Military Reform: errors and ways to correct them

How to create in our country a truly modern in every way the Armed Forces
Alexei Arbatov , Vladimir Dvorkin
Military-Industrial Courier
Published in issue № 25 (442) for June 27, 2012

After years of official statements that the military reform in Russia is over and will continue to take place only optimization of military policy and military development in the country has once again started the reform of the army and navy. The decision was taken in September of 2008: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a document entitled "Plan of reorganization of the Armed Forces." October 14 of the same year, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov openly announced the plan at the board MO.

As the ideology of military reform was declared fully operational establishment, compact, mobile, technically equipped and trained armed forces, capable of performing the tasks in all conditions the conflict began. However, this formulation in different variations is constantly repeated in Russia for the past fifteen or so years. Externally, it is attractive, but it is vague.

The novelty of this time can be regarded as a widely circulated slogan of the need to give a "new face of the Armed Forces." However, this requirement can not be considered too good not only because of even greater uncertainty, but also because the "face" usually means "appearance" or "form" as opposed to the nature or internal quality.

The transformation parameters

Information about the nature and direction of modern military reform is not available because not presented to the public in the form of a single official document. About them to be judged on individual statements by top officials, parliamentarians, journalists and experts commented, "leaks" of information to the press, their reports of civilian and military leaders. Summing all expressed verbally and in writing, subject to periodic amendments as we go to the original plans, the new reform can be summarized as follows.

Cropped elimination compounds, conversion of all the parts in the power of constant combat readiness, the rejection of the concept of mass mobilization of personnel and material resources for the "big" war reorganization of the system of training provision and storage of military supplies and equipment. Creating a database storage and repair of arms and military equipment (BHVT), primarily in the Siberian and Far Eastern military districts (a total of 14 planned to establish such bases), which if necessary can be quickly redeployed personnel.

Formation instead of six military escalation in the four districts that are also united strategic commands (Western, Southern, Central, Eastern, USC). Army transition to a three-structure: Operational Command – Army – Brigade (previously: in – Army – Corps – division – regiment). In general, there will be NE 85 brigades (8 tanks, 36 infantry, 9 and 12 rocket artillery), and one machine-gun and artillery division (Southern Kuriles) and the 201st Motorized Rifle Division (base – Tajikistan).

BBC translation to the new structure: Operational Command – Air Base – Squadron. In total there will be 7 operational commands, 55 airfields and 165 squadrons (one command in each of the four USC, and command-range aviation and military transport aircraft under the central government).

The distribution of the Navy for associations (Northern and Baltic Fleets, the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla, Pacific Fleet) and three of USC (or Western, Southern and Eastern). Creation of the Northern and Pacific fleets separate command submarine forces. Instead of the present 240 pieces will remain 123.

Reducing the total number of aircraft with 1 million 100 thousand to 1 million by 2012.

Changes in the structure of personnel: reducing the officer corps from 330 to 220 thousand people, and conscripts from 450 to 355 thousand people (with a lifetime of 12 months), increasing the number of contract (in 2016) to 425 000 sergeants, sergeants and privates.

A radical reduction in the number of units and formations, garrisons, depots, disposal (including through the sale) of excess military bases, facilities, land, real estate, inventories, mass redeployment of military bodies and institutions.

A significant increase in the number of scientists of various sizes, including a live-fire (for example in 2011 there were 1700).

Centralization of training: a 65 military academies and schools will be 10 military schools.

Reduction and reorganization of the central office administration, including the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff (60%), reducing the role of the High Command of Sun

Commercialization and transfer of civil organizations of the logistics and service troops.

A significant increase in military pensions and allowance for troops (in 2020 25% higher than the average salary in the "citizen").

In the second stage of reform (probably in 2015) – to ensure all officers and contract service housing and all dismissed from the ranks of Sun civilian housing, retraining for civilian specialty.

The implementation of an ambitious program of military-technical modernization (in excess of 21 trillion rubles by 2020, of which more than 19 trillion will go to the Army and Navy). It provides for a 2015 in the Army at least 30 percent of new weapons and military equipment (AME), and by 2020 – at least 70 percent.

Improved efficiency, replacement of fixed assets and personnel of the military-industrial complex, the transition to innovative technologies (which allocated three trillion rubles).

All these events will be implemented in three phases. On the ground – in 2008-2010 – to implement organizational and staffing measures, optimizing the number of aircraft, to form a new management structure. On the second – in 2010-2015 – to provide military housing, increase their pay, increase their skills and training. On the third – in 2015-2020 – to complete the program of restructuring, re-equipping and providing a high level of combat readiness of the army and navy.

The preliminary results of the military reform, President Dmitry Medvedev said in November 2010 in the Federal Assembly declared: "We have embarked on a deep modernization of the Armed Forces, to hold them in the system, significant changes. Already updated combat the armed forces, the system readiness, management and logistics troops. The newly scheduled and, importantly, our large-scale military exercises began. Formed four military districts instead of six.

In the framework of the State Program of Armaments (GPV) to 2020 troops are equipped with modern technology.

Preliminary results

In general, it is clear that many areas of the current military reform justified and long overdue, is this for the decade offer independent experts. First of all, this is a departure from the concept of mobilization and the abolition of cadre formations and units, the reduction of the Armed Forces and of outdated military equipment, downsizing and units, transfer all of them in a state of constant readiness, the creation of the USC instead of military districts. Also discussed in the expert community comes to improving training, technical equipment and mobility of troops and forces, to correct "distortions" of the structure of personnel, consolidation of logistics, to adapt to the new conditions of the military education and military science, the disposal of surplus property, stocks and land, etc.

At the same time as the reform concept, and in its practical implementation has been and is a lot of errors, inconsistencies and high costs.

First of all, we should point out the obvious contradictions between foreign and military policy of the Russian Federation, although that foreign policy should be the main determinant of the state’s military needs with available resources and military-technical capabilities. Apparently, these inconsistencies reflect the lack of real (as opposed to formal, administrative and personnel) management’s control over the country’s military policy and military development, the adoption of the most important doctrinal provisions and decisions on military reform and weapons programs.

In addition, on the priorities of security and foreign policy of Russia in her ruling circles, obviously, there are serious differences, which occur even in public statements and documents of the highest level.

The essence of these differences can be defined as follows: what is the long-term interest of the Russian Federation – the gradual integration with the advanced democratic countries (with all the contradictions and difficulties of the way), or opposing them on the basis of self-sufficiency of the Eurasian Union or in a "strategic partnership" with China, a variety of anti-Western regimes and movements in different regions of the world.

The imperatives of modernization of the economy and the political system in Russia, dealing with new security threats early XXI century determine the choice of the first path. A latter-day interests of the ruling class that has developed around the export of raw materials and the economic system of "sovereign democracy", imply the second. There also are pushing Russia negative experience of reforms 90s, big mistakes and U.S. power outrage in the world, as well as the global financial and economic crisis.

In recent years, Russia has made a number of foreign policy moves in the first direction, and military policy and military development in some important respects, continue (or revive) a policy of confrontation with the West.

Vague and often changing priorities "multi-vector" foreign policy are the result of the growing isolation of the military policy and its administration departmental interests and lobby groups influence the defense industry, the lack of realism and many other contradictions.

Priorities of military policy and reform, which determine the state armament program until 2020, do not correspond to a realistic projection of military threats and challenges for the foreseeable future.

Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in cooperation with other agencies and military forces will likely need to perform operations in local conflicts, such as cross-border, to perform peacekeeping tasks in the former Soviet Union and in the neighboring regions – both unilaterally and in a collective format. We can not exclude the fact that the military tensions can also grow on the eastern borders of the country – to strengthen the defense in this area will be a means to prevent such hazards.

Increases the threat of nuclear weapons and their delivery of irresponsible regimes, expanding the scope and potential of international terrorism.

Meanwhile, the main priorities of the military policy and reform Sun remain nuclear deterrence, air and space defense against NATO and the United States in competition with the latest weaponry. This is motivated by considerations of prestige and the public has at best only indirectly related to the safety of the country (for example, there is a program of the new liquid ICBM silo-based heavy equipment).

Efforts to reform the system of manning the army and navy, improve their training, improve the material welfare and morale of the troops come into sharp conflict with the intention to preserve great appeal (about 350,000 people a year), and 12-month term of service ratings, as well as clumsy way to convert and reduce the officer corps and the contract contingent (in particular refers to the hasty replacement warrant for sergeants), which are also continuously revised during reforming. Measures of "liberalization" regime conscription somewhat improved the situation, but not eradicate hazing and high crime, did not reduce the level of murders, suicides, deaths and injuries from accidents and disasters (such as periodic explosions of ammunition dumps), which are negligence and Tampering with military equipment and ammunition.

As regards structural reforms Sun, the decision to create four simultaneous enlargement USC against military districts. The result of this half-formed – with some variations – about the same situation that has always existed in the Soviet Union, when the military district with the beginning of the war was to be the front. That is in the hands of one of the problem remained the same for administrative activities and functioning of the USC. In a three-tier management system (USC – Brigade – Battalion) returned army link, and the number of armies increased from seven to ten. Real positive shift should be considered only more intense command staff and military exercises involving various forces and funds.

Apparent large discrepancies between the plans to reform the target number of aircraft, the program of technical re-equipment and availability of financial, operational, technical and demographic resources.

State armament program in most cases does not correspond to an annual procurement IWT and generally seems unrealistic, especially considering the waste of resources procured by numerous types of weapons systems and military equipment of similar purpose. Reasons for the choice of some samples are often highly questionable, and the dense veil of secrecy hides actively lobby groups and the practice of "kickbacks."

Corruption has reached unprecedented levels. Even official data military prosecutor, stolen about 20 percent of the funds allocated to the state defense order. In these circumstances, the planned large increase purchases of arms and military equipment to the LG-2020 will cause a greater volume of embezzlement of budgetary resources, despite the fact that, according to forecasts, Russia is worsening financial and economic situation.

Despite a number of positive developments recently, the state of defense, its fixed assets and personnel is still extremely difficult. There are serious problems of corruption, inefficient use of resources, inadequate system of pricing in "defense", poor quality control.

While you can not adapt to the defense market economy and limited (as compared to the Soviet period), while the ever-growing military budget. Without solving these issues, to pour huge amounts of money in the LG-2020 – the same thing as giving more food body with digestive upset.

The failure of all of the conversion program, and the problem seems to be relegated to the background, along with related social issues.

Export orientation IWT has not led to the modernization of technology "defense." However, technological backwardness base defense lead to the loss of competition in the arms trade, the loss of traditional markets for military products. It came down to the fact that Moscow has to take back and transfer those weapons Armed Forces, from which due to poor refuse to importers from developing countries. Worse, shifting its top defense firms and cooperation between Russia to the needs of foreign armies.

Cuts in allocations for R & D (rather than to establish a clear mechanism that would evaluate future projects and monitor their implementation), together with the loss of many scientific schools dooms Russia to catch-up model of military development and the growing gap with the leading powers on the most advanced areas of military-technical development.

In many ways, the causes of these problems are rooted in the costs and features of the mechanism of the development and implementation of military policy, reform and weapons program, in which all issues are resolved in private and in a narrow range in the absence of clear and sound military doctrine, strategy, management and planning of military requirements choice of funding priorities. Achieving the goals completely transferred military bureaucracy, no real parliamentary control, and the reform process is not accompanied by the expert and public discussion, which makes impossible the timely verification of the results of activities and correction of errors.

The agenda for the coming years

Summarizing the above considerations, and certainly no claim to absolute truth, let us define the basic parameters of Russian military policy and military reform to be achieved in the short term.

First of all, this is the maximum openness of the military budget (including state program of armaments and defense procurement), a broad discussion of its validity and to keep it in military policy, the expansion of the role and participation in the process of parliament, independent scientific and public organizations. This is the main way to fight corruption, which is not able to replace any redistribution of power between the military structures to transfer contracts GOZ.

Quite inadequate declarative statements that by 2015 the share of modern weapons is 30 percent, and by 2020 – 70 percent. Russian Army and Navy need not just new models, but only those that really contribute to the strengthening of national defense in line with realistic projected threats and military needs. In addition, these must satisfy the objective of AME estimated cost-effectiveness. Optimality GPV-2020 should clearly confirm the expertise of the program and each state defense order.

Given the demographic and economic situation in Russia, really predictable, and not imaginary threats to the security of the country and its military needs can be two to three years to translate Sun acquisition entirely on voluntary-contract basis. If you depart from the new plan, according to which a few years later the officer corps should total 220,000, and the number of contractors – sergeants and privates – to rise to 425,000, the recruitment of additional 155,000 contract-series, could form the Armed Forces strength 800,000 soldiers. This is just the compact and modern army, of which the Russian authorities are determined for many years. In this case, it will still be the largest army in Europe, surpassing the total number of Sun’s three largest European countries – Germany, the UK and France.

The ratio of officers and enlisted personnel would have been nearly in the ratio of 1:3, which is quite acceptable for the "innovation" of the Armed Forces with a high proportion of technology-intensive services and arms (Air Force, Navy, RVSN, ASD). Despite the fact that the ordinary pay of contract is expected to increase to 25 thousand rubles a month (which is almost the same allowances as a private in the U.S. Army) in order to attract the ranks of Sun quality personnel, an additional contingent contract would cost the budget in additional 47 billion rubles annually – only 2.5 percent of defense spending in 2011.

Moreover, the allocation of the amount will be entitled to be accompanied by a saving call 300-400 thousand conscripts every year, their training and military discharge. This is even more beneficial, given the material and human losses from the low quality of personnel and ordinary crime in BC. Over the years, this economy has been fully justified and will not damage the investment budget items. On top of the latest models of weapons and military equipment will be transferred into the hands of qualified and interested in good service professionals.

Necessary to function Joint Strategic Command confined exclusively planning, management and military training operations of diverse forces and troops, USC should be released from administrative and economic tasks. It is advisable to go back to the concept of the formation of the Joint Forces Command’s strategic deterrence (WGC CAS). This structure should be established on the basis of command the Strategic Missile Forces, has the most advanced and effective system of command and control, with full subjection to the ground ICBM and the operational management of strategic missile-carrying submarines and heavy bombers.

After a significant increase in allowance for troops in 2011-2012 to maintain its level by indexing for inflation at least every six months. It is equally important to ensure that the commitment made in the near future all the officers of office accommodation, and discharged from service – privatized apartments and houses. In the second case, based on experience, it is better to finance this process as a separate item of the federal budget, no appropriations for national defense.

Should review the program of development of strategic nuclear forces, increasing the rate of production of land-based mobile missile systems, with an emphasis on improving management systems and early warning (including the space segment). It should also actively develop new missile defense and air defense space systems. On the program of a new heavy ICBM and other new strategic missiles advisable to refuse.

Missile defense and air defense should be directed not only to protect the objects of strategic nuclear forces, command and control points, communications, major administrative and industrial centers, but also to cover the critical facilities (nuclear power plants, dams, energy, and transportation hubs, storage of hazardous materials and products, and so on.) from single and multiple rocket and air attacks by radical regimes and terrorists.

Facilities of general purpose forces (GPF) must be focused on a significant improvement in their control and communication systems, information at all levels, between aviation and ground forces, as well as the massive equipment with precision weapons, strategic and tactical mobility. Requires reorientation DREAM primarily on local conflicts, a new type of intensive operations in the south-western and southern strategic directions. On the eastern border to expand the network and strengthen the defenses, and BHVT and stocks of material support near areas potentially at risk.

Eliminating multitype in GPV-2020 and SDO, the choice of systems based on the optimal cost-effectiveness should be conducted on a competitive basis through an independent body under the Ministry of Defence, whose functions will include the review and decision-making. It is necessary to increase the share of R & D investment allocation, focusing on breakthrough science and technology projects, and provide a framework for an objective assessment of the prospects of various projects and activities.

We strongly need a new program to support the defense industry, modernization of fixed assets and personnel rejuvenation "defense." Not do without rational conversion program.

Thorough reform of the pricing system, strict parliamentary control and expansion of tolerance in this area of ​​social organizations and the media are of paramount importance in the fight against corruption and embezzlement of budget funds.

Requires increasing the role of legislature in determining military policy through hearings, investigations, it is necessary to amend the Constitution, which gives to the Federal Assembly of the control functions (now PS is a legislative and representative).

The law "On Defense" should be legalized institution of civil leadership of the Ministry of Defense, including the Office of the head of department in the military and civilian personnel, subordinate only to him and is able to give an objective assessment of proposals from the services and arms of the Armed Forces General Staff and the defense industry.

Should be encouraged research of independent scientific and public organizations, to listen to their assessments and recommendations, rather than (as is often the case now) groundlessly accused of incompetence and "serving the interests of another state."

It would be useful to renew and expand the practice of a special independent of the Presidential Commission chaired by respected scientists on the major issues of military policy. Such commissions, operating on the basis of broad and reliable information can with the systems analysis to develop alternative approaches to solving the problems of defense, non-departmental interests, they allow the president and parliament to make informed and optimal solutions to the strategic perspective.

Alexei Arbatov , member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, head of the Center for International Security IMEMO
Vladimir Dvorkin , Major-General, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor

Original in Russian:


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