On Monday, Olga Bozhyeva reminded readers the proposed OSKs were former Genshtab Chief Baluyevskiy’s idea, and she called them part of a command reorganization along an American model. She contends Baluyevskiy lost his job for pushing the change from military districts (MDs) to operational-strategic commands (OSKs). And now the OSK will apparently win out, even though Baluyevskiy’s long gone.
Bozhyeva says Baluyevskiy and the shift to OSKs were defeated in the past by MD commanders [and their powerful patrons] who stood to lose out in the process. She claims Baluyevskiy’s opposition to the Navy Main Staff transfer from Moscow to St. Petersburg was a pretext for his dismissal when the OSK was the real issue. And his OSK experiment in the Far East was quietly dismantled after his departure.
Actually, it’s more likely Baluyevskiy went down for opposing–rightly or wrongly–the whole range of ideas pushed by Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov. By contrast, Baluyevskiy’s replacement has been a veritable extension of Serdyukov on policy issues.
With Baluyevskiy gone, according to Bozhyeva, the MD commanders bent the OSK idea to their way of thinking, proposing to make every MD an OSK, without cutting or consolidating MDs, and duplicating efforts in the process. She says this reflected the MDs as ‘sacred cows’ upon which no one would encroach, and this tracked with new Genshtab Chief Makarov’s background as an MD commander. Recall that Baluyevskiy was a career Genshtabist.
Bozhyeva continues, saying this year Makarov has begun to think about how to command the ‘new profile’ army. And wars of the future will hardly accommodate a command structure like the MD. But Bozhyeva reports a rumor that the name Military District could be retained to appease opponents of merging MDs in favor of modern OSKs. She concludes, if the OSKs are realized, it’ll be possible to talk of a really ‘new profile’ army.
Dmitriy Litovkin also had his say on the OSK story last Friday. He describes the possible move to OSKs in terms of more responsive command and control, reducing the transmission of orders from 16 to 3 steps. But, he cautions, the OSKs are still just a proposal at this point.
Litovkin says the military hasn’t tried to hide the fact that the OSK is borrowed from the U.S. concept. The main thing achieved in such an approach, he continues, is responsiveness in issuing and receiving combat orders. The Defense Ministry says this new OSK structure will be tightly tied to the new automated battlefield command and control system ASU TZ (АСУ ТЗ).
Litovkin mentions how Prime Minister Putin saw ASU TZ at Voronezh, and how the system is supposed to centralize command and control down to the ‘electronic soldier’ on the battlefield. This fall brigade exercises are supposed to employ ASU TZ with the aim of controlling several hundred ‘objects’ in battle simultaneously. This summer the OSK model will be tried as part of the Vostok-2010 exercise in the Far East.
Litovkin’s source says:
“Developing ASU TZ without trying it in the new armed forces structure is impossible. We need to understand in practice not just how this works, but also, possibly, that we are developing something unnecessary or, conversely, we aren’t making anything.”
Not a big vote of confidence for the new system.
Litovkin concludes by saying the possibility of unit and even garrison relocations might be a limitation on the OSK scheme. Forces would need to be better balanced among the four strategic directions. For example, the Western OSK would have too many motorized rifle units and the Eastern too few.