Tag Archives: Defense Ministry

Defense Ministry Collegium

Serdyukov Flanked by Makarov and Pankov

November’s the time for year-end evaluations in the Russian military, and the Defense Ministry had its collegium yesterday.  Mil.ru printed Defense Minister Serdyukov’s introductory remarks.

First on his mind was complete fulfillment of the State Defense Order next year, and signing all GOZ-2012 contracts next month.  He said all responsibility for ordering will be transferred to a “Federal Procurement Agency.”

Some media sources assumed this means Rosoboronpostavka.  This author thinks it could be something new.  It’s important, so here’s exactly what Mil.ru says he said:

“Next year the functions of the ordering organ are being fully transferred to the Federal Procurement Agency.”

If that means Rosoboronpostavka, why not just say Rosoboronpostavka?  ITAR-TASS actually replaced Serdyukov’s words “Federal Procurement Agency” with Rosoboronpostavka.  At the very least, not everyone’s working from the same sheet of music.  But continuing with Serdyukov’s remarks . . .

Unlike large-scale strategic exercises of recent years, the coming year will stress tactical-level training.  But Southern MD exercises will test the new Armed Forces command and control system.

He noted establishment of VVKO by December 1, and said it will “intercept any targets right up to hypersonic speeds, both in the air and in space.”

Military police will start working in the troops in 2012, according to Serdyukov.  They are still occupied at present with selecting personnel, writing regs, etc.  Serdyukov earlier said they’d be functioning in 2011.

The Defense Minister indicated all service functions in the Armed Forces will be outsourced next year.

Without much fanfare, he said the new system of enlisted contract service will start in 2012.

Serdyukov said stimulus pay for officers will continue alongside their newly-approved higher pay.

First Deputy Defense Minister, Chief of the General Staff Nikolay Makarov delivered the collegium’s main report, but the press wasn’t invited to stay.

Meanwhile, today NG sources “don’t exclude” that Anatoliy Serdyukov could soon leave the Defense Ministry to become Finance Minister.  There’s talk Russia’s NATO Permrep Dmitriy Rogozin could succeed him as Defense Minister [because he toured the 58th Army with Medvedev this week].

There are always rumors like these.  Recently it was said Makarov would be “sacrificed” as an electoral offering to military men who don’t like him.  Sometimes the rumors bear out, sometimes not.  More important are the reasons behind any personnel changes. 

Is Putin or Medvedev likely to find a more effective steward of the military than Serdyukov?  Probably not.  The fiery politician Rogozin would be a dramatic change from the retiring technocrat Serdyukov.  The former would inspire and appeal to the troops more than the latter, but not do a better job.  Of course, we shouldn’t assume capability is the leadership’s most important criterion in picking a Defense Minister.

Demobbing the Central Apparatus

Over the weekend, Moskovskiy komsomolets reported the next wave of reform will civilianize the entire central apparatus of the Defense Ministry.  Civilian administrators will replace uniformed officers everywhere except the Genshtab and “combat support structures.”  Special commissions will select civilians on a competitive basis. 

MK’s Defense Ministry sources claim this phase of reform will be completed by December.  The Main Legal Directorate will civilianize in August-September.  The Press-Service and Information Directorate will be reformed from 1 August.  The Personnel Inspectorate will civilianize also, according to MK’s report.

Needless to say, generals think it strange to let civilians decide the fate of their careers.  But an MK source argued:

“And who prevents them from working just the same, but in civilian attire?  For them, in principle, just like for prosecutors, it’s no different – in shoulderboards or without them, only the knowledge of directive documents and legislative acts is important.”

For counterpoint, MK turned to Leonid Ivashov:

“It’s obvious today that a transition to civilian duties is taking place in the military department.  The second tendency is the domination of women in the new structures.  They head finance, the legal directorate, the apartment-management service, a nice girl headed the directorate for international military cooperation for a time.  Ms. Shevtsova became deputy minister, in charge of construction, a woman – a specialist in taxes and alcohol production heads the military education department . . . .  Don’t think that I’m badly disposed toward women, I like them very much.  I wouldn’t, for example, be irritated if Natalya Narochnitskaya [a well-known scholar, social-political figure, doctor of historical sciences — Ed.) became Defense Minister.  She’s an intelligent analyst, who has tact, and, I think, could bring a lot of useful and healthy things into army structures.  But if managers from business go there and gather such people around them, then the army will turn into some kind of commercial organization.  When they say we are copying the American or other democratic model of an army where the Defense Minister and his department are civilians, this is not true.  Yes, we have a civilian minister.  But I don’t see in a single serious government that people from commercial life come to this post.  They are always politicians, representing some party which controls or consults with them.  But to simply to throw any guy into the military department so – and do what you want, there isn’t anything similar in a single government.”

Ivashov makes the observation that civilianization, and feminization, of the Defense Ministry’s been going on for a while now.  But he spins off into a diatribe against ex-businessman Serdyukov.  It’s not really Serdyukov’s fault there’s no democratic party system to produce politicians who could lead the Defense Ministry.  And one could argue the Defense Ministry was a corrupt commercial organization well back when Ivashov was there, but men in uniforms were the ones making the illicit deals then.  But we digress . . .

Recall at the outset of Serdyukov’s reforms in fall 2008, he indicated he intended to cut the Defense Ministry’s 10,523-strong central apparatus and roughly 11,000 military personnel in command and control organs down to no more than 8,500 in all.  So perhaps now we’re looking at about 4,000 personnel, civilians that is, in the Defense Ministry’s central apparatus.

Dropping officers in favor of civilians in the Defense Ministry might buttress Dmitriy Litovkin’s report last week about a deeper cut in military manpower.

New Mil.ru

The New Mil.ru

A new look for the RF Defense Ministry website’s been unveiled (in testing mode, so far).

The first treat we’re supposed to get is video from tonight’s Red Square rehearsal of Monday’s Victory Day parade.  There’s a place to click for it, but it’s obviously not loaded yet.

So, say farewell to the old Mil.ru.

Farewell Old Mil.ru

Old Mil.ru had a nice rundown of the Defense Ministry’s organizational structure that was once well maintained, but became an untended mess after Anatoliy Serdyukov arrived in 2007 and changed the Russian military bureaucracy in myriad ways.

RF Defense Ministry Structure on the Old Mil.ru

New Mil.ru is pared down, so far, in this respect, showing only a slicker (but up-to-date) rundown of Serdyukov’s deputies.

New Defense Ministry Leadership Page