Reforms that surprise

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There are new ideas in the Defense Ministry. After the ideas of reduction of the quantity of officers, the quantity of military higher educational institutions and abolishment of the institution of warrant officers the Defense Ministry seems to be going to disband the staff of the Air Force. Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) reported this recently. Observer of MK, Olga Bozhyeva, reports that the Air Force may soon to exist as an independent branch of the Armed Forces soon. According to MK, such a plan of reforming is currently cherished by the General Staff. It implies that all armies of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces will be subordinated directly to commanders of military districts on the territories of which they are based and a special department will be organized in the General Staff to command armies of strategic and military transport aviation.

It is possible to believe the author because she has worked on the topic of aviation for a long time and has even served in the staff of the Air Force. It is difficult to say now how expedient this idea of the Air Force reforming actually is. The author of MK recalls the history before the beginning of World War II.

Bozhyeva writes, “before the beginning of World War II, our aviation units were also subordinated to military districts. When at the beginning of the war it was necessary to concentrate forces for an aviation strike at another part of the front, commanders kept aviation in their hands. What for is it necessary to move it to the others’ theater if the combat task of the aviation is defending of borders of its district or front. As a result, aviation bore huge losses and was quickly destroyed. The council of commissars adopted an urgent resolution on the subordination of aviation to the deputy commissar of defense – commander of the Air Force after which the situation started improving.”

Bozhyeva also asks another question: what will be the fate of the special-purpose command, the former Moscow district of Air Defense Forces? According to the information of MK, it is planned to reorganize it into an army and re-subordinate to the Moscow Military District. Just a few years ago when the special-purpose command was only established the General Staff announced with pride that this would be the future base for the aerospace defense of Moscow first and entire country afterwards.

MK asks, “is it true that the General Staff does not need the base for the aerospace defense anymore?”

Possible transformations in the Navy are interesting too. Navy Commander Vladimir Vysotsky said that “five or six aircraft-carrier groups will be organized in the Northern and Pacific fleets in the future.” According to Vysotsky, command of the Navy decided to build not just aircraft-carriers for these fleets but maritime aircraft-carrier systems.

Vysotsky said, “everything should work in a system including aircraft carriers. We have called this maritime aircraft-carrier system that will be based in the Northern and Pacific fleets. The construction of such systems will begin after 2012.” Vysotsky emphasizes that the new maritime aircraft-carrier systems will differ from existing aircraft-carriers and aircraft-carrier groups seriously.

The admiral said, “first, they will act in close interaction with the space cluster.” The aircraft-carrier groups will also operate in close contact with the Air Force and Air Defense Forces. According to him, five or six aircraft-carrier groups may be created. He adds that research and development regarding the first ship is already underway.

Former Commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Eduard Baltin, has told WPS that aircraft-carriers are very vulnerable in the sea. Their production is very expensive. Thus, Russia was right to give them up. It turns out that we return to this idea again. What for?

Russia has not developed a new military doctrine yet but some steps of the military reform are already planned and taken. For what purpose? Why does the Navy staff plan the construction of maritime aircraft-carrier systems? Why is this not done by the Security Council and other bodies responsible for development of conceptual defense documents? There are no answers to these questions yet.

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