Daily Archives: February 18, 2010

Makarov Meets the Press

Chief of the General Staff Nikolay Makarov

General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov spoke at length to the press yesterday. In no particular order, here are some of the impressions and reports that followed in his wake.

RBCdaily quoted Makarov on the possible Mistral purchase:  “Ships of the Mistral type have very great multifunctionality, and they surpass our ships in all parameters by three times.”  He went on to say that Russian shipbuilders would only be able to produce helicopter carriers of this quality in 5-10 years.  Aleksandr Khramchikhin commented that, in the first place, Russia doesn’t currently have comparable ships and, in the second, it will take 50 years.

Makarov said the final decision on buying the Mistral had not been made.

According to Rossiyskaya gazeta, Makarov said the Russian Army went to brigades vice divisions to avoid the previous need to flesh out units with reservists and take days to bring them to combat readiness.  ‘Modular’ battalions by contrast are permanently ready for battle in an hour.

Makarov didn’t rule out establishment of some type of ‘rapid reaction forces,’ though these are closest in nature to today’s VDV.  And this wouldn’t mean VDV would simply change its name. And other services need rapid reaction capabilities too for action in the air, on the sea, etc.  Aren’t permanently ready brigades rapid reaction forces already?

On the Navy headquarters move to St. Petersburg, Makarov claimed Moscow is overflowing with army and navy leadership [but haven’t they just cut 200,000 officers and lots of excess command structures to create a personnel pyramid?].  And with today’s networks the fleet can be commanded from thousands of kilometers away from the Genshtab and other main commands.

Makarov doesn’t foresee any change to the one-year conscription policy, but there may be changes in NCO acquisition.  Instead of six months training in MD training centers, they may only get 3, so they can serve 9 months in troop units.  Makarov thinks they’ll cut back on conscript sergeants once their professional ones start to appear.

Moskovskiy komsomolets quoted Makarov on the new strategic arms agreement with the U.S. to the effect that it’s 97 percent complete, and it only remains to agree on the relationship between offensive and defensive weapons, and there will not be anything in the treaty to Russia’s detriment in this regard.

On Mistral, Makarov said, after study, we’ve concluded we need this type of ship, which can be an amphibious assault ship, hospital, command ship, and helicopter carrier.

On the Navy and Piter, MK notes Makarov wanted to avoid Baluyevskiy’s fate and didn’t contradict his superiors.  He expounded on his vision (perhaps dream) of Russian netcentric warfare:

“Earlier it was like this:  the closer to subordinates, the more reliable the command and control.  Now all leading countries, including us also, are going to netcentric command and control systems.  This allows completely remote means of reconnaissance, command and control, electronic warfare, fire, command posts–all spread over an enormous distance, but located in a single information-communications space and capable of solving tasks in real time.”

On a related note, Makarov said the new Sozvezdiye tactical level command and control system will be part of the netcentric structure toward the end of the year.

Gazeta’s coverage focused on Makarov’s comments about establishing the personnel pyramid, i.e. going from armed forces with about 500,000 officers and warrants to one of 150,000 officers and 720,000 soldiers in the space of a year.  It also noted Makarov’s remark that brigade commanders in their training assembly at the General Staff Academy are learning new warfare and command and control principles.

Izvestiya quoted Makarov at length on the Navy Main Staff’s move to Piter.

“Presently all command and control organs are concentrated in Moscow, but we want these command and control organs to be as close as possible to the troops they control [didn’t he also call this the old way of doing business?].  The dispersal of command and control and fire means at great distances doesn’t have any great significance, what’s important is maintaining uninterrupted and clear command and control of troops and weapons.  Therefore, the transfer of the Navy Main Staff to St. Petersburg won’t place any kind of extra burden on the command and control system, with the exception perhaps, only in the initial period of its functioning in a new place.”

Viktor Baranets in Komsomolskaya pravda focused on Makarov’s words on the U.S. and Iran, noting his statements that the U.S. has a plan to strike Iran, and, if it occurs, it’ll be terrible for Iran, the region, and the U.S.

Krasnaya zvezda covered the Iran issue.  It noted that Russia’s need for ready units forced the shift to brigades.  It also covered Makarov’s comment that the Voronezh conference agreed on changes needed in the Sozvezdiye C2 system, and that it would be received this July and fielded in November.  KZ also quoted Makarov at length on the capabilities of the 5th generation fighter aircraft.

KZ also indicated that Makarov noted the U.S. as an example where units and commands are often separated by great distances when he talked about the Navy Main Staff and Piter.

Generally, it seems those invited to this press availability only asked Makarov ‘soft ball’ questions.

Advertisements

GOU Chief Tretyak Speaks, A Little

General-Lieutenant Andrey Tretyak

In today’s Krasnaya zvezda, the new Main Operations Directorate (GOU) chief speaks on the anniversary of his organization.  On 20 February, the GOU will trace its lineage back 308 years to Prince Shakovskoy.  Shakovskoy was general-quartermaster in 1702 (early in Petr Velikiy’s Great Northern War) and he began the establishment of organs of operational command and control with the basic missions of preparing proposals for planning troop employment and providing command and control during combat.

Tretyak says the missions standing before the GOU today are imposing and large-scale.  The GOU has to help transition the armed forces to a new level, and create a modern, combat-capable, and mobile army that won’t allow anyone the chance to threaten Russia or its allies.

He continues saying the deep transformation of the army was objectively necessary and the short period for the transition was dictated by the development of ‘leading armies’ and the threats facing Russia.  In 2009, the shift to a three-layer command system and permanent readiness formations and units was completed.  Tretyak says the tasks today are to complete their combat coordination (слаживание) and installations (обустройство).

Addressing the world geopolitical situation, Tretyak says, although a large-scale war is a low-probability event, many other threats have appeared.  For instance, the widening of conflict zones into areas that affect Russia’s vital interests.  He cites South Ossetia as an example.

So the General Staff constantly analyzes and evaluates the world’s military-political situation and develops practical measures to keep the armed forces ready to carry out their missions to guarantee Russia’s military security.  The main part of this job falls on the General Staff, responsible as it is for strategic planning, military organizational development, armed forces development, and the military organization of the state overall, as well as for coordinating the activity of all troops and military formations in the area of defense.  

The General Staff works with the country’s military-political leadership, federal executive organs, other state and military structures, and with the defense-industrial complex.  According to Tretyak, the most important role in this connection goes to the GOU, the history of which is inseparable from that of the Russian Army and the General Staff.

All this sounds a bit doctrinal and it is, but it gives the new top man’s view on how and where his people fit in.  It’s a bit like the new boss issuing a mission statement.

After a longish history lesson, Tretyak reminds that great military leaders have come from the post he now occupies.

Of course there’s nothing about his most recent predecessors Rukshin and Surovikin.  They didn’t fare terribly well.  And there’s the near-debacle in the five-day August 2008 war, i.e. many press reports saying that the GOU had been moved out of its spaces and just dismissed Rukshin had to be begged to run a lot of the war effort.  Afterwards, many have claimed it was the planning previously done by Rukshin that kept the war from becoming a total fiasco for Moscow.  And there’s nothing about cutting the GOU from 550 officers to 150 while its workload is unchanged, or perhaps even increased.  See Segodnya.ru for reporting on this.  Tretyak’s got his work cut out for him.

More details from his bio:  born 11 March 1959, so he’ll soon be 51, in Magdeburg, East Germany.  Graduated from the Kiev Higher Combined Arms Command School in 1980.  Platoon and company commander in the GSFG, then battalion chief of staff, and battalion commander in the Belorussian MD.  After graduating the mid-career Frunze Military Academy in 1991, he became deputy chief of the operations section for a division staff, chief of staff-deputy commander for a regiment, commander of a regiment, commander of a brigade, and division chief of staff in the Far East MD.  He completed the General Staff Academy in 2001, and commanded a division in the Siberian MD.  Here he was also chief of staff-first deputy commander of a corps and an army.  Then he commanded an army (probably 22 CAA)  in the Moscow MD.  From April 2008, he was chief of staff-first deputy commander of the Leningrad MD before taking up his current duties in January 2010.