181,000 Officers in the Armed Forces

The 29 December issue of Krasnaya zvezda provides interesting personnel data points . . .

124,000 officers must have been dismissed in the past two years.  At the outset of Serdyukov’s reforms, there were 305,000 occupied officer billets, so subtract 181,000 for 124,000.  Nothing, however, is said about officers put outside the org-shtat who can’t be dismissed for lack of housing.  No word is given on where warrant officers stand; they were slated for “elimination as a class.”

The piece flat out says the state can’t draft enough men to cover the military’s requirements, and there’s little to fix the problem (going below 1 million men apparently isn’t an option).  It also says starkly that contract service was a failure, but it will be gradually resurrected anyway (certainly the right way this time).

More pains are taken to say that mobilization isn’t really dead.  Armies and brigades are freed from worrying about it, but an experiment in raising a reserve brigade will be attempted this year.

As of 1 December 2010, there are 1 million servicemen, including 181,000 officers (18.1 percent).  By 2013, the RF President’s target of 15 percent will be reached.

In 2008, there were nearly 500,000 officers and warrant officers, almost 50 percent of all servicemen in the Armed Forces.  There was an imbalance in the officer ranks.  Sixty percent of officer posts were held by senior officers.  Over the 2008-2010 period, 170,000 officer posts were eliminated.  Meanwhile, the optimal correlation of senior and junior officers was achieved by increasing the latter’s numbers.

But the article notes junior officers ranks were cut too — by stopping the acceptance of cadets into VVUZy and making some officers into sergeants.  Changes in service regulations allowed the Defense Ministry to appoint officers to lower-ranking [i.e. enlisted] duties.  The ex-officers represent a “reserve” for filling officer billets as they become available.

This year, Krasnaya zvezda concedes, the state’s military organization was not able to draft enough young men.  And the number of men reaching draft age is decreasing every year because of the continuing demographic decline.

Regarding contractees, in recent years, the state failed to raise the prestige of contract service, and decided to limit contractees to specific duties with complex equipment or those directly impacting the combat capability of military units.  But, in the future, it’s planned to increase the share of contractees as more attractive service conditions, first and foremost higher pay, are created.  This will allow for putting contractees in all sergeant and training posts, as well as those involving complex armaments and specialized equipment.

KZ says assertions that, in three years, the army will have to draft nearly 80 percent of 18-year-olds are groundless.  It says this fails to account for the fact that the army can take conscripts up to age 27.  But, it concedes, manning problems really exist because of the demographic hole.  In 2010, more than half — about 1.9 million — of the men liable to conscription had student deferments.  So, it concludes, the share of men possible to draft amounted to only 17.4 percent of those in the potential conscript pool.

In 2010, every third man was not fit for service on health grounds, and 66,000 were held back for more medical observation.  More than half had some health limits on their service, and could not be sent for physically demanding service in the VDV, Navy, Internal Troops, etc.

And the Defense Ministry doesn’t have an answer.  The article says it will sequentially increase the number of contractees, make those responsible for the draft be, well, actually responsible for it, and, of course, make military service more attractive.  Less onerous might be a more realistic goal.  And this actually seems like Serdyukov’s intent.

On 4 May 2007, the President (Putin) confirmed a “Concept of Establishing a New Armed Forces Training and Human Mobilization Resource Accumulation System.”  The new “human mobilization reserve” will be formed in stages using both Russian and foreign experience, adapted to Russian conditions and military organizational plans.  The Duma Defense Committee is working on new reserve service conditions in a law on the “human mobilization reserve.”

This article says there are plans to conduct an experiment in manning a single wartime formation [i.e. brigade] with reservists this year.

KZ makes a point of saying that mobilization work and training have been preserved, but permanent readiness armies and brigades are exempt from it.

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