ON PERSONNEL PROBLEMS OF THE RUSSIAN ARMED FORCES

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They represent a reflection of the problems, existing in the country and n the society

Military personnel is one of the most valuable resources of the state, being not only its past and present, but also its future. These are the people, possessing a solid education, high professionalism, rich service and life experience. Now more than 91% of officers in the Armed Forces possess a higher military and professional training. 588 of them have a degree of doctor of sciences, 9,365- candidate of sciences. The average age of the officers is 33.5 years. More than a half of the offic3rs is still younger than 35%.

Meanwhile the personnel problems of the Armed Forces are the most serious, because the Armed Forces reduction will influence the fates of many people. According tot he Defense Ministry, the planed measures for the Armed Forces reduction to 1.2 million servicemen will result in significant removal of officers and warrant officers (more than 130,000 annually). This year some 80,000 officers and more than 57,000 warrant officers will be released from the service. Among them more than 19% of officers and some 10% warrant officers do not have any housing. It will be impossible to dismiss these people, because in accordance with part 1 of clause 22 of the federal law “On the status of servicemen” the servicemen, who have served 10 years and more can not be dismissed from the military service when they reach the maximum age of being in the military service, according to the health condition and so on without provision of them and their families with housing according to the norms, set by the legislation.

There is the hope that the released officers and warrant officers will be offered the state housing certificates. According to governmental resolution No. 71 “On special federal program “State housing certificates” of January 20, 1998, the following citizens have the right for receiving of the non-returnable subsidies: people released from the military service, who have served for more than 10 years, having no permanent housing in Russia or outside of it, or the people who were recognized as needing improvement of their housing conditions, according to the regular procedure. Along with this it is special stressed that participation n the program is voluntary. However the state housing certificates are covered by the state only by 80%. That is why today many officers (up to 70%) refuse to take them.

Thus a situation may appear, when majority of the officers and warrant officers will wait for receiving of housing, which is due to them according to the law. This, in turn, will result in growth of expenses for their maintenance. Another personnel problem is connected with retiring of officers and warrant officers ahead of schedule and the relatively low troops manning. According tot he main personnel department of the Defense Ministry, now the average age of the officers and warrant officers, released from the Armed Forces in 1992-1997 is some 37 years. More than 36% of them are younger than 30%. Some 52% of them are junior officers. More than 91% of them had higher military and military-professional education, some 8%- secondary professional education. Women account for not more than 6% of the released servicemen. Among the officers released from the Armed Forces in 1992-1997 some 74% were released ahead of schedule: some 34% were released in connection with the troops reduction, 15%- according to the health condition and family circumstances, the rest- primarily due to unwillingness to continue the military service. The share of warrant officers, released ahead of schedule, was a bit lower (some 62%)..

The biggest number of officers was released ahead of schedule in 1992-1995. In 1997 such officers accounted for some 71% of the total number of released servicemen (in 1995- 82%).

The military commanders point out with alarm that now the Armed Forces lack some 12% of the necessary number of officers and some 20% of warrant officers. Along with this the Defense Ministry’s leadership is concerned about the level of junior officers’ posts manning (70%), especially the lack of junior officers in the Missile and Artillery Forces, Ground Forces, communication troops, automotive units and medical service (75-80%). Majority of the platoon, crew’s commanders posts is still vacant, as well as the posts of deputy companies (batteries) commanders. It is planned to fill these vacancies primarily by the officers, graduating from the Defense Ministry’s higher educational institutions and officers, released during the armed Forces reduction to 1.2 million people, and partially y the officers from the reserve. Along with this the Defense Ministry’s leadership points out that drafting of officers from he reserve for 2 years, as well as enlistment of officers from the reserve to the military service according to the contract, will be used primarily for filling of officers’ vacancies by the specialists, having deficient medical, humanitarian and technical professions. In accordance with presidential decree No. 1702 of December 17, 1997, in 1998 it is planned to draft 5,905 officers from the reserve: 4,163- for Defense Ministry, 932- for the other power ministries. As of April 1 of 1998 691 people were drafted for the Defense Ministry and 15- for the other power ministries. Meanwhile in 1998 the repeated conclusion of contracts by officers and warrant officers will be started. According tot he polls. Some 60% of officers say about their readiness to sign a repeated contract. More than 20% of officers did not make any decision yet. 20% of officers are not going to prolong their contracts. It is possible that in 1998-1999 1/3 of the officers will use their legal right to retire from the military service. Despite the troops reduction, this will negatively influence the Armed Forces manning with officers and warrant officers.

Some serious problems are also connected with reduction of the military higher educational institutions. As is known, at the end of March two days long assembly of the Defense Ministry’s central staff, commanders of the military academies of Moscow and St. Petersburg regions were organized in the Strategic Missile Forces Academy bearing the name of Peter the Great. Defense Minister Igor Sergeev and General Staff chief Anatoly Kvashnin actively participated in the assembly’s work. In the speeches of the assembly’s participants the concern was expressed about the low effectiveness of some military educational institutions. In particular, the Defense Minister pointed out that among 101 higher educational institution of the Defense Ministry only 16 have more than 2,000 students. 64 of them have 1,500 and less students. Just compare: in civil higher educational institutions this parameter amounts to 4,500 on the average.

Sergeev stressed that maintenance of one military higher educational institution is equivalent to expenses for maintenance of one completely manned mechanized infantry division. But such expenses are not completely justified: during the last decade the number of the military schools and academies graduates is gradually declining. In 1997 only 1/3 of the people, who entered the military educational institution, received the lieutenant’s rank. As noted director of the main personnel department of the Defense Ministry colonel general Ilya Panin, the assembly was devoted to development of the main principles and directions of the military education system reforming.. The general said: “Nobody doubts that it is necessary to reform and reduce the military academies and schools. During the present assembly we tried to find the question: how to do this better”.

He drew the attention of the assembly’s participants to the fact that during the military educational institutions reorganization “some 15 schools will be disbanded, many military higher educational institutions will be merged. Thus their number will be reduced by almost 40%. This will be proportionate to the general reduction of the troops”. First of all the military educational institutions will be reduced, having the obsolete material basis and week and low level of intellectual provision. The released property is planned to be used in the interests of fulfillment of the programs for preparation of the youth to the military service. Besides, on the basis of these institutions it is planned to organize a network of colleges.

It was pointed out that the Defense Ministry already composed the list of the military educational institutions, which are subject to disbanding. However the final decision about this, as well as about the fate of the released property, will be made by the government.

In accordance with the Defense Ministry’s suggestions, 14 higher educational institutions an 1 filial branch are subject to reduction in 1998-1999: in 1998- Krasnodar higher military engineering command school of missile forces, Kamyshin higher military engineering-construction command school; in 1999- Omsk higher command school for all Armed Forces branches; St. Petersburg higher command school for all Armed Forces branches, St. Petersburg higher anti-aircraft missile command school, Tomsk higher military communication command school, Achinsk military aviation-technical school, filial of Voronezh higher military aviation-engineering in Borisoglebsk, Kirov military aviation-technical school, Nizhny Novgorod higher anti-aircraft defense missile command school, Ufa aviation school for navigators, Ussuriysk higher military automotive command school, Nizhny Novgorod higher military logistics school, Blagoveshchensk higher tank command school.

This is the general personnel situation in the Armed Forces. The Defense Ministry does not hide its difficulty. Naturally, the Defense Ministry will take all possible measures for solving of the personnel problems of the reformed Armed Forces, both independently and through the other state structures. Much will depend in this sphere upon solving of the problems of material, financial and other kinds of the Armed Forces provision. However this primarily depends not upon the militaries, but upon the country’s authorities. It is the state who is responsible for the reforms (including the personnel ones), carried out in the Armed Forces.

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