Russian general describes military science committee’s functions, objectives

Text of report by Gazprom-owned, editorially independent Russian news agency Ekho Moskvy

[Text of Anatoliy Yermolin interview of Chairman of the RF General Staff’s Military-Science Committee, Igor Anatolyevich Sheremet.]

Saturday, 28 May 2011

[Buntman] We are begin

ning our regular session. Anatoliy Yermolin, good day. Sergey Buntman.

[Yermolin] Good day.

[Buntman] On "the Ekho" is on the docket on radio station Ekho Moskvy. There, when we recorded "Setevizor" is working, and thus Setevizor can be viewed from camera for on any computer, on iPhones and on iPads. The television channel "Zvezda" will show our programme on Thursday as always. Now on to what and who awaits us today. Igor Anatolyevich Sheremet, Chairman of the Russian Federation Armed Forces General Staff’s Military-Science Committee, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Major-General. Good day, Igor Anatolyevich.

[Sheremet] Good day.

[Buntman] Good day. Well, today we will try to concern ourselves with science. And in any case to delineate, in what state we are now located, as military science in the Russian Federation is being structurally constructed, how much of a new structure we have right now in scientific activity in the Armed Forces. Please, Igor Anatolyevich.

[Sheremet] Thank you. In actuality the Armed Forces Science Committee, and not the General Staff, is be guiding agency and management agency of military science in the Armed Forces. As it happens the main point of the reform, which is now going on in military science, is that it consists in the fact that from 1 December 2009 the Armed Forces’ Military-Science Committee, which provides for planning, coordination and current leadership of the activity of subordinate scientific-research organizations [NIO], and NIO, which are located within the purview of military command and control agencies and the scientific-research subcomponents of the higher military educational institutions, has been functioning. Up to 1 December 2009 as it happened that a Military-Science Committee of the General Staff existed. However, it’s fundamental difference from the VNK [Military-Science Committee] of the Armed Forces consists in the fact that there was not a single scientific-research organization subordinate to it.

[Buntman] But how could that be?

[Sheremet] Factually it functioned in the mode of an expert-analytical centre of the General Staff and was answerable primarily for the conduct, and improvement of the regulatory-legal basis of military science, and the resolution of the most general questions of the functioning of NIO [scientific-research organizations] in the Russian Federation legal field. We might say, questions of the determination of the organizational-legal forms of the military NII [scientific-research institutes] were subject to it. That means, federal state establishments, federal autonomous establishments, federal state enterprises, etc. That was the type of question. And the primary intellectual resources of the military NIO were within the purview and subordinate to the main commands of the commanders and leaders of the central military command and control agencies.

[Buntman] That is, they were branch-oriented, for example, yes?

[Sheremet] Yes, yes, yes, that’s completely true. Moreover, so to speak, military-science committees of the branches, and services, which carried out the leadership of military science there, in those segments, for which they were responsible, still existed in the branches, services and central agencies and military command and control. That structure was sufficiently unwieldy, and at a certain moment in time it became understandable, that even its management was sufficiently complicated, and, moreover, it was the basis of systemic shortcomings, that, in the essence, the Chief of the General Staff, and the Defence Minister did not have their own science as such, that is the commanders-in-chief, commanders, and leaders of the central military command and control agencies each had their own. The essence of t he reform consists in formulating a system, in which there would be centralized management of military science, and a centralized responsibility for its functioning. This became particularly urgent, when we transferred over in the tenth year to an inter-service grouping, and to the new look military districts. In the creation of a unified integral science complex directly subordinate to the chief of the General Staff, and the Minister of Defence, well, simply in of itself it would have been necessary. Given this, the primary scientific-research organizations were also placed in subordination to the Armed Force’s VNK. Now there are five major scientific-research organizations subordinate to the VNK, that, based on the sphere of their responsibility, that means ground systems, missile-space and aviation systems, in significant measure are covering the issue of command and control systems of the information infrastructure. As well as electronic support, intelligence collection, and etc. Some of the institutes remained under the conduct of the leaders of the military command and control agencies due to their specific focuses, and now we also have scientific-research subunits in the higher military-educational institutions, which partially resolve questions, one might say, of scientific research in support of the educational process. But from the other side they are also occupied by questions, related to the sphere of competence of the whole military-science complex of the Armed Forces. The questions which we are resolving, are above all the development of a unified military-technical policy. For military science the main mission – is the definition of objectives, that is, what quantities to order in the defence-industrial complex. No one does this aside from military science together with the military command and control agencies, naturally. Then there is the State Defence Order, which we are working out. Moreover, in the context of this there is a natural opposition… [ellipses as published throughout] new methods of warfare. And on this basis we must construct as well the armed forces groupings themselves, and work out by what method to use them in armed conflicts.

[Buntman] That is precisely the question. Igor Anatolyevich, the question. How much is this connected and how much . . . First, how much did you participate in are participating in the development of doctrine, defence doctrine and how much are you connected with it, because when you say "enemy," this is also the definition of the probable enemy in a certain time context, in certain circumstances, that is, it is a calculation of diverse circumstances, and this leads to the formation both of doctrine itself in general, as well as its future improvement. What is your role here?

[Sheremet] Naturally, in the development of the conceptual documents a high level of military science is required simply to participate, and it, naturally, is involved in the resolution of these missions. And it always was thus, is and will be so. That means, we are analysing in the first case threats, flowing from the mastery of potential enemies, as I already said new forms, methods, and weapons of warfare. We juxtapose that with the capabilities of our Armed Forces. In beginning with this we propose certain directions for the improvement, the development of the Armed Forces, and the weaponry of warfare, which is in the inventory, and which it is necessary to develop, to improve, and to increase their effectiveness. And in the development of new weaponry, fundamentally new means of warfare, which can counteract the possible breakaways of potential enemies in this sphere. Given this . . .

[Yermolin] This is a very important question. In essence our entire programme is already far beyond hundreds of outputs. We are talking about the new look Armed Forces. And the opportunity is rare to ask the question -against what threats exactly is the new look being created? If possible, comment on this.

[Sheremet] One might say, in r ecent times the significant direction was that from whence the threat came, and we began to talk about an aerospace force, right? Although we always knew, that the potential enemies had offensive weapons in their inventories, including nuclear ones. But in particular we foresaw, that by the 20s there would be in the inventories of the Western countries on the order of 80,000 cruise missiles including on the order of 2000 with nuclear capabilities. It’s clear, that those arsenals are not being created simply for exercises, for deterrence. Disarming, and decapitating strikes can be inflicted fully by this weaponry. A decapitating strike -is a strike against the upper level of command and control agencies. A disarming strike – is [against] the means of a retaliatory strike, retaliatory, and launch-on-warning. Therefore, beginning with this threat plus the corresponding threats of the appearance of ever more and more advanced missile-defence weaponry, we know about the efforts in this direction. On the strength of this, the issue was raised and the corresponding documents were approved at the highest level on the creation of Russian Federation aerospace defence systems, in which we propose, that right here assets would be introduced, which also support the detection of those types of strikes, God willing that they do not occur, and countering them, or neutralizing them at the very earliest stage. And given the necessity of bringing them into operation, the retaliatory arsenal of nuclear weaponry, which is now in the inventory of our Armed Forces and which will appear in the near-term years.

[Buntman] But when we talk about that global mission, yes, then it is actually necessary to assure the defence of Russia from those, generally, global threats, of that power. But over the last 20 years Russia encountered (and earlier the Soviet Union as well) completely different methods of warfare, with methods of opposition, as in the war in Afghanistan, and as in the operations in Chechnya and in the North Caucasus, and as in the Russia-Georgian war of three years past. And right here, when we spoke all the time of a new look, of communications, of command and control, of setting things to rights, of rationalization, indeed of that type of conflict, as more frequent and more probable, they must be considered. . .

[Sheremet] Certainly, they are also being considered, there is particularly a lot of information in this sense in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, about which we have spoken. Correspondingly, the transition to a new look in the brigade structure, yes? In significant measure it was defined by that experience, which we got there. That is for that class of conflict a rather more compact, mobile, well-equipped and educated subunit, than we had in the divisions of the previous look, is necessary. Strictly speaking, there, from the moment of the collapse of the Soviet Union the Russian Army was reduced, but this reduction took place primarily at the expense of the soldier, at the expense of soldiers’ posts. As a result we received a significant number of divisions, in which there only officers’ posts and officers like those, and a certain number of soldiers, well it was said, that this was immobilization base, a base for a mobilization deployment. In the event of necessity in the course of a year we will be able to bring this division up to the strength, to equip it up to strength, and to distribute from arms and equipment storage bases the necessary weapons of warfare, and after this to project the division into the area of possible use, where they will begin to fight. It is clear, that for various types of local conflicts of the class of the Georgian-Ossetian this is completely unacceptable. And both Chechen campaigns also showed that we had great difficulty, so to speak, in assembling a grouping from all of the [military] districts, which was able to execute combat missions there. Therefore, right there the Chief of the General Staff and the Defence Minister took a line towards the c reation of Armed Forces, which, as their very principal of functioning, were initially combat ready, and did not require any additional period for being brought up the strength, equipped, trained, shaken down, and etc. And from here as well inter-branch groupings, which are the new look military districts, in which from the start Air Force, Naval, and Ground Troops units, support subunits, etc. are included and trained in the joint use of personnel and assets. In this sense these new look military districts, certainly, are to a significantly greater degree oriented towards effective combat use in conditions of possible conflicts along the perimeter of the Russian Federation.

[Buntman] But, to simplify in the extreme, I would have said, that we hear all the time and that we read, that the task at any level, is to create as if from a well sealed box a grouping necessary for this or that mission, inter-branch, you need to create the necessary force at the necessary moment in the necessary place and everything. Well this is to speak quite primitively. That is, is this also a development, with which we are concerned?

[Sheremet] Certainly. This would be one of the primary directions now of military science, that is aerospace defence, about which I spoke, and the new look military districts. We must initially, certainly, work out all the questions of the creation in the first place of the intelligence collection -information systems of the new grouping, the personnel and reconnaissance assets of all of the structures, which enter into this military formation under the title of a new look military district. How to support their joint functioning, how to support the use of all of those means of intelligence collection, which are currently in our inventory, and after this to support the complex processing of that [data] which we have acquired, and to provide information on the enemy to the staff. After that there is the joint use of weaponry, the joint division of targets, and facilities subject to destruction by this or that weaponry, which were previously under the purview of this or that branch, or service arm. It happened in the past, the combat training of branches and service arms was conducted separately. Each according to its own plan, yes? And when the time came for them to be used jointly, coordination was begun, when it was already late to be coordinated, when combat operations were going on.

[Buntman] Even in units of full, permanent combat readiness.

[Sheremet] Certainly.

[Buntman] All the same time was needed for coordination.

[Sheremet] Unconditionally. Particularly when they were of different branches. The joint use of aviation, ground troops, units and subunits and naval ships and you might say, aviation and ground troops, and so forth . . . Therefore it was very important, to switch to the new look military districts and military science also had to have proposals of its own to work out and bring to the military command and control agencies on the organization of joint use systems, joint combat training, logistics support of the districts in the new look, so to speak, the resolution of all the questions of logistics and the entire complex of questions, which flow from the unification of diverse branch and diverse service arm subunits and troop formations in a unified structure under unified command and control.

[Buntman] Our guest is Igor Anatolyevich Sheremet, and we are talking about military science, but before the break there is a little piece of time. I want to ask about something. I wanted to ask, how much you are studying. Now, we propose, the Russian Armed Forces do not face those missions, which NATO, and the American forces often face, but they are carrying out a series of operations, in which new experiences and knowledge are being tested, and mistakes and shortcomings are being revealed. How much structurally and, I would say, regularly is the ex perience of operations of the armed forces of other countries, the most powerful, in any case, being studied?

[Sheremet] It stands to reason, that the development of proposals to optimize the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as baseline material has information concerning in what direction, and by what path are the Armed Forces of foreign countries being improved, what forms, and methods of warfare they are assimilating and realistically using, what weapons of warfare, arms and military equipment they have in their inventories, what are the assets, the fundamentally new means, which the military-industrial complexes of foreign countries are developing, in order to exclude above all a military-technical surprise, so that it does not happen, that at the moment when we are beginning, God forbid, to fight in some conflict, that suddenly the enemy turns out to have some if not absolute, then very effective weapon, which brings together in it all of the techniques, methods and forms of war, which are being developed. We get all of this, naturally, from the corresponding structures of the Defence Ministry, and foreign intelligence. That, which is available from open sources, and from classified information, about which I have spoken, is being continuously monitored by the institutes. And all of this is being analysed. In particular, so to speak, I’m not talking about classified reports, this is becoming the domain also of scientific society, and of commanders at all levels, and then the journal Foreign Military Review is being published, let us say, in which everything which is going on in the armies of the leading foreign countries is systematically being subjected to analysis.

[Buntman] Exactly everything, yes, because . . .

[Sheremet] Practically in all areas.

[Buntman] Curious things can turn up in the most insignificant sort of events.

[Sheremet] Yes, yes, precisely . . . Certainly, and here, as a matter of fact, in military science, as in any segment of the Armed Forces, which has the possibility, generally speaking, to ponder, and to analyse everything that is going on calmly. Certainly, they’re not working at the rhythm, as, we might say, of the military command and control agencies, which are continuously in that operational mode on line, so-called, and must collect information from subordinate agencies, work out solutions, carry them out, formulate, monitor and so on. There is the opportunity in a much calmer circumstance to process the incoming flow of information, and collate it with the developments of our defence-industrial structures, military-educational establishments, academies of science, academic sciences in the first place, so to speak. I have in mind above all in the military-technical portion of this. There, as one might say, one can make some sort of recommendations, proposals to the leadership component of the Armed Forces, in order to the furthest extent also to support in terms of science the acceptance of adequate solutions.

[Buntman] Now then, Igor Anatolyevich Sheremet, I remind you, is our guest on the "Military Soviet"programme, and we’re talking about military science, and about coordination. And in the second part we are also talking about cadres, and about scientific projects which are going on. Military scholars. On the quality of these projects as a whole. That is many problems, I hope, will be reflected in our programme.

NEWS

[Buntman] We are continuing our sessions, today we’re talking about military science with Anatoliy Yermolin and Sergey Buntman. Our guest is Major-General Sheremet, Chairman of the Russian Federation Armed Forces Military-Science Committee, and Deputy Chief of the General Staff. Igor Anatolyevich, well I wanted to ask a question about cadres. We have both in civilian science and everywhere problems with scientific cadres. There are few who are occupied with pure science. How are things in military science? H ow many of the cadres are being replaced, and how much is quality changing?

[Sheremet] Well, certainly, military science – this is in principle one of the segments in the whole of Russian science, and the problems, which Russian science as a whole faces -we cannot avoid that. Unconditionally, beg inning with the 90s, from 1991, there was a significant outflow of cadres from the Defence Ministry research organizations. It would have been good if they had gone into the defence-industrial complex, and they were not wholly lost or in principle not lost for the solution of tasks in creating new equipment, more advanced, modern, improved and so forth. Well, certainly, a significant part of the young officers above all are from the scientific-research organizations. If previously the procedures for serving upon the entry of an officer into a military NII it was understandable, and he initially developed, one might say, a certain block, after this a certain system, he was promoted to section chief, and after this in addition there was some more serious sector work, and all of this, naturally, was accompanied by scientific growth, he wrote a candidate’s dissertation, a doctoral dissertation, then the most successful and talented became military academicians. But, unfortunately, in the 90s we know all about what happened. Unfortunately, simply that level of income, which practically all military academicians at that time had, forced many to leave the military institutes, to go into business, were they somehow, by some means could maintain their families and themselves. And, unfortunately, they were separated. . . I myself know, since I worked for 23 years in one of the scientific-research organizations of the Defence Ministry, and there, unfortunately, many talented, able, creative workers left our institute. It was distasteful, that many of them then turned up in the defence complexes of foreign countries. I know, for example, a colleague, who at the present time is working in L-3 Communications, in one of the heavyweight companies of the American OPK [defence-industrial complex], and prior to this he worked in Motorola, and even filled orders for the US Department of Defence. And as it happened, even now what is to be regretted about this? Nonetheless, the higher military-educational establishments are preparing graduates at a sufficiently high level, whom, as it also happens, we are accepting the most successful of them, those who performed well, as a rule, with an average mark above 4.5, and closer to five, with a diploma with honours, indeed, having an inclination for scientific work, and to have in their diploma projects certain interesting proposals.

[Buntman] I just wanted to ask.

[Sheremet] We are monitoring those cadets. I have to say, that the leading Defence Ministry military higher educational establishments, above all the Petr Velikiy Military Academy of the Strategic Missile Troops, the Mozhayskiy Military-Space Academy, the Zhukov, well, it is now named the Zhukov and Gagarin Air Academy. All of these military educational institutions and a series of others in principle are supporting the preparation . . . It must be said, that indeed the mass of those graduates from the higher military educational institutions are not even necessary in the scientific-research organizations, since the number of these organizations -this, we understand, is not the corps, not the army, their number is limited, and therefore we select out, well, we might say, each year on the order of 10 or 15 or 20 graduates come to the Institute. There, plus added to that in a series of cases, they express the desire . . . As a rule either they are the children of military personnel, and they expressed the desire to continue their work and the graduates of civilian higher educational institutions of the class of the Bauman MGTU, and others . . . the Moscow Aviation Institute, are called into the ranks of the Armed Forces. There, we are manning the Defence Ministry’s scientific-research orga nizations with them.

[Yermolin] Why terminologically are you using the concept of "science" . . . Indeed of everything, that you were saying, it is correct to say "information-analytical," that is this is above all connected with command and control, with the use of troops. Where, properly, is the science? What is military science? Where is analysis, command-and-control recommendations, and technical and where does science itself begin?

[Sheremet] Above all military science is responsible for the formulation and development of a unified military-technical policy. Here are work is carried out in the form of NIR [scientific-research projects], our own NIR, scientific-research projects, that means, within the frameworks of the plan for scientific works of the Armed Forces, which is approved by the Chief of the General Staff and in which as it happens this list of NIR is maintained, and the executors of these NIR, so to speak, are the scientific-research organizations, and the questions, strictly speaking, which are subject to development. In the first place subject to development, so to speak, are questions, connected with countering possible, as I already said, threats in the military-technical sphere. As a rule, the result of this work is a tactical-technical tasking for NIOKR in the State Defence Order, which to the furthest extent is subject to placement, so to speak, in an established procedure, so to speak, in organizations of the defence-industrial complex. That means, here the level of maturity of the requirement, the degree to which, so to speak, the appearance of an advanced weapons system has been worked out, -this would be like, well, it can, certainly, be called analysis, but this as a matter fact is designed-scientific work with the use of all of the tools of the hard sciences . . .

[Buntman] Exactly scientific . . .

[Sheremet] Certainly, the hard sciences, which we, strictly speaking, are pursuing . . . well, we might say that, the appearance of systems of certain space vehicles, the orbital grouping or its parts are intended to resolve certain missions -monitoring, communications, navigation and so forth. Analogously, if we take aviation equipment, it is exactly the same. Indeed in essence the requirements for advanced flight vehicles, manned, and unmanned in their appearance . . . the military science and military scientific-research organizations are always developing. And after this even in the form of the tactical-technical tasking they go to the Defence Ministry acquisitions agencies, which use them even for placement, as I’ve already said, and their formulation . . . After this tracking is begun in the form of stages of these projects. Industry does this . . . but how is it done? Is it adequate to what is written in the TZ [technical tasking], or not?

[Buntman] Or as is possible.

[Sheremet] Yes, or as possible. Should this be accepted or not? And there are serious consequences including financial ones. If we accept low-quality results, this then can lead to the appearance of equipment, which simply does not fulfil the missions, which we face. There, and in this sense here an organizational apparatus is also necessary . . . organizations methodically . . . [for] acceptance and testing of that equipment, which wholly is on the military, these are also attracted developments, then I repeat again, all of the tools of the hard sciences. How is that, which industry developed, to be demonstrated or refuted and does it actually conform to the requirements of the TZ, and in the final resolve of the acceptance of our projects. That is the military NIOs [scientific-research organizations] are working in essence in this segment as a state acceptance programme of developments, scientific developments and experimental models.

[Yermolin] In the consulting business, certainly.

[Buntman] Not entirely.

[Sheremet] Yes. It seems t o me, consulting -this is advisories, recommendations and so forth. We in fact are in this area in the extreme, in the military-technical areas we speak as a very constructive component, which . . .industry begins its own work, when it understands, what is required of it. And there this "what" is formulated explicitly. . .

[Buntman] Are you a strongly grounded, precisely scientifically grounded representative of the buyer?

[Sheremet] Certainly, that is completely true.

[Yermolin] Then, that which is now taking place in the Armed Forces, everything is taking place absolutely correctly, right, that is the so-called new look. But in general this is long overdue and an absolutely understandable action -the reduction, yes, then the abandonment of cadre-based subunits, there the transition to brigades, yes, and what else comes to mind for us? And permanent readiness, yes? Well . . . but indeed is this still the army of the future? Then, is it the same for you as for someone responsible for science, and is there an image about what the model of war will be after 10 years, after 20 years, after 30 years?

[Buntman] That is, not catching up, but anticipating.

[Yermolin] Do you see the future directions? And how adequately do the leaders there and the General Staff listen to you, about what will be after the absolutely obvious, absolutely correct steps, which are called the "new look," have been accepted.

[Sheremet] Well here it is necessary to repeat once again, that the reform in fact -is not a goal in and of itself -it would not be a means of modernization as such, not art for art’s sake. Do we take the threat as the basis, for which . . . in fact the army -is needed? For countering foreign threats or threats to the military security of the state. And when we talk about the look of our Armed Forces, so to speak, which will be able to provide for the security of the country after 5-10-15-20 years, then we as it were begin with a prediction about what these threats are, what new weapons of warfare will appear in the inventories of foreign countries, what are the possible models, and scenarios for using them in connection with this and in connection with possible use in the global situation as a whole. All of this in the final resolve depends on the taking of decisions by politicians at the highest level.

[Yermolin] Well, what is lacking now concretely? Well, conditionally speaking, the already reformed Armed Forces of Russia, which as it happens, they’re convinced, have gone over to the so-called new look, yes? What are the directions, in which we are now categorically losing, here the class of encapsulated armour, point out, what else, yes, and what is most advanced, that if we are first, that our army will actually be one of the most powerful on earth. Indeed, I will divide the question into two parts, that is first -where are we already behind, yes and where can we be in advance, not falling behind.

[Buntman] For now the answer is being prepared, and I would say, for now we are writing 26 hours [per day], here we were commissioned as the agency they assigned, that Russia and the United States completed preparation of a joint report evaluating the missile challenges of the 21st century. Now ITAR-TASS transmitted this in connection with the G8. That is, refinement of that joint agreement on common affairs is going on all the time. The entire political leadership is also taking various decisions.

[Sheremet] Now to the question, which Anatoliy Yermolin posed. It means, the basic, it seems to me, basic direction of the development of the Armed Forces of foreign countries -this is a transition to the methods and weaponry of non-contact war. It is that, that we said about how local conflicts proceed, and so forth. The transition to robotics as a primary means of warfare. The transition to net-centric robotic engineering, which makes possible and forms ma ss robotic-engineering groupings. How were robotics seen earlier? They said that robots should be used, where it is impossible to use people. That is in mine-clearing, one might say, in radiation, chemical, and biological reconnaissance, as we see in Kuzima [sic], there, and further. It means that now what we have here is an entirely different paradigm: people are to be used only where it is impossible to use robots. This is an entirely different approach, that is factually we are going to that point and moving towards that point, where sooner or later only command-and-control will remain for people as part of a mass robotic-technology grouping, including unmanned aerial vehicles, ground robotics equipment, surface ship, and submarine, I’m not even talking about space, so to speak, and so on. And all of these groupings are connected by information, by command-and-control, by means of destruction, by means of detection, enemy monitoring, and in the final resolve by the means of taking decisions. In all of this sooner or later we see sufficient systematic work in this area by the United States, and the other countries of NATO. This is actually going on. And we are simply required to take some sort of responsive steps. Somewhere we are actually at the present time falling behind. We already repeatedly said -in unmanned aerial vehicles. If one takes the range of unmanned aerial vehicles just in the US Armed Forces, then we see from the global Hawk, so to speak with a flight range on the order of 20-25,000 km and a flight duration of more than a day, and there, down to micro-scaled flight vehicles for platoon use . . . which are considered sufficient by combatants for subunits of the platoon level, that . . . there, a flight hour, so to speak, nonetheless, in a . . . monitoring mode , by electronic sensors of what is going on.

[Buntman] A peek into the enemy trench.

[Sheremet] Yes, that’s completely true, and after this, successfully using the weaponry, raising its effectiveness. Therefore, it is exactly in this area, yes, where we lag somewhat, but I don’t want to say, that this lag is fatal and that everything is lost in this area. First, unmanned aerial vehicles are being used in Afghanistan, and in Iraq by the Americans, generally speaking, in the absence of any serious counterposing system. And the Americans themselves, evaluating the percentage correlation, between unmanned and piloted equipment that would be in the Air Force of the future, do not all the same believe, that it is necessary to turn away from piloted [aircraft] and to leave solely unmanned. Therefore due to the presence of systems to counter enemy UAVs, certainly, their effectiveness may be significantly reduced. Moreover, it is necessary to keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things there are any technologically serious innovations, which are being used in unmanned aerial vehicles, generally speaking, which we have not noted. That means designs actually in use, construction materials, onboard sensor equipment, onboard communications equipment, and navigational – that which in the general scheme of things, we also have at our disposal. And in this sense the projects being carried out as well by our organizations -they, I suggest, make possible, in a certain sense, superiority in unmanned aviation technology, so to speak, in the nearest term, and which the enemy has, in the nearest term . . .

[Buntman] With what, is it thought, was the lag connected with, if for all that you say that to us? Inattention to the problem or what?

[Sheremet] I have to say, that in fact unmanned equipment was even in the inventory of the Soviet Army, we know that, right? The "Reys," the "Pchela," are there, and so forth. Moreover, beginning with the large flight vehicles, which the Tupolev firm manufactured, up to that time there was a sufficient level for use in the operational elements, in the tactical. I suggest, that simply at a certain moment we did not attribute determined serious meaning to this question, so to speak, and once again, may be able to, and for this military science in particular bears its own responsibility, but also the defence-industrial complex. But I do not think, that the lag, I repeat once again, is fatal.

[Buntman] I just wanted to pose a back-to-back question to Igor Anatolyevich. To pose the question, no matter all the same that you are now striving to be freed from that so-called sluggishness and so much that we’re reading in various military-historical works, both internal, allegedly ideological and even the scientific situation impeded development and led to a very serious result. All of these debates, then in an imperialist war, a deeply echeloned defence is unnecessary to us, and so forth. How much now are you signalling alarm, that it is necessary to escape this, that in no case can one allow sluggishness to block off future directions?

[Sheremet] There is that. . .

[Buntman] All the same living beings, are different from devices, nevertheless.

[Sheremet] Certainly. There is a well-known joke, in which there is a portion of a joke, that the military are always preparing for the previous war.

[Buntman] Yes.

[Sheremet] And in this sense also a system of training, that, prior to that reform, which we are now living through, and also of the authorized-organizational structure, and, strictly speaking, armaments as well they were actually somewhere in that significant stage oriented towards that war, which will not now take place. And therefore, I repeat once again, here the special role of military science is to forecast the development of the means, forms, and methods of warfare and with these forecast data to propose how to prepare to equip our own army.

[Yermolin] On exactly the question which is simply not heard, yes there is a well-known history of heavy strikes, that De Gaulle learned from us, and wrote a pamphlet, and Guderian read it and then they came right up to Moscow, yes . . . using our very own developments.

[Buntman] Yes, and in France it was heard quite a bit.

[Yermolin] But, tell me, you are striving to analyse, why NATO and the Americans "simply" smashed through the defence of Hussein in Iraq, and of Qaddafi in Libya, right? In fact they’re far from the last, but that [defence], understandably, was obsolescent, but that very same Qaddafi had the S-200 in the inventory, right? What was the cause? What happened to the radar suppression? Doesn’t it turned out, that, we might say, those third countries equipped with our second-to-last generation of weapons, yes, that they simply turned out to be blind and defenceless against the new suppression systems? How do you analyse the situation?

[Sheremet] Well, traditionally the US Armed Forces and the American military-industrial complex -they have devoted very serious attention abo ve all to intelligence collection and target designation assets, and this is understandable. The tendency at the present time there is from the transition towards a fully net-centric system of command and control, which will make it possible to. . .

[Yermolin] Listen, it is necessary to decode what this means.

[Sheremet] Net-centric -this is already a sufficiently long well-known concept. It began to be talked about first after article by Vice-Admiral Zebrovskiy, that it means, and . . . when they first expressed it . . . that it is a transition that took into account and indicated, and the consequences of that, which took place, confirmed the correctness of their conclusions, that it was the most important main path of development for the Armed Forces -this is the transition from platform-centrism to net-centrism. Platform-centrism -is a concentration on one platform in maximally large numbers, so to speak, sensor assets for detection, monitoring, target designation and weaponry. The issue was clear, that such a class of platforms, whether aircraft, ship, tank -they besides that were becoming very significantly expensive, and directly and indirectly the cost which it yields is increasing. But moreover, due to the physical limitations of each of those assets, they monitor a very limited spatial area. And on this basis in significant measure it is becoming defenceless partially due to the fact that they are used to monitor certain of their own emanations in the radiofrequency spectrum. This permits an enemy to discover this platform and to use a self-guided weapon, there that is what we’re talking about. Take the anti-radar missile. When the issue is about net-centrism, here the situation is entirely different. A communications computer network becomes the head or the centre, of so-called military formations, and which it links together, like a daisy wheel, yes, this golden speck is right there in the centre, and around it are petals [TRANSLATOR – the term "petal" may also be defined as "antenna lobe"] – the most various, and diverse types of assets. Sensors, as the Americans call them, that is, intelligence collection assets, above all for the monitoring of the surrounding situation, are based on the most diverse platforms. The weaponry or actors, as they are referred to, are also the intellectual centres or command and control centres. And there all of this is connected to a unified computer-based communications network and make it possible in real time to utilize the capabilities of everything dispersed in the surrounding environment, and in the surrounding space -in the air, on the ground, and in the earth itself, if necessary, so to speak, we are saying, any class of radar intelligence collection apparatus, based on seismic, acoustic, verbal, infrared, etc. principles of operation. If necessary those very sensors may be in the water. And all of this in essence . . . is an information stream. . . Each sensor sees a certain portion of the space, and sees the presence of enemy objects in this or that physical field.

[Buntman] It is becoming . . .

[Sheremet] Yes, all this thanks to this unified network is being brought to the intellectual centres, and a general picture is being taken. That is what the Americans referred to as the, Common Operation Picture. After that, the perceptual planning of the use of weaponry or actors goes on, and those assets, which with the greatest probability can attack or destroy the objects, one might say, within the range of engagement, based on their inherent precision, and so forth, are used . . .

[Yermolin] There is much to be learned from the Americans in this approach in particular.

[Buntman] Yes, God willing our science is being developed and we will have every success. Igor Anatolyevich Sheremet, Chairman of the Military-Science Committee of the Russian Federation Armed Forces. Thank you very much for participating in our programme.

[Sheremet] Thank you.

Source: Ekho Moskvy news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0000 gmt 28 May 11

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