Now that the Russian Armed Forces have moved away from low-strength, cadre divisions and units to a permanently combat ready force structure, it’s time to think a little harder about where they might be . . . yes, Shlykov makes one think.
A two-part article in Voyennaya mysl from early 2009 sheds some light on Russian military thinking in this regard. It was prepared by retired colonel, a military academic teaching at the soon-to-be-former Combined Arms Academy. He was a tactical commander of motorized rifle units, and later a professional staff officer with experience in the GOU. It’s likely violence will be done to his work in an effort to understand and dumb it down. His construct is full of equations and diagrams like the one above. But the article helps in understanding what 100 percent combat readiness really means.
The articles examine the concept of combat potential and use it to determine the ‘real combat possibilities’ of a force. It aims to evaluate and calculate indicators of combat potential, accounting for their combat capability and readiness to fulfill combat missions (battle readiness).
Combat potential expresses the summation of the material and morale possibilities of the armed forces, which determine their capability to fulfill their missions, to conduct combat actions. Its components are technical equipping, soldierly skill, and morale.
Combat potential has three basic indicators that define the limits of combat possibilities: ideal, or armaments potential; real, or combat capability potential, and actual, or readiness potential. Armaments potential is a theoretical and unattainable indicator; based on quantity alone, it seems to be defined as 1 or 100 percent, if the requisite number of armaments are on-hand. It’s a starting point for the other indicators.
Combat capability is defined as the condition of troops (forces) which allow them to conduct combat actions successfully in accordance with their designation and to realize their combat possibilities. It is real combat possibilities to conduct combat actions with the forces and means on hand.
At this point, the author defines combat readiness in peacetime as defined by the readiness to transfer from peacetime to wartime, but in wartime it is determined by battle readiness. Battle readiness expresses preparation or training for fulfilling missions as a portion of potential combat capability. It is conducting measures to train for battle. Battle readiness is the actual share of potential combat capability. Increasing the potential (degree) of battle readiness is the process of turning real combat possibilities into actual ones.
Ideal combat possibilities are simply a question of the quantity of armaments. Forty arms equals 40 arbitrary units of combat potential or 1 in the diagram above. If the real combat possibilities are .6, combat capability is 24 (40 x .6), and if the actual possibilities are .4, battle readiness is 16 (40 x .4). And the ratio of battle readiness to combat capability (16/24) yields a degree of battle readiness of .6, and this seems to be the key output of the first part of the article.
Part two turns to indicators of the combat capability of subunits (battalion and lower) and units (regiments, which don’t exist any longer except for RVSN and VDV).