Milyutin transformation: an enlightening experience – Part II

Vladimir Moltenskoi
Military-Industrial Courier
Published in issue number 46 (412) for November 23, 2011

"MIC" continues to publish reports and statements made at the recent Russian military leaders in the Club of scientific and practical conference "On the 150th anniversary of the military reform Lopatkin Milutin and its significance for the modern military building."

Development of military district system in pre-revolutionary Russia, the USSR and the Russian Federation

Lessons learned for today

The first decade of the XXI century has clearly shown that the "color revolutions", the new methods of warfare, including the so-called network centric warfare, or require the state and military leadership of the country to rethink and transform some of the theory and practice of the Armed Forces and their applications in the new environment.

With mong the most important of the emerging problem issues – assessment of new trends in the development process of the Armed Forces, and to find ways to improve it. In this context, deserves close study of national experience in creating and developing military-district management, initiated by 150 years ago, the War Minister of the Russian Empire DA Milutin.

Without a thorough analysis and creative interpretation of the historical experience and lessons of military history, trends and patterns of development district (front) management structures to improve the efficiency of the control system of military districts at present, let alone predict the main directions of development in the future is impossible.

70 years of the XIX century to the late twentieth century

The main reason that prompted the move to the military district system was excessive centralization of the army, be denied the opportunity to exercise some independence and initiative of the command in the region (in the field) in the solution of even minor administrative and operational issues that led to the tragedy of the Crimean War.

Local military authorities in the pre-reform period in Russia is essentially virtually absent, except for some parts of the country. In a note to Alexander II DA Milutin wrote: "The natural need for decentralization to some degree we have already expressed the fact that edge of the Empire: the Caucasus, Orenburg region, Western and Eastern Siberia formed special territory as a county, with separate offices, to some extent exempt from the micromanagement of the Ministry. "

The main essence of the activities was to create spaces for Russian military districts, each of which is both a body of army control and the military-administrative unit. Control of the military districts, as "a kind of Ministry of War" in a nutshell, consisted of the military district council, the district headquarters and offices: Quartermaster, artillery, engineer and inspector of military hospitals. Office of the Military District submits, on the one hand, the commander of the troops in the other – to the relevant Main Directorate of Military Ministry.

Led military district commander was, is, as a rule, and the Governor-General, that allows you to focus the military and civil authorities, military command and administrative functions in one person, constantly improve combat training, and improve quality to meet their material needs. As commander in chief, and the army commander reported not only all the troops and military facilities located in the theater, but the whole area in a police matter.

To improve the efficiency of the control system to transfer wartime regime in case of war the military-District Office was transformed into a field command of the army, which was especially important for the border districts. Thus, as of 1890 the commander of Border Military District with the outbreak of hostilities was appointed commander of the army, and all the chiefs of the district administration became head of the respective management of the Field Army.

On the field command the army was assigned all the detailed development issues operational (tactical) character, as well as providing all kinds of forces of supply. In this frontier district remained subordinate to the commander of the army, because, as the provision and allowance supply entrusted to him by the army carry out the management of the army and subordinate to the District of the Border Military District. This achieves a certain degree of functional unity of management structures of peace and war time.

Experience of wars of the late XIX – early XX century, in particular the Russian-Japanese, showed that new aspects of warfare that emerged in the last decades of the XIX century: the increase in the number of armies, development of weapons, military equipment, communications, and management tools, scaling, intensity and duration of armed conflict, it is extremely complicated the leadership of military operations by the chief.

In this regard, there was the feasibility of establishing an intermediary between the chief and the army commanders as departments of the army groups – front offices, which were combined with two or four armies.

Army Headquarters and the front of the offices was the Quartermaster General and the general duty.

The front is a strategic authority and independently solves his problems in theater or strategic direction. The army was the main operational units, which include all existed at the time of troops.

Frontal system existed in both the civil and the Great Patriotic War.

An analysis of pre-revolutionary and Soviet period of management at operational and strategic level leads to the following conclusions:

transformation of the system of military control district (front) implemented taking into account the changes of a number of external and internal factors, chose to be the best possible match the demands of his time and, in principle, have been useful;

structure and composition of the governing bodies of the military district (peace) as close as possible to the structure and composition of the control of the army (the front), but at the same time they demanded a time-consuming and expensive to rebuild a peace regime on the war, was the transition to early acquisition field commands armies with the war by trained personnel in peacetime – military district offices, border counties and other structures;

at different stages of the military district in a subordinate of the army (front) or out of submission, indicating the flexibility of such a system;

depending on the assigned tasks for the military district in certain historical periods, the commander of the military district lawfully put no purely military, but also the function of civil (police) management. Thus, the position of the Governor-General to focus worldwide military and civil authorities, military command and administrative functions in one person, constantly improve combat training, and improve quality to meet their material needs;

to provide comprehensive care Commander (Commander) on common issues of military control was carried out reasonably gradual formation and development of a special body – the field staff;
development of government followed the path of creating identical management structures at the strategic, operational and strategic and operational levels;

a gradual transition to interspecies operations allows to realize the need to include in the control of the military district (front) controls the other species (genera) troops. Thus, in the coastal areas in the subordinate chief armies Front Navy also formed at the headquarters of the naval administration;

command and control system (forces) and organs, which were designed to solve the problems of territorial defense (protection of the rear), walked along the path of centralization, although at certain points because of interdepartmental issues to achieve this was not possible. Priority in the management of these tasks reasonably periodically transferred from one ministry to another;

due to the increase in activities of the field staff to lead the troops and the resulting complexity of the organizational structure in the field commands intelligently increasing the number of specialized administrative bodies, thus ensuring better management in general;

development of a system of command and control passed to the creation of new species (types) of command and control – forward operating items (advanced command and control), rear headquarters (rear control points) and others.

Improving governance was provided on the basis of technical progress through enhanced communications, without which reach the required level of performance management system was impossible.

The last option

In the early 90’s of the last century, with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the change in a number of important factors that influence the management system of military districts, the system stopped responding to new conditions and requirements for it.

In principle, general way approaches to the control system in this period can be reduced to a few options.

The last of them – is now existing four military district – operational-strategic command.

What are the main problems seen with the creation of the four military districts – USC?

First, in this embodiment, a material adverse effect on the efficiency of management and interagency cooperation have no one territorial division between the territorial units of power structures, different boundaries of their responsibility to the borders of military districts, the federal districts of the Russian Federation (the Federation).

Boundaries and areas of responsibility of the military districts are independent and do not coincide with the boundaries of regional commands the Interior Ministry, General Directorate of the Ministry of Interior on federal districts, regional offices of the Border Service of the Federal Security Service, the regional emergencies center and federal districts. Within the territory of a military district is part of the administrative units or more other power ministries. This situation is a violation of the military government in peacetime.

Second, the large separation distance control points, problems with sopryagaemostyu departmental management systems (communication and ASUV) lead to a significant reduction in the quality of joint planning and operational training in peacetime, and can lead to significant problems of interaction with crisis situations, ensuring a state of emergency and in time of war.

Third, there are currently no actual proven at events operational and mobilization training mechanisms of interaction between the executive power and the power ministries. Involvement of public authorities on operational training if exercised, then, as a rule, only as observers. In this regard, there is no practical experience in joint activities to ensure the martial law regime.

Fourth, despite the fact that the nominal commander of the military district in peacetime bears full responsibility for the fulfillment of the tasks of ensuring Russia’s military security within the region, the troops and units of other ministries, stationed there, he was not subdued. Only part of them is transferred to the wartime operational control by special order. But how much, between ministries to be decided. In departmental documents on the organization of joint application procedure for transferring the operational control of the organization overall, first of all logistics are not defined, which introduces substantial confusion in organizing the defense of the strategic directions with the start of war or other crisis situations.

Fifth, despite certain declaration, commander of the military district has not yet become a "sole owner" of the territory, for the defense of which he is responsible. As before, it takes a long time for a radical restructuring of the control system, not only from peacetime to wartime, and when necessary to meet the challenges in emergency situations, in a domestic or cross-border armed conflict.

Sixth, the results of the operational training support the conclusion that the current system does not meet the management of the possible scope of tasks of the military district. Today do not have an active centralized command (control) in the federal districts (regions) power components of the military organization, to adapt to changes in the military-political situation and the full spectrum of the defense, state security and public safety. No common understanding and who should manage or coordinate security forces to achieve common to all elements of the system objectives in defense and security, and their functions, powers and duties, and be solely responsible for the task assigned to them.

Creation of additional structures such as counterterrorism and crisis centers, emergency area commanders, the Joint Force Commanders (s), etc., leading to double and sometimes triple subordination of troops (forces), erosion control system and move away from the principle of a uniform system of military organization on the strategic direction of peacetime and wartime.

Seventh, it should be noted that the aforementioned disadvantages largely predetermined imperfect legal and regulatory framework. The analysis of documents regulating the organization and functioning of the control system of military districts, determining the order of submission (or interaction) commanders of military districts raznovidovyh troops (forces) of the Armed Forces, other troops, military formations and bodies of Russia in war and peace, has shown that until operations worked enough. Many basic questions of theory and practice of military districts, prioritize tasks of defense, creating an interconnected system of integrated management for all security agencies and executive agencies, and most importantly – compulsory for all law enforcement agencies in the new conditions are not developed, and the existing demand radical clarification.

No room for error

In conclusion, we note the following.

1. The control system of the Russian (Soviet) of the Armed Forces for a long time, starting with Milyutin reforms build on the territorial principle of military district system and was on the path of transformation, combining the efforts of all law enforcement agencies in order to maximize the compliance of its tasks. The effectiveness of the solution of problems in the field of defense, public security and public safety achieved by the subordination of the military command of the district, not only of his troops, and other law enforcement agencies and the executive branch.

This experience is priceless. Success is a safe solution of administrative problems, and now it is only possible to create identical management structures at all levels of the hierarchy – from the strategic to the tactical, that will allow for effective control of troops (forces and bodies) are not only vertically, but also horizontally, significantly reducing cycle time management.

2. In the post-Soviet period has expanded the range of external and internal threats to the military security of the Russian Federation with the priority probability of domestic and cross-border conflict, a local war against Russia. In these circumstances, the place of the previous structure, the status and capabilities of the military district administration with the growing volume and nature of tasks to handle not. Objectively, there is a need to find new ways of solving the problems associated with the development of the control system at the operational-strategic and operational level, as the solution of problems in the projected armed conflicts or local wars have to perform autonomous groups of troops (forces), formed on the basis of military districts, other forces , military formations and bodies. But we must not forget about the possibility of a major war, the need to prepare for a recently forgotten.

3. On the requirements for the control system in modern conditions have crucial changes in the internal and external threats to the national security of the Russian Federation, the socio-economic factors and to direct military factors – task aircraft and the prospect of their development forces in the operational and strategic directions (HPT) , looks at the training of troops with the increasing military power of NATO armies and other countries. Only knowledge and understanding of the causes and conditions of war under modern conditions will determine the extent of possible military threats and on this basis the right to determine the place, role and tasks assigned to the military district.

4. In today’s highly dynamic conditions of methods of warfare, rapid and drastic changes of operational-strategic situation becomes more and more priority to the development of control systems. It is superior in the management component, along with fire and objective information today is the backbone of success in solving the problems. But the influence of the nature of war and armed conflict, and other factors on the development of management Military District yet studied enough, which urgently demands intensify the search for evidence-based answers to the key questions of the nature of wars and armed conflicts of the future tasks of the military district in peace and war, the content structure control military district. This will reduce the risks in choosing areas of management, not only at the operational-strategic, but also inter-connected with it a strategic level within the military districts, will provide the most efficient spending of scarce resources today.

5. Current status of the political, socio-economic and demographic situation in the country requires an organic combination of the control system of military districts with controls to counter terrorism, control monitoring of the situation in the field of natural and man-made disasters, management of territorial defense, to organize and solve common problems in the field of internal security and solving problems in their rear in peacetime and wartime.

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that Milyutinskaya reform, which showed the viability and accuracy for over 150 years, it was not a spontaneous subjective decision of individual managers, and deeply scientifically calculated, pre-experimentally tested on the Caucasus region.

The same approach should be thoughtful and now. The right to have no errors.

Translation by Ralph Davis. See the original in Russian:


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