening will be accomplished through a series of disarmament agreements, reducing Russia’s strategic nuclear missile potential, as well as tactical nuclear weapons, to a minimum; the latter are especially important in the event of regional and local conflicts, including in Central Asia and the Caucasus region.
With the election of a new President in 2016, however, Washington’s “soft” Russian policy could be reassessed. At that point, Russia, weakened by previous disarmament treaties, will be unable rapidly to rebuild its strategic potential to parity.
Consequently, Russia’s political leaders ought to be especially cautious in their approach to any further U.S. proposals on strategic nuclear force reduction, especially if China and other nuclear-armed NATO countries (Britain, France) are not parties to the process. At the same time, as much attention as possible must be given to monitoring the world’s global political and economic dynamic for the period until 2025.
Another factor of geostrategic significance is the addiction of the Russian economy to the raw-materials model, which will inevitably limit the country’s real sovereignty and its degrees of freedom in foreign policy, compelling it to “choose” between the USA and China. Pointing out again that the ‘either/or’ option is not the best one for Russia, as distinct from a posture of “armed neutrality,” we nonetheless must take into account that alliances with one or the other of these two major powers are not equivalent for either Russia, or its two counterparties.
In the context of China-U.S. confrontation, an alliance with Russia is of strategic value for China as a counterweight to offset U.S. military-technological superiority, whereas for the USA an alliance with Russia is no more than a technical arrangement, lacking any decisive importance in its confrontation with China. Under certain conditions, Washington would be prepared to sacrifice Russia, after first weakening it as much as possible, for the sake of temporarily mitigating its fundamental conflicts with China. This scenario, made public first by Zbigniew Brzezinski in the early 1990s, appears to be highly unlikely today for the reason that U.S.-Chinese collisions are basically global financial-economic ones and lie primarily in the southern direction, yet it should not be ignored altogether. Thus, from the viewpoint of Russia’s national security and military development policies, closer relations with China should be given preference over similar relations with the USA.
Some analysts have tried to compare the current situation with the run-up to World War II. We, however, see the period the world has entered since 2007 as more like the situation of the 1980s, than the 1930s. Our country, therefore, ought to prepare more for a severe Cold-War type of confrontation, than the threat of a major war like WWII and the Great Patriotic War.
Incredible as it may seem, the factors that led to our country’s geostrategic defeat in the 1980s have not been subjected to proper analysis: there is no appropriate simulation model, nor even a basic set of relevant concepts. In any event, such a systemic, multi-factor analysis would appear to be a top-priority item on the agenda of the RF Security Council. But it has not been placed there. Whether we like it or not, it must be stated that no lessons have been drawn from the geostrategic defeat of the Soviet Union. Therefore the Russian leadership will almost inevitably repeat many of the fatal mistakes of the perestroika period.
In the current global systemic crisis situation, it is crucially important to establish the concept of “victory” in the ongoing reflexive, systemic war. As conceived by the U.S. military intelligence elite, the object of “victory” in such a war is to be able to exploit all of the main resources of the potential enemy (Russia) for realizing one’s own long-range political and economic strategy. The ultimate objective of this strategy is to shape and implement a global model for the controlled reformatting of economic, social, and political structures for operating within the sixth wave of technological development.
In this perspective, a thermonuclear missile war, which is, in general, unacceptable from various standpoints, becomes possible only in the ultimate stage of a deliberately promoted “spiral of confrontation,” and only in the event that such a spiral goes out of control. Since a thermonuclear clash will result in the final defeat for all its participants, one of the main objectives in reflexive, systemic warfare is to achieve a strategic win at the earliest possible stages of the confrontation spiral.
The main milestones in the promotion of a spiral of confrontation within the RF, under today’s conditions, are:
- Stimulation of armed actions by local separatists in the RF, leading to utter chaos and the country’s dismemberment;
- Polarization of the country’s elite and society as the end-phase of an induced crisis in the system of values and reality-orientation;
- Demoralization of the country’s armed forces and military elite;
- Artificially induced, continuous, managed degradation of the socioeconomic situation in the country;
- Deliberate aggravation and fomentation of external crisis factors;
- Gradual encouragement of a socio-political crisis;
- Simultaneous intensification of various forms and models of psychological warfare;
- Incitement of mass panic, with demoralization of key government institutions;
- Vilification of political leaders who are unacceptable for the USA, with the promotion of “agents of influence” and the integration of the relevant techniques for exercising control from the inside;
- Destruction of the strategic adversary’s potential to form coalitions with foreign allies.
Therefore, when we refer to threats of “minor” or “major” wars, it needs to be understood that these will not be the traditional type of war, in which operations were aimed mainly to harm or wear down the enemy, primarily through the massive employment of combat weapons (rockets, aviation, tanks, etc.), and military victory was achieved by winning a battle or a campaign. In this case, rather, the systemic totality of complex transformational and informational processes and techniques for influencing the adversary’s centers of control will play the main role. Only in the final stage – and not always then – will there be high-intensity employment of “conventional” armed forces. This means that in the 21st century a war against Russia will necessarily go through a kind of Cold War phase, similar to the 1980s, but with far more dramatic consequences for the losing side.
Obviously, in the series of wars during the past two decades, where the U.S. armed forces, including special operations forces (SOF) were involved, new methods of warfare have been developed and new ways of waging war perfected. As a result, the USA today has the most advanced strategic military conception. Therefore, it is essential to try and analyze that conception and identify its basic elements.
The nature of the “wars of the future” has been demonstrated most explicitly in the armed conflicts in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Tangible geostrategic objectives were achieved within a short time span, using limited groupings of forces and weapons systems, primarily air forces and special operations forces (SOF). This was achieved not only by employing state-of-the-art hi-tech weapons systems, but also by thoroughly working through the theoretical issues of modern warfare, both scientifically and in practice.
It was in these wars that the USA demonstrated the effectiveness of new types of weapons and methods of warfare. Disruptive measures are first and foremost among them. These include synchronized psychological, propaganda and cyberspace operations, combined with economic and political sanctions against the leaders of countries targeted by aggression, as well as their elite strata and general populations. The combined array of such operations aims to neutralize the targeted country’s entire population psychologically, “bottom to top,” disrupt its system of governance, and wreck the operations of its economy.
Based on the results of these conflicts, it has to be admitted that disruptive measures have proven very effective. The aggressors inflicted crippling damage on the targeted countries without direct armed intervention. And only after elimination of the adversary’s ability to launch effective military resistance, were traditional armed forces brought into action to fire an “insurance shot” on an already prostrate enemy.
One of the basic conditions under which modern wars are waged is Washington’s reliance on “coalitions of allies.” The USA still uses the global NATO military machine (which it dominates) to subdue its adversaries by force. Creating a coalition of allied countries to coerce and isolate a targeted country using international diplomacy is seen by the American political leadership as an indispensable prerequisite for launching armed hostilities. This allows the USA to share political responsibility with the allied countries, whose governments have to support Washington not only militarily but also economically, diplomatically and in the information realm. At the same time, this creates a more favorable operating environment for the U.S. armed forces, and gives wars of aggression a veneer of legitimacy as international campaigns of coercion against “pariah states.”
In modern armed conflicts, one of the features of combat operations by the U.S. armed forces is the top priority accorded to reconnaissance and automated control systems. They are the basis of a network-centered conception of war-fighting, which has been developed and implemented at all levels of military organization. This conception makes it possible to make decisions on actions against the enemy, including fire for effect, in real time, without wasting time on decision-making followed by organizing the strikes.
In effect, today’s U.S. armed forces use in combat the conception of an integrated reconnaissance-strike operation. Under this approach, all types of intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance are brought together into a single, integrated information stream, aiming not only to uncover the enemy’s fighting potential, but also to preempt his actions, destroy his control systems and, being linked to weapons systems on a real-time basis, to inflict damage on the enemy continuously and throughout the extended battlefield.
Another basic characteristic of U.S. “wars of the future” is the priority placed on non-contact combat operations, based on the concept of conserving human resources to the maximum possible extent. In view of this, the first phase of war-fighting is primarily assigned to combat strike aircraft (only if air supremacy has been secured) and strategic air forces using both high-precision and ordinary ammunition.
Increasingly, combat strike missions are assigned to reconnaissance and strike drones, which are being developed intensively.
The third feature of U.S. war-making today is the pre-emptive deployment of a global network of large combined arms and air force bases in key zones of the planet. This will enable them, on a tight schedule, to assemble large air and ground forces with significant combat capabilities, in threatened theaters of operations. For example, U.S. super-bases have been created in Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia, enabling them to deploy a thousands-strong force in a matter of days (instead of weeks or months, as was the case before). For this reason, the movement of aircraft carrier strike groups, which previously tended to reveal U.S. intentions in advance, is no longer indispensable for large-scale armed operations. This increases the potential surprise factor in U.S. military operations.
The fourth feature of modern warfare is the erasure of the boundary between a state of war and a state of peace, by the large-scale deployment, in the initial phases of combat operations, of the special operations forces (SOF), which were created especially for unconventional warfare and are constantly being upgraded. Their mission is to create zones of destabilization and armed conflict in targeted countries by involving sundry ethnic groups, religious denominations, and communities in these conflicts. Then, after the resulting internal instability has been exploited as a pretext for intervention, the USA proceeds to the direct destruction of the country’s systems of government, infrastructure and life support, and disruption of its military command systems and support services.
The fifth characteristic is the use of extremely heavy conventional fire-power in the final phase of a conflict. This increases the importance of materiel and technical support for forces in the field, which expend huge amounts of ammunition. In the case of Iraq, for example, a single U.S. Army battalion-strength tactical unit would expend over 500 tons of ammunition daily.
The sixth feature is the use of new forms of controlling seized territory, which is seen in the widespread employment of private military companies (PMCs). These not only provide high-grade combat and service support for fighting troops, but they can also control seized areas, in which case army field forces need not be diverted for such purposes.
Thus, the U.S. edition of “modern warfare” is typified by multiple modes and ways of triggering an armed conflict, a priority on integrated reconnaissance, automated control systems, and high-precision weapons, exploitation of existing advantages in the real-time acquisition, processing and utilization of information, and highly mobile combat operations, including non-contact ones, throughout the battlefield as well as “vertically” – in the air and outer space.
In addition, the USA seeks to rule out the adversary’s possible employment of nuclear weapons or other WMD, given that the demographic threshold of “unacceptable damage” for its armed forces is quite low: from a few tens of thousands (for “local wars”) up to a million people (in the event of a “major war”).
It should be kept in mind that, today, military threats as such are only part of a wider spectrum of national security threats, and involve the direct or indirect use of military muscle.
Changes in the global geostrategic situation have not yet resulted in the prevalence of non-military methods in conflict resolution at the international level. All that has changed is the likely scope of future wars, the patterns and modes of warfare, and the performance characteristics of weapons and military equipment. Military power continues to remain the chief argument employed in world politics.
The threat of a global nuclear-missile war, which was predominant in the recent era of open confrontation between the two world socioeconomic systems and blocs (the USA vs. the USSR, NATO vs. the Warsaw Treaty Organization) has on the whole receded. Nuclear war risks may potentially arise from other nuclear powers, such as China, Israel, and some Islamic countries, chiefly Pakistan, and others. For the decades ahead, however, any real threat of a massive nuclear-missile strike against Russia would originate only from the USA and its allies. For the time being, the likelihood of such a war can be regarded as very small, as long as Russia maintains its strategic nuclear forces and its deterrent capability of launching an assured retaliatory nuclear-missile strike. This turns nuclear weapons into the military-political ultima ratio and makes them the subject of continuous military-technological competition between the superpowers, in attempts to neutralize this power factor. At the same time, in wars on a local or regional scale, tactical weapons are gaining more and more importance. Over the last decade, the USA and the NATO countries have been intensely developing the conception of a disarming non-nuclear strike against Russia’s control systems and its strategic nuclear forces. Such a counterforce strike would rule out the possibility of Russian nuclear retaliation that would cause “unacceptable damage” to the USA.
In recent years, the highest priority in U.S. military development programs has been those strike weapons systems that are distinguished by high precision and longer-range capability, and are difficult to detect. Among them are, in particular, sea-launched and ground-based cruise missiles (to attack from locations out of range of the enemy’s defense measures), stealth-technology aircraft (tactical and strategic), attack drones (primarily for attacking radar stations and spacecraft used in aerospace defense), unmanned reconnaissance and strike vehicles (to attack armored-group targets or pinpoint hardened targets deep within the adversary’s defenses). Extensive work in the field of hypersonic delivery vehicles has marked a new stage in the development of high-precision weapons (HPW). This development augments the HPW characteristics mentioned above with one of paramount importance in terms of a potential strike against Russia’s nuclear capability: minimized flying time to target. If such vehicles are introduced into service, this would in fact threaten Russia’s national security as gravely as in the early 1980s when U.S. medium-range missiles were deployed in Europe, reducing the nuclear-threat response time to only 8-10 minutes.
Analysts in the West emphasize that such weapons systems are intended primarily for use in non-nuclear conflicts. At the same time, they note that their high effectiveness, combining high yield and precision with operational secrecy, suit the existing and future conventional HPW for all battle missions, including strategic ones. It is symptomatic that in the course of Russian-American disarmament negotiations, such weapons are not subjected to any limitations, while sea-launched long-range cruise missiles are persistently excluded by the American side from any negotiation agendas. Thus, obviously enough, the USA clearly seeks to gain the capability of inflicting a disarming non-nuclear attack against the Russian Federation’s strategic nuclear forces.
It is also revealing that our country’s repeated attempts, during the past two decades, to build alliances with the USA and NATO have gone nowhere. The western counterparties have always made it clear that there is no place for Russia in the NATO organization. The most that Russian diplomacy was able to achieve was the establishment of the Russia-NATO commission, which is only a consultative discussion body. The only pathway into NATO proposed to Russia would entail a complete renunciation of sovereignty in its foreign policy, unilateral large-scale disarmament, and Russia’s incorporation into the bloc as a newcomer-member, alongside Croatia or Latvia. At the same time, NATO armed forces have repeatedly been used to inflict military destruction on countries with which Russia had partnership relations. These terms have clearly demonstrated NATO’s unwillingness to take into account Russia’s national interests or Russia’s positions, in the course of their decision-making.
The NATO military threat is not an immediate threat for “tomorrow,” yet its likelihood increases drastically in the context of the exacerbated global systemic crisis and growing struggle for resources and markets. Therefore effective measures to counteract this threat should be taken already now.
Unlike the global nuclear threat, the risk of local and regional wars has dramatically increased. Multilateral conflicts of various intensities are ablaze today in the Near and Middle East (Israel, North African Arab countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran), as they were in the recent past in southern Europe (Yugoslavia and its successor countries). The situation in South Asia (India-Pakistan) and some other regions remains tense. It is apparent that limited regional wars will be the most widespread form of war in the foreseeable future. For Russia, the most pronounced threats of this type are Japan’s claims on the Southern Kuril Islands and Georgia’s non-recognition of the results of the 2008 South Ossetia conflict. Furthermore, as noted above, one of the most urgent threats to Russia’s national security is the escalating expansion of Salafist (Wahhabi) militants into the Muslim-populated regions of the RF (the North Caucasus and Urals-Volga regions) as well as the menace of intrusion of Afghanistan-based Islamic radicals into the countries of Central Asia. The Salafism project seeks to carve “Muslim-populated” areas out of Russian territory and create Islamist emirates, cleansed of non-Muslim population. Moreover, the problems accumulated in those regions over many years, such as out-and-out corruption, clan systems, deteriorating educational and social services, inequalities in wealth, underdevelopment of the real economy, and unemployment, have made them breeding grounds for political extremists. After the 1990s upsurge in the extremists’ activities, the new Russian leadership managed to beat back the Wahhabi push in the early 2000s, but the last three years have seen another upward jump in the operations of extremist movements and groups in the name of Wahhabi ideology, now posing as “Islamic socialism.” Especially alarming for the federal authorities is that extremist armed gangs have appeared in the once peaceful “Muslim-populated regions” of Tatarstan, Karachayevo-Cherkessia, and Kabardino-Balkariya. To a large extent, this results from the fact that, having drilled the techniques for toppling undesirable regimes during the Arab Spring convulsions in Sudan, Egypt, and Libya, the Salafist centers in Qatar and Saudi Arabia have now decided to replicate similar “revolutions” on Russian territory. Their funding of Islamist militants has increased many times over. In addition, there is a massive transfer under way into these areas of Islamist gunmen, “freed up” after the events in Libya and Egypt; weapons are being stockpiled; and local governing agencies have been taken over and Islamic teaching centers seized. All of this points to an inevitable escalation of terrorist activity in the region, up to and including armed insurgency and guerrilla warfare.
Based on our systemic and dynamic assessment of national security threats to the Russian Federation, we may formulate three main scenarios for military conflicts in which our country could become embroiled over the next 15 to 20 years.
Scenarios for Military Conflicts
“Major War” Scenario
(NATO Countries, the USA, Japan)
The nature of such a war will be:
--- high-intensity and high-technology, since any of the countries named above would seek to deliver a preemptive, disarming strike with HPW against our strategic nuclear forces, reconnaissance, control, and communications systems in outer space, in the air, and on the ground;
--- based on a massive employment of HPW and conventional forces and means of battle in the first attack echelon (in “all-or-nothing” mode), in order to destroy our forces and achieve the basic war objectives before a retaliatory nuclear strike can be launched and before the initiation of political negotiations.
In strategic terms, such a conflict may be preceded by a period of escalating conflict potential, which could allow the timely detection of war preparations by intelligence/reconnaissance forces and assets, and the ability to carry out the needed countermobilization.
“Regional Border Conflict” Scenario
The character of such a conflict will be:
--- fast-moving: in view of the limited military objectives, and due to an effort to attain them without dragging the warring parties into a “full-blown” war;
--- locally contained: combat operations will be contained to the immediate conflict zone (disputed territories, enclaves populated by a particular ethnic group, etc.).
In this scenario as well, the fighting phase of a conflict may be preceded by a period of escalating conflict potential, which could allow Russia to carry out necessary military preparations.
Scenario of an “Internal Military Conflict”
or “Counterterrorist Operation”
The nature of such a conflict will be:
--- low-intensity: the enemy will count on sabotage, guerilla warfare, and “pinprick” tactics, i.e., wearing down the federal force agencies by sporadic terrorist attacks and local-scale blows;
--- protracted: victory in such a conflict could result only from the critical exhaustion of one of the sides, disillusionment with the goals of the conflict on the part of the population involved, and blocking off the area involved, with a shutdown of the sources of financial and material support to one of the sides;
--- evolving without full-scale combat engagements.
Both at the outbreak of such a conflict and in the course of its development, Russia will have at its disposal necessary and sufficient capabilities to staff the units conducting such warfare.
Thus, it becomes evident how complicated the tasks of Russian military planning are at present, as it is generally impossible to grade the existing threats as major or minor. An appropriate response to the above-listed threats will require intensive preemptive measures in military development programs, reshaping of our Armed Forces to meet the standards of “new types of warfare,” training of our service personnel for modern conditions, and the development of new weapons systems. A special role should be assigned to science and the military-industrial complex.
Against this background, a key task is to be able to discover in a timely fashion and inform the country’s political leadership about any critical escalation of existing conflict potentials, long in advance of the open confrontation phase when a conflict demands the immediate mobilization of resources for its solution.
The detection of threatening factors and trends at an early stage of development of a conflict will help to gain a strategic time advantage, making it possible better to prepare for conflict, and to take the initiative in choosing the time, place, forces and means to be used for its resolution.
The current RF Military Doctrine (Section 6a) states that “a distinctive feature of modern military conflicts is the unpredictability of their emergence.” We consider this statement to be unjustified and, what is more, completely untrue, as it presents the entire world political dynamic as a chaotic mess of undetermined, accidental events. Obviously, taking this thesis at face value drastically reduces the responsibility of Russia’s intelligence community for preemptive and systematic work in ensuring timely forewarning about the threat of a surprise attack.
In the meantime, an evaluation of intelligence agency operations with respect to reducing the factor of surprise (which played such a dramatic role during World War II and thereafter, including as recently as the South Ossetia conflict of August 8, 2008) deserves special attention, as the basis for certain practical recommendations.
The USA today has an organized strategic warning system, which operates continuously, irrespective of the level of tension in the world. This system produces summary analytical memoranda to the President of the United States regarding threats to the USA. Those reports are prepared upon the emergence of threats of armed conflicts of various scope and type, from local wars and military actions up to nuclear-missile war. In recent years, large-scale terrorist acts against the USA have been classified as dangerous situations that require special warning.
The threat assessment memos are drafted on the basis of the overall total of information available to all relevant agencies, particularly the special services. They are prepared by a special unit of top-level experts with unlimited access to classified materials from all agencies within the machinery of the U.S. National Security Council. The group is linked to the center of operational information reporting to President of the USA, known as the White House Situation Room. The continuous operation of this unit is a stabilizing factor, in that it provides the political leadership with reasonable assurance that no dangerous military actions by potential adversaries will catch them unawares and, therefore, the geostrategic initiative remains in their hands.
Little is known about organized efforts in the USSR similar to the American system of strategic early warning. Without doubt, such work was carried out, though it was not put on a continuous footing and was incidental rather than regular: from time to time certain summary analytical documents on impending war threats were submitted to the top leadership jointly by relevant agencies. The situation changed at the turn of the 1980s, when, in response to the deployment of Soviet SS-20 medium-range missiles in the European part of the USSR, NATO deployed American Pershing-2 missiles in Europe. Those missiles’ short flight-in time (8 to 10 minutes) to key targets on Soviet territory, including Moscow, compelled the Soviet leadership to think about the problem of a nuclear attack early warning system and the factor of surprise.
It became evident that signal reconnaissance capabilities – more specifically, the then-existing “missile attack warning system” (MAWS) – were inadequate to cope with the immediate threat, including the organization of measures to counteract it. This entire warning system came under the USSR Ministry of Defense, and ensured, to use American terminology, only tactical early warning, i.e. it could inform of the expected place and time of impact of warheads from missiles that had already been launched. That gave the national leadership only a few minutes for situation assessment and decision-making, which was hardly enough for an appropriate response. It was thus recognized that technical reconnaissance facilities alone would not ensure the needed forewarning time for the USSR political and military leadership.
As a result, a decision was taken to create an integrated information and analysis unit that would consolidate critical information from military as well as other relevant agencies. The unit was to assess the incoming information on a non-stop basis, and produce strategic early warnings, in other words, warnings of emergent real threats of surprise attack, and of any critical escalation of crises, including terrorism-related and other especially dangerous military-political situations.
Such a strategic early warning center was created in the 1980s within the Intelligence Information Directorate of the KGB’s First Main Directorate (foreign intelligence). In the early 1990s, however, this activity was discontinued. This happened due to an irrational conviction on the part of the political leadership of the RF at that time, that external threats to the country had ceased to exist and that its newfound western allies were reliable.
It has become apparent today that urgent action must be taken to minimize the possible impact of the factor of surprise on political decision-making. A critical reassessment of the relevant American and Soviet experience would certainly be helpful. What we mean is the creation of a body comparable to the American strategic early warning information machinery. This could be a center for crisis early warning and military-political situation assessment, reporting directly to the Commander-in-Chief of the RF Armed Forces. It is advisable to develop it on the basis of the Kremlin situation center, and include it institutionally under either the RF Security Council or the Administration of the President of the RF.
Assessment of the Past Phase of Defense Reform and Shaping New Approaches to its Improvement
The implementation of the previous phase of defense reform was placed in the hands of a narrow circle of officials and was thus made critically dependent on the levels of competence of only a few people. Under such conditions, errors in judgment and blunders were inevitable. Therefore, what is now urgently needed, in our view, is a comprehensive expert examination of the reforms that have been carried out, from an integrated professional, social, and national-interest standpoint.
To launch that, it is necessary, first, to form an interagency expert commission made up of reputable military commanders, military scientists, political analysts, and military experts, which ought to be assigned to assess the reforms that have been carried out and prepare proposals for readjustments to be made in the further course of defense reform. The non-classified part of their work ought to be put out for public discussion, followed by a final decision to be made by the relevant state bodies, taking into account the opinions expressed.
Our efforts, to be sure, cannot preempt or supersede the results of deliberations by such a commission, yet we hope that the considerations presented below could be of some use for its work.
THE MILITARY DOCTRINE OF RUSSIA
One of the key issues to be discussed within the expert commission on defense reform is that of proposed amendments to the military doctrine. The existing military doctrine is too vague and general, and therefore cannot be helpful in effectively preparing the Armed Forces of Russia to neutralize and counter potential threats – for the reason that the threats themselves are defined tentatively and imprecisely. Clear objectives must be set by the country’s political leadership to enable the military to take practical steps in that direction. What is needed is a military doctrine defining and grading potential threats. Finally, the doctrine should define what types of warfare we have to be prepared for within the integrated conception of national security. The future budget spending required to counter specific threats should also be estimated. Based on such calculations, it would be possible to determine what services and branches of specific armed forces we need in terms of personnel strength, weapons and equipment lists, and the quantities of weapons and equipment, various logistical supplies, mobilization manpower resources, etc.
CENTRAL MILITARY COMMAND STRUCTURES
One of the most important adjustments to be made in the defense reform is to reconstitute the normal operation of the General Staff, which is the principal strategic command and control body of the Armed Forces. At the present time, the General Staff has been turned from a strategic military command agency, planning the development of the Armed Forces and the modes in which they may be employed, into essentially a dispatcher’s station administering the everyday needs and activities of the troops. The General Staff is forced to deal with everything from military air transport flight schedules, to inventory control at the unit level. The General Staff must be freed up from daily administrative tasks, which are not part of its proper function and which ought to be reassigned to the Armed Forces service branches. The General Staff needs to reacquire its principal functions: forecasting the military and political situation, planning the deployment modes of the Armed Forces, directing intelligence, planning and conducting special operations, monitoring of the potential aggressor, threat assessment, updating of plans, and oversight of their implementation.
Regarding changes in the reform of the command and control system, we must also address another key element of this system, namely, the issue of personnel. The three-year rotation period, introduced for officers in the main General Staff directorates, has led to a drastic deterioration in the performance of official and special duties in the relevant duty positions. This, naturally, has affected the functioning of the General Staff as a whole. For instance, the minimum time needed for full-fledged preparation of a senior officer at the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff, so that he will be capable of performing independent missions, is five years. This approach was developed over decades of building the military, and it worked well. It allowed continuity to be maintained, professional qualification enhanced, and performance standards improved. We believe it is necessary to return to this practice and reinstate the unique military caste of General Staff officers, along with the tried and true personnel selection system, which used to channel the crème de la crème of the officer corps to the General Staff.
Moreover, the confusion of the functions of the General Staff and the Ministry of Defense, in which the latter has assumed a wide range of troop control functions, should be recognized as wrong-headed. All of this has led to disarray in the military command and control system as a whole.
It is necessary to demarcate clearly the functions of the Ministry of Defense and those of the General Staff. The Ministry of Defense should concentrate on the tasks of military development, and supervision of its implementation. The Ministry ought to be the principal funder of work done for defense purposes, act as customer and controller in weapons and military equipment procurement (the State Defense Order), develop federal armaments programs, and ensure the RF Armed Forces’ mobilization preparedness. Social protection for military servicemen is also part of its functions.
Let us reiterate that the General Staff, on the other hand, must be reinstated as a full-fledged military command and control agency, engaged in strategic planning and organizing the deployment of the Armed Forces, ensuring their operational and mobilization training, conducting defense intelligence, and elaborating mobilization plans, registration for the draft, and military training programs.
THE OFFICER CORPS
It is evident that, as of today, the key issue in the future implementation of defense reform is that of developing an effective officer corps. At present, despite a substantial increase in funding and the introduction of a wide range of incentives, the officer corps is in deep crisis. There is a shortage of officers, and their role in their units is not adequate to the tasks that need to be accomplished. Their level of training (especially among junior officers) is often lamentable. Unfortunately, all of this has been the result of errors committed in the course of the reform of the officer corps in the 2008-2012 period.
The decisions implemented on the reform and massive reduction of the officer corps were based on a notion of “correct proportions,” expressed in the so-called “Makarov pyramid,” with junior officers making up the base, senior officers in the middle, and generals at the top. The composition of Armed Forces personnel in which the number of majors and lieutenant-colonels was greater than the number of lieutenants and captains, was deemed a tilt in the wrong direction, requiring correction. The U.S. Army, where the proportions were “correct,” was cited as a model. This was the mistake. The decisions on massive cuts in the officer corps were taken without diligent study of the real structure of the U.S. armed forces; their personnel make-up indeed has the aforementioned pyramid form, but only if the military command and control bodies, auxiliary units and formations, and military schools are left out of the equation. If those elements are taken into account, the resulting personnel composition is virtually the same as it was in the Russian Army before the reform. In addition, besides the regular U.S. Army, there are thousands of senior officers serving in the National Guard, the Army Reserve, and in the military-industrial establishment.
As a result, based on such erroneous, or perhaps intentionally distorted, initial data, mass reductions of the officer corps were carried out in 2008-2009: more than 180,000 men were dismissed from the RF Armed Forces. Further blunders occurred in the manner in which those reductions were made. Dismissals were not based on a graded individual approach. Instead, formal and structural considerations prevailed: entire organizational units were eliminated, with their entire staffs, without assessing the value of any particular officer. As a result, the Armed Forces lost tens of thousands of highly qualified officers of all ranks, people with combat experience and decorations, whom the new Ministry of Defense leadership has now decided to bring back into service. It is obvious that serious corrective action is needed in this regard, to compensate for how these personnel policies were skewed.
ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION OF THE MILITARY
The existing structure of the RF Armed Forces with their four service branches (Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Aerospace Defense Forces) has fully proven itself. We believe, however, that this form of organization needs to be supplemented by the establishment of Main Commands of the service branches and Commands of the other types of corps, making these fully responsible for the condition, build-up, development, training and combat deployment of the forces under them. The personnel strength of these command bodies should be reconsidered in view of these new assignments, with operational-strategic commands (OSC) being re-subordinated to them accordingly.
Obviously, the existing administrative division of the military cannot meet present-day challenges, and was adopted without considering them. The Eastern Military District, for example, is overlaid onto two Federal Districts of the RF, embracing virtually the entirety of Eastern Siberia and the Far East. Moreover, in defiance of the ABCs of military development, this district has to cover two different strategic directions at once, which impedes the ability to exercise any effective control of the district. The picture is the same for the Central Military District.
The newly established operational commands of today turn out to be “overburdened” military districts, with added functions but weakened military control bodies. Each of the four commands incorporates two military districts, two air force armies (now the integrated Air Force and Air Defense commands) and one fleet or flotilla; the Southern Military District even has two: the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla. Yet the manning table of the operational command’s control office and headquarters has been cut in half, compared with what a military district had prior to the reform, even though their subordinate military control organs are triple what they were. As a result, they are unable to control their forces and execute their assigned missions effectively, as has been revealed repeatedly in the course of war games and maneuvers over the last years.
The situation in the control system for various types of forces is also critical. For reasons that are unclear, each operational command has been given a superstructure in the form of a naval and air force control office, but in practice these function as consultative rather than control bodies, even though they are called upon to take decisions and draft combat-related documents. At the same time, the fleet commands were slated to be eliminated, and their functions reassigned to control offices within the operational commands, whose manning table would have been increased by 20% at most for this purpose. If these schemes had been fully implemented, control of our fleets would have been virtually lost.
The fact of the matter is that, following the abolition of the main commands of service branches and other forces, no integrated command for the various other types of forces has emerged, despite official declarations about forming one. The fleets and the Air Force and Air Defense Commands do their combat planning independently, because the corresponding control offices in the operational commands do not have sufficient tables of organization to fulfill those tasks.
Based on the above, we believe that it is necessary to form five military districts: the Western district (headquartered in Moscow), the Volga-Urals district (headquartered in Yekaterinburg), the North Caucasus district (headquartered in Rostov-on-Don), the Siberian district (headquartered in Irkutsk), and the Far East district (headquartered in Khabarovsk), while the various fleet headquarters resume their previous control functions. Each of the strategic directions ought to have command and control structures capable of tackling any potential challenges using its own forces, as well as reinforcements.
REFORM OF THE GROUND FORCES
Over the last four years, the scheduled general transition to brigade-based organization of the Ground Forces has failed to elicit superiority of the new structure over the old division/regiment-based organization. As exercises have shown, the “new-look” brigade is inferior by 60% to a “traditional” division in terms of combat capability. The claims that the new structure facilitates command and control of troops and enhances their mobility have not proved true, either. Given its heavy equipment, the brigade can actually move by railway or in a self-propelled mode only. Though it is possible to airlift light brigades, armed with small-arms weapons, such operations are extremely costly and would require a complete re-equipment of military transportation aircraft.
The “new-look” brigade is an overloaded structure for unclear combat tasks. Obviously, the tasks of combined-arms formations depend on their having combined-arms subunits/units (armored, mechanized infantry). According to international military experience, including the Soviet Army’s, to be combat-effective the share of such units in a combined-arms formation must be as large as 30 to 60% of its strength, but in today’s brigade it is no more than 15%, and only 5% in undermanned ones.
As a result, we have been given a combined-arms formation that can deliver artillery support or even air defense, but is unable to conduct an integrated combined-arms battle.
Obviously, today’s Ground Forces should have a flexible organization, piecing together the advantages of previous types of organization, with its tasks clearly linked to the entire spectrum of potential military threats. Thus, against the technologically sophisticated enemy and upgraded and powerful armed forces, it is necessary to deploy formations of the tried-and-true division-based type, but where the enemy is relatively weak or in counterterrorist operations, it is reasonable to build up and employ brigades.
At that, it should be noted that today’s US division is at least equal to, or even surpasses in its combat power today’s major formation in our Ground Forces, i.e. so-called “new-look army” (operational command)! In view of its table-of-organization deficiencies (insufficient amounts of cannon artillery at both levels), the present-day army – brigade structure does not have the capacity to effectively fulfill the tasks of firepower preparation of an offensive or defense.
Alongside the brigades, a division-based formation should be reinstated in the Russian army – from now on, in the capacity of ground forces basic attack force. There should be divisions of permanent readiness, reduced-strength divisions and cadre divisions (storage bases), and there should be brigades of permanent readiness and reduced-strength brigades.
The permanent readiness division should surpass in combat power the U.S. light armored division of today and tomorrow, being overwhelmingly superior in counter air battle, reconnaissance capacities, redeployment capabilities (including in self-propelled mode), and in firepower. Its strength should range from 10,000 to 15,000 men.
The permanent readiness brigade, though remaining part of the ground forces, should undergo serious readjustments to enhance its combat power and counter-air-battle capability. The brigades could be deployed to cover state frontiers in specific areas of operations or execute missions in those operational theaters where the aggressor’s large-scale combat operations are unlikely (North Caucasus, the Subarctic regions, Karelia, Kamchatka, etc.).
The reduced-strength division is a formation of advanced readiness, designated to augment combat capability of major formations countering aggression in the course of local-scale or large-scale war, staffed by officers and warrant officers assigned daily to give basic training to army conscripts or enrichment training to contract soldiers in regimental training schools. Its base staff are career officers and warrant officers in the main executive positions, who are in the second manning table of permanent readiness divisions for the purpose of organizing the daily training process in regimental schools as teachers and instructors. They periodically move – on a rotation basis or through promotion based on their teaching success – to other positions within the permanent readiness formations. Once every 3 years, a reduced-strength division is manned to full strength to be deployed for a month-long collective training exercise and operational or strategic exercises. Their strength should match that of a permanent readiness division, ranging from 10,000 to 15,000.
The reduced-strength brigade is designated to augment the capabilities of service arms and special troops and is stationed at the bases of formations and units of service arms and special troops, having the structure and assignment similar to those of a reduced-strength division. The brigades are deployed for collective training and other exercises at least once in 3 years. Their strength will depend on the requirements of specific service arms and special troops.
The cadre division is a formation designated to replace combat losses in the course of large-scale war or local conflict threatening to escalate into such war. Its territory is a ground where military equipment and materiel are stored, organized with slabs and barracks on a terrain near an existing military base. The barracks are designed to keep equipment safe from rough weather as well as conceal its true nature. Materiel for military personnel is stored in the base, with armaments and ammunition being loaded into equipment. The base is surrounded with a fence equipped with video surveillance, alarm signals, remote-operated machine-gun mounts.
The cadre division is watched over by a private military company under contract from the Ministry of Defense. The company guards the base, controls the state of stored equipment, services it at regular intervals and tests it in military training situations. It provides training to military reserve personnel, including officers from the army reserve.
THE MOBILIZATION RESOURCE
The decision to eliminate the mobilization component of the RF Armed Forces should be regarded as strategically erroneous. Countering a full-scale aggression of potential adversary or successful combat operations in local war conflicts are impossible without organized armed reserves. Such reserves exist today in the armies of all developed countries. Therefore, according to our reckoning, it is critically important to reinstate the mobilization component in the RF Armed Forces structure and resume military training of registered reservists. Victories in large-scale wars have never been won by regular armed forces alone. The outcome of war will depend on the availability of trained reserves.
The system of military education requires very serious corrective actions. There has emerged an unacceptable gap in the system. Due to the institution of Department of Education within the RF Ministry of Defense, headed by the Deputy Defense Minister for Military Science and Education, they decided to bring together, under its auspices, the military sciences that do research into various aspects of weapons and military equipment (Research Institutes 13 and 30 of the Air Force, Central Research Institutes 1 and 2 of the Navy) and military education as such, i.e. military institutes and academies. As a matter of fact, this resulted in the upsetting of activities of the specialized research institutes, which had to get agreement on the subjects and tasks of research with officials of the new department who, being civilian bureaucrats, were incompetent in the problems involved and therefore evaded any decisions.
As for the reform of military education, the idea of “humanization” was made central to it for unknown reasons. It was decided to bring the system of military education, as far as possible, in line with civilian higher education. As a result, the life and service of military students underwent a drastic reorganization. The programs of instruction were revised: the study time and self-instruction time were reduced, and dozens of additional class hours in humanities were introduced instead of tactical science, firing instruction and other specialized military subjects. As a result, the military schools now produce poorly trained officers whose qualifications do not meet the requirements of modern army. The post-graduate education is even in a more deplorable condition. Instead of the three-level system (military school – military academy – the General Staff academy) a “course-based” system was introduced, under which an officer, instead of basic education, had to take short-term “qualification courses” before promotion to a higher grade. Thus, before promotion to operational-strategic levels of command officers took ten-month instruction courses. The first results of this form of military education have shown that it produces narrowly educated and poorly trained intermediate-level and top-level officers.
In assessing the past phase of defense reform it is necessary to look more closely at the situation in military education and see to what extent the mergers of military institutes into huge instructional-scientific centers were necessary. What are the effects of those mergers?
Obviously enough, military schools need to be given back to the armed forces service branches for which they prepare personnel, as a matter of fact. The four years of their existence under the Ministry of Defense Department of Education, in isolation of the needs of troops, have resulted in serious deterioration of their performance.
It is necessary to find out, too, how well-grounded and well-founded were the reforms of military academies, such as the Military Academy of the General Staff, Zhukovsky and Gagarin Air Force Academies, Frunze Military Academy, Zhukov Command Academy.
OUTSOURCING AND SUPPORT SERVICES
The system of outsourcing rear services has proved to be useful at military home stations, as it relieves soldiers of clean-up and other details – though only in case it is free from corruption (which is present virtually everywhere). However, in the case of battlefield practices, war exercises and even more so, in combat conditions, the system of outsourcing is inoperable, which has been proved in practice over the last four years. Especially acute is the problem of materiel maintenance and recovery. The experimental exercises conducted in the Central Military District showed that Spetsremont (a company belonging to the OboronProm holding, responsible for recovery and maintenance of military equipment) was unable to repair equipment in the field and all the more so, salvage it under fire.
It appears logical to outsource gunnery ranges, shooting grounds, training centers and other training equipment to specialized and duly legalized private military companies, capable of servicing such materiel up to top-professional standards. In addition, such companies, which would employ primarily ex-servicemen, could be commissioned to guard and protect military garrisons and compounds housing servicemen’s families, when military formations and units leave for field exercises in peacetime or combat action in the time of war, to prevent acts of plundering and losses of armaments and other materiel in the garrisons abandoned by regular troops.
At the same time, that would solve the problem of ex-servicemen’s social protection. In the time of war, private companies could be employed for other important missions, from securing territorial defense to actions within special guerilla forces.
In our opinion, it is necessary to:
n reinstate the Service of the Rear in the RF Armed Forces;
n reinstate the military medicine, the hospitals that were eliminated or downsized during the past phase of reform;
n transfer the functions of administration and disposal of the immovable property of the Ministry of Defense back to the Federal Agency for State Property Management to rule out possible abuses of authority;
n transfer the companies specializing in the recovery and maintenance of materiel, now subordinate to the Oboronservis holding, into the supervision of Main Commands of Service Branches of the RF Armed Forces.
THE “KEY WEAK POINTS” OF THE DEFENSE REFORM
Summing up the four-year-long process of defense reform, it can be noted that the reformers have failed to develop a clear understanding of mobilization component for the building of the RF Armed Forces, and of the role and place of mobilization structures in the military organization of the state.
An up-to-date conception of modern warfare has not materialized and, as a result, the long-overdue reorganization of the Armed Forces has not been carried out. Most notably, this concerns special operations forces and Special Operations Command, a novel service arm and the most effective instrument of “new type of warfare.”
The reformers have overlooked the fact that the reserve command system of Strategic Nuclear Forces, which are a key element of national security, urgently needs upgrading.
The build-up of officer corps, sufficiently qualified and motivated, remains a severe issue.
The recruitment and training of professional corps of junior leaders is still an unsolved problem.
Solving these system-wide problems, in our opinion, could help to offset the negative tendencies that, today, stand in the way of effective reforms in the RF Armed Forces.
MOBILIZATION COMPONENT: MODERN APPROACHES
The development of modern Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, prepared to counter a major full-scale aggression or successfully conduct warfare in local conflicts, is dependent on building up an organized armed reserve. Even in the countries that proclaim policies of non-interference and neutrality, such as Sweden, there exists an armed reserve alongside regular armed forces.
The build-up of organized reserve has been a matter of concern since the birth of the Russian Armed Forces, but the problem, in fact, was inherited from the Soviet army. As early as the 1980s, the Soviet mobilization system of recruitment through military commissariats no longer operated properly. The assessment of results of reserve duty trainings conducted in the Ground Forces in 1987 revealed that the test mobilization manning exercises were a failure. It took three months instead of three days to man and deploy two regiments in the Siberian and Transbaikal military districts, the percentage of discrepancies in military occupational specialties being as high as 80%.
In the 1990s, the system of organized armed reserve (OAR) was never revised.
In the 2000s, as there appeared permanent readiness units (PRU), the OAR ceased to exist. Its bases – “cadre” units and formations (where reservists were bound to arrive in case of war threat) - were turned into donor units for PRU. On the one hand, this enabled PRU to maintain high level of equipment and readiness, but on the other, in case of a major war, the reduced-strength units would have had no one to receive reservists because all their cadre personnel would have been dispatched to staff PRU to full strength in the first hours of war.
In the course of the reform, a reasonable solution to the OAR problem was suggested. Reduced-strength “cadre” units and formations would be subordinated to the governors of territories and regions (similarly to the U.S. National Guard). It was proposed to institute reserve duty service under contract on a voluntary basis, with an extra monthly pay of 10,000 rubles or more to such “reservists.” The latter would be obliged to attend a two-day reserve duty training once a month, a week-long one once in six months, and leave for month-long regiment/division-level exercises once a year. In case of war, such units and formations would be immediately re-subordinated to corresponding military district commands. In PRU there would have remained mobilization and manning squad sections to which military commissariats would dispatch enlisted reservists for duty training under contract (the terms and conditions of contracts the same as above).
The proposed solution was not approved by the then top officials of the Armed Forces. Instead, they decided to totally eliminate reserve component from the country’s “new-look” armed forces. Faulty grounds given for the decision: today’s most battle-worthy armies (including first and foremost the U.S. Army) has no organized military reserve and conduct warfare using active duty armed forces only. The reduced-strength “cadre” units and formations were discontinued and most of the materiel storage bases inactivated. The military commissariat sections responsible for recall of reservists were disbanded. As of today, the system of OAR has been leveled.
Meanwhile, it must be noted that none of the wars, waged by the USA over the last two decades, has been managed without the deployment of considerable mobilization reserve. In certain periods (the Gulf War of 1991, the Iraqi campaign of 2003), the percentage of reservists in combat forces was as high as 25% of the overall strength.
The Law on the Military Reserve, passed by the State Duma on December 19, 2012, is only an attempt – and not a very successful one – to resolve the long-standing OAR problems.
When talking of mobilization preparedness, we maintain that the initial defense reform conception, based on the assumptions that major outside threats are absent and surprise attack against Russia improbable, was wide off the mark. Under any potential war scenario, there will always be a certain time window for war preparation, i.e. for taking timely mobilization measures to build up the military forces to required strength. The success of such deployment will depend primarily on the existence of sufficient and trained regular military reserve, prepared for such deployment.
We would like to advance the following approach to the build-up of Russia’s Armed Forces and National Military Reserve (NMR). It is based on:
--- a new approach to the build-up and maintenance of National Military Reserve, including Regular Army Reserve as well as Ready and Inactive Mobilization Reserves;
--- a new approach to the stationing of troops, including joint stationing of formations and units of different readiness levels in the same base areas, resulting in more intensive and higher-quality utilization of the entire material-resource base and training base;
--- a new approach to the organization of training of young conscripts and contract soldiers, and the organization of daily activities and combat training of formations and units;
--- a new approach to manning, training and testing of combat readiness of units and formations in the course of various-scale realistic rather than demonstration exercises. We believe that demonstration exercises, based on unification in tactical combat maneuvers, discourage commanding officers from independent action and individual initiative in finding new ways in troop training, which will help the enemy to inflict defeat on our troops in future war conflicts due to the ability to foresee our actions;
--- a new approach to organizing and securing the territorial defense of the country, and to improved methods for manning troops.
--- a new approach to the solution of social problems of ex-servicemen who have served terms of service in the regular armed forces and regular reserve.
When creating the National Military Reserve, it is necessary to revise the structures and functional duties of the service-branch Main Commands of the RF Armed Forces and the Main Directorates that were previously in charge of mobilization matters. To set up, build up and train upgraded National Military Reserve embracing all the service branches, it is necessary to establish the National Military Reserve Command. When staffing the central body of such Command and its local agencies of control and conjunction, such staff should be sought primarily among retired officers and those who were dismissed from service under the defense reform. Thus, we will provide, as early as today, the officer cadre of NMR Command with top-professional personnel, sensibly taking advantage of the fact that tens of thousands of officers have been declared excess. The main missions of the NMR Command will be to deploy, set up, man, train, and prepare organizationally and tactically for combat personnel and formations of the Regular Army Reserve and Ready Mobilization Reserve. The responsibility for operational and strategic preparation of NMR formations will be placed on the Main Commands of service branches of the armed forces.
In our perspective, the mobilization problem ought to be solved in package through base areas, located primarily near or within the territory of large cities (republican or regional centers). Base areas should consist of a base area of permanent readiness formation (division), a base area of reduced-strength formation (division) manned from NMR regular army reserve, and a base area of cadre formation (division) manned from NMR mobilization reserve. The proposed approach should be employed for other armed forces service branches, service arms and special troops. In periods of threat and combat actions, the responsibility for security of the base areas (housing the servicemen’s families and holding considerable stocks of resources and means of materiel recovery and maintenance) and their protection from actions of the potential enemy’s special operations forces could be placed on private military companies (PMC), established and duly legalized in Russia. PMC could be staffed by officers dismissed from service, which would resolve social protection problems for those people and augment combat readiness of units and formations stationed in the base areas.
For the period of a global war an estimated required strength of the Armed Forces ranges from 3 to 5 million or more, factoring in a phased mobilization, pattern of threats and the armed forces’ battle power. It is assumed that the Russian State will introduce a well-defined organization of the Armed Forces, including regular army, manned by conscripts and contract soldiers, regular army reserve, previously termed reduced-strength formations, and ready mobilization reserve, previously termed cadre formations.
The regular armed forces strength must stand at no less than 1% of the country’s population, ranging from 1.3 to 1.5 million. It is the minimum permitting to maintain combat readiness and conform to battle requirements arising from various battle tasks, up to the potential aggressor’s large-scale surprise attack, which - due to the development of high-precision weapons and novel armament systems - cannot now be ruled out altogether.
The strength of National Regular Reserve must be calculated based on potential threats in a given strategic area, and depending upon the amount of equipment stored in reduced-strength formations. The regular reserve differs from mobilization reserve in that the reservists are paid a 40% monthly allowance of active servicemen (and a 100% one when inducted for exercises, trainings). If they are called in for service in units committed to action in counter-terrorist operations, their allowances are calculated as those of active servicemen, and are increased threefold or more.
The National Regular Reserve refers to personnel who, having concluded a contract for a term, do service under contract and occupy posts in reduced-strength units, but are employed in the non-military sector in their civilian occupations. The regular reserve is manned with former conscript or contract servicemen who, having completed terms of service/enlistment in permanent readiness units, volunteered to serve in the regular reserve. To secure the social status of regular reserve servicemen, special regulations should be worked out on the terms of service, money allowances and other benefits. Reduced-strength units are stationed in military base areas jointly with permanent readiness divisions, and are put in an alert in those bases according to tactical employment schedules. All the line officers of a reduced-strength division are, at the same time, instructors in the regimental schools of a permanent readiness division. For eight months in a year they give basic military training to conscript servicemen, and for two months, once in three to five years, they effect collective training exercises in their units brought up to wartime strength. The servicemen of reduced-strength units are given additional retraining in special training exercises when units receive new or updated pieces of equipment.
In the past, reduced-strength units were rated as ‘unready for combat’ because of low proficiency of their officer cadre, and poor condition of equipment. Such state of things resulted from various factors, including lack of required funding for planned activities. Under the new conditions, officers of reduced-strength units will be active, on a regular basis, as instructors in their military specialty areas, and will be able to upgrade their education and training skills by moving, on a rotational basis, to the jobs of officers in permanent readiness units as well as by taking classes in military academies and at various qualification courses.
The strength of the Mobilization Reserve can vary between 3 and 5 million, depending on the availability of military equipment stored at bases and depots, on the industrial capacity to increase manufacture of military equipment in contingency periods and in the time of armed conflicts, and on whether the mobilization component is to be re-manned or community defense squads are to be deployed in the interests of territorial defense of the country.
The Army Mobilization Reserve refers to personnel who, having served established terms of service in the regular armed forces and regular reserve, are registered for draft. This reserve is divided into Ready Reserve and Inactive Reserve. The Ready Reserve is attached to cadre formations, whereas the Inactive Reserve is designated to re-man formations and units which have suffered casualties in combat. The Mobilization Reserve’s refresher retraining, enrichment training and retraining for new equipment are carried out once a year for a month at the base of regimental schools of permanent readiness divisions, and once in three years three-month-long exercises are held.
The Ready Mobilization Reserve refers to the assigned strength of cadre formations, stationed in base areas jointly with reduced-strength units and permanent readiness units.
To organize Territorial Defense forces, it is necessary to reinstate military commissariats and expand their functions by placing, on their basis, cadre units and subunits, provided with necessary equipment and armaments. They will be officered by retired officers serving until registration age limit (until 60), and manned from local manpower resources. This will afford social protection for retired officers, providing them with jobs at their previous or newly chosen place of residence, and help solve their settlement problems, now unsolved, by providing them with housing and enlarged land plots for households. This approach will resolve as well the crucial problem of organized territorial defense of the country.
The structures of such cadre units/subunits require special validation.
UPGRADING THE RESERVE COMMAND SYSTEM OF THE STRATEGIC NUCLEAR FORCES AS BASIC FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
The main task for strategic-level command is to secure for the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces the exercise of his right to decide on the employment of nuclear weapons. That is the security mission of prime importance to which the energies of all the duty shifts at the General Staff central command post are directed. Hardened command centers for the State and Armed Forces leaderships make up the basis of command system at the top echelon of command and control. The system was built as far back as the Soviet period and is operable up to the present. Recent training exercises have corroborated its good efficiency, yet it does need upgrading.
With reference to the employment of nuclear weaponry, the issue of conditions of such employment cannot be avoided. There exist only three scenarios of strategic employment of nuclear weapons: preemptive strike, launch-under-attack strike, and retaliatory one. This said, the main scenario for the Russian armed forces is a retaliatory strike. To safeguard and secure its nuclear retaliatory capability the State needs a safe reserve system of strategic command. It is this alternate system of command that assures Russia’s national security today.
Therefore, we feel, special attention must be drawn to the state of RF Strategic Nuclear Forces Reserve Command System, which is the system enabling our country to deal to the enemy a retaliatory nuclear strike with unacceptable damage even after all our main command posts and SNF control centers have been destroyed by the enemy’s preemptive strike. At present, as was mentioned, this basic-for-national-security system is safely operable, yet it is in want of upgrading and its operational phase should be extended.
Such upgrading should be designed to augment the ability (capability) to deliver SNF Command’s combat orders to submarines, aircraft and launchers in all conditions. Due to its very existence such system will allow us to release resources for upgrading other systems, strategically less important. Having covered the country strategically, having safeguarded it against surprise attack, one is free to address tactical matters.
PROSPECTS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSIA’S SPECIAL OPERATIONS FORCES
The closer the announced date of withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan (2014), the more explosive the situation in Central Asia becomes. The consolidation of Afghan tribes under the Taliban-controlled dominion of radical Muslim parties, could point to an approaching upsurge, in the near future, of organized export of Islamist extremism and opium-based drugs onto the territories of Iran and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) member-states, including Russia. The danger will originate from Afghanistan that is no longer tribal-strife-divided and weak but united, momentum-gaining and hostile.
Today, they talk a lot about “network-centered” warfare but only few countries, unfortunately, wield the appropriate techniques of combat actions.
In the conception of “modern warfare,” special forces (spetsnaz) - as part of special operations forces (SOF) and a body capable of gaining and utilizing useful information – are to play a major role in ensuring Russia’s national security. If we consider the war record of countries that conduct extensively warfare in various parts of the world, it becomes evident that they attach great importance to SOF. Special Operations Commands, now created in virtually all the leading armies of the world, are continually enhanced. Thus, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has recently been augmented with clandestine intelligence, designed to supply their SOF with reliable and timely information from “grass-roots” covert networks.
The strengths of SOF, or “special forces” in our terminology, consist in their ability to operate successfully in large-scale wars or local war conflicts (as in Afghanistan) or in counterterrorist operations. In other words, Special Operations Forces, and “special forces” as part of them, are a versatile offensive service arm. A country and an army that wield this armament will always have an advantage over those who do not.
There is a long overdue need to create a united Special Operations Command (SOC) in the Russian Armed Forces, with special forces (spetsnaz) coming under its command. To set up the SOC, it is necessary to proceed from assessment of the potential enemy and the pattern of future war conflicts. The SOC ought to have the capability to effect planning and conduct operations in an armed conflict or local (regional) war, while being engaged, simultaneously, in one or two counterterrorist operations without complementary enhancement, with reserve units being deployed only in the final phase of such conflicts. In a major war, the SOC ought to carry out missions independently, being enhanced from reserve forces and mobilization deployment. Such are the basic lines to be followed in building up the SOC agency, defining its strength, combat capabilities and chain of command as well as the priorities and amounts of funding required.
Creating the Special Operations Command is not merely the set-up of another military control body with such-and-such units being placed under its command. It is the creation of a full-bodied offensive service arm that has not yet existed in full-fledged form in the RF Armed Forces organization.
As the pattern and agents of warfare undergo changes (changes in the instruments of non-lethal action on countries and its populations, in the scope of employment of troops and armaments), there change approaches to armed forces structures. The USA, Britain and other countries, whose intelligence services are agents of offensive warfare, long ago established approaches as to the ways and means of development and enhancement of intelligence, while we, holding on to a defensive strategy in this field, are seriously behind them for the sole reason that intelligence cannot be defensive-dominated.
Intelligence, today, is an offensive arm at the disposal of a politician and military commander.
The expanding capacities of technical reconnaissance and integration of all-source data into one information stream demand new approaches to the agencies of tactical reconnaissance (unit/operational command) as well as those of strategic intelligence, to which special forces belong. The creation of SOC will enable to resolve a large stratum of unresolved tasks now facing the Armed Forces on the whole as well as intelligence agencies as such. As a result, there will emerge a novel service arm, in which disparate and so far disjointed structures will be brought together and novel ones that know no equals will be created.
The concentration of special intelligence forces (intelligence/disruption) and other structures required for the conduct of special missions, training and outfitting them to unified standards and employing them under one command will provide the army with forces and facilities for accomplishing virtually any priority missions within limited time at any strategic area in the conditions of a large-scale war.
Due to the rise of unconventional ways of warfare (counterterrorist operations, “color revolutions” escalating into armed confrontations as in Libya and Syria), it is necessary to employ the entire range of special operation forces and assets as the best tool in combating irregular action agents: on a real-time basis with due real effect. The events in Syria show that any armed confrontation ought to be contained by resolute action in its initial phase to prevent its outgrowth, and special task forces are the most efficient combat tool for such missions.
Furthermore, due to their organization and support systems special forces will have the capability to conduct strategic and special intelligence in periods of threat and in the initial phase of, or during, war conflict or a large-scale war.
Developing and introducing the strategies and tactics of deployment of special task forces and other SOF agencies, the SOC should cover the entire range of “fourth-dimension-warfare” operations, such as conduct of raids, organization of insurgency-warfare, guerilla-warfare and sabotage operations in the potential enemies’ territories and rear areas. Based on the assessment of our own and other countries’ experiences, it should also develop, introduce and provide the special task forces with the most updated weapon and reconnaissance systems, and control the use and performance of those systems in combat action. Not only personal courage and bravery but technical-outfit superiority, too, will conduce to success in the special forces’ operations.
Given a unified centralized approach to the recruitment, training, stationing, deployment and post-active-service employment of its personnel, based on its comprehensive cooperation with Russian private military companies (after the appropriate legislation has been adopted), the SOC will have a ready-for-combat-deployment mobilization reserve, capable of accomplishing various tasks in hand.
The SOC, by the decision of the RF leadership, could give assistance to our foreign allies in safeguarding their national security, in combating terrorism and transnational crime. This will enable our country to launch and conduct humanitarian-aid or search-and-rescue operations abroad, thus preventing the expansion of terrorism into our territory.
Given the current tendencies in modern warfare (information and other types of unconventional warfare), the SOC, in collaboration with the Foreign Ministry and other national security agencies, could participate in conducting special psychological and information-warfare operations as well as operations against proliferation of WMD.
Due to its strengths and advantages, the SOC will augment considerably combat capacities of the RF Armed Forces, increase the security and defensive power of our state.
An important factor in the creation of SOC is the issue of its status and subordination, which would determine to a large extent the agency’s military efficiency. Based on the past experience of special operations, it would be wise to make the SOC subordinate not to the Main Directorate of Intelligence but to the Defense Minister through the Chief of General Staff and commit it to action only at the orders of Commander-in-Chief, i.e. the President. The advantages of this approach are obvious: an enhanced status of the newly established agency, fewer steps in the administrative chain of command, better prospects for allocation of object-oriented funding and, last but not least, heightened personal responsibility.
The structure of SOC is to ensure resolution of the entire spectrum of current and long-term tasks. In peacetime or periods of threat, it ought to conduct (independently or in collaboration with other national security agencies) necessary counterterrorist operations in the country and beyond it, jointly with Russian private military companies, if necessary.
Its collaboration with private military companies will enable it to exert influence worldwide in any zones where the interests of Russia are affected and, at the same time, maintain a combat-ready SOC reserve.
In the time of wars, the SOC and the forces under its command shall be employed as an inherent part of the RF Armed Forces.
Such approach, we believe, is the most full-featured response to the challenges which Russia and its armed forces will face in the near future.
ON THE REFORM OF THE GROUND FORCES
The placement of armed forces should correspond to the attainment of assigned near-term and mid-term objectives and at the same time afford protection of the main lines of operations for subsequent build-up and deployment of task forces, when necessary.
The placement of formations and units in large military base areas permits to concentrate troops, reducing the costs of their deployment and maintenance. However, additional outlays will be required to fully organize and set up such base areas, including on-post housing for personnel, single storage park for military equipment, single operations range. At the same time, the close vicinity of large cities will permit to solve a wide range of personnel families’ social problems (jobs, education, health services, social activities, etc.).
Personnel procurement can be mixed (draft plus enlistment) for some time, service terms and benefits being different for different categories. Gradually, enlistment contract procurement should become universal.
Officer grade procurement shall be carried out on a voluntary-contractual basis with service terms until established age limit or beyond it for some in-demand service categories. Military grades are awarded according to existing categories and include junior-grade, mid-grade, and field-grade officers.
Warrant officer grade procurement, after this grade is reinstated in the Armed Forces, should be carried out on a voluntary basis (similar to officers) with the adoption of a list of appropriate benefits. To fill the main sergeant-grade posts and some warrant-officer-grade posts, the military ranks of “junior warrant officer,” “warrant officer” and “senior warrant officer” should be introduced. Appointments to the ranks are made after a program of instruction in an appropriate military school over a term of three (for those with higher-school or specialized-high-school diplomas) or six months (for those with high-school certificates). This grade category should be afforded an opportunity to fill junior-rank-officer positions after a short-term course of instruction at an appropriate military school. Warrant officers’ contracts are concluded for a 5-year period and can be extended thereafter.
Sergeant grade procurement. Sergeant posts should be filled with conscripts who have served a regular army service or enlisted servicemen under their first 3-year-term contract, who have gone through a retraining course (from 2- to 6-month-long depending on a specialty) at a military school and passed the exams. The initial sergeant’s rank is that of “junior sergeant,” and he is also given promotional incentives, including annual rank-related allowances. On concluding a second 3-year-term contract, the rank of “sergeant” is awarded, which leads to an increase in pay and allowances and augmented benefits. The ranks of “senior sergeant” and “master sergeant” are awarded similarly after the conclusion of third and fourth 3-year-term contracts. A master sergeant who has served two years in the rank can be promoted to a “warrant officer” grade, accompanied with an increase in pay and benefits. It should be stipulated that promotion from “sergeant” grade to “warrant officer” grade could also result from an appropriate retraining course.
The existing schemes that set rates of pay, allowances and benefits in the army call for a thorough revision and improvement. In our opinion, they do not permit to select better quality personnel, and do not generate military career incentives, i.e. do not encourage military mastership development, thus telling negatively on the battle readiness of the Russian army.
Soldier grade procurement. This should be carried out by draft and by contract enlistment. For the near-term future, it is necessary to maintain the mixed system of army personnel procurement. The draft system permits to carry out quality training of mobilization reserve, forwarding conscripts, after a regular-term service, either to service under contract or to regular reserve. This is to be done on a voluntary basis.
Under current conditions, the regular service term will be one year, but technical and combat training should become far more intensive than before. That is the most sensitive issue in the ongoing debate: to prepare and a soldier over a year is impossible and, therefore, to man the brigades to full strength will be impossible, either, hence there is a serious preparedness gap. It is true that, given this term of service, brigades will not be battle-ready, and even if it were extended to 18 months, that would not resolve the problem, as they would be undermanned for 30% or more, especially if officers’ and contract soldiers’ leaves are taken into account. If current and provisional strength deficits are added up, the resulting strength will be no more than 60%.
Service under contract requires special validation and examination, especially in terms of such issues as rates of pay, granting of benefits and preferences, establishing of minimum and limit-of-age terms of service in the regular army, and terms of service in regular or ready mobilization reserve. An important issue will be that of a subsequent employment of contract serviceman who has served in the ranks the entire regular service term (until 35) and has still a capacity for service in the organized reserve (until 45) or ready reserve (until 60). In this respect, a major role could be played by the aforementioned private military companies, to be established in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense.
Military battle readiness can be secured due to the following measures:
-- By having permanent readiness divisions and brigades in the Armed Forces structure. A division will be fully battle-ready even if one of its three regiments is partially undermanned;
-- By having reduced-strength divisions in the Armed Forces structure;
-- By reinstating, in the army, the institution of warrant officers, establishing the appropriate lists of positions, terms of service and promotion, benefits, rates of pay;
-- By revising the forms of servicemen training: the district training centers ought to be inactivated, and on their basis tactical combat formations should be created. In order to train servicemen in specialties over a 4-month period, brigade (battalion) training schools should be returned to brigades (battalions). According to the table of organization, instructor officers at such schools – in the intervals between instructing activity and leave of absence – will fulfill their duties in reduced-strength divisions, taking part in exercises involving the organized reserve. It is not difficult to work out such plans, schedules and all the rest of it. The service in such schools is special insofar as the officers alternate instruction and service in combat units. An instructor officer, thus, may be a reduced-strength company commander or regiment’s commanding officer, which would augment the quality of conscripts’ basic training;
-- Due to this comprehensive approach, two brigades in a division (two battalions in a brigade, two companies in a battalion) will always be fully combat-ready and one, partially combat-ready. However, its combat-readiness will gradually grow within the next four-month period, which is the term of basic training of fresh conscripts. The officers’ leaves of absence are scheduled in such a way as to stay within the allotted four-month-term time. In case of sudden alert, the officer instructors fill combat-unit vacant positions while the complement personnel are called in from the regular reserve (the time of arrival set at 10 to 24 hours).
-- In those units that are temporarily (for some reason) understaffed by officers or warrant officers, the vacancies can be filled by instruction-school officers, and contract soldiers’ vacancies by calling in from the regular reserve.
This approach will permit to resolve problems that remain to be unresolved yet – those of combat readiness and training and combat capability of army units and formations.
In order to resolve this problem, it is necessary:
-- To give up the two-period system of combat training, moving over to an annual cycle of continuous training of a formation or unit, and eliminating preparatory periods and whatever is related to them;
-- To establish variable operating modes for military equipment, assigning its routine maintenance to outsource repair teams and crews involved without interrupting training process;
-- To outsource the maintenance of operations ranges, firing fields, training centers and other materiel to specially established and duly legalized private military companies, capable of servicing the devices and equipment in question in a professional way.
The system of training of conscripts can be described as follows:
The pre-draft general training is given at school or the DOSAAF (Voluntary Assistance to Army, Air Force and Navy) and, wherever possible, at the bases of reserve formations, beyond school-hours.
Conscript’s basic military training should be carried out in a military unit or training subunit over a four-month period, including two weeks of soldiering.
Common skills training includes the training of conscripts and enrichment training of contract soldiers. Then a soldier is moved on to a subunit where he is given arms, military equipment, with which he never parts till the end of his term of service. Further on, there come collective training phases – with a crew (1 month), platoon (1 month), company (1 month), and battalion (1 month).
Finally, the collective training for conscripts and contract servicemen can include training with a regiment (2 months), division (1 month), and army (1 month).
An estimate of this approach to combat training brought out 27 major aspects of integrated combat training, which need to be learned in the initial phase of collective training of a squad (crew) only. Within a month, therefore, the only spare time a soldier can have will be spent on servicing equipment on Saturdays and on rest on Sundays, the remaining time being devoted to training attendance, including tactical techniques, weapons training, engineer training and all the other majors – not separately but in package.
That system of training could possibly become a way to the final solution of the ill-famous issues of army hazing and bullying among military rank and file.
Further on, the same subjects are practiced with a platoon, company, battalion, brigade (regiment), division and army, in conjunction with other subunits, units and formations.
Thus, over a year an army conscript will cover all the subjects and skills, learning them not theoretically, in hand-waving terms, but practically, “in the field.” On the one hand, such intensive combat training will permit a serviceman to fully master his military specialty, and on the other, this may allow the authorities not to induct him for training for the next five years.
However, such intensive training would require a different approach to the placement of troops, organization of operations ranges and firing fields, operation of the administrative machine and logistical agencies as well as to operation of the defense industrial complex charged with timely repair and updating of old equipment, supplies of new equipment, etc.
The year-long process of operations and combat training of servicemen ends in their taking part in exercises which could vary in scope, time and place, and manner:
--Tactical and special combat drills/exercises with a squad, platoon, company, battalion, regiment;
-- Battle exercises with a division;
-- Operational exercises with an army.
Taking part in strategic exercises is a matter of special plans/schedules and can occur within one’s period of active service (service under contract) or when serving in the regular reserve.
Within the new approach, collective training exercises specify by the fact that tactical training elements are practiced in conjunction with other disciplines during tactical exercises covering the entire range of possible combat action scenarios.
Another distinctive feature is that in the course of combat training all actions are practiced on regular, assigned equipment “in the field” after drills on electronic stands, computer programs, training simulators.
COMING MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES AND THE WARS OF THE FUTURE
Proceeding to the military technologies of the future, it should be noted that it would be a mistake to attempt to reequip our armed forces with “everything all at once.” That is not only unnecessary, but also ill-advised. Replacing weapons is a continuous process. There is no point in trying to completely reequip our army within five or even ten years. Removal of outdated weapon systems from service and their replacement with updated ones is the economically least burdensome process, making it possible to maintain a high level of modern weapons, without abrupt shifts in the form of either sudden updates or mass obsolescence.
No doubt, the nature of combat in the future, as well as of combat tactics and strategies, and the forms and means of conducting warfare, will be determined to a large extent by military technologies.
Therefore, based on the opportunities afforded by new and promising technologies for the future, it is possible to define guidelines for the development of the military arts, as well as the character of future armed confrontations.
Future war technologies may be classified into these three subcategories in terms of their look-ahead periods:
(A) Near-term, which are now in the final phase of the standard innovation cycle, i.e., the phase of development and engineering (D&E), undergoing testing and acceptance trials. They may have already begun to reach units of the military, or will begin to do so within the next five to seven years.
(B) Medium-term, which are now either at the stage of basic studies or going over to the stage of scientific research. They may attain operational capability before approximately 2030.
(C) Long-term, which exist so far as conjectures and hypotheses, i.e., as science fiction. The materialization of such ideas, if it is possible at all, will not be feasible until 2050 or later, toward the end of the century. However, the word “science” is used here to indicate that such hypothetical constructs, even though they appear to be fantastic, do not contradict the basic laws of physics.
MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES OF THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE
Near-term military technologies (Category A) can already be seen in action in local-scale armed conflicts today.
The relevant historical background is the following. Since the early 2000s, the annual budget of the U.S. Department of Defense has included a long-term program called Future Combat Systems. Its goal (and that of many related subprograms) is the development of a methodology and appropriate technological means for integrating all combat operatives in a given theater of war into a single information and command network, in order to enable the use of new military action capabilities and augment the combat efficiency and mobility of troops and weapons, down to the individual serviceman. As a result of years of persistent efforts, the U.S. Army and Navy have essentially assumed a new appearance, chiefly through the acquisition of the latest systems of communications and control, and powerful strike weapons.
The main lines of further development:
-- Extending and enhancing the methods of information-based integrated command and control of troops, especially aerospace forces and aircraft carrier strike groups, i.e., practical implementation of the U.S. military’s long-standing “C³-I” approach (Command, Control, and Communications Integration), under which all information flows are “tied together” in a single knot, and remote battle management is done in real time from a single center;
-- Creating new robotic military equipment, from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV or drones) to remote-controlled robotic “infantrymen” to robotic combat vehicles. These have actually been deployed by the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq and are being extensively developed in other countries. Drones, for instance, are being developed in dozens of countries, and there exist dozens of models adopted for military use. China, Israel, Iran, and other countries have given enhanced attention to this field, but Russia, so far, has not;
-- Developing various types of high-precision self-guided (“fire and forget”) attack weapons.
A topic in their own right are the final trials within scientific-research programs currently coming to a close. At present, these include:
-- Very high-speed remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles. As was mentioned, the present-day generation of drones is no longer a rarity in modern warfare. However, existing air defense systems can intercept any drones, up to the stratosphere. Therefore, the USA is extensively developing new models of hypersonic attack drones for stratospheric and extra-atmospheric action, against which there are currently no effective air defenses. One such American drone, the X-37, is now undergoing trials and is expected to be fully operational by around 2020;
-- Microwave, kinetic-energy, and laser weapons. For many years, the USA and Israel have been conducting extensive research on combat lasers, kinetic kill weapons, and microwave facilities. At present, the prototypes of such weapons are undergoing laboratory tests, and they may become operational within next decade.
MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES OF THE MEDIUM-TERM FUTURE
Medium-term-future military technologies (Category B) are now being shaped mainly through basic research, i.e., they have not yet reached the stages of scientific research and D&E. Actual data are not yet available for evaluating their probable combat qualities. Certain ideas about the basic pattern of future trends, however, can be stated now.
It should be noted that virtually all novel technological developments are dual-purpose, as a rule. Advanced research is always a search for new effects and regularities. Determination of their specific areas of application, whether military or civilian, comes later.
Briefly, on some developments in this category:
-- Robots. The USA, Japan, and some EU countries are doing ever more extensive research aimed at creating a wide range of remote-controlled automated devices simulating human physical, verbal, and even intellectual activities, including a soldier’s capabilities. There exist advanced programs for engineering “artificial gunmen,” such as robotic infantrymen or robotic reconnaissance troopers, designed to carry out various combat tasks. The models being tested are of various sizes, from a few centimeters to two meters or more. Extensive work is being done to enable them to recognize voice or visual commands and act to a certain degree autonomously, at times conforming to quite complex algorithms of behavior.
-- Mini-robots and cyborgs, i.e., combinations of an organism and a mechanism. In particular, research is being done in the USA on cyborg-insects (bees, wasps, butterflies, etc.), created by implanting super-miniaturized nano-electronic transmitters in their bodies. Presumably such devices would be used to conduct reconnaissance and search for enemy forces at a distance, or selectively kill – using strong poisons, for instance – certain people, whose “electronic portrait” has been stored in the cyborgs’ memory.
-- Genetic-engineering weapons, which resulted from mapping of the human genome, ostensibly revealing significant differences in the detailed gene structures of people of different ethnic groups and races. From this follows a search for ways of selective physical extermination of “undesirable human material” of certain categories. Although biological weapons, as is well known, are prohibited by the relevant international convention, information on such research, nonetheless, appears at times in the media;
-- Medical cloning, copying and changing the duration of human life. Research is being carried out in a number of areas. For instance, it has been discovered that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become immature stem cells that are able to develop into all types of cells in the body. This discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 2012. It opens the door for growing “copies” of one’s internal organs using one’s own biomaterial, and subsequently transplanting them safely, with no risk of rejection, i.e., for regular surgical rejuvenation of the main organs of the human body. Similar work is being done in our country in biophysics departments (Moscow University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology).
-- Remote action on the Earth’s ionosphere by microwaves and creation of man-made extended plasma formations. In this respect, the American HAARP (High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), with its large research radio-technical facility in Gakona, Alaska, deserves to be mentioned above all. According to experts, the effects already obtained under the program bear evidence of the emergence of powerful geophysical weapons systems, capable of disrupting radio communications, radar, the onboard electronic systems of spacecraft, missiles, aircraft, and ground facilities. They can also provoke large-scale breakdowns in power networks or oil and gas pipelines, and affect the biosphere, including the mental state and health condition of the population of entire regions, including regions far away from the USA. Closely linked with HAARP is the development of electromagnetic weapons: such weapons have been tested in the USA and were employed, for instance, during the war in the Balkans.
MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES OF THE DISTANT FUTURE
Long-term military technologies (Category C) tend to belong, today, to the realm of science fiction, i.e., fiction that is not at variance with the known laws of nature. In 2008, Michio Kaku, an American theoretical physicist, published his Physics of the Impossible. The stated goal of the book was to “discern those technologies that are believed to be ‘impossible’ today, but in dozens or hundreds of years may become customary.” The author’s basic thesis: “the impossible is often a relative term”.
The author divided “impossibilities” into three classes.
Class I Impossibilities are technologies that are impossible today, but may become available in some limited form in a century or two. These are beam weapons, teleportation, antimatter-powered engines, some forms of telepathy, telekinesis, invisibility, and some others.
Class II Impossibilities are “technologies that sit at the very edge of our understanding of the physical world," possibly taking thousands or millions of years to become available. Such technologies include time travel, hyper-space travel capabilities, and parallel universes.
Class III Impossibilities are “technologies that violate the known laws of physics." Kaku writes about only two of these, perpetual motion machines and precognition.
Today, some currency has been gained by scientific works that are related to problems of “Class I Impossibilities”. With reference to the problem of invisibility, those are the works by professor V.G. Veselago (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology). As early as 1967, he foretold the creation of a super-lens with a negative refraction index, based on so-called “meta-materials.” Later, the ideas were picked up in the USA, where the first samples of such materials were created, opening the door to creating “invisibility cloaks” in the future. It should be noted that, from the standpoint of physics, optical invisibility is in principle not different from the invisibility in the radar range provided by “stealth” technology, which is already well known; they differ only in the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation.
There have been reports, too, about some promising scientific work on the problem of telepathy, carried out in the USSR as well as the USA. In the West, research on the subject is still being carried on, though mostly on the quiet.
From a military standpoint, experiments on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland, are also of certain interest. It has been conjectured more than once that, alongside the stated program of experiments in search of the Higgs boson particle, another goal of the researchers who have such a powerful machine as the LHC may be experiments on the possibility of the controlled creation and use of “microscopic black holes” and high-energy subatomic particles, capable of changing the properties of space-time.
NEW MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES AND SCIENCE
Fruitful work in the areas of new military technologies demands radically changed attitudes to science as such.
It is virtually general knowledge that humankind, today, finds itself on the downward wave of the fifth phase of global technological development, which has been information-based: computers, telecommunications, the Internet, microelectronics, robotic engineering, etc. As was shown above, such technologies are extensively used today for military purposes. The emergence of additional innovative, game-changing military technologies within the fifth phase, however, appears unlikely, and for the coming decades the decisive and game-changing role will be played by approaches belonging to the new, sixth phase of global technological development. Accordingly, this defines the optimum guidelines for research and development efforts in the military realm in the coming years.
Firstly, remaining within the current phase of technology, efforts must be made to close the existing gap in military R&D projects by replicating the main achievements of others, which, incidentally, may itself be difficult enough to do. Attention should be focused on systems of reconnaissance, communications, and automated command and control. Our army’s capacity to conduct war in a non-contact, remote-controlled mode must be enhanced as much as possible.
Secondly, growth points within the sixth phase of global technological development should be spotted, and a changeover from the “replicating” phase to a “preempting” phase should occur. The success of this effort will require special attention and a serious approach, in the interests of the state, to science, research, and invention work being done by our scientists and technical specialists: their social status and material conditions must be improved.
State backing is indispensable in the search for, selection, development and introduction of promising technologies. In this context the initiative to create the Advanced Research Fund, which President Putin announced in his 2012 Address to the Federal Assembly, is very important and timely. Obviously, the Fund will need to recruit primarily people with a scientific or engineering education, experience in scientific and analytical work, knowledgeable of the ways of operation of the state machinery, and possessing good risk-assessment abilities. They will have a degree of freedom in selecting and funding for promising research topics and R&D programs. Such work can be carried out only by trusted people who are tried and true in their allegiance to national security interests.
A national-interest model to emulate can be found in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense, with a staff of around 200 people and an annual budget of a little over $3 billion. This agency’s operating principles have been widely and thoroughly covered in the media. More than likely, good use can be made of them in Russia’s state administration, too, including in the work of the emerging Advance Research Fund.
It is especially noteworthy that, while being open to new ideas and inventions, DARPA exercises thorough protection against leaks regarding the selection criteria, subject matter and status of the research being done, and strictly guards the results obtained, so that outside agencies cannot access them. “Nobody has abolished competition in technologies or industrial espionage,” the Agency’s spokesmen would say.
SCIENCE AND EDUCATION, THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS OF PEOPLE, MUST BE THE NUMBER 1 PRIORITY OF RUSSIA’S NATIONAL SECURITY!
This report has outlined only some preliminary proposals on readjusting the defense reform. The authors, among whom are prominent military officers and analysts, political scientists, and military historians and scientists, are prepared to submit detailed reports on any of the aforementioned subjects, and we also attach three supporting reports on specific aspects of the defense reform as supplements to this report.
Today, two principal misconceptions stand out clearly in the approach to defense reform.
One of them, which has been promoted for more than two decades, is the strategic conception of “evading” the direct challenges that are aimed at Russia. Its main argument is the belief that Russia has no forces nor resources to confront challenges effectively or vigorously defend its interests, not only in the face of the West and USA, but even with respect to other neighboring countries. Those who hold this point of view presume that Russia’s restrained posture and unilateral foreign-policy concessions will sooner or later convince the Western powers of our peaceability and make them admit Russia to the club of “civilized nations” as an equal partner. Accordingly, they propose to organize downsized Armed Forces, oriented solely toward parrying local threats and combating terrorism, although maintaining the strategic segment of the Russian nuclear forces as a global deterrent.
Yet, they have persistently closed their minds to the results of this “appeasement” policy over the past two decades: Russia has been continually “squeezed,” with pressure on the country growing all along the perimeter of its borders, outside interference in its domestic affairs escalating, and an increase of overt infringement of Russia’s national interests.
Beginning in the perestroika period, NATO has wiped out – militarily and politically – virtually all of Russia’s potential allies. In violation of all agreements, the NATO alliance has expanded into the CIS zone, which had been initially defined as a zone of Russia’s national interests. Now the deployment of American BMD systems has been launched at Russia’s western borders.
Against this background, the RF Armed Forces developed under the “appeasement” conception will doom us to the role of passive onlooker, incapable of defending our national interests in any way whatsoever, not only outside our borders, but even within the country (as was demonstrated during the two “Chechen” wars of the 1990s).
It is obvious that the “evasive” strategic conception, which has been, and still is, implanted by the undisguised pro-western liberal lobby, is antagonistic to Russia’s vital interests.
The second approach to defense reform may be termed “monetarist.” The gist of this idea is that defense reform should fit into a defense budget, which must not exceed a “scientifically based” percentage of GDP. In other words, the prescriptions of economic theory are put ahead of national security. Authors who believe in this conception chiefly cite Soviet history in their arguments, claiming that the USSR allegedly broke its back in the course of the Cold War, giving way under the burden of arms race. Without going into a detailed critique of this claim, let us merely note that it is false even in its own terms. Contemporary impartial studies show that the defense budget was not excessive for the Soviet economy and could not – either by itself or combined with other objective socioeconomic factors – have led to the disintegration and elimination of the USSR. Moreover, the “monetarists” are unable to answer simple questions, such as how our country is supposed to parry the very real threat of a Japanese invasion of the Kuril Islands, if the “scientifically based budget” has no funds for organizing the defense of the Kurils. Or, which branches of the armed forces should be prioritized within a limited budget: the strategic nuclear deterrent, or general-purpose forces, since this budget does not provide sufficient funds for simultaneous full-fledged development of both? And, finally, how is it that in the USA, whose real defense spending is as high as 7% of GDP, a reduction of such expenditures by one-tenth will entail, according expert estimates, a 0.5% drop in GDP and the loss of over a million jobs? Do economic laws operate differently in the USA and Russia?
In sober fact, over the last twenty years this conception has been used to justify the persistent underfunding of our Armed Forces, which has resulted in their degradation and a grievous systemic crisis.
It must be said that Russian history has seen similar developments before, and learning lessons from them is long overdue. For example, at the end of the 19th century Finance Minister Sergey Witte was a proponent of a strict “monetarist” approach to defense spending. He insisted on limiting the military budget and, specifically, on cuts in the Navy development programs. As a result, the programs for building the Navy and rearming the Army were slowed to such an extent that by the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War, Russia clearly lagged behind Japan militarily. The outcome of that war is only too well known…
“Fixed-budget-based” military development results in the creation of a perfectly senseless army: incapable of countering real threats, yet taking away huge resources needed for development.
We proceed from the assumption that the Armed Forces of Russia ought to be:
n First of all, a reliable shield against the threat of military aggression. Therefore, they have to be built based not on an “economically justified” defense budget, but on a coherent doctrine of national security, which defines the entire spectrum of existing and oncoming threats as well as ways these can be countered and neutralized (consequently, the security budget of Russia, including defense expenditures, must be determined based on real security needs and threat priorities, without being jammed into any “correct” budget percentages that have nothing to do with reality);
n Secondly, the indispensable force component of Russian policies, whose existence and perfection will compel any potential adversary to reckon with Russia and consider its interests. We ought to be prepared to defend ourselves against the world with a palisade of nuclear missiles and, moreover, be able to maintain our national security in any key regions of the world which are of importance for us.
We would like to repeat after Emperor Alexander III: “In the whole world, we have only two staunch allies: our Army and our Navy. All the rest will take up arms against us at the first opportunity.”
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