Originally published in Russian in Voenno-Promyshlennyi Kur’er, March 30, 2011.
On 26 March, a general reporting-election session of the Academy of the Military Sciences took place. The title of the agenda was: “Results of the Work of the Academy of the Military Sciences in the Period 2005-2010 and the Tasks for the Subsequent Period”. Leaders of the Ministry of Defense of Russia participated in the session. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and central organs of military command and control participated. The actual problems of military construction in Russia at the present stage was reviewed along with the summary of the results of the work of the academy. General of the Army Nikolay Makarov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, gave a speech at the session. VPK is publishing a brief summary of his report:
The most important tasks at the present time are the elaboration of a concept of non-traditional wars and armed conflicts, forms and methods for armed warfare, a theory for command and control of the troops, taking the new look of the Armed Forces into consideration, and the everyday practice of combat and operational preparation of automated systems of command and control, as well as communications systems built on the basis of computer networks.
Gaps in military science.
Meanwhile, for some reason, the classic ratio of forces is still being used by us in all calculations. But, for a long time, this has not corresponded to the real state of affairs. For some reason, the information component and the information-management system, which function in many of the leading armies of the world, are not being taken into account. In this respect, over a period of two years, we have not been able to move from a deadlock. There have been no scientific developments on how to make a transition to new methods and technologies with a calculation of the correlation of forces, taking the latest methods for armed combat and arms into consideration. There have been certain achievements but they are so primitive that they do not reflect the real state of affairs. After the campaign in Iraq in 2003, our military science and our military leadership did not make the appropriate conclusions.
For the sake of fairness, I will mention the following: Back in the 1980s, some of our military scientists tried to substantiate a new view, including the theory of non-contact wars. But, for a number of reasons, the results of this research were not realized. That is, a kind of gap formed up. Consequently, figuratively speaking, we danced in place for a long period of time. Science was ripped away from the troops and the troops were ripped away from science.
At the present time, the Odyssey Dawn operation of a coalition grouping is taking place in Libya. As before, the leading role has been given to high-precision weapons. But it is not just necessary to know how to use them. It is also necessary to have them. As is the case with all systems for reconnaissance, guidance, adjustment, and target-indication, without which it is not possible to conduct combat operations. A priority of the coalition is to take critically important facilities out of commission, including air defense components, aviation bases, communications, and the system for state and military command and control. Strikes are being carried out on the troops who are supporting Kaddafi and 203 Tomahawk cruise missiles have already been used, not counting high-precision aviation bombs, including self-guiding aviation bombs.
“In the past twenty years, we were not able to bring military art up to a modern level and we continued to live with obsolete concepts about the nature of modern wars.”
At the present time, we still have little of this equipment. Most importantly, there has been no full answer to the question: How are the priorities to be set in the construction of the Armed Forces? In the past twenty years, we were not able to bring military art up to a modern level and we continued to live with obsolete concepts about the nature of modern wars. This is at a time when the whole world developed critical technologies and information-management systems and began to produce high-precision weapons. As before, we were focused on having a massive army and purchasing obsolete armaments from industry. We missed out on the development of the latest methods and, after that, the means for armed combat. We approached August 2008, when conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia broke out, in such a state.
That conflict stimulated us to do a lot. We attentively studied the experience of military construction in the leading western states and the vectors of the development of the Armed Forces presented by our military chiefs and military scientists. I analyzed a mass of documents and various ways for the reformation of the Armed Forces. For example, it was proposed that the Armed Forces be reduced to a million servicemen, as requested by the Security Council of the Russian Federation. At the same time, to reduce a bulky mobilized component of formations and military units of a reduced complement and reduced personnel, which, according to documents of 2008, it would require months for deployment. Why? Because the equipment in the units with a reduced complement and reduced personnel was practically completely out of order. Or there was another way—to establish one army of permanent readiness in each district and let the rest have reduced complements and personnel.
Such were the options. But the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia also revealed a considerable number of other deep-seated problems. Consequently, we proceeded to make a major transformation even in the absence of an adequate scientific-theoretical basis.
Several tasks were set, the resolution of which was not possible without the participation of military science. For example, the development of new forms and methods for the conducting of combat operations and, on the basis on them, the reworking of program and regulation documents in order to optimize the training process. At the present time, we are not ruling out traditional, large-scale wars. We will not reject the operational art that exists. It evoked and continues to evoke respect. But forms and methods for conducting wars of the future will be different. It is necessary to know how to foresee them. Consequently, the task of military science is to work for making advances and the equipping of the army with the most modern devices for the conducting of war, primarily war against an enemy who possesses high technology.
At the present time, in order for a commander of an army to make a decision on the conducting of combat operations, determine a plan, and make other calculations, it takes the preparatory apparatus 5-6 hours. And it takes just about as much time to make a final decision. Altogether, about 10 hours. But, due to the introduction of computer technologies, information-management systems, and elaborate computer programming, this time can be significantly reduced. At recent training exercises conducted in China, the commander required only 20 minutes for this.
At times, we simply do not grasp such factors, we do not understand them. But it is necessary to grasp them and understand them in order not to put our army in unfavorable conditions beforehand.
The reorganization of the military-scientific complex has been conducted. However, that still has not brought about the necessary results in full measure. We are putting the available achievements into practice in the Armed Forces and we are breaking in new measures for operational and combat training. But, without a systematic scientific approach, the General Staff sometimes has to proceed by trial and error. There are very few serious scientific developments which could serve as a basis, including during the writing of program-regulation documents. But, indeed, we have a mass of scientific workers. In the higher military educational institutes of Russia, 1,200 doctors [of the sciences] and more than 10,000 candidates of the sciences are serving. And, unfortunately, projects, which we have been working out for two years already, are mainly written by officers of the General Staff, with the involvement of some academies and the Center for Military-Strategic Research. In particular, we are not observing any help from the military scientists. As a result, the work is dragging along.
A clear example is the elaboration of the main document for the Ground Troops—the Field Manual for a Brigade. There was an attempt to formulate some new provisions, primarily those based on old normative requirements, But without a study of the changing capabilities of our troops and foreign troops in defense and offense and a study or armaments and military equipment for striking an enemy and areas at long range, etc., this was not done.
It is necessary to make real calculations and to prepare proposals on their basis. At the present time, unfortunately, this is lacking even in the reports of the commanders. In the Academy [of the General Staff], they taught me to set forth my decision “on the basis of calculations that had been made”. But now you do not hear that anywhere. Everybody is just making reports, but there are no calculations whatsoever. Evidential motivation has sharply decreased and it is urgently necessary to correct that.
With a template for initiative.
The problem with the system for command and control has also not been resolved. Unfortunately, it developed like gun barrel construction [Russian: stvolovaya konstruktsiya.]. Each branch of the Armed Forces and each combat arm has its own system. The Navy has the More [Sea] Automated Control System, The Ground Troops have the Akatsiya [Acacia] Automatic Control System. They do not interface with each other. The situation is the same in the Air Force and Strategic Missile Troops. At the present time, we are trying to make a break-through in resolving this difficult problem.
In 2010, full-fledged inter-branch organs for command and control were formed—joint strategic commands as an organized system for command and control in a theater of military operations. At the same time, the development of a technical basis for a prospective information-management system for the Armed Forces continues to be a problem. It must be based on the use of a common information space, in which subsystems for reconnaissance, observation, navigation, identification, target-indication, guidance, combat command and control, and a number of others are integrated. At the present time, we have started work on the development of a model for a common information space.
The development of computer software support makes it possible to carry out the collection, analysis, and evaluation of a situation and the depiction of it on an electronic map with the instantaneous coordination of all of the facilities and targets, as well as the conducting of calculations and the making of well-founded decisions by the commanders. But this process is also proceeding with difficulty. The problem is not with the absence of an element bases, as we often say, or the poor skills of the computer programmers. The problem is that, in many departments of the military institutions of higher education, the understanding of the meaning of the work of a commander and the goals and tasks of this work and the understanding of the necessity to make calculations have been lost. If one reads a plan for a defensive or an offensive operation, it turns out that it has not changed much from plans made several years ago. The orientation is not on a creative approach but on hackneyed operations.
At the present time, we are assigning a task to the commanders. They are to make a plan that does not include more than five proposals. The essence [of the plan] is most important. And then the details and the decision. Here, it is important to overcome stereotypes in thinking. It is important to optimize an algorithm for the work of any official on the basis of scientific analysis. It is only possible to set to work on the process of automation after that. And, in essence, we still have nothing to automate.
And this task is mainly being resolved by military officers. Although it should be fulfilled in the military academies and scientific-research organizations. But, in the main department of the Academy of the General Staff, for example, a number of scientific themes have been elaborated which have little relation to what I am talking about. For example, the theme, “The Main Problems of the Organization of Guerrilla Warfare and Ways for the Resolution of Them in the Years of the Great Patriotic War”, has already been repeatedly researched and hardly has any meaning at the present time.
Unfortunately, that is the state of affairs in many military institutions of higher education. The dissertations turned out in them absolutely do not correspond to modern requirements. Such dissertations do little for the development of military science and the construction of the Armed Forces. But now not only they but the [dissertation] abstracts, courses, and diplomas must have practical applications. We made such a decision. All themes of examination papers related to the military will be coordinated in a Military-Scientific Committee and approved by the chief of the General Staff. And the doctoral candidates will first defend their dissertations in the General Staff, where the feasibility and worthwhileness of the dissertation themes will be taken into account.
We rightfully expect an increase in the effectiveness and productivity of the Academy of Military Sciences as well. We also have a Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences. There are also many problems for it. Although the most authoritative scientists work in these scientific institutions. We expect real help from them. But, for that, the academic specialists must know the problems of the troops and compare their proposals with them.
I think it would be expedient to increase the interaction of the scientific research organizations, military institutions of higher education, and the Academy of Military Sciences, with the Military-Scientific Committee of the Armed Forces playing a coordinating role. I foresee the possibility for the involvement of the Academy of Military Sciences as an executor of scientific-research work within the framework of a general contribution to scientific developments for the Armed Forces. I repeat: We need concrete, scientifically based proposals and recommendations right now, in 2011.
Corresponding measures were taken with respect to the Military-Scientific Committee of the General Staff, including measures affecting the personnel. Everybody in that committee was a doctor of sciences but that was in no way reflected in the results of the work. We transformed the Military-Scientific Council of the General Staff into the Military-Scientific Committee of the Armed Forces and it must work in the interests of the Armed Forces. As for the Center for Military-Strategic Research, it is now reports to theAcademy of the General Staff. Almost the entire bloc of scientific operational-strategic developments will be concentrated right there.
We have a concept for the establishment of an aerospace defense system up to 2012. It describes what is to be done and when and how it is to be done. We do not have the right to make mistakes in this matter, which is most important for the country and the state. Consequently, some provisions of the concept are now under review. An organ for the command and control of aerospace defense is being formed up in the General Staff and the General Staff will also control it. It must be understood that the Space Troops are only one element in the aerospace defense system. The aerospace defense system must be multi-layered with respect to altitudes and ranges and integrated with forces and systems that are already existing. At the present time, there are still very few of them. We are counting on products turned out by the defense-industrial complex, products that will be coming out starting next year.
As for the air defense systems which were transferred to the districts, nobody is intending to take them away. They will be organized into the army air defense system.
Contract soldiers plus officers.
On the transition to one year of military service. That was not an initiative of the Ministry of Defense. But it required a revision of the entire system for combat training. Because it is extremely difficult to master a specialty in one year. And, at times, it is impossible. Everybody understands that very well. The new structure of the Armed Forces was established on the principle of contract service. In correspondence with the latest decision of [President Medvedev], Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, we have the right to have 425,000 contract soldiers and 220,000 officers in the Armed Forces. But the problem with the contract soldiers remains, since we had to reject the services of many of them.
Indeed, who mainly became a contract soldier up until 2008? It was mainly a soldier who had served for six months and who, through persuasion, coercion, and threats, was made to sign a contract. And he supposedly served out his remaining time as a contract soldier, after which he calmly left the service and went home, not having lived up to his contract. Although it did not matter to him, we paid him from 7 to 13,000 rubles, we clothed him, and we shod him. That is, we spent an enormous amount of money. Unfortunately, we did not turn these citizens into trained specialists. Consequently, we honestly acknowledged that such an approach to the organization of contract service was a mistake.
The new contract soldiers will receive very different pay. They will be carefully selected and they will undergo appropriate training in the training centers. But only the person who passes the exams and is not screened out in the selection process will receive the right to sign a contract. We need intellectually developed people who will be able to master the complex new armament models. And 450,000 contract soldiers are only the first step. In the future, we intend to increase their number.
Let’s look at the experience of the armed forces of Poland and the Czech Republic. There, a contract soldier intensively engages in combat training from 8 A. M. to 4 P. M. But, after 4 P.M. he is free until 8 A.M. He can live in the barracks or rent housing, for which he receives 400 dollars per month. On the whole, the monetary allowance of a Polish contract soldier is 1,100 dollars (we are now trying to arrange [such monetary allowances] for our contract soldiers).
This system made it possible for both the Czech Republic and Poland to have high-quality soldiers and it resolves the problem of non-regulation interactions among the soldiers [that is, it did away with the hazing and bullying of new recruits by older soldiers]. Parents no longer have to worry about their sons in the armed forces. At the present time, 15 persons compete for each vacancy as a contract soldier in the Czech Republic and 25 persons compete for each vacancy as a contract soldier in Poland.
Why such a cost?
Nikolay Makarov also gave answers to a number of pressing questions from people participating in the session of the Academy of Military Sciences.
Question: How does the military-administrative division of the territory of Russia and the establishment of four joint strategic commands correlate with the deployment of the Internal Troops, the Border Troops, and the subunits and military units of the other militarized structures?
Makarov: I still cannot speak about other militarized structures, although the General Staff must coordinate their activities. We are taking a firm approach to this question, since, in the past 10-12 years, much has changed in this respect, and not for the best. Now each department is trying to develop independently. The Internal troops, for example, are buying their own communications systems. The Armed Forces are buying their own communications systems. As a result, money is being spent irrationally. That is hardly good for the state and defense.
As for the joint strategic commands, their locations were approved by the leadership of the country. We cannot move the districts and we cannot move the territories. However, if necessary, the headquarters of the joint strategic commands can be expediently airlifted to any place. But the question is a natural one: Can the other militarized structures make a transition to this administrative division? Time will tell how this question will be answered.
Question: At the present time, do front line aviation assets meet the requirements of the tasks that lie ahead?
Makarov: Aviation must carry out strikes without entering the air defense zone of an enemy. But show me even one aircraft in Russia that can do that. The strike range of our Su-25 is only 600-800 meters, not 60 or 100 kilometers. Otherwise, it simply will not hit the target. The same for the Su-24. We have good achievements. We know how to use aviation and how to operate. But we do not have much with which to operate. Our task just consists in making it possible for the Air Force, Air Defense, and the Navy to have the means to implement our latest developments and meet the latest requirements. This is a serious problem. The flight tasks and the summary data must take into consideration the entire structure of the existing weaponry and the possibility for the use of it. Sometimes we cannot do this not because we do not want to do it but for objective reasons.
Question: Why have the attacks of the leadership of the Armed Forces on the defense-industrial complex become more frequent? Hasn’t the time come to establish an organ within the framework of the Ministry of Defense which would integrate the problems of the construction of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the defense industry?
Makarov: Recently, two persons made incorrect assertions against our defense-industrial complex. Vladimir Popovkin, Deputy Minister of Defense, and Colonel General Aleksandr Postnikov, Commander of the Ground Troops. A serious discussion in the Ministry of Defense took place on this account.
What is the problem? We have projected how wars and conflicts may take place in 2020-2025. The General Staff conducted this work. And we understood what kind of troops, equipment, and weaponry will be necessary for this. Their characteristics were described in the form of tactical-technical requirements of our industry and they were distributed in February 2010. It was directly said that a number of the products of the defense industry do not support the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in fulfilling the tasks that have been set for them. There and then a collapse occurred. Many producers do not want or are not able to produce prospective weaponry and military equipment. They are turning out products that the Armed Forces do not need. But the General Staff will no longer buy what the Armed Forces do not need, no matter how much the defense industry enterprises try to persuade us to do so. Whether they like it or not.
In order to counter this situation, our defense-industrial complex must modernize. Incidentally, [President Medvedev}, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, raised this issue at a recent session of the Collegium of the Ministry of Defense. He pointed out the non-transparency of the costs of products of the defense-industrial complex and other abnormalities. For example, three years ago a T-90 tank cost 42 million rubles. Now it costs over a 100 million rubles. Why such a cost? Nobody can explain it. We are ready to pay even more but the cost must be objective and realistic!
We are now working with the defense industry enterprises to resolve this problem. There is an organ which is coordinating this work. The Military-Industrial Commission. It is headed by a vice prime minister of the government.
Question: It is known that a training center has been established at the Gorokhovets Training Ground. Germany will work out the logistics and tasks for it. What does this mean? The incapability of our military science and the defense industry enterprises? Or are we already preparing to fight according to the patterns and standards of NATO?
Makarov: Germany has the Magdeburg Training Ground. It is an integrated center for the training of troops of the Bundeswehr. It can be used fully to train a motorized rifle brigade—from combat subunits to rear support subunits. The decision of a combat commander is put into the program software of the complex. After that, the entire brigade sits in simulators and conducts combat operations. The work of each soldier and officer is recorded by a video camera, which is linked up with the computer. And that is the way it is in the course of all of the training exercises. On the screen, the commander sees what decision a hypothetical enemy makes and how he counteracts it in real time. The computer battles against the brigade commander, the soldier, and the mechanic-driver and gives out an objective evaluation. This is a quite effective training support system and I will not conceal the fact that we bought it. We will install it at the Mulina Training Ground. At the same time, the computer software for the simulators will be ours. It will be Russian.