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.