Russian Ministry of Defense 2016 Priorities

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Russian Ministry of Defense 2016 Priorities

Original by Viktor Chemerev published on his nkfedor blog; translated from Russian by J.Hawk

On Tuesday, January 12, the National Defense Control Center (NDCC) held the first meeting of the Armed Forces command staff under the leadership of the Minister of Defense, Army General Sergey Shoygu. The meeting’s agenda concerned MOD priorities for 2016 within the MOD Action Plan through 2020.

At the session’s opening, Minister Shoygu conveyed his holiday best wishes, and wished the participants continued professional success.

“I want to particularly thank our servicemembers in Syria, those who were in combat positions during the holidays, carried out daily missions. I want to note that the well-coordinated work of all senior leadership ensured good order and discipline within the units,” Shoygu noted.

Shifting to the sessions’s agenda, the Minister of Defense stated that “overall 2015 was concluded with good results.”

The minister named a few of them.

A new branch of the Armed Forces, the Military Space Forces, was established through merging the Air Forces and Space Defense Forces.

In the Strategic Rocket Forces, 6 mobile and silo-based Yars ICBM-equipped regiments became operational.

The strategic naval deterrent grew stronger. Permanent readiness forces received two submarine strategic missile cruisers, Aleksandr Nevskiy and Vladimir Monomakh.

The quality of general purpose forces increased.

Ground Forces formed 8 new brigades fo new types.

Over 3,000 training exercises were held.

The Minister of Defense paid particular attention to the question of servicemembers’ social protections, referring them as one of the most important aspects of the Ministry’s activity in the past year.

“We were able to achieve for the first time systemic and plan-based provision of permanent housing to the servicemembers. The matter of base housing has been practically solved. Construction of special objects, housing, and infrastructure continued at a stepped up pace.

Turning his attention to 2016 priorities within the MOD Action Plan through 2020, the minister reminded that “the main direction of military development were defined by the Commander-in-Chief at the MOD Collegium expanded session.”

Shoygu explained that, on the basis of that session, “one should pay particular attention to monitoring and analyzing political-military situation in the world and to reacting to changes in a timely manner.”

It is also crucial to continue Armed Forces rearmament, and to effectively incorporate and operate modern equipment.

“This year we should increase the proportion of modern equipment from 47% to 51%, and raise serviceability from 89% to 93%.”

Shoygu announced that three new divisions will be formed on the Western strategic direction. “This is also one of the most important tasks.”

Plans for 2016 also include finishing construction of military facilities on Arctic islands and of infrastructure on the Kuril Islands.

“Then we will proceed to the second phase of construction and establishing our bases in the Arctic.”

He tasked the command staff with finishing the construction of weapons and munitions storage facilities.

The minister attached special importance to strengthening strategic nuclear forces and implementing military space programs.

With that in mind, the SRF will stand up 5 missile regiments equipped with modern weapons.

“This also demands improvements to the strategic nuclear forces’ support infrastructure, especially submarine bases and long range bomber bases.”

The practice of surprise combat readiness checks with the participation of federal and local government agencies will continue. Such checks will be held in all military districts and branches of forces.

The Minister of Defense specifically discussed the preparations for the Caucasus-2016 strategic command staff exercise.

“Given the complex international military and political situation, the exercise should be used to assess our ability to defend our national interests on the South-Western strategic direction. All troops and forces should work out the problems of effective mutual support when operating in mountainous terrain, considering the increase in the terrorist threat in the region.”

The Minister of Defense also drew attention to the need to strengthen and develop “military cooperation with our allies and friends, especially within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

The minister expressed confidence that the successful implementation of all listed measures will significantly improve the Armed Forces combat power and guarantee the protection of the country’s national interests.

Viktor Chemerev’s Commentary:

1. The fact that the 3 new divisions will be formed on the Western direction indicates that the likelihood of a military confrontation in the center of Europe is quite high. The fact that such plans were made public should not be considered as anything other than a signal to Brussels, Kiev, and Washington.

2. The goal of strengthening the SRF (5 new missile regiments) indicates that the likely future political and military scenarios under consideration include the most drastic ones. And they are preparing to meet them with all due urgency.

3. The mission of constructing “arsenals for storage of weapons and munitions” may, to some degree, include the establishment of supplementary equipment, munitions, and petroleum assembly areas whose purpose would be to support the required rates of advance in the European theater of operations.

4. The Caucasus-2016 strategic command-staff exercise, whose purpose includes addressing “mutual support and effective operations in mountainous terrain, considering the growth of the terrorist threat in the region”, is another demonstration of force to our “partners” who are pursuing their own interests not only in the region but also in Syria. Turkey’s military-political leadership is being given an opportunity to seriously consider what means of  protecting “own interests” would be more appropriate in the current set of circumstances.

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