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Russia 2019+ Military Doctrine

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Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson, Harold Hoover

The term “Gerasimov Doctrine”, apparently wholly made up Mark Galeotti who, to his credit, owned up to his mistake, has been used by the Western media to the point of obscuring the real work on developing national security doctrines for Russia’s 21st century needs.  In this work, General Valeriy Gerasimov, Chief of General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces, has played a major role. During a recent conference at the Academy of Military Sciences, where Gerasimov delivered the keynote speech, he outlined the national security priorities facing the Russian Federation. This included areas where further theoretical research is necessary to inform the future dimensions of armed forces development.

While Gerasimov’s address dedicated considerable attention to the problem of nuclear deterrence, it also made clear that, in terms of meeting challenges posed by the threat of rapid evolution and expansion of the United States’ strategic nuclear potential, Russia’s symmetrical and asymmetrical responses will ensure the viability of its nuclear deterrent for the foreseeable future. The emphasis appears to be on diversification, and not only of launch platforms but also of delivery vehicles. The problem with the existing force of ICBMs, SLBMs, and bomber-launched ALCMs is that they represent a relatively well-known potential to counter. This means that should the US decide to invest heavily in anti-missile and anti-air defenses, it could defeat Russia’s nuclear deterrent in an all-out war. Moreover, the existence of widespread anti-air and anti-missile networks means that limited escalation using small numbers of offensive weapons might be stopped, forcing Russia to make an “all or nothing” choice—either no escalation at all, or an all-out nuclear strike. Gerasimov’s discussion of a genuinely strategic system such as the Avangard hypersonic glider, Burevestnik global-range cruise missile, and Poseidon underwater unmanned vehicle together with operational-level systems such as the Zircon hypersonic cruise missile and Kinzhal aeroballistic missile, indicates the desire to constitute Russia’s nuclear deterrent on the basis of an array of mutually complementary systems carried by an expanded range of carrier vehicles, including fighter aircraft such as the MiG-31 and attack submarines. Russia’s leadership would thus be able to hold at risk a wide range of leadership and value targets using both conventional and nuclear systems against which it would be extremely difficult to construct a defensive barrier that would be viable in the minds of US decision makers.

Remarkably, the traditional strong suit of the Russian military, namely large-scale land warfare, received relatively little attention in Gerasimov’s speech. Regarding that, he only touched upon the existing reorganization of army-brigade structure into army-division-regiments which are better suited for high-intensity operations. He also discussed the continued equipment modernization and expansion of the volunteer components of the armed forces. There were no indications that the mission of the Land Forces was about to shift from the emphasis on fighting a limited land battle on one of Russia’s many frontiers against a conventional incursion launched with little warning. However, Gerasimov’s concept of defensive action also includes the “strategy of limited actions” in order to safeguard not only Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity but also its interests abroad, including in far-flung theaters of operations such as Syria and possibly even Venezuela. Here, depending on the situation, the strategy calls for the establishment of a forces group led by one of the main branches of forces such as the Land Forces, Aerospace Forces, Airborne Assault Forces, or the Navy, in order to deploy to a remote destination and conduct operations in support of a regional ally. The unveiling of the concept of “strategy of limited actions” indicates that the Syria operation was to a large extent an improvisation, a test-bed for not only weapons but also, and perhaps especially, operational concepts including inter-service cooperation.  While a successful improvisation, the Syria campaign did reveal a number of gaps in Russia’s military capabilities, including the use of unmanned platforms where it clearly lags behind the United States, and also the ability to assess and strike emerging targets in near-real time. The repeated drone swarm attacks on the Hmeimim airbase are a case where Russian forces, while able to defeat the swarms themselves, did not appear able to quickly locate and destroy the source of these swarms. Gerasimov’s address recognized the need for theoretical and practical solutions to these problems, as well as the importance of political and humanitarian factors in the ultimate settlement of the conflict which definitely proved to be the case in Syria, where the adroitness of Russia’s diplomacy and Moscow’s ability to use political and economic levers of influence considerably changed the political landscape of not only Syria, but of the entire Middle East.

The final aspect of Gerasimov’s address that is worthy of attention is the recognition that Russia has less to fear from NATO’s conventional or even nuclear warfare than from unconventional “hybrid” attacks, including information and cyber-warfare, and even direct subversion using a domestic “fifth column”. It is here that Gerasimov made the most extensive request for theoretical research, acknowledging that dealing with such a threat would require close coordination of military, paramilitary, and purely civilian government agencies. What Gerasimov described is essentially the Venezuela scenario. The dispatch of a delegation of some 100 Russian military personnel appears to be intended to provide both a show of support and tangible assistance in the form of advice to the beleaguered Venezuelan government.  However, in view of Gerasimov’s emphasis on theoretical research into dealing with unconventional threats, Venezuela also offers an opportunity to study US methods being used in this undeclared “hybrid” war.  There the United States is, in effect, conducting an experiment in “non-kinetic” warfare using chiefly economic pressure, information operations, and cyberwarfare, in conjunction with what appears to be a rather weak “fifth column”. The apparent lack of use of even proxy armed forces may yet change should the current US strategy fail.

All in all, even though the Russian Federation was able to successfully weather the military and political challenges of the past several years, including the undoubted success in Syria that has considerably enhanced Russia’s prestige not only in the Middle East but all over the world, there was no evidence of complacency in Gerasimov’s address. Instead there was a sense of awareness that this is a crisis which will not be quickly resolved and which will require the ability to rapidly develop and deploy counters to whatever new methods of confrontation Western powers will adopt.

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Vince Dhimos

Thanks for a good analysis. I would wonder, however, about this:

“This means that should the US decide to invest heavily in anti-missile and anti-air defenses, it could defeat Russia’s nuclear deterrent in an all-out war.”

I have never thought that the US or anyone could defeat the hypersonic missiles, incl Avangard and Kinzhal. I might be naive, but I tend to think that stopping a missile travelling at 10 mach or more simply is physically impossible. I think statements by the US military after Putin’s March speech to the General Assembly indicated that they know this. It was none other than CFR president Richard Haass who admitted that the US cannot defeat Russia.

From what I have read about the US response to the Russian wonder weapons, the emphasis seems to be on catching up, ie, developing similar weapons. But this is a big mistake, You can’t stop an incoming offensive missile by developing a similar offensive missile. The US seems to be thinking only about its prestige and is in the same rut as always: finding ways to line the pockets of arms manufacturers and to please voters. Democracy is the biggest impediment to problem solving. It has failed in the area of the economy and is failing in defence,

Rhodium 10

Its more simple..all US power is based in massive cruise missile attacks…well, we have seen that USA needed in Syria to surpasses Pantsir system ring.. 107 cruise missile to hit and damage 3 targets…while in Irak needed 200 to hit and damage more than 50 similar …so How many cruise missile would it need to cause significative damage in Russia?…the other card is the stealth aircrafts…we dont know the capabilities of S-400/500..but if that system can track these aircraft and the itself active radar homing which guide the S-400 missile locate the target…..that card to play doesnt work either!…

Harry Smith

Stealth doesn’t means invisible but low radar profile. Even S-300 can track stealth. The main problem for both USA and Russia now is the F-35 radar signature. At the moment we, Russians, can get the signature, f-35 became useless because all our modern anti-air systems would be able to say for sure that it is f-35 but not GMO pigeon. That’s why USA is so furious about S-400 deal with Turkey and that’s why America would never sell f-35 to Turkey while there are S-300/400 in Syria.

Brian Michael Bo Pedersen

Fully agree with you. Remember that alleged “bird strike” an F-35I had? And the IAF officially said “Our plane got detected, locked and shot at”, wich means that the socalled “stealth”/low observable technology is not working, and when the Japanese F-35 crashed into the sea, the japanese DoD said “…then it dissappeared from our radars”.

chris chuba

Don’t mean to come off as a school marm but the author was actually stating something quite different. Read the following excerpt and tell me can you spot the difference!

“…should the US decide to invest heavily in anti-missile and anti-air defenses, it could defeat Russia’s nuclear deterrent in an all-out war. …Gerasimov’s discussion of a genuinely strategic system such as the Avangard hypersonic glider, Burevestnik global-range cruise missile, and Poseidon underwater unmanned vehicle … indicates the desire to constitute Russia’s nuclear deterrent on the basis of an array of mutually complementary [emphasis on diversification]”


The new generation of Russian wonder weapons fly on unpredictable trajectories, even the Sarmat MIRVs are highly maneuverable rendering any antimissile defenses rather useless. THAAD and SM3 systems are geared up in intercepting weapons flying ballistic trajectories, even with all that, their success rate is marginal at best. Besides their nuclear triad, Russia has nuclear weapons delivered by means that have the ability to fully evade any western countermeasures. In case of a limited nuclear exchange, Russia has quite a few arrows in her quiver, and far greater flexibility than US choices.

Vince Dhimos

I had forgotten about the unpredictable trajectories. Even so, I think the speed of 10 mach and up would make these non-interceptable. I may be mistaken, but I think the US gave up on the use of MIRVs, but the Russian MIRVs make defence even much harder, because the air defences now have maybe 16 incoming missiles to deal with and that should pretty much overwhelm the system.


The idea of THAAD is to intercept the missiles whilst still in the slower boost stage, before the hypersonic warheads detach from the ICBM. That’s why the US locates them close to Russia and China. However I imagine Russia would eliminate them just prior to launch.


The problem with THAAD is it does not have enough range to intercept ICBMs deployed in central Russia or China that have enough strategic depth from its borders, its speed is around 4kms a second, unable to keep up with warheads in their terminal stages of deployment that move a lot faster, and their accuracy is BS.


Pretty good post, with one exception: “Democracy is the biggest impediment to problem solving. It has failed in the area of the economy and is failing in defence” How would we know? What does democracy have to do with the US military-industrial-etc complex? I think you mean “Plutocracy is the biggest impediment to problem solving.”

Vince Dhimos

Let me explain. I am using the accepted WESTERN definition of democracy (which is not democracy): http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/economics-and-finance/vince-on-quora-us-economic-development-hamstrung-by-democracy


The US military has a long history of doing offense and defense has only ever got the financial scraps.

They do the invading, it’s the American way.


The strategic doctrine of power projection for the US since WW2 has been the air power. On the other hand Russia’s counter projection has been the development of reliable and effective surface to air defenses. While US has focused and got fixated on developing aircraft with all kinds of “exotic” capabilities at the expense of other aspects of aerial warfare, Russia refined its surface to air and air to air capabilities.

To make things even worse, since late 20th century with the attack against Yugoslavia, NATO got sold on the idea that air power alone would win all future wars. Today, NATO is facing an unpleasant situation whereby their “exotic” aircraft and SEAD capabilities are succeptible and vulnerable to Russian layered airdefenses and air to air capabilities.

As a result, it can be concluded that any attempt by the US to develop an effective antiballistic missile system and the Aegis air defense system and refinement of the Patriot, is plagued by lack of foundational know how and expertise, subsequently they are not reliable and have a poor historical record.

pappa gone

Now this is the moment of regime change in Usa, attention, REGIME CHANGE not president or parties, the whole world needs to completely wipe out all the assets of american regime, also the leads of army and pentagon must be wiped out. seen americans have not understood their vital existencial needs to have finally peace and prosperity in the whole world

10 mach is super slow compared to photons. Seeing as how the US is employing laser defense systems to be mounted onto Satellites and unmanned drones flying above 50,000 feet. The future is photon warfare. 10 mach is a fraction of the speed of light. All such rockets are already beginning to become sitting ducks in mid air suspended in retrospect compared to the incoming light waves breaking them up in a fraction of a second.

Tommy Jensen

Exactly my point, photons!

Toronto Tonto

Russia has no such weapon , only in cartoon video clips . Putin is just trying to appease his minions .

Tommy Jensen

I recommend both Russia and America to listen to my advices . US is not developing hyper sonics to “keep up” or to use them against Russia, but to attack all other countries than exactly Russia……………………………LOL. Russia cant do a sh.it when US fires hypersonics at Venezuela, Iran and plenty other countries.

Vince Dhimos

Well, perhaps Russia will indeed listen to your advice, You speak Russian of course?


The big picture is that most aircraft and large surface vessels are essentially obsolete. Rocketry, hypersonic missiles, cheap drones – both airborne and submersible – are the future.

Rodney Loder

Most of this report is obsolete, SLBM’s is not far off, that’s not silo launched ballistic missiles that’s space launched ballistic missiles, intercept would have to be almost directly under the target as gravity pulling down is unassailable when in competition with a missile being fired up, and it would have been technically possible for Ronald Reagan to have SLBM platforms in orbit, which was the initial idea behind Star Wars, push back due to MAD (mutually assured destruction) stopped it going ahead.

April 20, 2019 ; Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salmab visits the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos aka Sergei Korolev Space Agency, Sergei would be horrified with what is happening now.

Fascist Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman’s visit is a putrefactive agent affecting Russian history that should be opposed by Russian patriots.

Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman’s visit to observe programs being prepared in partnership with Russian space institutions and agencies is primarily to begin training Saudi astronauts and to expand bilateral cooperation in space and satellite Industries between KSA and the RF.

Russia defected from the Soviet Union because the peripheral member States were holding Russia back economically, this present conflict with the West is solely about who is the best top dog, there is no difference between Trump and Putin except Putin would accept UN adjudication at the moment and Trump won’t , that doesn’t count for much in the future.



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