Tag Archives: NCO

Walking Back Serdyukov’s Personnel Policies (Part I)

And so it’s begun. 

The first of Defense Minister Serdyukov’s major reform planks – cutting the officer corps from 355,000 to 150,000, or no more than 15 percent of the million-man army – has been reversed.

The Armed Forces’ officer manning level was apparently one topic in yesterday’s meeting between President Medvedev and his “power” ministers about plans to raise pay for servicemen in 2012.

Serdyukov told the media about the decision to increase officers in the Armed Forces by 70,000:

“A decision’s been taken to increase officer personnel by 70 thousand.  This is connected with the fact that we’re deploying additional military units, establishing military-space defense, that is, an entire service (of troops), and the increase is happening in connection with this.”

First, this raised some interesting questions about VKO.  Is it really going to become a service (vid or вид).  After all, the Space Troops are only a service branch (род войск) right now.  That’s quite a promotion.  And are we really supposed to believe the expansion of VKO or the Space Troops will require 70,000 additional officers? 

Of course not, it’s a convenient excuse to walk back a large part of the 50 percent cut in army officers Serdyukov announced when he launched his reforms in October 2008.

Most media outlets were pretty confused on what this means for officer numbers.  They assumed the Russian Army’s at 150,000 officers right now, just add 70,000 for a total of 220,000.  But it’s not so simple.

When Serdyukov started cutting officers, there were 305,000 occupied officer billets.  Krasnaya zvezda said the Armed Forces had 181,000 officers at the end of last year.  So a grand total of 124,000 officers were either discharged, placed outside the “org-shtat” at their commander’s “disposition,” or forced to accept an NCO billet between late 2008 and the end of 2010.  Returning 70,000 to the ranks might leave us wondering only about what happened to the other 54,000.  And 181,000 plus 70,000 takes the officer corps basically back to 250,000, or fully one-quarter of the million-man army.

The army officer corps has endured considerable sturm und drang in a little over two years all for the sake of shedding just 55,000 officers.

More on this tomorrow.

Railroad Troops Officers Put in Sergeant Posts

Railroad Troops Working in Abkhazia

Today a Railroad Troops spokesman provided a year-ender for these bastard children of the Defense Ministry, and he described their efforts to adopt a ‘new profile’ in 2009.

Most interestingly, the spokesman said that the Railroad Troops have placed 300 excess officers, mostly lieutenants and senior lieutenants, in sergeant billets.  These men, who’ve suddenly discovered they’re no longer officers, will be the first to be promoted into officer positions when they become available, according to the spokesman.  He also said a similar scheme for preserving officer cadres, i.e. demoting them into the NCO ranks, exists in the other services and branches of the armed forces.

So rumors that officers were being ‘offered’ transfers into the NCO ranks turn out to be true.  This was reported as far back as the closure of the SibVO’s 67th Spetsnaz brigade late last winter, but had not been confirmed until now.

The Railroad Troops also put over 1,000 warrant officers into sergeant’s posts, but this downgrading was always an overt part of the Defense Ministry’s plans.

The Railroad Troops spokesman said 1,500 officers and 1,200 warrants were dismissed in 2009, and nearly 1,800 officers and warrants entered the limbo of being placed at the disposal of their commanders, i.e. they’ve lost their duty posts and are outside the TO&E.

Housing remains a problem.  About 3,000 personnel need apartments, or improved housing conditions.  The Railroad Troops need 1,700 apartments for dismissed servicemen.  They were allocated 472 apartments and 81 state housing certificates (GZhS).