When it comes to talking about former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, all one can say is that they are wondering if he will incur adequate punishment for the large-scale embezzlements that flourished in the military department, or he will be able to get off the surface. No doubt, corruption, especially at such a high level, is necessary, as they say, to burn with a hot iron, otherwise this rust will ruin the entire state machine (which has almost happened). But the talk of theft somehow obscures the disastrous consequences of the activities of Mr. Serdyukov’s team for the country's defense capability.
Some of the results of the “Serdyukov reform”, which horrified the new military leadership of the country, have already been canceled. Yesterday, for example, the chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, holding a meeting in the new Situation Center of the Ministry of Defense, said that Minister Sergei Shoigu decided to return to the higher generals the right to assign military ranks to subordinate officers (up to the colonel inclusive), appoint them to posts and dismiss, issue assignments regulations, and at their discretion, determine their terms of reference. “From 1 in January of 2012 to the present, as you know, only the Minister of Defense took decisions on these issues,” the Chief of the General Staff recalled. As a result, according to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Shoigu, faced with the need to personally sign travel orders for officers, literally clutched his head: on his desk every day accumulated to 50 000 of such papers.
Valery Gerasimov also announced that the Minister of Defense had approved a plan for the arrangement of military camps for the period of 2013-2014 and for the future up to 2017. “In total, more than 490 military camps have been planned for arrangement in the territory of all military districts, of which 50 is in 2013 year,” the publication says the words of the general. For this purpose, only in 2013 it is planned to build and overhaul 104 modern barracks, 36 canteens, 21 headquarters building, 32 training buildings, 18 medical stations, in total - more than 550 objects.
According to Valery Gerasimov, this will allow “to bring all military camps of the airborne troops with a number of facilities, such as sports complexes, swimming pools, cultural and leisure facilities, in total 16 military towns as a priority, into exemplary condition; the same work should be carried out in 12 military camps on the territory of all military districts, in the remaining military camps planned for improvement this year, to carry out major repairs. ” Approximate costs for the implementation of these activities will be more than 46 billion rubles.
Earlier, we recall, Sergei Shoigu ordered to adjust the "reform" of the military education system, during which only 64 remained in the army instead of 10 universities, and the teaching staff was reduced seven (!) Times, and also declared the need to return officers to the troops, dismissed from there by the Serdyukov team as part of giving the armed forces a “new look”. However, apparently, all these decisions of the current military leadership are only the beginning of the revision of the Serdyukov "reform". Without clearing the Augean stables left by the Serdyukov team, there is no future for our army. However, it is more appropriate to give the floor to an expert - the first vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Doctor of Military Sciences Konstantin Sivkov.
Running in circles
The process of reforming the armed forces of Russia has already acquired a continuous character: for about 20 years, they have been undergoing transformation, he noted a few days ago in the Military-Industrial Courier. Each new Minister of Defense and Chief of the General Staff, reminds the expert, taking up his duties, announces the next reorganization of the department in his own way. However, the military reform launched in 2008 in our country surpasses all previous ones in the degree of crushing, including the Yeltsin pogrom of the armed forces.
The expert singles out three fragments of Serdyukov’s “reform” that had the most serious influence on the defense capability of the Russian state:
1. Complete reduction of the formations and units of the frame, the preservation as part of the Russian armed forces of only units and formations of permanent readiness.
2. The reduction of the officer corps by almost two and a half times, the elimination of the institute of midshipmen and ensigns.
3. Replacing the majority of military posts in command and control agencies, formations and units of the rear with civilian personnel, actively introducing commercial support systems into the logistics system.
The implementation of one of the cornerstones of the reform - the complete reduction of formations and parts of the frame affected mainly ground troops, reminds Konstantin Sivkov. According to the then Chief of the General Staff, Nikolai Makarov, at the time of the start of the transformation, part of the constant readiness made up only 20% of the total number of combat units.
The rest are connections and parts of the frame. According to the “reformers,” the reduction of these military formations, representing inefficient “headquarters and warehouses”, was designed to make it possible to free up considerable funds for maintaining and rearming the remaining ones and thereby supposedly increasing the combat capability of the entire Russian army and, most importantly, reducing its maintenance costs. At the same time, the total strength of the armed forces should have been reduced by 340 000 people - to one million.
As a result of the “reform” conducted, 85 brigades, that is, 12-16 settlement divisions, which account for 3000-4000 kilometers of the land frontier, are left in the number of permanent readiness formations.
The elimination in the course of the “reform” of formations and units of the cadre that were previously intended for deployment in the event of general mobilization, the expert notes, means the destruction of the existing order of increasing the combat and strength of the Russian armed forces in the period of direct alert of the state to conduct the war.
As a result, in the absence of a base for mobilization deployment, the ground forces, at best, having exposed all other directions, can allocate no more than 100 000 people per armed conflict. Thus, Sivkov summarizes, it will be impossible in principle to create a grouping sufficient to wage a local war, since the total number of armed forces is 1 million people, and 500 000 people in such conditions simply cannot be concentrated. The reservists existing in the country are senseless to call for: for them there is neither serviceable armament and military equipment, no necessary stocks of material and technical equipment, or an organizational core for the formation of combat-ready units and formations.
Meanwhile, the expert reminds that the fact that we had 20% of the units of constant readiness meant: with full mobilization deployment Russia could increase the number of combat-ready military formations five times during the threatened period. And if there were such a large number of formations and units of the frame, the ground forces could form a grouping, at least quantitatively enough, to resolve a local war.
So, Sivkov summarizes, before the reform, the Russian armed forces were capable of weapons successfully repel military aggression on a local scale. After the "reform" Serdyukov it became impossible.
In the same direction, measures to reduce by almost two and a half times the number of the officer corps, and the elimination of the institute of midshipmen and ensigns, worked. In this case, the main blow fell on the senior officers. Judging by the published data, the number of colonels was reduced about five times, lieutenant colonels - four times, majors - 2,5 times, captains - 1,8 times. Only the number of senior lieutenants and lieutenants increased (by 5000 people). A loud reduction of senior officers in comparison with these figures is insignificant - approximately by 200 (less than 20% of the existing composition). That is, the most prepared part of the officer corps was knocked out. In total, more than 200 000 officers were fired from the Russian armed forces. Of these, more than half did not meet the deadlines and were dismissed without proper severance pay, and in fact - thrown into the street.
Meanwhile, the expert reminds, a high proportion of officers is noted in the armies of a number of countries, which suggest a significant increase in combat-ready units during wartime. They constitute the personnel reserve for the commanding staff and governing bodies. So, reducing the officer corps on such a scale, the “reformers” destroyed the possibility of restoring the base of the mobilization deployment of Russia: if necessary, none of them would form new administrative structures of the operational and tactical links, the command staff of the new units and formations. No lieutenants will begin to command regiments, brigades and divisions.
Another no less serious consequence of such a pogrom of the officer corps was the loss of the command and staff schools that had developed over the years of our army.
The elimination of the institute of midshipmen and ensigns struck the most prepared middle technical personnel of the armed forces - those who mostly formed the basis of the personnel serving the most sophisticated military equipment.
As a result of all these cuts, not only the officer corps as a single system was crushed, but also the basis of the junior commanders of the Russian armed forces. Often remember the Stalinist purge of the officer corps of the Red Army and the RKKF in the thirties. Compared to the current “optimization”, that cleaning is just a slight misunderstanding, the expert notes.
With regard to the transfer of most military, mainly officer positions in government, formations and units of the rear into civilian with the simultaneous active introduction of commercial organizations into the logistics system of the Russian army, the Oboronservis case clearly demonstrated what the commercialization of the armed forces was for and how. The result of this “reform” was the defeat of the rear of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation with the subsequent loss of combat capability even by parts of constant readiness. At the same time, as experience has shown, the transfer of logistic support to commercial structures, at least in the smallest part, has increased the corresponding expenses of the military budget and enriched the organization involved for this.
Only a complete amateur in these matters can believe that merchants will successfully cope with the rear support of armed forces during military operations, the expert notes. It is enough to give such an example. Divisions for solving a tactical task within three days with an average intensity of military operations require from four to six design echelons of various supplies; only artillery ammunition for 300 tanks for three days it takes about one and a half estimated levels. And they should be delivered, forming in various parts of the country. Directly in the combat zone, the rear organs will have to fulfill their functions under the powerful fire of the enemy, since isolation of this area is one of the most important tasks in conducting operations by any army in the world. What can commercial organizations do under such conditions? The question is rhetorical.
It is obvious that the elimination of the monstrous consequences of the “reform” of Serdyukov-Makarov will take many years and enormous material costs, Sivkov said. Only on the restoration of military medicine can take five to seven years. And how much time and effort is required to bring the deployment mobilization base to the required state, management and logistic support systems, the organizational and staff structure of the armed forces is difficult to determine at the moment.
Judging by the volume of financing for the development of the Russian army, as well as the direction of the first steps of the new defense minister, the country's leadership is determined to bring order to the military organization of the state, Sivkov said. This makes me happy. The only alarming concern is that the desire to achieve good goals with quick and simple measures, sometimes for the sake of short-term political interest, did not prevent them from relying on the recommendations of military science. It is important that the basis for the further development of the armed forces (namely, development, not reform: already reformed!) Lay down the scientifically based Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation and the Concept of the Armed Forces. And the expert military community of Russia, the expert is sure, will certainly help in this noble cause.