Military Review

Minister of Defense dotted i

The Defense Minister held a meeting of the head of the military department with representatives of the leading Russian media. Informational reason for it was the completion of the next stage of the reform of the Armed Forces. But the conversation went beyond the scope of this topic and covered all aspects of the life and activities of the army and fleet. The meeting was held in the form of a relaxed, friendly conversation. Journalists received detailed answers to all questions, which we reproduce with some abbreviations.

-Anatoly Eduardovich, you announced the completion of the formation of new military districts - joint strategic commands (USC). How will the interaction between them and different groups of troops stationed on the territory of USC?

- This is quite a serious matter, which the General Staff dealt with. In the new districts created a management, planning the use of troops and forces. They are supervised directly by district commanders. New is the fact that now the commander is responsible for the preparation of mobilization reserves in peacetime, and for their use in the event of war. Naturally, all troops and formations in the district are under its control.

- The President set the task - to make the transition in the near future of the Armed Forces to digital communications. What links should this happen?

- Will go over gradually all the links. But we have several directions in this work. And the first is the re-equipment of communication centers. We plan to translate them into a digit by the end of 2011.

There are some good moves with mobile communications of the military unit. Until the end of 2010, we must receive the first batch of new mobile complexes and pass them on to the military trials. Bulk purchases will begin by the end of 2011. And during 2012, we plan to complete the upgrade of the entire park.

Those samples that we have already received are of good quality. They can be said to be the sixth level with the corresponding performance characteristics. And yet, along with digital communication, we, apparently, still keep the analog connection.

- The information passed that for some reason the Ministry of Defense does not fully use the funds allocated for the purchase of weapons and military equipment ...

- When purchasing weapons, we now, for example, can pay up to 100% advance. The principal amount is transferred, as a rule, in several tranches, with different time intervals. But the last 20% are paid in December, when the contract is already finished and the products are delivered. In such cases, it is sometimes possible to say that the Defense Ministry allegedly delays payments or for some reason does not fully use the allocated funds. In fact, all this is sufficiently explainable things - this is money. For example, I repeatedly appealed to the government: we must have limits in October so that we could hold relevant contests and auctions in November, and conclude contracts by the end of the year. But usually everything happens almost on the last day of the last quarter.

We got the right to finance up to 100% of orders and the right to determine a single supplier. Although there are products that, for example, except for the firm Sukhoi, no one produces. Therefore, the competition in such cases is sometimes formal. The only question is the cost. There is a specific procedure, and it must be followed. Now we have created the Pricing Department, which is an absolutely independent body and carefully checks all these procedures, numbers.

Funds allocated for the purchase of weapons and military equipment are usually fully utilized. And if for some reason we return something, it is extremely rare. For example, last year the unclaimed pension funds in the amount of 3 billion rubles were returned to the state. They were formed as a result of the fact that part of military pensioners switched to civilian pension. Naturally, this money was not used. For other purposes it was impractical to spend them. In general, there is a state defense order, where everything is clearly spelled out. There are one-year contracts, there are rolling over to the 2 – 3 of the year. It is only necessary to carry them out clearly.

- What is happening in the field of military education? When will the recruitment of cadets and students resume, on what conditions will they enroll in military colleges? Is it necessary to serve in the army or graduate from a civilian university?

- In fact, there are no such conditions. Our working groups studied the experience of leading Western countries in this area. There are different approaches. Including this: a cadet can be a person who already has a higher education, or someone who has served an emergency service. But we still do not see the need to change the conditions of admission.

As for the new training system, it will differ from the former deeper immersion in the topic, the subject of study, higher organization of the educational process and the quality of the material base, the selection of faculty members. In the meantime, in a number of civilian universities, it must be admitted, the level of education is higher than in the military. And, understanding this, we have already begun to invite teachers from there to military schools in some subjects.

At the same time, there is an integration of universities, an appropriate program has been adopted. In parallel, we put in order the teaching and material base, its laboratory component. Remember, if before the cadets went to practice in the troops, then recently this did not exist. A person could study for five years and never attend an exercise, in practice, in a full-fledged military unit. And then, getting into real conditions, I was lost, I could not adapt. The future platoon commander, still on the student bench, must clearly understand what he will have to do in the army.

As for enrollment in schools and academies, it is suspended for a couple of years - until 2012. This is due to the presence of a sufficiently large number of officers, so to speak, of noncritical age. The question is, why then prepare new ones, spending time and money?

Some officers, however, were hastily dismissed, although 10 – 15 could serve for years. By the way, we are now dealing with this issue. After all, there are many who want to continue serving in the Armed Forces. Moreover, today there are specific professions in which there is a shortage of professionals. And we return those who were behind the state, we even invite those already dismissed to the reserve, we conclude contracts with them.

The new types of weapons and military equipment that are coming into service also make adjustments to the number of officers in the army and navy. All this has to be taken into account.

“But will not a military scientific school die during these years?”

- Not. The reform of military education itself pushed us towards such transformations. I told you how we tried to appoint a brigade commander from among the teachers of one of the universities. Nothing succeeded. The officers immediately wrote a letter of resignation. That is, they saw their mission differently, they did not develop the quality of a leader, management of people and troops.

In the communication academy, for example, he asked one of the teachers what his last position in the army was. It turned out the commander of the communications battalion. And who does he teach? Senior officers up to the commander of the communications troops. But how and what can he train such a category of future officials?

I believe that people with serious experience and knowledge should come to the departments of universities, military registration and enlistment offices, military missions. If for a number of reasons an officer cannot serve in the army, but is valuable to the military department with his knowledge and experience, he may be invited to just such a post.

In a word, I have no fear that we will lose the scientific high school. It is, incidentally, quite decent, to take the same Mozhaisky Military Space Academy, the Peter the Great Military Academy of the Strategic Missile Forces and others. They collected the color of military science.

- How is the training of sergeants in the Ryazan Airborne School?

- It is held not only in it. We began to recruit people to other universities to train sergeants. We try to provide them with a decent scholarship, with everything necessary for a full-fledged study. But the selection is pretty tough. Today, thousands of future sergeants are being trained by 2,5. Duration of study varies, depending on the specialty, up to two years and 10 months. On the command one - less, on the technical one - more.

- The Moscow-based 5-I motorized rifle brigade, created on the basis of the Taman division, serves as a kind of training ground for practicing modern techniques, running in new weapons and military equipment. Are there any such compounds in the Armed Forces where all the most advanced are being introduced, including, say, an outsourcing system, a new sports uniform, additional rest, and other preferences for personnel?

- There are certainly such compounds. Take the brigade of marines in Vladivostok. In fact, it contains everything that you have listed, and to some extent more.

We also have a lot of new things, as you know, in the system of youth conscription. We try to maximize all the best in it. And parents are attracted at the time of appeal, and the public. In the last recruiting campaign order 700 various events held. About 3, thousands of parents accompanied their sons to duty stations.

Today there are no restrictions on the introduction of new progressive forms and methods of working with draftees. I just think that for our military commissars, commanders of units, commanders of military districts, we need a certain transitional period in order to rethink the changes that are taking place. We constantly raise these questions at the collegiums of the Ministry of Defense.


- Decent pay for military personnel, provision of housing for those in need is the social aspect of military reform. But the budget bill for the next year, which was posted on one of the sites, did not reflect the planned increase in the pay for military personnel from January 1, 2012. How to explain it?

- We have a budgeting system built in such a way that we impose figures for three years, but only the first year is being worked out in detail. Therefore, today there is a verified budget for 2011 year, as well as limits on it.

As for the 2012 of the year, we have an understanding of the overall figure. What is said inside it is difficult to say clearly today. But this is an established practice, and therefore the project has not yet said anything about the allowance. And since the law has not yet been passed, money, naturally, cannot be allocated for it.

We submitted our proposals to the draft budget at the end of April - May 2010. And in the near future, I think, a revised version of the bill will appear. In what form - time will tell. While the proposals of the Ministry of Defense are considered in the relevant committees and commissions of the government.

- What is the situation with the fulfillment of the presidential instructions on providing apartments for fired servicemen?

- As for housing, the situation is as follows. There are two queues. One, it includes those who have been in it since 2005, should have closed 2010 until January. Accordingly, after my appointment to the post, I literally in the first interview said that we would provide these people with permanent housing.

Soon, every officer on the Internet will be able to see how the queue moves to “housing”

But now this lineup has increased at the expense of the officers, who are fired either for organizational events, or for years of service, health, etc. Nevertheless, we have no fear that they will have problems getting apartments. This is evidenced by the numbers put into operation housing. We plan, as was announced at the Ministry of Defense board in 2008, to rent thousands of apartments for 45 in the next two years, including purchasing them from various sources. This schedule is maintained. Moreover, in 2010, not 45 will be commissioned, but around 52 thousands of apartments.

In addition, part of the apartments in the garrisons left by us are removed from the service fund. There are quite a few military personnel who would like to privatize them. This is the case, for example, in Solnechnogorsk. And we in this matter are going to meet the officers. I repeat: we have no concerns that the Ministry of Defense will not fulfill its obligations.

If you look at the line that has been formed lately, then it is a living organism and sometimes different preferences arise in it. So, by the end of this year, we will send to the waiting list about 40 thousands of housing notifications. But will everyone agree to the proposed options? It is hard to say. It is not bad, on the one hand, that the officer has a choice. But someone is capricious, someone for various reasons and reasons changes his decision to live in one or another subject of the Russian Federation. In each case, you have to understand, to delve into the essence of the issue. This is reflected in the implementation of the scheduled schedule.

- Are you sure that in a year or two this plan will also be carried out regularly?

- Before 2013, the funds have already been invested, we will continue to build. So this is not where our work ends. We are also solving the very old housing problems of those officers who were fired several years ago and are queuing in the subjects (municipalities) of the Russian Federation. We additionally highlight state housing certificates (HS), closely interact with other departments. In the near future we plan to get a few more hundreds of HSs for these people.

As you can see, the work on this site is going quite well. In the near future, for example, we will accept new residential towns in St. Petersburg (about 5 thousands of apartments) and in Vladivostok (around 2,5 thousands of apartments). The post of deputy minister of defense who oversees these issues has been established, the Department of Housing has been created, and a single line has been formed. Soon every officer, even over the Internet, will be able to see how this line of traffic is going, what objects are being rented, and how they look.

- You mentioned that some reserve officers are switching to civilian pensions. Consequently, there are no serious changes in the solution of the problem of the provision of pensions for military personnel as opposed to housing.

- In the draft law we prepared, we clearly stated our position on this issue. I would like to emphasize: I am not in favor of somehow infringing upon the interests of military retirees. I have no such desire as no one of the employees of the Ministry of Defense has. On the contrary, we are in favor of having people who have served in the service of the Fatherland for many years worthy pensions. The question is: how is it possible today from a financial point of view? And the fact that the discussion of the bill has been going on for so long is connected with the search for funding sources.

We believe that the principle and the approach that existed earlier (the pension should be linked to the size of the money allowance of the existing officers) is justified. Another question: how to do it? Or outline a transition period, or immediately. But again, everything depends on the means. We are lobbyists on this issue. We will continue to lobby the interests of military retirees as far as possible. Therefore, they suggested such a mild option - to make a certain transitional period: a year or two or three ... But if you don’t tie in with anything at all, then you can’t explain it to the existing officers, who, after some time, will also become retired and fall into the same trap, nor those who are already in that capacity. I think that this is, of course, unfair. However, while there is no final decision on which design to stay.

- But apparently, by 1 January 2012, the decision should be made anyway?

- At least now the task is exactly that. Unless, of course, there is any introductory, connected, say, with the economic, financial crisis or something else. So far, I repeat, there is a rather active discussion and search for a solution to the problem precisely by the stated deadline. But what's the matter?

If you remember, then at the very beginning we stated that we should start in determining the final figures on the size of the lieutenant's money allowance, which, I think, is fair. Called his size. But what will it be in the end? There are still different views on this in various departments. We still want to defend our position and the figures that we stated. In fact, they can also be considered as part of the new look of the Armed Forces. Today, extremely serious measures are being held in the army and navy, and it seems to me that it would be fair to keep the main points of reference for all the parameters mentioned. And from them, respectively, to dance on.


- You recently returned from China, where you participated in a meeting of the intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation. Is Russia risking nothing by selling new equipment and weapons to the Chinese? Does our country intend to supply them Tanksvolley fire systems?

- Tanks, like salvo-fire systems, they do not need. They are interested in aircraft engines, airplanes, new air defense systems. A request was made to speed up the delivery of air defense systems. But we cannot promise this yet: 2017 was tentatively scheduled for the year.

- In what condition is the tender for the Mistral helicopter carrier? And why is it “Mistral” that the other proposals have not been received?

- Now we received similar offers from Koreans, Spaniards, Germans. It is possible that they will also come from other countries. Of course, we will accept and analyze them all. Work in this direction is underway. Part of the applications is very detailed, up to proposals for spare parts, crew training, etc. But in some of them only deadlines and approximate amounts are indicated.

It seems that by the end of November we will determine the decision, and by the end of the year we will finally accept it. I would stress that it is important for us to get a ship, which is called, packed to the maximum - with control systems, weapons, basing, personnel training.

- Russia is now purchasing a part of weapons and military equipment in Israel, in particular, drones. And what about the production of our similar and other types of weapons and military equipment?

- Yes, we have concluded a number of contracts with the Israelis. If domestic manufacturers offer us the corresponding analogues with good tactical and technical characteristics, we will be happy to purchase them. But so far no one offers us what we want.

- And what about the supply of Tiger machines to the army? Or the Defense Ministry is still leaning towards Iveco purchases?

- We buy "Tigers". "Iveco" do not buy. But they took several cars in order to check how they would behave in our conditions, check on the landfills. If we are satisfied with this machine, then most likely it will be about establishing a joint production of this technology in Russia.

- During your visit to the United States, agreements were reached on mutually beneficial military-technical cooperation. In what directions will it develop?

- We agreed with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that within a month we will send our proposals to them. They cover various aspects of interaction. Including military education, medicine, military-technical sphere, exchange of experience in hostilities in Afghanistan, missile defense, joint exercises ... We'll see whether you agree with everything. But I got the impression that Americans are interested in this. We recently met with the US ambassador, and he confirmed that their proposals were received by their Department of Defense, and a corresponding decision is being worked out.
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