Voyenno-promyshlennyy kuryer published an interview with the Chief of the General Staff, Army General Nikolay Makarov last Tuesday. It’s not exactly a hard-ball interview. But it’s fairly consistent with his other statements. Among the priorities, preserving mobilization appears again. Inter-service C2 in the new OSKs is a big theme. He can’t explain why the Air Forces aren’t getting more new aircraft, and PVO sounds like it’s destined for joining VKO under the Space Troops.
VPK asked about the possibility of changes in Russia’s military doctrine following the NATO-Russia summit and more talk of a strategic partnership. Makarov said the approach of NATO infrastructure to Russia’s borders and the alliance’s continued “open door” policy vis-a-vis Ukraine and Georgia are still factors in Russia’s military doctrine. Therefore, there’s no need to adjust it.
Makarov expounded on the concept of force and force structure development [строительство] to 2020 adopted by President Medvedev last April 19. Its main measures include:
- Establishment of the air-space (aerospace) defense (VKO) system;
- Formation of the optimal composition of inter-service troop (force) groupings on strategic axes;
- Supporting mobilization of military formations and troop groupings;
- Establishing modern command and control systems;
- Deploying military towns of a new troop basing system;
- Reequipping formations and units with new and future types of armaments and military equipment;
- Resolving social protection issues of servicemen.
Asked about military science and operational training, Makarov said the main task of the military-scientific complex is to “support the training and employment of the Armed Forces in their new profile, especially inter-service training of the military command and control organs” of the new MDs / OSKs.
Makarov admitted that Russia lags behind developed countries in reconnaissance and command and control, and is still using communications systems developed in the 1990s. He continued:
“Another problem is the fact that every service and troop branch of the Armed Forces developed its own means of automation and communications without looking at the others. The command and control systems of the Ground Troops, Navy, and Air Forces didn’t interface with each other, that lowered the possibilities for controlling troop groupings on the operational-strategic and operational level.”
He says the General Staff has given the OPK requirements for high-tech digital reconnaissance and communications systems. Industry is already developing a fundamentally new, sixth generation radio system with digital signal processing to implement a net organization in radio communications. He says it’s being built as a unitary, integrated net at all levels, from the General Staff to the individual soldier on the battlefield. Command and control systems will get 300 billion rubles under GPV-2020, according to Makarov.
Sounding very much the net-centric warfare disciple, Makarov says the main task is to form a unitary information space uniting reconnaissance, navigation, command and control, and new generation weapons.
Makarov doesn’t have a good answer when asked why the Air Forces don’t have a single fully reequipped unit despite increased defense expenditures. He maintains they are getting new aircraft and their units are now all permanently combat ready and fully equipped and manned.
On aerospace defense, Makarov says PVO, PRO, SPRN, and KKP (space monitoring) will be concentrated in the hands of one commander, but:
“I’d like to note this won’t be a simple, mechanistic merger of different military entities under the leadership of a new strategic command. Their deep integration and echelonment by mission, information exchange, and interception fire is envisaged. We’ve already started fulfilling the initial measures on this issue.”
Obviously speaking much prior to last week’s news about reversing cuts in the officer ranks, Makarov addressed the moratorium on inducting new cadets. He said 78.5 percent of 2010 VVUZ graduates became officers. Others, he says, who wanted to stay in the service were temporarily placed in lower-ranking [i.e. sergeant] posts, but will participate in command training and form a cadre reserve for filling officer positions.
Lastly, Makarov talked about the new military pay system coming next year. Military retirees have been especially concerned about its effect on pensions. Makarov didn’t say much to assuage them. He said there will be no difference in pensions depending on when servicemen retired, and a commission under Finance Ministry leadership is working on the issue. That will probably reassure army pensioners.