The weekly "Military Industrial Complex" constantly addresses the topic of building the modern Navy. A number of experts state the lack of combat experience (we are not talking about the combat service of SSBNs), an insufficient level of training — seafarers, support personnel, scientists, inconsistency of doctrinal documents with actual challenges, imbalance of combat personnel, lack of infrastructure, lack of auxiliary vessels and mine-sweeping forces. A lot of problems in industry. We publish proposals for the modernization of the development and acquisition of naval weapons and military equipment.
Building an ocean fleet - such an appeal is increasingly not only heard in the ranks of enthusiasts, but is also declared in the statements of high officials of the Ministry of Defense. Without questioning the need for a full-fledged strong Navy, we add that such projects are always associated with a number of difficulties. Leaving aside purely economic and political aspects, let us pay special attention to the need to develop modern ship designs, both fundamentally new, in particular aircraft carriers, and those designed to replace obsolete ones. This process, which is already long and often fraught with a multitude of problems, seems to be very difficult today.
There are a lot of problems associated with excessive entanglement and inconsistency in the field of shipbuilding: in the 2005 year, after the introduction of the federal law No. 94-FZ, which created a competitive system for developing weapons, the experts talked about the destruction of the developed approach over the years. The reforms of recent years have only aggravated the situation. Let us examine the situation in order, and you need to start from the beginning.
In the USSR, at one time there was a stable and proven system, which rather by inertia passed to Russia. The main body of the research activity was the Scientific and Technical Committee (STC) of the Navy, which initialized the relevant process by developing and agreeing on the requirements and assumed TTH of the prospective naval unit (ship). In the form of a task, these requirements were transferred directly to the design bureau (design bureau), which, at a certain time (usually it was a year and a half), analyzed and corrected the draft technical specification (TZ) in accordance with the requirements of production and the conditions of future operation.
Taking into account all the comments and improvements, the project was returned to the NTK and approved there. The definition of the series also took place, and then the design bureau began creating all the necessary documentation. After its approval, the finally formed terms of reference were sent to the shipyard most suitable for the construction of the ordered type of ships. Total the whole cycle took from three to five years. Such an organization, of course, is an exemplarily debugged and optimized mechanism that works clearly and without unnecessary movements. This is the result of many years of work by specialists, supervisors and management fleet, including the highest. The constant interest of the Soviet Ministry of Defense in the scientific and technical component of the Armed Forces is also noteworthy.
In captivity of controversy
The collapse of the USSR changed everything. Despite the fact that the system was formally the same (NTK in the year 1992 was transformed into the Marine Scientific Committee, at the same time losing some of its functions), doubts arose as to its relevance in the new Russia. This system was ideal for the former country, whose command economy allowed it to allocate as many resources as needed.
The declared transition to the market required new solutions. However, up to 2005, this area remained out of the attention of reformers, obviously, due to low demand. Priority in the allocation of funds belonged to other, more topical areas. In this regard, the adoption of federal law number 94-FZ thoroughly shook up the stagnant defense industry.
Prior to this, each defense enterprise with a specific specialization could count on priority over the rest of the industry’s plants when ordering products according to their profile. The law, however, introduced a competitive system, in which the contractor is selected by a special commission during a kind of auction. This decision turned out to be completely inappropriate for the Soviet / Russian defense industry, still working in the command-administrative paradigm.
It should be noted that the competitive system is designed for the Western model, where usually there are several competing manufacturing companies. weapons with similar characteristics. The domestic model, although it involves creative competition between design bureaus, leads to a clear separation of types and classes of products between certain enterprises. In other words - each plant is sharpened for a very specific product and, as a rule, is a monopolist enterprise in its field. This feature has played a cruel joke on our defense industry after the collapse of the USSR, when many of the critical production turned out to be abroad. And of course, the auction proposed by the law number 94, in such circumstances is inappropriate, but it gives rich ground for price markups. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that this was the first step towards a thorough restructuring of the entire system under modern realities, which gave an impetus to abandon one of the main scourges of the Soviet economy - monopolization. The next step in the restructuring of the defense industry was military reform.
The main disadvantages
The apologists of imparting a new look to the Armed Forces, in their striving to reduce and reorganize, decidedly all caused considerable damage to the ship design system. Initially, probably, the goal was to modernize and adapt the Armed Forces and the military construction system to new economic conditions — something that really became a pressing need. However, the subsequent implementation has caused many questions and manifestations of discontent. In addition, the authors of the reforms in relation to the fleet created a new concept of building the Navy with an eye on Western countries, especially the United States. In Russian reality, not all got accustomed.
First, with the new fleet management scheme, a significant part of the functions, including the control of military research institutes, were taken from the Glavkomat. Research institutes were transferred to the Department of Military Education. Accordingly, the consideration of the projects created by the ships fell on the shoulders of the head of the department - a civilian and completely irrelevant to the fleet. With all this, the leadership of the Civil Code of the Navy does not have any right to interfere in the process of developing ships.
Secondly, significant reductions do not allow the Main Command of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces to perform well even the few functions that it still has, including coordination and coordination of shipbuilding works. Well, that "trusted" at least it.
Thirdly, the result of the reshuffle in the General Staff became confusion and chaos, especially in the early stages. Even at the moment when reform movements have subsided, it is not easy to recreate a clearly structured scheme of the development and creation of weapons and military equipment. To explain the nature of the processes in this area it is necessary to consider the issue more broadly.
In any process taking place in the military sphere, two levels intersect - political and military-administrative. It is only in their interaction that a beneficial action is born, but to achieve such conditions is not easy: each side has its own organizational patterns of functional behavior, which should be correlated with each other both in phases and in content.
The political level of the formation of the state defense order (GOZ) is located on the site of the presidential administration, the government and the State Duma. Usually, it is these actors who take the initiative: in accordance with the current situation in the world, a political task is set, the format of actions is set and timelines and resources are determined. These conditions and restrictions, formalized in official documents (orders, decrees), are sent to the military authorities (OVU), which at the highest level are represented by the General Staff.
The task of the SIA is the development of specific solutions for the implementation of the resulting installations (goals) within the allocated resources and time limit in collaboration with involved or designated management and scientific structures. As a result of this work, the concept of the GOZ project itself is formulated and the case is submitted to the research authorities, that is, the notorious NTK. In the course of research, research institutes and design bureaus dispose of funds allocated by the political leadership deployed in the budget and the State Armaments Program.
However, at this stage problems always arise. For many reasons, starting with an inaccurate calculation of resources in the issuance of TK and other tasks and ending with trivial inflation and corruption, the funds allocated are usually not enough. Resources are also required for technical and personnel renewal, without which it is impossible to create modern competitive products.
The economic units oppose the use of resources in excess of what they are supposed to, and the military-administrative level has no real levers of pressure on them and, as a result, is also forced to get involved in a political game. Due to the strong fragmentation of the domestic defense industry among individual enterprises, fierce competition arises for the amount of resources allocated, especially given their extreme limitations. If, as it would have been possible under the USSR, with a willful decision to transfer all resources to the fleet, then the rest of the industry will inevitably be in crisis.
This area requires a special approach: the main resource becomes the influence, interest in the industry of the country's top leadership, which translates into inevitable lobbying of shipbuilding interests. Not having the opportunity to directly rise to the highest political level, the defense industry complex uses other channels: public opinion, political parties, concrete work with officials, communications and direct influence on top officials of the state. For example, yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister visited the Severodvinsk plants, today the president visited Severomorsk, and as a result the industry receives additional cash infusions and the opportunity to continue working. However, there is a reverse interaction. By investing, the authorities are waiting for the result and, in turn, are “pulling” the industry, often not understanding the features of the shipbuilding process: the political cycles are much shorter than the real cycles of creating and operating weapons and military equipment.
As a result, this translates into a closed economic circle, devouring resources and, even more valuable, time. This is where the “legs grow” and another problem - the exorbitant price increases of the defense industry enterprises. The administrative level does not have the ability to intervene and “ruin” the process for the reasons mentioned earlier: due to the lack of authority and incompetence of the decision makers who have such capabilities. The overall picture is not the most encouraging: the necessary interaction is carried out only partially, as a rule, each participant in the process pulls the blanket over himself, trying to get the most immediate benefit. Politicians report on the fulfillment of the defense order and intimidate the external adversary, economists save money, and the Navy Group of Companies support the fleet afloat and develop development plans along the way. The enterprises of the defense industrial complex are forced to spend a lot of forces and resources to compete and attract patrons.
Ways of solution
Yes, the reader will forgive the given political science excursion, but the measure is forced. Without consideration of global processes it is difficult to understand the nature of concrete phenomena. Modern production of weapons and military equipment torn to pieces and disorganized. Can I get her out of the pit? The new Minister of Defense, judging by his statements, intends to continue work on reforming this area.
The first step will be to return to the Navy DFG dismissed or retired experienced officers. This measure will allow the Main Commissariat to better fulfill its functions. Perhaps the step will be the groundwork for the return of the previous powers to the Civil Code.
The next step could be the abolition of a number of decisions in the field of military education. This would mean the return of research activities under the supervision of specialists. Thus, it is possible to rely at least on the return of the status quo. It is impossible to unequivocally call the last initiative a positive one, since, we recall, the existing system needs to be processed. Nevertheless, you can count on more or less stable work.
Is it possible to upgrade the defense order system? In the USA, for example, there is a special Naval Shipbuilding and Armament Administration (NAVSEA) of the Navy, directly responsible for this issue. Our Defense Ministry is also promised a similar structure that controls the entire production cycle of weapons and military equipment. However, most likely, this problem will not solve the considered problems.
There are many other factors that inhibit and limit the work of the shipbuilding industry. Among them is an unprecedented reduction in the institution of military acceptance, bordering on complete liquidation, a lack of understanding between the customer and contractors, a lot of specific economic problems for our country, and most importantly a lack of understanding of what to build and why. Let us repeat once again a simple truth: without a vector of motion, without a clear doctrine, the fleet will never come anywhere. And any, the most fundamentally new and technologically advanced aircraft carrier, even when accompanied by nuclear destroyers, will be nothing more than a toy. And the transformations with the most reasonable and prudent leadership are senseless and disorienting.