At first glance, everything is simple: correcting past mistakes, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense decided to return to the division. However, in reality, this problem is not as simple as it seems.
We will immediately determine: the analysis of this step by the current leadership of the Ministry of Defense cannot be carried out abstractly. It must interface with different areas of modern Russian reality: military-strategic, economic, budget-financial, socio-demographic, emotional-psychological.
WHY CHANGED TO THE BRIGADES
In the military-strategic sphere, the decision to liquidate the divisional level had certain justifications. As is known, within the framework of the reform of the Armed Forces and the optimization of the command and control structure, it was decided in principle to reduce the number of links in the command and control system. Divisional or army units of command were considered as “candidates for withdrawal”. In the end, they decided to save the army unit, and the divisions were reformed and disbanded.
The then leadership of the Ministry of Defense made attempts to explain to the general public the need for a transition to a brigade basis, but not all experts accepted this decision positively. There were reasons for this. Divisions have traditionally been the main tactical formations of the Ground Forces. Military science and military art, the training of troops, the preparation of mobilization reserves, combat regulations and instructions were “sharpened” for the division.
The transition to a brigade basis in those conditions was a very difficult step associated with the breaking of the traditional military mentality, the need to abandon stereotypes, standards, principles and ideas that had been established over many years.
At the same time, according to many military experts, with the end of the Cold War era and the end of the global military bloc confrontation along the East-West line, the likelihood of classic large-scale operations using numerous ground forces factions has become extremely small. New dangers, threats and challenges to security demanded serious changes in the organization and tactics of troop actions. In this context, the team was seen as a more efficient, flexible, mobile and better managed organizational structure of the Ground Forces.
Taking into account the experience of conducting combat operations in the North Caucasus against enemy irregular formations (militants, terrorists, gangsters), the justification for the transition of the Ground Forces to the brigade basis at the conceptual level was clear.
ABOUT THREAT OF THE BIG WAR
What has changed in the military-strategic landscape over the past six months, that there was a sharp need to restore the divisional level?
In this regard, military experts point out that the thesis of the danger of large-scale war over the past few months has been repeatedly voiced by the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces. If this danger is real - who in our country can challenge the official statements of the General Staff - then a “big” war is not far off. In this context, the re-establishment of divisions in the Ground Forces looks like a logical and justifiable step. So, the General Staff knows something that the expert community is not aware of. And if this is so, then it is not necessary to make hints, but to objectively prepare the whole country, the entire population for a “big” war.
So in what direction is this "big" war ripening?
A military threat from the NATO bloc - the traditional nightmare of our General Staff - exists, but not in the form of a large-scale ground invasion of millions of armies. Even in turbulent fantasies today it is impossible to imagine the existence of a new Barbarossa plan, which provides for the early concentration in the border zone with Russia of powerful strategic groups of ground troops of the aggressor, ready to bring down thousands of our lands tanks and planes, millions of soldiers with automatic rifles at the ready. The threat from the West is high-tech, based on the desire to achieve absolute superiority in space, the information sphere and cyberspace. Military operations with such an adversary, as military experts note, are more and more clearly transferred to virtual space and become like computer games.
In conditions of a new type of military conflict, our formations of ground forces — be it brigades or divisions — may appear to be outside spectators. That was the case in Yugoslavia in 1999, when aviation and NATO’s long-range weapons of destruction, pointwise disabled the most important elements of the state-political structure, economy, energy supply system, key transport infrastructure, leaving aside the troops and military facilities of the Yugoslav army. Thus, the reconstruction of divisions in this strategic direction can hardly be regarded as an effective and efficient measure to counter the high-tech threat of our enemies and ill-wishers.
Another direction from which a military threat can hypothetically come is the Far East.
Let's be realistic: The Far Eastern Federal District is a third (36,1%) of the area of Russia, where only 4,4% of the population of Russia lives. In absolute terms, the population of the Far East is slightly less than 6,3 million people (on 01.01.12). The forecasts for the development of the demographic situation in the Far Eastern Federal District are extremely pessimistic. According to expert estimates, over 2010 – 2050 years, the total population of the Russian Far East may decrease by 21,1%, and the working age population - by 42,5%.
And what is the demographic situation of our neighbors in the Far East?
The estimated population of Northeastern China (Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang provinces) for 2010 was 120 million, Mongolia - 3,5 million, DPRK - 28,5 million, Republic of Korea - 49,7 million, Japan - 130,4 million. What can we talk about at all if the entire population of our Far East is only half the size of Mongolia.
Another perspective: the strength of the personnel of the Shenyang military district of the PRC bordering on Russia reaches a quarter of a million people. At the same time, the mobilization capabilities of the Chinese armed forces compared to ours seem simply unlimited.
Fortunately, today our relations with almost all neighboring countries in the Far East are developing in a positive direction. Within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and on a bilateral basis, military-political relations between the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the PLA are strengthened. In this context, the re-creation of divisions in the Far East may not be fully understood by our partners and colleagues.
Well, if we still want to insure against some future hypothetical military threats in the Far East, then will the restoration of the divisions help in this? How many divisions do we need to recreate? One, two, ten, a hundred? If one or two, then they are clearly meaningless. If a few dozen divisions - where to take people and finances? In the context of current economic and demographic opportunities, objective financial and budgetary constraints, the experience of the Soviet Union is unlikely to help here.
And finally, the third direction of possible military threats to Russia is the “soft underbelly” in the South. The main type of opponents here is traditionally irregular formations of militants and terrorists operating both inside Russia and outside its national territory. Divisions here, as shown by domestic and foreign experience, is the least effective form of the organizational and staff structure of the troops. Groupings of forces are forced to act by small tactical groups (subunits), guided to a greater extent by tactics of special forces. And who will be against fifty bandits to send a whole division to the mountains?
As a result, from a military-strategic point of view, the validity of the decision to recreate the divisions, as we see it, is not at all obvious.
WHY CHAPTERS OF TAMAN AND CANTEMIROV
If, nevertheless, to take on trust the military-strategic need to recreate divisions in the Russian Ground Forces, the question arises: why did this process begin not from the Far East, but from the Moscow region? What is this threat that compels us to re-deploy the Taman and Kantemirov divisions near our capital?
Attempting a logical answer to this question inevitably leads to sad conclusions or leads to a dead end.
Recall history. The Tamansk division stationed now in the Moscow region of Naro-Fominsk district was formed in 1940 in Kharkov under the name of the 127-Infantry Division. From the first days of the Great Patriotic War, the division took part in bloody battles in the Western direction. September 18 The 1941 of the year for distinction in battle was renamed the 2 Guards Rifle Division. Completed the war in East Prussia.
An interesting fact from the historical form: in March 1953, the division was introduced to Moscow to maintain public order during the funeral of Stalin.
In the same year, the unit was renamed the 23 Guards Mechanized Division, and in the 1957 year it became the 23 Guards Motorized Rifle Division. In the 1964, the compound returned the name of the 2 th guards motorized rifle division.
Fact from the modern history of the division: separate units and military units of the compound were involved in the political events of August 1991 and October 1993 in Moscow.
In May 2009 of the Year, the 2-I Guards Motorized Rifle Division was disbanded and on its basis the 5-I Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Moscow Military District was created, leaving all the insignia of this Guards unit. Exactly four years later, in May 2013, on the basis of this brigade and other military units stationed in the Moscow region, the 2-I Guards Tamansky Order of the October Revolution, the Red Banner Order of Suvorov, motorized rifle division was reconstructed.
In parallel with this, in May 2013 of the year the 4-th Guards Kantemirovskaya Order of Lenin Red Banner Tank Division was reconstructed on the basis of the 4-th separate tank tank brigade.
Of course, the return of heroic names and honorary titles is an important moral and political action of state importance. But let's be frank. During the transition to the brigade base, the glorious traditions of the Tamanians and Kantemirovs were not forgotten: their successors were the 5 motorized rifle and 4 I tank brigades, respectively. Therefore, it is not entirely correct to justify the process of rebuilding divisions in the Ground Forces with the desire to return the glorious names and traditions of the Armed Forces.
By the way, if we are to be consistent in returning to heroic traditions and names, then we must recreate hundreds of divisions that received honorary and guards names for the heroic feats of their soldiers and officers during the Great Patriotic War. But everyone understands that this is impossible and, most importantly, not necessary.
So it turns out that the recreation of the Moscow region Kantemirov and Taman divisions has some other reasons, about which experts can only guess.
MILITARY BUDGET IS NOT A BADLESS BARREL
Let us now try to look at the decision to recreate the divisions from a financial and economic point of view.
What does it mean to create or recreate a division? It is required to carry out a number of the most complicated measures: to determine the place of permanent deployment (region of the country) of the headquarters of the division and subordinate units; to correlate the place of permanent deployment with the presence of populated areas (within the city limits, in the "open field"); to provide land for the permanent deployment of all headquarters, military units and other structural elements of the division, military camps for families of military personnel; to build capital structures to ensure the life and activities of the personnel of the division and the storage of relevant military equipment and weapons; to build housing stock with necessary elements of social and cultural infrastructure for families of officers and contractors of the division; to carry out hundreds of other organizational and practical measures and approvals, to provide for thousands and thousands of small things.
All this requires financial resources, and considerable ones. Of course, a soldier can be placed in tents, and officer families - in dilapidated hostels. Naturally, temporarily, about five or ten years. After all, the money for the arrangement of all at once is clearly not enough.
More fortunate for those divisions that will be formed by “reformatting” brigades on their ready-made infrastructure. However, in connection with the expansion, they will inevitably face all the same difficult financial problems.
Most importantly: the military budget is not a bottomless barrel. The allocation of funds for the re-establishment of divisions entails the redistribution of priorities of the military budget, the reduction of other items: the monetary allowance of military personnel, their housing.
The re-establishment of the divisional level in the structure of the Ground Forces will entail the need to increase the number of officers, with all the resulting financial implications for the military budget.
So it turns out that from the socio-economic and budgetary and financial points of view, the re-establishment of divisions in the Ground Forces is quite a costly task.
CHEKHARD IN MILITARY THEORY AND PRACTICE
What is, in practical terms, the mechanism itself returning to the divisional basis? Judging by the decisions taken, some brigades are once again “reformatted” and become divisions, while other brigades are transformed into regiments. In the new divisions, parts of divisional subordination are again recreated, divisional rear. It will again have to recycle all the combat regulations and instructions, "adapted" under the brigade. It will be necessary to rethink the tactics of the actions of the divisions, it will be necessary to correct all standards and calculations, to work out new models and algorithms of actions. All these tasks will require large amounts of funds, human and time resources for their solution.
In addition, the system of higher military education is once again facing the problem of what and how to teach. “Textbooks revised for brigades”, lectures, reference materials now again need to be reworked “under divisions”, bringing further confusion and confusion into the consciousness of not only the officer-officers, but also the teachers themselves.
In conditions when domestic military science, as even Makhmut Gareev, president of the Academy of Military Sciences, admits, is actually in a state of crisis, when we don’t have an “established scientific theory of future wars,” theoretical theoretical practicalities in the organizational structure of ground forces look like frankly, completely frivolous. It would be more logical, first of all, to aim the military-scientific thought to develop adequate theories and concepts of modern and future war, and then, on the basis of the formulated ideas, begin practical work on the correction of organizational structures.
By the way, it is not at all obvious that the result of such military-scientific developments, if they are carried out impartially and objectively, will be the conclusion that it is necessary to return to the divisional basis. The global trends in the development of the Ground Forces are in the vector of creating compact, mobile, highly mobile tactical units of a flexible composition (ideally, “combat packs”, about which the Independent Military Review has already written on its pages) operated and based on the so-called network-centric principles .
Under these conditions, the consolidation of organizational structures, that is, the return from the brigade base to the divisions, as it falls out of world trends. It's time to turn to world experience.
Serious reforming processes at the turn of the century affected the armed forces of almost all countries of the world. Not bypassed they and the US military.
With the end of the Cold War era, the military and political leadership of the United States faced the necessity of closing military bases and facilities, reducing the number of personnel and reorganizing the regular and reserve components of the armed forces. The US military experts concluded that in new geostrategic conditions, the brigade is for many reasons the most effective form of the organizational and staff structure of the ground forces. The American divisions of the Cold War era had a set of line infantry and armored battalions and three brigade headquarters. In a battle (operation), this made it possible for the division commander in each particular case to form brigades of different composition from a set of existing battalions. The Soviet divisions, as is known, had a clear regimental structure. And the one and the other options had their pros and cons.
Having made the brigade the main tactical unit of their ground forces, the United States, however, did not abandon the divisions. Now the brigades formally received a clear organizational structure, absorbed from the division a necessary set of support and service units and were transformed into brigade combat groups. In addition, in each particular case, when solving the tasks assigned, the brigade can receive reinforcements from various branches of service, from combat and transport aviation to battalions of the military police or engineers.
In the Ground Forces of the USA ten divisions still remain today. They also have corps (1 and 3 army, 18 airborne, 5 army corps deactivated in June 2013 of the year) and army units of control. Moreover, in the American army, which many domestic military experts are not aware of, they did not even abandon the traditional regimental numbering. The infantry, tank, artillery (fire) battalions and divisions entering today in brigades still retain the traditional regimental numbering in their names, the origins of which date back to the events of the American War of Independence and the Civil War. Each regiment has its glorious military history, and today all military personnel honor and observe the historical traditions, norms of behavior and customs of their regiments.
The last ten years, the US Army has been widely used in hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. The real situation, as American experts believe, confirmed that the brigade fighting group is the most effective form of organization of the Ground Forces. The team, possessing a complete set of all the necessary forces and means, is able to operate completely autonomously and perform independent tasks. The headquarters of the division in this situation acts as a body of management, coordination and ensuring a higher level - provided that several brigades take part in the battle (operations). It seems to us that the role of the division, in our view of the military conflicts of the modern era, fully justifies itself.
AND PENTAGON WHY REDUCES
In late June of this year, the Chief of Staff of the Ground Forces, General Raymond Odierno, spoke at the Pentagon outlining a detailed plan for the reduction of the American army.
Along with a serious reduction in the number of personnel of the regular troops, the number of combat brigade groups will significantly decrease. Of the currently existing 45 combined arms brigades, only 2017 will remain in 33 by the US Army. The grouping of the US Land Forces in Europe already in 2013 will be reduced from the current four brigades to two (one in Germany, the other in Italy). Ten brigades will be reduced in the United States. This is followed by the deactivation of another brigade, with the result that only 32 brigade battle groups will remain in the army.
As General Odierno acknowledged, armored forces are more likely to suffer. According to him, the 10 armored, 14 infantry brigades and 8 brigades on the Stryker BM will ultimately remain in the Land Forces.
What do these numbers say? First of all, that after long years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American army loses almost a third of its main tactical armies. Objectively, this means that even conflicts of the scale of Iraq or Afghanistan, not to mention stronger opponents, can become problematic for the US Ground Forces.
In the context of cuts in the American army, the decision taken in Russia to recreate the divisions looks, frankly, somewhat extravagant. Particularly interesting was the coincidence in time of these two completely unrelated shares.
So, it seems to us, the re-establishment of divisions in the Russian Ground Forces is a step that is not fully thought out and calculated. This means that inevitable corrections and clarifications are expected. Perhaps the decision to recreate the divisions is indeed a sensible step. But will there be a problem with the army command line? How appropriate would it be to maintain a multi-stage control system for a grouping of troops as part of one or two brigades and several attached units? It seems that experts will give correct and reasonable answers to these questions. At the same time, it is necessary to approach these issues calmly, carefully, taking into account the accumulated domestic and international experience, with the involvement of the expert community.
In the meantime, when assessing this decision of the Defense Ministry’s leadership, the thought involuntarily suggests itself: was it really worth it to haste the garden so hastily? There are no intelligible comments on this issue from the Ministry of Defense. As a result, the situation looks just strange: today we are restoring divisions only because they were liquidated a few years ago.