The weekly "Military Industrial Complex" has repeatedly addressed the topic of organizational and staff events held in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In particular, the 32 – 35 number for the 2012 year gives an expert assessment of the military construction phase of the Russian Armed Forces, which began after the 2008 year. In № 36, 37, the priorities of military construction and a number of doctrinal issues were touched upon. In issue number 27 – 30 “MIC” addressed some of the problems of the shipbuilding program. In this issue, readers are offered an opinion on the new structure of the Russian Navy.
The large-scale organizational and staff measures carried out in recent years in the Armed Forces set (according to their authors) the destruction of complex bureaucratic administrative structures that had become rigid in the past decades. But in some areas of military construction, the final result turned out, according to representatives of the domestic expert community, is not entirely unambiguous.
By and large, the initial plan of the reform of the Armed Forces is correct and timely. It was necessary to reduce the excessively swollen command and control apparatus, increase the army mobility and efficiency of executing directives and orders of the General Staff and the Supreme Commander, and adapt the control system of the Armed Forces to the realities of modern warfare.
It was understood that future military conflicts would be exclusively regional in scope. The threat of a large-scale war at this stage was considered unlikely. In 8 wars of August 2008, the ability of formations and units of branches of the Armed Forces (combat arms) to act effectively and quickly by relatively small tactical groups was considered the most important.
As a model for a new type of command and control system (for commanding troops and forces) in such conflicts, similar Western models were taken as a model. It would seem that in numerous local wars and conflicts of recent times, they have proven their high efficiency. However, the copying of foreign samples and models, as well as their mechanical transfer to domestic soil, rarely gives positive results. And there are many historical examples.
In this particular case, a complete and authentic copy, of course, failed. Much had to be redone according to local conditions. As a result, the organization of command and control of troops (forces), which turned out at the exit, turned out to be, as most experts believe, quite controversial in its effectiveness. There are also more radical assessments - it is completely unable to manage the troops and the Navy in particular at all in any effective way. In the fleet will dwell.
What, in the opinion of a number of experts, were the most significant errors in the creation of a fundamentally new control system for our army and navy?
For a complete understanding of the current situation in the fleet in the field of management, let us consider, first, the American original. The pinnacle of the office is the president of the United States, directly giving orders to the Secretary of Defense. The administrative branch of management begins in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is divided into four main types of armed forces: the Ground Forces, the Air Force, the Navy and the Marine Corps. The chief of staff of the Navy, subordinate to the Minister of the Navy, is responsible for the organization and training of subordinates, as well as determining the needs of the Navy. The command of the fleet forces is an administrative-strategic unit that unites the US Pacific and Atlantic fleets and partially duplicates the functions of the chief of staff.
The operational unit is a single command, subordinate directly to the US Secretary of Defense. Under his command there are several types of armed forces operating jointly in a certain area of responsibility and assigned by order of the minister of the corresponding type of armed forces.
Currently, there are six commands in the US: African, Central, European, Pacific, North and South. In the described system, as you can see, the main focus is on a clear separation of administrative and operational management verticals, as well as the maximum concentration of commands of different types of armed forces (combat arms) in one joint headquarters.
Exactly the same capabilities were required from the Russian command and control system (forces) before the reform. Before turning to the analysis of what was done in the course of the reform, it is necessary to look back - from which management system did modern reformers refuse?
Previously, she looked like that. The Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he is the President of Russia, the Minister of Defense submitted to him. Further, the now rejected principle of the “commander - chief of staff” pair was implemented, which, starting from the minister of defense (as chief commander) and chief of the general staff (as chief staff officer), ran vertically down to the battalion level.
The General Staff was subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. He was in charge of the operational management of the Navy - a body that plans to use the forces and means of the fleet, as well as their interaction with other branches of the Armed Forces (combat arms), and a body that implements operational management solutions - the Central Command Post of the Navy. Further, orders and orders went down to specific combat units.
This system, inherited from the Soviet Union, has been working for many years. The need for some modernization to bring this management scheme into a modern look was obvious.
Now let's look at the new device of the Russian Armed Forces.
Today, the chain of command begins with the president in the role of commander-in-chief, who gives commands directly to the minister of defense. The Minister, in turn, reports to the Chief of the General Staff, responsible for the system of high command, including the Navy. The Commander-in-Chief of the Navy performs only administrative functions: organization of combat training, fleet development activities, material support, training of specialists, development of statutory documents.
The operational command of the fleet is now carried out by the naval department of the Joint Strategic Command (USC), which reports to the General Staff and has a certain area of responsibility. In the course of the reform, four USKs were created: the Western, in charge of the Northern and Baltic fleets, the Southern fleet, which leads the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla, the Central and Eastern Fleet, which is responsible for the Pacific Fleet.
As you can see, the domestic scheme, largely repeating the transatlantic, is considerably simplified. Firstly, the American chiefs of staffs represent all types of armed forces, in contrast to one land general in the Armed Forces. Secondly, there are no operational controls at the Main Command of the Navy.
In other words, the direct control of the fleet is in the hands of the USC, unlike the command of the forces of the US fleet, which has the authority to enforce combat orders from the national command.
These simplifications, apparently, were carried out in order to further optimize the management apparatus. It was intended to further shorten the time for passing an order directly to the executive ship. It seems to be formally all right and at first glance the goal is achieved. But how close is this paper organization to the realities of our Armed Forces?
Probably, it’s worth starting with the fundamentals of the foundation - the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, more precisely, the formulation of external threats to our country. And it turns out that there is simply no clearly marked adversary in the doctrine. And if so, what should the troops (forces) reflect and what should they be prepared for? Correspondingly difficult is the formulation of tactical and technical tasks for defense-industrial complex enterprises in the development and serial production of weapons and military equipment. It is completely unclear what the “sharpened” equipment is specifically needed by the army and the fleet.
But this is the smallest of the problems facing the fleet today. Sailors are happy at least some ships. But who and how will these ships manage?
From the old memory I want to say - the commander in chief of the Navy. However, today this statement is more than far from the truth. Glavkomat now lost all available controls. Until recently, the General Staff of the Navy was subordinated to such a body as the Central Command Post of the Navy, responsible for the management of all available fleet forces both in peacetime and in wartime. However, from December 1 2011, the PCU was abolished. Together with him went the last opportunity to lead the fleet at the operational level.
However, the Main Committee (apparently, as a consolation prize) remained only administrative functions. Meanwhile, the command of the fleet was not only curtailed by the possibilities, but also seriously reduced the number of personnel. Of the 850 officers, only 90 retained their posts in the Main Committee. Naturally, such a modest composition is simply impossible to solve any serious problems. For example, the same development of TTZ for defense enterprises. As a result, no matter how tragicomic it may sound, many employees themselves do not fully understand what they should do.
Who is now entrusted with the operational management of the Navy?
This function was entirely assumed by the united headquarters of the joint strategic commands. The solution, we repeat, is correct in theory (and proven in the West in practice) - various types of the Armed Forces (combat arms) should effectively coordinate their actions. However, as mentioned above, today naval officers do not take the slightest participation in fleet command.
Instead, they are engaged in a purely land commanders and with quite predictable results. Moreover, the number of the naval department, for example, the Western District, which is immediately responsible for two full-fledged fleets, is just 14 people. From any point of view it is difficult to explain such a system. It is not surprising that sailors often complain about absurd and inadequate directions from district headquarters.
The next minus of USC is the insufficiently clearly defined area of responsibility outside the borders of the Russian Federation. Formally, each district has its own region, but there are still no clearly defined boundaries, like those of the United Combat Command. Imagine a situation in which the ship, for example, Eastern USC makes the transition to the Mediterranean Sea, located in the zone of responsibility of the Southern USC. It is difficult to say who this unit will submit to in this case.
Meanwhile, at the early stage of the reform, the idea of creating a command of a distant sea zone was considered. Unfortunately, this project still remains unfulfilled. And this is not the only organizational flaw in the new system. Over the years, a sophisticated system of communication and information exchange between the command and individual units, including strategic submarine missile carriers, has also been violated.
If earlier the “atomic” signal could reach each submarine personally from the commander-in-chief, then with the liquidation of the Naval Communications Directorate, most of the channels were cut off. An additional element of confusion, and a very considerable one, in the activity of the fleet is the recent redeployment of the commander-in-chief of the Navy from Moscow to St. Petersburg. But more about that below.
The third flaw, which can be fatal, was the actual separation of the naval nuclear deterrence forces from the forces of the Northern Fleet, which ensured their actions. Recall, according to the draft reform of the command of the strategic nuclear forces is independent of the USC. This means additional difficulties in the interaction. Orders will have to be coordinated sequentially on several levels. In the case of force majeure, it takes a lot of precious time.
Reorganization, which is more appropriately called collapse, has undergone and the system of military education in the fleet. Borrowed from the United States, it was also largely incapable in the Russian context. About 75 percent of graduates are dismissed immediately after graduation, receiving a diploma of higher vocational education. Meanwhile, an unprecedented concentration of higher education institutions destroyed many of the best military schools of its kind in the navy, forcing them to merge with major centers. As a result, further radical changes are needed, otherwise the number of officers in the fleet may drop to a critical level.
Probably no one will be surprised by the fact that almost all sailors - from fleet commanders (chiefs of staff at various levels) to ship / submarine commanders - were from the very beginning opposed to such transformations. However, they did not reckon with their opinion. Moreover, according to the long-established Russian tradition, the plan and even the course of the reform were kept secret until the very last moment.
Perhaps the most complete and capacious description of what is happening with the fleet is the epic with the relocation of the Navy Main Command to St. Petersburg. Absolutely unnecessary for strategic reasons, protracted for a long time, which caused frank chaos in fleet management, disrupted the organizational structure of command centers, communications centers, fleet management bodies, and most importantly, incredibly, simply prohibitively expensive.
According to the most preliminary estimates, it cost up to 50 billion rubles. For comparison: a very expensive even by world standards PKK CH "Yuri Dolgoruky" cost the Ministry of Defense two times cheaper. Is this not the best illustration of the senselessness of the redeployment of the General Staff of the Navy, undertaken solely for voluntaristic considerations, very far from the issues of genuinely strengthening the country's defense.
As a result, the situation with the operational management of the Navy cannot be called anything other than catastrophic today. In fact, what we have now is a direct opposite of the old Soviet system, which, according to fleet veterans, was distinguished by sufficient speed, reliability, management efficiency and high professionalism of the personnel.
Again - and this system was not perfect, especially in the mid-2000-s. The need for modernization is long overdue, including radical cuts in the number of government bodies. For example, the size of the General Staff in the USSR was one and a half times less than the pre-reform "brain of the army." However, they decided to chop up the stairs from above. This ultimately led to many errors, which, naturally, could have been avoided.
What should be done in order for the fleet to regain the meaning of life and be able to fulfill its original purpose? It is absolutely clear that we cannot do without another thorough restructuring of the entire control system. Experts propose to return the old system (of course, with elements of the necessary modernization), the main structural units of which were previously the Central Command Point of the Navy, the Central Computing Center of the Navy, the Central Communications Center of the Navy, and the operational management of the Navy.
In other words, the fleet must remain independent from the command of the district structure with its own control system. The benefit will be the unified command itself, which will be able to direct the vacated command resources to the more familiar Ground Forces and Air Force. It remains only for the very top to realize the need for urgent correction of errors. Otherwise, they will have to pay for them at very high rates.