Russian army: slimmer and tidier (Foreign Policy, USA)

The Russian army: slimmer and tidier ("Foreign Policy", USA)

Army military Institute of the United States (US Army War College) released this month, a collection of articles under the title "Can Our homeland produce reform: economic, political and military perspectives» («Can Russia Reform: Economic, Political and Military Perspectives»), prepared by the Institute to its strategic research (Strategic Studies Institute), edited by Dr. Stephen Blank Institute (Stephen Blank). Doctor of the New York Institute Mark Galeotti (Mark Galeotti), which in many years engaged in the study of Russian armed forces and security services, has published a collection of articles on reforming the Russian army. According to the views of Galeotti, corruption, poor management, outdated doctrine, and the impoverishment of the Russian Federation after the collapse of the Union of Russian weakened the once imposing military might of Russia and turned the army into a bunch of ineffective people. In 2007, President Vladimir Putin moved Anatoly Serdyukov, the then head of the tax inspector, to the position of defense minister and asked him to bring order to the army, and that — a little problem with which numerous predecessors Serdyukov and can not cope. Given the enormous challenges it red tape, his struggle to reform the agency has just begun. And what will he be able, eventually, to cope with this problem, and directly impact on neighbors of, and on the future of nuclear arms control, and on the conviction of Putin's foreign policy.

If it came only prepyadstviya observance of human rights, the question of reform of the Russian army had to be clear. For decades, the military, the military service at the call — and it is virtually always those young people whose families can not pay off the army — suffer from fierce appeal, so called bullying, hierarchical tradition of "Lord of the Flies", according to which more senior military recruits are often beaten for no reason that is relevant to the service. According to studies conducted by Galeotti, 80% of Russian fighter admitted that they were beaten, then 33% of them, or were required to be treated in the hospital, or have been dismissed from service on medical grounds. Another 20% were dismissed before the end of life due to ill health due to poor nutrition, unsanitary or unskilled medical care. And in the modern criteria of effective army can not exist. Under pressure from the public, which sought to ease the conditions of service in the Army, the service life has been reduced from 2-years to 1 year, but it has led to the fact that the main contingent of conscripts can be used for tactical purposes only for a 2- months before the dismissal.

Although punitive sanctions against Georgia, conducted in the form of hostilities in August 2008, have been successful and acted on Tbilisi ominously, they have identified blunders in leadership, command and control of Russian army in training of personnel. This is particularly noticeable on the background of the requirements in the Army of the West and the rapidly developing China's army. A small operation in Georgia inspired Serdyukov and Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov on intensification programs from military reform. But their reform unusual way resemble those configurations that have occurred in the armies of the West in recent decades. They anticipate the rejection of universal conscription, recruitment of personnel on a contract basis, the formation of Prof. NCO corps. Also planned reduction in the bloated officer corps is almost 60%. In order to increase the efficiency of the army is regrouping and the creation of new major combat units: the massive division re-formed in a more compact and mobile teams. In the U.S. Army it was made seven years ago. Experts at the U.S. Army planners have concluded that it is easier to relocate the team and provide, moreover, combat commanders have a choice in the decision-making and freedom of action. In order to further enhance the role of the combat effectiveness of troops and abandon their superior numbers with bad equipment, some bureaucrats of the Ministry of Defense want in the coming 10 years to reduce the size of the army with a million troops to 500 thousand, roughly corresponds to the number of the U.S. Army.

In order to push through these reforms Serdyukov and Makarov had to invade the sphere of foreign interests and disrupt deeply entrenched tradition. Driven by motives almost detective character, also taking advantage of the opportunity and armed with all the means available Galeotti analyzed the position to answer the question of whether the Kremlin leaders possess the will, intention and motivation hard to implement reforms in the army, will he have the means to do them and will be able to they overcome the institutional barriers that have negated all previous efforts in this direction.

According to the views of Galeotti, management Russian Defense Ministry finally realized that the mass mobilization of the army numbering several million fighter — in the worst traditions of cool war — not the most successful solution to the current version of the security requirements of. NATO ground forces are not dangerous. Russian strategists believe that modern prof connection frisky deployment, which provides the latest structure of troops based teams will be the best answer to the hypothetical terrestrial threat from China. The main task of the Kremlin today is to maintain order and control of the embodiment of the "near abroad", suppression still at the initial stage manifestations of impermanence that arise along the Russian border. Certainly, the Kremlin hopes to avoid a repetition of hard and uncontrollable war in Chechnya, which were implemented poorly prepared and managed illiterate conscripts. In similar circumstances, would be more effective to use a small-sized, easy peredislotsiruemuyu and mobile professional army, which led to the interaction of groups that have experience with the intelligence agencies of adjacent states. For security situation prevailing around the Russian Federation, asks a very active actions on the substitution of a mass army recruits at a small-sized professional army.

But whether our homeland will find sufficient human and intellectual resources to perform such a substitution? Population decline of, in particular — young people, making it necessary reduction of the army is at the moment. To maintain the current army, in which conscripts serve one year will be a year to call for the service of 600-700 thousand people. But once a year the Commission approved as suitable only 400 thousand recruits, and this figure will decrease after a while. Thanks conducted Serdyukov reductions in the ranks of the officers of the army were dismissed those of them who lusted not take into account these demographic realities and failed to recognize the flaws and imperfections present in the Russian army against army standards that guide their Western counterparts.

But even after that Serdyukov and Makarov face angry resistance of the bureaucratic machine to overcome which could take years. Reform may hinder the implementation of the corrupt machinations that have allowed to enrich certain officers and bureaucrats of the Ministry of Defence. According to the views of representatives of the military investigation committee, the harm done to the military budget as a result of contracting for a bribe, and the use of funds for personal purposes and theft officers soldier's salary is 20% of the total military budget.
The companies that supply for the army, and there are tried and tested scheme of "kickbacks" for the supply of poor and unreliable equipment, because they, too, have all have reason to oppose the reforms.

And yet all these opponents of reform have to reckon with the new rules. Serdyukov brought with him to the Ministry of civilian deputies — people from outside who produce supervise the work of the ministry and the generals. In addition, he has shown willingness to cooperate with zabugornom suppliers — as evidenced, for example, the purchase of the French amphibious ships, the Italian armored vehicles and Israeli drones. All of this is focused on the goal of doing Russian suppliers and force them to modernize creation. And, in the end, those officials who had hoped to sit out Serdyukov and his patron Putin must come to terms with the fact that Putin now — permanent president.

Galeotti believes that the ability to reform the Russian army at the moment are significant as ever, at least — in the past 20 years. In the event of success in 10 years Russian army will be more small-sized, Professor, mobile and more than capable of adaptation.

Will the result of such conflict with the plans of the U.S. military strategy, and whether it will cause for their concern? Nearly a small scale and mobile Russian army, focused on the dilemmas of the "near abroad" will be able to some extent even serve the interests of the United States. Such modernization Russian military might help divert the attention and resources of China and Iran from trying to catch up with the military capabilities of the United States. In addition, the South American military strategists are very grateful to the Ministry of Defense, if it would send its forces to provide security around their own country instead of the order to increase the potential of nuclear missiles distant acts and expand expeditionary operational formation. And, in the end, Russian leaders will not even consider the question of tactical nuclear weapons, if they are convinced that the army would be able to protect the country with ordinary weapons.

To reform the Russian army funds will be needed — both to increase the allowance for military service and the improvement of the criterion, and for the purchase of modern military equipment and training in the criteria, it is very close to the fighting. The fall in oil prices can affect the Russian budget, and it is entirely possible to put an end to the hopes of the Kremlin for military reform. Then — without tools and with a bad army — Serdyukov and Makarov will have to develop a new plan which has permitted them to keep control of the near abroad.

Like this post? Please share to your friends: