Tag Archives: CSTO

Tsentr-2011

Tsentr-2011

Yesterday Russia and allied military forces in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO or ODKB) began a series of exercise events which will run until the beginning of October.

Operational-strategic exercise Tsentr-2011 will involve Russian forces and Belorussian, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, and Armenian sub-units in different training scenarios focused on ensuring security on the Central Asian axis, according to Nezavisimaya gazeta.

Twelve thousand personnel, 50 aircraft, 1,000 vehicles and other equipment, and ten combat and support ships will participate under the direction of Russian General Staff Chief, Army General Nikolay Makarov, according to Mil.ru.  Russian forces will include one army brigade as well as operational groups from other militarized agencies — the MVD, FSB, FSO, and MChS.    

Mil.ru said the exercise theme is “Preparation and Employment of Inter-Service Troop (Force) Groupings in the Stabilization of a Situation and Conduct of Military Actions on the Central Asian Strategic Axis.”

NG cites Makarov who said the exercise will focus on “localizing internal as well as external conflicts.” Extrapolating from his earlier comments about North Africa and the Middle East, the paper claims he wants the army to be ready to perform internal police functions like the Syrian Army.

Mil.ru puts it more technically saying the exercise will improve command and staff skills in controlling troops in the transition to wartime, in planning special operations, and in organizing long-distance troop regroupings.  Exercise phases will include special operations to localize an armed conflict in a crisis region, and joint actions by ground and naval force groupings, according to the Defense Ministry website.

The exercise will consist of different evolutions, with different partners, in various locations:

  • The Ground Troops, MVD, and FSB Spetsnaz, writes NG, will practice liberating a town from terrorists and rebels on the Chebarkul training range. 
  • At Gorokhovets, Russia’s 20th Army and Belorussian forces are playing a series of tactical actions against enemy airborne assaults, specops, and “illegal armed formations” in their rear areas [under a separate exercise called Union Shield-2011 or Shchit Soyuza-2011]. 
  • Russian forces are training with Kazakhs on the Caspian, and at Kazakhstan’s Oymasha range.
  • A command-staff exercise of the ODKB’s Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (KSOR) will be conducted at the Lyaur range in Tajikistan.
  • In Kyrgyzstan, the ODKB’s Central Asian Region Collective Rapid Deployment Forces (KSBR TsAR) will conduct a tactical exercise against “illegal armed formations.”

NG sums Tsentr-2011 up with a quote from Vladimir Popov:

“The Russian leadership, although late, has come to the conclusion that the successful resolution of military security issues, including the internal security of allied countries, is possible only through the creation and use of coalition troop groupings in the post-Soviet space.   This is correct, and there’s no need to fear this.”

Developing some collective military intervention capability doesn’t answer questions about real-world conditions where it might be employed.  The questions proceed mainly (but not entirely) from Kyrgyzstan’s experience.  First, will a threatened regime ask for ODKB assistance and under what circumstances?  Second, will the alliance or any allies answer a member-state’s call?  Training and exercises are good, but ultimately not much use unless such political issues are resolved.

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After the Pact

Twenty years after the Warsaw Pact, VTsIOM asked Russians what they think, looking back, about the former Soviet glacis in Eastern Europe.

The poll was done 18-19 June with 1,600 respondents in 138 populated areas of 46 RF subjects, and a margin of error not exceeding 3.4%.

First and foremost, two-thirds (66%) of those surveyed didn’t know or remember why the Warsaw Pact existed.

Asked which time period was most secure, calm, and stable internationally, 55% said the 1960s-1980s, 4% said the 1990s, the Yeltsin era, and only 28% said the present day.  Four years ago, the numbers were 47%, 5%, and 34% respectively.

According to VTsIOM, those groups most likely to think the Soviet era most secure are Communists, pensioners, the poorly-educated, and non-Internet users.  Those most likely to see today as more stable are United Russia members, young people, the well-educated, and Internet users.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents look back on the Pact as a defensive, peaceloving, and stabilizing force.  Only 6% say it was militaristic, or held Eastern European countries in an unfree condition.

Eighty percent think Russia lost more than it won when the Pact dissolved twenty years ago.  Ten years ago, 78 percent thought Russia lost more.

Finally, those surveyed were asked if Russia needs, or doesn’t need, to create an international military-political bloc like the Warsaw Pact or NATO.  Overall, 51% of respondents said it’s needed, 23% said it’s not, and 26% found it difficult to answer.  This question was broken out some along the political spectrum without many significant variations.

VTsIOM missed the chance to ask if respondents know Russia already has an international military-political alliance.  Their answers to a question about the Collective Security Treaty Organization would be fascinating, to be sure.

The answers to the questions that were asked are a little surprising and disturbing.  Some of them can be attributed simply to feckless nostalgia or the persistence of Cold War propaganda.  Some are due to a tendency to equate (or confuse) domestic or internal well-being with the country’s external security situation.  Finally, some may come from genuinely perceived threats and insecurities Russians feel today.

Military Security and Military Policy

These are the next areas of the old and new military doctrines that require comparison.  The old is written in terms of military security, and the new–military policy.  Six of one, a half dozen of the other.  The new doctrine defines military policy as what the state does to ensure the country’s military security.

The old doctrine starts with a long section basically dedicated to a description of how Russia relies on diplomacy, international organizations, and international law to neutralize threats and safeguard its security.  It mentions its joint defense policy with Belarus, the CIS, the CSTO, strategic nuclear arms control agreements with the U.S., confidence-building measure, and nonproliferation.

Then the old doctrine proceeds to military means of ensuring Russia’s security, first and foremost, nuclear means, stating that “the Russian Federation proceeds on the basis of the need to have a nuclear potential capable of guaranteeing a set level of damage to any aggressor (state or coalition of states) under any circumstances.”

“The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, as well as in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.”

The new doctrine’s military policy section also says the RF’s policy is to  deter and prevent conflicts and safeguard the country’s security.  No surprise.  It does this by maintaining its armed forces in a state of permanent readiness to protect the country and its allies, in accordance with international law and treaties of course.  The new doctrine is generally more concise in most of its points.

Both doctrines now list main principles for safeguarding security (old) or main tasks for deterring and preventing military conflicts (new).  The old list is actually shorter and more general:

  1. Firm leadership and civilian control over the state’s military organization.
  2. Effective forecasting, identification, and classification of military threats.
  3. Sufficient military forces, means, and resources, and their rational utilization.
  4. Correspondence between readiness, training, and support for the state’s military organization and military security requirements.
  5. Refusal to harm international security and the national security of other countries.

The new doctrine’s longer list captures some of what was in the old and it includes:

  1. Predict the global and regional military-political situation using modern technical systems and information technologies.
  2. Neutralize possible dangers and threats using political, diplomatic, and other nonmilitary means.
  3. Maintain strategic stability and the nuclear deterrence potential at an adequate level.
  4. Maintain the armed forces and other troops at the prescribed level of readiness for combat employment.
  5. Strengthen the collective security system, including the CSTO, CIS, OSCE, and SCO, and to develop relations with the EU and NATO.
  6. Expand the circle of partner states and develop cooperation with them to strengthen international security.
  7. Comply with international treaties for the limitation and reduction of strategic offensive arms.
  8. Conclude and implement arms control agreements and measures to strengthen mutual trust.
  9. Create mechanisms for the regulation of bilateral and multilateral  cooperation in the sphere of missile defense.
  10. Conclude an international treaty prohibiting the deployment of any types of weapons in outer space.
  11. Participate in international peacekeeping activity.
  12. Participate in combating international terrorism.

Then both doctrines move into their use of the armed forces provisions and tasks, in peacetime and wartime.  It’s useful here to start with the new doctrine, since here’s where its nuclear use provisions appear.

The new doctrine says the Russian Federation can use the armed forces to repulse aggression against it or its allies, or in accordance with a U.N. Security Council or other collective security structure decision, or to protect its citizens beyond the borders of the RF in accordance with the norms of international law.

The new doctrine says the “Russian Federation reserves the right to utilize nuclear weapons in response to the utilization of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it or its allies, and also in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation involving the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is under threat.” And the decision to utilize nuclear weapons is made by the Russian Federation president.

The new doctrine notes that the RF assigns troop contingents to CSTO peacekeeping forces to participate in peacekeeping operations in accordance with CSTO Collective Security Council decisions.  And to the CSTO Collective Rapid Response forces to resolve tasks determined by the CSTO Collective Security Council.

The new doctrine’s list of the military’s peacetime and wartime tasks:

  1. Defend the RF’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  2. Ensure strategic deterrence.
  3. Maintain combat and mobilizational readiness, and training of the strategic nuclear forces, forces and resources that support their functioning, and command and control systems at a level to guarantee infliction of the required damage on an aggressor whatever the conditions of the situation.
  4. Provide timely warning to the supreme commander in chief of the RF armed forces of an air or space attack, and notify state and military leadership about military dangers and military threats.
  5. Maintain the capability of the armed forces for timely deployment on strategic axes, and maintain their readiness for combat use.
  6. Ensure the air defense of the RF’s most important facilities and readiness to rebuff air and space attacks.
  7. Deploy and maintain orbital groupings of space devices supporting the RF armed forces activities.
  8. Protect state and military facilities, lines of communication, and special cargoes.
  9. Maintain infrastructure, and prepare lines of communication for defense purposes, including special-purpose facilities and highways of defense significance.
  10. Protect RF citizens outside the RF from armed attack.
  11. Participate in operations to maintain or restore international peace or suppress aggression on the basis of decisions of the U.N. Security Council or other bodies.
  12. Combat piracy and ensure the safety of shipping.
  13. Ensure the security of the RF economic activities on the high seas.
  14. Combat terrorism.
  15. Prepare for territorial defense and civil defense.
  16. Participate in protection of public order and safeguarding public security.
  17. Participate in eliminating emergency situations and restoring special-purpose facilities.
  18. Participate in securing a state of emergency.
  19. In a period of direct threat of aggression, implement measures to increase combat and mobilization readiness, with a view to carrying out mobilizational and strategic deployment.
  20. Maintain nuclear deterrence potential at the established degree of readiness.
  21. Participate in maintaining a martial law regime.
  22. Fulfill RF international commitments with regard to collective defense and preventing an armed attack on another state that has made a request to the RF.
  23. In wartime, repulse aggression against the RF and its allies, inflict defeat on aggressor forces on terms that meet RF interests.

The old doctrine’s list of peacetime and wartime tasks isn’t as specific as the new:

  1. Form and implement a single state policy to safeguard military security.
  2. Maintain domestic political stability and protect the constitutional system and the RF’s territorial integrity.
  3. Strengthen friendly (allied) relations with other states.
  4. Improve the RF’s defense system.
  5. Support and improve the armed forces and other troops, military formations, and organs, and maintain their readiness.
  6. Prepare measures to transfer the armed forces to a wartime footing (including mobilization deployment).
  7. Improve the economic, technological, and defense industry base, and enhance the mobilization readiness of the economy.
  8. Protect RF facilities and installations on the high seas, in space, and on the territory of foreign states, including activities in the adjacent maritime zone and distant ocean regions.
  9. Protect and defend the RF state border, airspace, underwater environment, and EEZ and continental shelf, and their natural resources.
  10. Support RF political acts by implementing measures of a military nature and by means of a naval presence.
  11. Prepare territorial and civil defense.
  12. Develop necessary military infrastructure.
  13. Safeguard the security of RF citizens and protect them from military threats.
  14. Develop a conscious attitude among the population toward safeguarding the country’s military security.
  15. Monitor mutual fulfillment of arms limitation treaties and CBMs.
  16. Ensure readiness to participate in peacekeeping activities.
  17. In a period of threat and on the commencement of a war, strategic deployment of the armed forces and bringing them into readiness to perform their missions.
  18. Coordinate federal and local efforts to repulse aggression.
  19. Organize and implement armed, political, diplomatic, information, economic, and other forms of struggle.
  20. Adopt and implement decisions on military operations.
  21. Switch the country’s economy and sectors of it onto a war footing.
  22. Organize territorial and civil defense measures.
  23. Aid RF allies to realize their potential for achieving joint objectives. 
  24. Prevent other states from joining the war on the side of the aggressor.
  25. Use the U.N. and other international organizations to prevent aggression, or force the aggressor to end the war at an early stage.

One can also delve further into the old doctrine on the use of the armed forces in its Military-Strategic Principles section on wars and armed conflicts.  It describes in detail the use and tasks of the armed forces in different types of war and conflict.

Perhaps, however, it’s better to move to the last couple sections of the doctrine–the state’s military organization and the military economy.

Moscow Upgrading CSTO?

Nogovitsyn to be First Deputy Chief of CSTO's Joint Staff (photo: http://www.1tv.ru)

Several days ago, the Russian press reported General-Colonel Nogovitsyn, a deputy chief of the Genshtab and Russian military spokesman during the war with Georgia, would be moving to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).  Nogovitsyn’s an air defense fighter pilot and former deputy CINC of the Air Forces who lost out to Zelin in the bidding to become CINC.  He will replace General-Lieutenant Oleg Latypov, who was not an operator, but a military diplomat who came from the Russian Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation (GU MVS) and had experience in arranging arms sales, supplies, and military activities with former Soviet states.

Nogovitsyn’s move could be a pre-retirement posting or it could mean a little more emphasis on the Russian-led grouping.  Today, Interfaks-AVN reports that an operations center will be established for the Collective Rapid Reaction Force within the CSTO’s Joint Staff.  The chief of the center will be a general-lieutenant and deputy chief of the Joint Staff.  These changes follow decisions on a new structure and functions the CSTO made at its meeting last June.