Tag Archives: Central Apparatus

Makarov Reports to Public Chamber

Makarov Briefs the Public Chamber

According to Mil.ru, General Staff Chief, Army General Nikolay Makarov reported to the Public Chamber today as part of its hearings on “The New Profile of the Russian Army:  Results, Problems, Prospects.”  Here’s a sampling of what he discussed.

According to ITAR-TASS, Makarov said there are 186,400 contract servicemen today, and there will be 425,000 in 2016.  Recruiters will work throughout Russia starting next year.  Prospective contractees will train for three months before signing contracts.  Minimum pay will be 23,000 rubles.  Makarov said 2012 will be a test year, and from 2013, 50,000 contractees will be signed up each year.

RIA Novosti printed Makarov’s stark assessment of Russia’s conscript manpower.  The General Staff Chief said, of all men liable to conscription, only 11.7 percent can be called up, and 60 percent of them are excluded for health reasons.  So, he concludes:

“Therefore we are practically faced with the fact that there is almost no one to callup into the Armed Forces.”

He said Russia’s current mobilization reserve consists of 700,000 ex-conscripts. 

Makarov suggested increasing the prestige of military service through a veteran’s preference system.  Former soldiers and officers would enjoy a priority in hiring for government service, according to RIA Novosti.

ITAR-TASS quoted Makarov on cuts in military command and control organs.  He indicated they’ve been cut by a factor of four — from 51,000 to 13,435 personnel, and this process continues.  One-third of C2 organs were disbanded, and the rest reduced in size several times. 

He indicated that, when the Defense Ministry’s central apparatus numbered 51,000, it occupied more than 20 buildings in Moscow.  The apparat is now in a single building.  Other buildings were sold off.  But Makarov assured his audience the effectiveness of C2 hasn’t declined because of the reductions.

Regarding the new pay system for officers, RIA Novosti wrote that Makarov said higher pay basically implements the old Order No. 400 on premium pay, but officers will still have the chance to receive extra “stimulus” pay under the new system.

ITAR-TASS printed Makarov’s figures on efforts to get rid of old ammunition.  According to the General Staff Chief, at the start of the year, Russia had 119.5 million tons of old munitions to destroy, but now only 7 million.  Less than one percent could be dismantled; the vast majority had to be blown up.  Makarov indicated the number of ammunition storage sites will drop from 161 at present to about 30.

Makarov defended his past criticism of domestic weapons and equipment by giving more examples where foreign systems are superior to Russian ones (i.e. tanks, MLRS, satellites), according to ITAR-TASS.  The general argued for increasing the range and service life of systems as well as providing better protection for soldiers operating them.

RIA Novosti reported Makarov intends to continue pushing for lower prices on arms and equipment the military’s buying.  He intimated there will be a “specialized department” for negotiating with producers.  He claimed shipbuilding contracts with OSK were concluded on the Defense Ministry’s terms.  He added that the military has given Almaz-Antey two years to build two new factories to produce the S-500, according to RIA Novosti.

ITAR-TASS relayed Makarov’s remarks on Russia’s airfields.  Makarov indicated Russia has cut from 357 military airfields down to 26 that he describes as meeting world standards.  Russia has eight air bases. 

He said pilot flight hours are at 90 per year.  He said it’s planned to increase them to 130 next year, and then to 220 at some point.

ITAR-TASS and RIA Novosti carried the General Staff Chief’s comments about threats on Russia’s borders: 

“Under certain conditions, local and regional conflicts can grow into mass ones with the employment of nuclear weapons.”

“The conflict which could occur in connection with the withdrawal of American troops [from Afghanistan] could lead to a local, regional and even large-scale one.  And we have to be ready for it.”

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Out With Central Apparatus Generals?

This morning’s Rossiyskaya gazeta repeated a lot of what’s known about the retiring generals’ troyka.  More interesting, however, are other statements and language it used to describe what’s going on in the Defense Ministry.

The article is subtitled, “Cadre Purge Begun in the Defense Ministry.”  An odd choice of words for something that’s been going on for some time, and is supposed to be routine and unsensational.

About Friday’s latest Armed Forces cadre ukaz, RG reports:

“In the Defense Ministry, they don’t conceal the fact that these aren’t the last cadre decisions which will affect highly-placed military leaders, particularly from the military department’s central apparatus.”

The paper repeats the rumor about possible uniformed opponents of Serdyukov’s (or Makarov’s) military reforms being shown the door as well as the contrary points and official denials.  Again, no sensation; all this was hashed over a week ago.

RG ends this way:

“Meanwhile, in the Defense Ministry they don’t exclude new dismissals.  The thing is right now in the Russian Army certification [аттестация] of all command personnel is going on, and, according to its decision, they will propose that a number of military leaders, who’ve served in Moscow more than five years, serve in more distant military districts.”

“As a source in the military department told RG’s correspondent, the majority of dismissal reports appear at once when they suggest a man change his duty in the capital for an equivalent one somewhere in Russia’s sticks.”

Yes, we know generals often prefer to retire in Moscow, get valuable permanent apartments in the capital, and enable their well-connected wives to keep lucrative employment rather than spend a few extra years serving in a possibly terminal post in Khabarovsk, etc. 

What we’re getting at here (again) is either (a) there really is something to Moskovskiy komsomolets’ report about drastically cutting uniformed officers in the central apparatus, or (b) RG was being lazy and reran a worn-out story using some loosely chosen verbiage.

Demobbing the Central Apparatus

Over the weekend, Moskovskiy komsomolets reported the next wave of reform will civilianize the entire central apparatus of the Defense Ministry.  Civilian administrators will replace uniformed officers everywhere except the Genshtab and “combat support structures.”  Special commissions will select civilians on a competitive basis. 

MK’s Defense Ministry sources claim this phase of reform will be completed by December.  The Main Legal Directorate will civilianize in August-September.  The Press-Service and Information Directorate will be reformed from 1 August.  The Personnel Inspectorate will civilianize also, according to MK’s report.

Needless to say, generals think it strange to let civilians decide the fate of their careers.  But an MK source argued:

“And who prevents them from working just the same, but in civilian attire?  For them, in principle, just like for prosecutors, it’s no different – in shoulderboards or without them, only the knowledge of directive documents and legislative acts is important.”

For counterpoint, MK turned to Leonid Ivashov:

“It’s obvious today that a transition to civilian duties is taking place in the military department.  The second tendency is the domination of women in the new structures.  They head finance, the legal directorate, the apartment-management service, a nice girl headed the directorate for international military cooperation for a time.  Ms. Shevtsova became deputy minister, in charge of construction, a woman – a specialist in taxes and alcohol production heads the military education department . . . .  Don’t think that I’m badly disposed toward women, I like them very much.  I wouldn’t, for example, be irritated if Natalya Narochnitskaya [a well-known scholar, social-political figure, doctor of historical sciences — Ed.) became Defense Minister.  She’s an intelligent analyst, who has tact, and, I think, could bring a lot of useful and healthy things into army structures.  But if managers from business go there and gather such people around them, then the army will turn into some kind of commercial organization.  When they say we are copying the American or other democratic model of an army where the Defense Minister and his department are civilians, this is not true.  Yes, we have a civilian minister.  But I don’t see in a single serious government that people from commercial life come to this post.  They are always politicians, representing some party which controls or consults with them.  But to simply to throw any guy into the military department so – and do what you want, there isn’t anything similar in a single government.”

Ivashov makes the observation that civilianization, and feminization, of the Defense Ministry’s been going on for a while now.  But he spins off into a diatribe against ex-businessman Serdyukov.  It’s not really Serdyukov’s fault there’s no democratic party system to produce politicians who could lead the Defense Ministry.  And one could argue the Defense Ministry was a corrupt commercial organization well back when Ivashov was there, but men in uniforms were the ones making the illicit deals then.  But we digress . . .

Recall at the outset of Serdyukov’s reforms in fall 2008, he indicated he intended to cut the Defense Ministry’s 10,523-strong central apparatus and roughly 11,000 military personnel in command and control organs down to no more than 8,500 in all.  So perhaps now we’re looking at about 4,000 personnel, civilians that is, in the Defense Ministry’s central apparatus.

Dropping officers in favor of civilians in the Defense Ministry might buttress Dmitriy Litovkin’s report last week about a deeper cut in military manpower.