Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Dashing_Chap, Feb 14, 2008.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Evening ladies & gents!

    Ref ShortList magazine 14/02/08 that some tramp handed me in Westminster today.

    Who's Building Military Muscle? Page 8, Notebook news:

    IMHO Azerbaijan, Georgia et al are possible flashpoints, but I find the vast increase of Russian & Chinese arms quite a sobering thought. There'll certainly be a changeover in the balance of power at some point. The United States may no longer be in a position of influence in the near future. I wonder what the world will be like with other nations calling the shots :? Could Britain realistically ally with nations who are so different politically?

    It certainly puts Britain in an interesting position, we may have a proud military tradition & enthusiasm to perform on the world stage, but what use is that against such numbers? We can't realistically operate now without sceptic support. Perhaps we should forge closer ties with our European allies? Though at this time NATO can't even co-operate effectively! 8O

    Your thoughts?
  2. The Russian military is trying to shift the balance in recruitment away from conscripts and to contract servicemen.Conscription was as welcome as a f@rt in a spacesuit to many people.

    The following is paraphrased from a briefing documents I get. It is a bit long but I don't have a working hyperlink;

    Conscripts were proving increasingly unable to master modern tactics and technologies. When they still served two years, it was widely accepted that for many, three-quarters of that time was spent training and only one-quarter of their tour was genuinely of combat value.

    An unspoken but very real factor is the awareness that the ethnically Russian population is shrinking, while the population of ethnically Muslim regions (such as the North Caucasus, Volga and Bashkortostan) is growing. An army staffed primarily by conscripts would reflect this demographic shift, especially given the number of young men from these communities likely to reach draft age in the next few years.
    Conscription rationale. Even at its present strength of 1,134,000, the Russian armed forces are considered to be only a skeleton of their true capability. In essence, they have retained the Soviet-era military doctrine, based on the need to fight a major land war in Europe or Asia. To meet the manpower needs of such an apocalyptic conflict, Moscow believes it needs a reserve base to mobilise at least 10 million men. This requires a large pool of men who have undertaken military service and regular refresher courses, so that in case of a war, they would not need to be trained from scratch. So long as this remains at the foundation of Russia's military doctrine, conscription will not be abolished altogether.
    Unsustainability. However, conscription is not working in the way envisaged, and the problems with the system are mounting:

    Poor preparedness. Conscripts are increasingly unable to meet the needs of modern warfare. If anything, the reduction of military service from 24 months to just twelve as of January 2008 merely exacerbates the problem.

    Draft targets. There are too few young men to meet the military's needs. The autumn 2007 draft target was set at 132,000 young men, only 1,000 fewer than the year before. The military commissariats were unable to meet fully their target, even by ignoring many requirements and taking on conscripts who failed the health or education requirements, or who had criminal records. This problem will only worsen, especially this year. The dramatic reduction of military service from two years to 18 months and now to twelve months means that there will be a sudden increase in the number of men being demobilised. The draft target may need to be set at a wholly unrealistic 250,000 this year in order to make up for the shorter national service term. Even after this year's surge, the military will still need to recruit some 170,000-200,000 draftees annually.

    Loyalty and morale. The conscription system is forcing the army to rely on ethnic Muslims. Many within the high command doubt the loyalty and morale of recruits from the ethnic Muslim communities, especially given that any probable military operations in the foreseeable future will be in the North Caucasus or Central Asia. In 2007, official figures put the proportion of ethnic Muslims in the ranks at 15%, but at current trends it might reach 30% by 2010.

    Inadequate weapons. The reserve system has broken down. However imperfectly administered, in Soviet times the system did ensure that reservists generally took some regular training and that stocks of the outdated weapons they knew how to use were maintained, ready for potential use. The training system all but disappeared in the 1990s, not least as many facilities were privatised, and arsenals suffered from 15 years of neglect and pilfering (see RUSSIA: Doctrine hampers effect of military spending - February 22, 2007). One stock inspected in Moscow in late 2007 found that of the inventory stock of weapons, a quarter had disappeared and half was so badly rusted as to be useless.

    Contract servicemen. Russia's kontraktniki are only partially able to make up the shortfall. They are not quite the same as professional soldiers joining up on longer-term contracts and perhaps seeing their future career spent in the military. A typical contract serviceman in Russia serves only a single three-year tour, is unskilled and poorly educated, and comes from either rural or de-industrialising parts of the country. Contract service is seen as a way of getting out of poverty and perhaps learning a useful skill for future use in the civilian sector.

    Recruitment targets. The current proportion serving on contract is not the 70% planned but around 60%. To an extent, this reflects the relatively poor salaries offered to contract servicemen, which is some 7,000-9,000 roubles (290-370 dollars) per month. It also reflects the low esteem in which the army continues to be held and the very real risks of seeing active service in the North Caucasus.

    Questionable recruitment. The skills, physical health and morale of many contract servicemen are questionable. This is exacerbated by the practice of either recruiting young men convicted of crimes (the courts offer them the option of military service or prison), or of using violence and intimidation to force conscripts to sign up while they are still undergoing their national service. Both these practices are officially condemned but widespread in reality.

    Ethnic imbalance. Ethnic politics are causing problems for military manpower. The poor wages offered are uncompetitive in much of Russia, but are appealing in the North Caucasus where incomes are low and unemployment is high. As a result, this region accounts for a disproportionate number of recruits. The high command appears split on how to respond. Although the official line is to encourage such recruitment, local practice is often at odds with this. It emerged in January that the commander of the 42nd Motorised Division in Chechnya had dismissed 200 newly enlisted Dagestani contract servicemen, on appear to be purely ethnic grounds.

    Outlook. The present system is unsustainable, and in future, Russian leaders will have to decide between three basic approaches:
    1. Smaller army. Marginal reductions are envisaged to bring the total establishment strength down to 1,000,000 by 2010. Yet this is still beyond Russia's human and possibly economic capabilities. By reducing conscription to a more credible level or even by abolishing it altogether, Russia could comfortably maintain an army of 600,000-700,000, with qualitative improvements that would fully make up for any quantitative reduction. It would not give Russia the kind of reserve mobilisation base that would allow it to attempt to match China in numerical terms, but it is seriously questionable whether that would ever be possible or, indeed, necessary.
    2. 'Russified' army. If the Kremlin and high command are truly committed to a mass army with a substantial conscript element, without relying on non-Russian populations, then they will have to recruit a far higher proportion of Slavs. Thus, by 2010, Slavic young men will have to be twice as likely to be drafted as non-Slavs. This is unlikely to be politically acceptable.
    3. 'Non-Russified' army. Alternatively, the high command could abandon its concerns and embrace the new generation of young men from Muslim ethnic background, despite the rising evidence of religiosity and even extremism
  3. An interesting assessment Mr rickshaw, that seems to cover the possible recruitment & manning problems for the Russian army, though the figures are still immense & as some Ironlike Russian chap once said. 'Quantity has a quality all of it’s own!' I wonder how these statistics compare with NATO?

    Russian power projection is also increasing with the rumours of new aircraft carriers, nuclear missiles & submarines. They may have problems recruiting a large standing army for nuclear war, but I imagine the service of running an efficient Navy is well within their reach.

    Your obedient servant. &tc,

  4. Thanks but as I pointed out it is paraphrased from briefing docs I get as part of my job. Proprietry prevents me from claiming the work as my own so thats a career in politcs out of the window :D