Plug Pulled on Contract Service

On Friday, Interfaks said a source in the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee indicated the latest contract service program (the Federal Targeted Program (FTsP) for Manning Sergeant (Petty Officer) and Soldier (Sailor) Ranks with Contract Servicemen) has been scrapped.  The program was supposed to produce 64,000 contract NCOs by 2015. 

The financial resources for this 2009-2015 program have been slashed by 86 percent according to an Audit Chamber report given to the upper house of the Russian legislature.  A Defense and Security Committee representative says 22.4 billion rubles of the 26.6 billion ruble program were slashed.

This certainly sounds like losses have been cut to what’s already been spent on selecting and beginning to train a little more than 200 future sergeants at Ryazan.  The program was slow in starting, and of 2,700 candidates who came to Ryazan, only 239 were ultimately accepted.

General Staff Chief Makarov and Ground Troops CINC Postnikov recently admitted contract service had failed, but said the contract sergeant program would continue.  They didn’t say it would basically be limited to its current very small scale.

Infox.ru on Friday quoted Prime Minister Putin who, in 2008, called the contract sergeant program “the logical development of plans for the organizational development of a modern and highly professional Russian Army.”

On cutting conscription to 12 months, Putin said, “For this decision we went logically over the course of the last six years, developing a system to attract citizens to military service in a voluntary manner, on contract.”

He continued, “. . . the main load of servicing new weapons systems will be on contract-sergeants in coming years” and “forming the professional sergeant corps is an important step toward a more modern organization of combat training.”

Apparently, none of this will happen now, and the army will rely more on its conscripts and traditional conscript-sergeants with six, or more likely three, months of training.

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