General of the Army Anatoly Kvashnin, Chief of the General Staff, organized a periodical training for the leadership of military education institutions on June 24-28. The commanders-in-chief of all branches of the Army, commanders of military districts and fleets, chiefs of central departments of the Defense Ministry and representatives of other security ministries will attend the training along with representatives of military high schools.

It should be noted that the Russian Army has organized such a training for the first time over the past few years. Before the General Staff planned to organize the training in late May; however it was postponed because of preparations for state examinations at military higher education institutions.

General of the Army Anatoly Kvashnin delivered a report concerning modern weapons. Colonel-General Nikolai Pankov, Chief of the Central Personnel Department, shared his views on the reform of the military education. His speech concerned the analysis of the first phase of the Federal program for reforming the military education sector.

Ass is known, this document was approved by the government on May 27, 2002. The program is to be realized during two phases (the first phase in 2003-05, and the second phase in 2006-2010). In particular, participants in the periodical training discuss a plan aimed at optimizing the system of military education institutions in Russia and implementing a four-year curriculum. The military has already discussed draft laws aimed at improving the system of military education and a complex of measures aimed at improving instructors’ skills.

Information agencies note that the main topic of the periodical training concerned the discussion of a Plan of optimization of the entire system of military education institutions of the Russian Defense Ministry and other security ministries. It should be noted that such documents have repeatedly been discussed over a ten-year history of the Russian Army. However, most topical problems have not been solved. For instance, the quality and duration of education have remained an open question.

Improvement of the military education system boiled down to training officers at military sub-faculties of civil higher education institutions after 1998, when the network of military institutes halved. To date, spontaneous abolishment and merger of military institutes has been stopped.

Military sub-faculties of some civil universities started an experiment in 2002; these faculties train reserve officers and career officers. The incumbent leadership of Defense Ministry thinks that the experiment will fail because education at military sub-faculties is considered as being inefficient. In the meantime, graduates from military sub-faculties account for around 40% of all platoon commanders. This is a very serious problem for the army. Colonel-General Pankov once stated “such officers resign because they do not consider military service as being prestigious. It’s easy to imagine how this fact affects the quality of combat training…”

Early resignation of young officers is another permanent problem for the army. As is known, 1998 was a critical year for the Armed Forces: 65,000 officers resigned. It should be noted that 37% of officers who leave the Army range in age from 30 to 40 years old. These are the backbone of the Army. Around 80% of officers who have resigned from military units of the Moscow military district this year are people under 30.

Cadets of military education institutions resign from the Army before graduation. According to Pankov, around 19.7% cadets leave the Army (33.1% in 1998). In addition, 1.2% of graduates refuse to serve in the Army (16% in the 1990s).

It should be noted that many promising officers refuse to enter military academies and universities. They fear that they will not have housing and will not be find jobs for their wives. As a result, military academies lack officers. In addition, skilled instructors leave military education institutions.

How does the Defense Ministry plan to solve these problems?

Firstly, the Defense Ministry plans to toughen responsibility for leaving military education institutions.

Secondly, the military plans to increase officers’ money allowances.

Thirdly, the defense minister has give orders to resume training of morale commanders at nine military high schools. Five military high schools will join this project next year. The total number of cadets studying at this faculty will reach 500 people.

Fourthly, the Defense Ministry will take of military instructors. According to Pankov, the Defense Ministry has managed to restore 415 colonel’s positions at military education institutions. The Defense Ministry has decided to pay a bonus for academic degrees from off-budget sources. In December 2002 the collegium of the Defense Ministry gave an order to find money for buying printed products…

In other words, Russia is trying to reform the military education system.