The Russian General Staff celebrated its 243rd anniversary on January 25. In this regard, General of the Army Yury Baluyevsky published an article in Krasnaya Zvezda and presented his view on the problems of military construction in the Russian Federation. The article is called the General Staff and the Tasks of Military Construction.
Baluyevsky proposes to give up the principle of symmetry in the military construction sector. This means that Russia should not focus on ensuring qualitative parity with the potential enemy and build its Army on the principle of asymmetry. The general’s logic is clear. Russia’s military potential is inferior to NATO. In addition, its military budget is lower than defense spending in China or India.
The general stated that Russia must maximize the efficiency of using weapons and military hardware in the circumstances of limited financial resources. However, this is not a new principle. The post-Soviet history of the Russian Armed Forces testifies that its development was always hindered by money shortages.
Baluyevsky thinks that Russia can ensure its defense despite these circumstances. He stated that immediate military threats to Russia are rather weak. However, the factor of uncertainty remains, which makes it necessary to develop new requirements to the security system. Baluyevsky outlined the main tasks in his article. These tasks should be solved by means of qualitative development of all forces. These tasks are aimed at identifying exterior and interior threats to territorial integrity and political independence. In addition, they are linked with strategic and regional containment of aggressions; conditions for economic activities; protection of the border; prevention of terrorist acts; prevention of environmental, technogenous and emergency situations.
Baluyevsky announced the priority tasks of military construction, which will become topical in the near future. What are these priority tasks?
Firstly, “Russia must retain the sufficient potential of the nuclear force in order to ensure strategic and regional containment”. Baluyevsky uses the term “regional containment” for the first time. This means that the Russian defense Ministry consider it possible to use nuclear weapons against neighboring countries. To all appearances, the matter concerns tactical nuclear weapons.
Secondly, the matter concerns the development of the Air Force, anti-aircraft and space defense systems. To all appearances, the analysis of the Iraq war and the US’ intention to create its own anti-missile system encouraged Russia to developing its Air Force and the Space Force.
Thirdly, Baluyevsky thinks that “qualitative modernization of the Armed Forces and cuts to the mobilization reserve” is another important task. The general mentioned cuts to the mobilization reserve for the first time. The mobilization resources always were “the sacred cow” in the USSR and Russia. At present, Russia wants to give up its principle. This testifies that the General Staff is sure that global wars do not threaten Russia.
Fourthly, military construction will boil down to the development of military units on duty, reconnaissance, communication and electronic warfare units. This task is not new for the Russian Army. However, Russia has not realized it due to money shortages. In the meantime, Baluyevsky does not have illusions.
The general noted, “It should be noted that modernization of the military organization is a very difficult task, which requires substantial funds.”
In other words, there are new trends and principles in the development of Russia’s military organization. Their realization will probably necessitate launching a fundamental reform in the Army. This information was announced by the media but the General Staff always disproved such reports. In the meantime, Baluyevsky’s article testifies that such moves are possible.