Post cold war Military reforms in Russia

Discussion in 'Land Forces' started by Virendra, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

    Oct 16, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Delhi, India, India
    Recently the Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was caught in a corruption scandal.
    Vladimir Putin had sacked him and appointed Sergei Shoigu as the new Defense Minister.
    Anatoly Serdyukov was tuoted as proponent of the biggest military reforms in Russia since the WW II.

    Following are the summarized excerpts from an article focussing on these reforms. The author Dmitry Gorenburg is a Senior Analyst at CNA, a non-profit think tank.

    As part of these reforms, the military had shed most of its Soviet legacy in areas such as organizational structure and manpower. The transformation, however, alienated the officer corps, with most senior generals agitating for Serdyukov’s dismissal throughout his tenure.

    Among achievements of these controversial [when are they not :)] reforrms, the most important ones are changes such as:
    Implementing greater mobility,
    Eliminating mass mobilization in exchange for higher levels of constant readiness,
    Improving inter-service coordination.

    Working closely with Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov, who masterminded much of the reform, Serdyukov succeeded in dismantling the Soviet-era structure of the Russian military and replacing it with a structure more suited to 21st century warfare. He substituted the unwieldy divisions geared toward fighting large frontal wars with much more mobile and largely self-sufficient brigades.

    They dissolved many units in the military, that were practically dry of manpower and sat on huge stockpile of unusable military hardware.
    Getting rid of such cumbersome, slow mobilizing units; new units with a week's mobilization capacity we raised. Some of them are expected to gear up even within 24 hours.

    Dependency on Moscow for Inter-service cooperation on the battlefield has been removed. Because it led to miscommunication and friendly fire, lack of timely air cover for ground advances etc. Instead four regional unified strategic commands now allow local commanders to organize all military elements in their respective regions.

    Keeping in mind the kind of wars that would be fought in the 21st century's foreseeable future; all of these organizational changes have been made in an effort to enable the Russian military to respond more quickly to unexpected local or regional conflicts. It replaces the large-scale frontal war based military planning that was current since the Cold War period.

    Although he did a great deal to rid the Russian military of its Soviet legacy, Serdyukov was far less successful in interpersonal matters: the minister’s lack of military experience and his hard-charging style, which earned him the nickname “Bulldozer,” alienated most of the senior and junior officers under his command.

    Ironically the ousted Serdyukov had corruption control as one of his goals; where the senior Military officers were accumulating large amounts of money by redirecting procurement and construction funding and using conscript labor for personal needs.
    Though the new Minister Shoigu has a cleaner image and better support from Military Commanders, his mettle in taking Russian military through the necessary reforms is yet to be tested.

    The most pressing problem is the military’s lack of soldiers. A decline in childbirth in the early 1990s has resulted in a corresponding drop in the number of 18-year-old men available for conscription. At the same time, salary increases and improvements in living conditions have done little to encourage Russians to serve in the military as contract soldiers. The military currently has 220,000 officers, 186,000 contract soldiers, and 296,000 conscripts, for a total force of just over 700,000 personnel.
    The military seeks to fix this problem over time by increasing the number of contract soldiers to 425,000 by 2017 through the recruitment of 50,000 net new soldiers per year. But this isn't working as of now. Recent data shows that just over 10,000 new contract soldiers were recruited in the first quarter of 2013.
    A raging debate among both senior officials and most military analysts has focused on whether the best way to staff the Russian army of the future is to shift to a fully professional force or if conscripts should continue to play a role. The reality is that there are both an insufficient number of young men turning 18 who could serve as conscripts and a lack of potential recruits willing to sign up to serve as contract soldiers.
    By the end of the current decade, the already serious manpower shortage is likely to grow worse. The only realistic solution is to accept that a serious drop in the size of the military is inevitable and to begin planning for how to maintain as much of a military capability as possible with an army that has no more than 600-700 thousand personnel.

    The second major challenge facing the new defense minister is the implementation of a highly ambitious ten-year rearmament program that is expected to modernize 70 percent of Russia’s weapons by 2020. To add a new glitch, Shoigu's predecessors were adamant with the Defense Industry in regards to over priced, sub-standard domestic equipment and weaponry dumped by the latter. If Shoigu needs the Industry's help in achieving this goal, it needs to be seen if he is able to enforce better results from the Industry on existing deliveries.
    A large percentage of the additional funding earmarked for defense industry modernization and the procurement of a new generation of military equipment is in the process of being squandered through corruption and inefficiency.

    Although the integration of a majority of sectors of Russia’s defense industry into monopolistic holdings may have initially been beneficial in eliminating duplication of effort and promoting economies of scale, it is now hindering innovation, increasing costs, and reducing the quality of production.

    In the six months since his appointment, Shoigu has rolled back some aspects of the Serdyukov reform, while keeping its core innovations intact for the moment. Many of the changes have been primarily symbolic, in keeping with Shoigu’s goal of rebuilding trust between the Minister of Defense and the senior officers by cancelling the decisions that were most upsetting to top generals. Actions such as the restoration of the Tamanskaia and Kantemirovskaia divisions (which had been transformed into brigades under Serdyukov) and Shoigu’s decision to wear a military uniform and epaulettes were calculated to please senior officers without undermining the changes enacted under Serdyukov.
    Secondly, Shoigu has also restored the old training system that has top officers in school for a total of eight years during their careers instead of Serdyukov’s Western-style system of one stint in a military academy followed by short courses to gain skills needed for specific positions.
    This is certainly a blow to modernization, and may well lead to an excessive number of graduates coming out of the military academies without positions available for them. This outcome could lead to pressure to increase the number of officers in active service, which would be a big blow to the reform effort.

    Lately there have been many surprise/unscheduled training exercises to keep the Army jostled and agile. There was a Southern military district exercise in February 2013 in which more than 7,000 military personnel were abruptly roused and sent out on exercises that had not previously been announced. Also a surprise Black Sea Fleet exercise was ordered by President Vladimir Putin in late March. Troops involved in the February ground forces exercise received mixed marks, with several units unable to mobilize within the allotted time frame.

    Military procurement is the one critical area that has already experienced some negative trends under the new regime. One of the Shoigu-led MOD’s early acts was to essentially take imports of military technology from foreign sources off the table. This is not surprising given that one of the main reasons for Serdyukov’s removal is that his policies were threatening the income streams of key players in the defense industry.

    Even after Seryukov's exit, the Russian military is continuing its shift to a three-tiered organizational structure for the military with the brigade as the key unit, the establishment of unified strategic commands that are designed to enhance inter-service cooperation, the reduction in the number of officers, and the goal of shifting away from conscription to a primarily contract-based manning structure over time. As long as they remain in place, the Russian military will remain on track to be transformed away from the Soviet mobilization army to a more modern, more mobile, and more unified military force. All of these elements have recently been affirmed by the country’s top political leadership and by top officials at the MOD...
    Source - The Russian Military under Sergei Shoigu: Will the Reform Continue? | Russian Military Reform


    It seems ot me that the Russian Military leadership still wants to do things in its own (shall I say archaic) way and appreciates minimum interference. As first impression, their Defense Industry seems not very different from the perception that some have for our DRDO :p


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