What Is the Russia’s National Defense Control Center? How It Works?

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What Is the Russia's National Defense Control Center? How It Works?

Originally appeared at Rusplt, translated by Mikhail Alexandrovich exclusively for SouthFront

The National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation marks the 1 year anniversary of combat readiness.

On December 1st 2014 combat duty began at the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation, located in the building complex of the Defense Ministry on Frunze Embankment. Introduced a year ago, the structure is the successor to the Central command post of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The order for the establishment of the center was issued by President Vladimir Putin on the 10th of December 2013.

The decision on the formation of the Center for Defense was adopted to improve the system of command and control and economic sector of the country. The structure is required for the operational coordination of 52 federal executive authorities and three state-owned corporations involved in defense. At that the center does not duplicate the functions of the General Staff, which is primarily responsible for strategic planning.

What Is the Russia's National Defense Control Center? How It Works?

National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation, photo: Anton Novoderzhkin / TASS

“This is our brain”

Based on available data, the National Center for Defense – It is a primarily info-analytical framework that can be used for the benefit of the Supreme Commander, General Staff and other units of the Ministry of Defense. The resources of the center may be utilized for a variety of purposes, ranging from the organization of celebrations and ending large-scale military operations.

The Defense Center is a akin to a clock mechanism that is primarily engaged in the collection and processing of information in Russia and across the world. Last year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the the following regarding the center: “This deeply integrated control system of the Armed Forces, is a modern General Headquarters. It is our brain.”

Valeri Gerasimov, Chief of Staff, reflected on the operational nature of the center, slightly lifting the lid on tight military secrecy. The military commander revealed a little of how work is arranged at the Center. Acording to Gerasimov, the on duty personnel report to him 20 – 25 times a day. The reports – prepared by the center’s analysts – outline specific immediate actions that must be taken in response to various situations. Gerasimov then makes the decisions on how to proceed – if need be with input from the Minister of Defense.

“The presence of such a framework minimizes the time of decision-making for an adequate response to the situation, whether it is something being behind schedule in construction or unfriendly actions against the sovereignty of the Russian territories … We have redistributed the center of the tasks that require a continuous cycle performance, and set the rules for information exchange and interaction.” – said Gerasimov.

The National Center for Defense operates around the clock thanks to the operatives on duty at all levels from tactical to strategic. Employees carry out combat duty in specially equipped rooms, which are equipped, according to the General Staff, with the most modern means of communication and automation.

“It is important that the structure of the operational duty shifts and maintenance of the center’s activities do not change when transitioning from peacetime to wartime. The volume of information changes, the intensity of it’s analysis and preparation for the reports increases. The tried and true systems in place at the center continue to work in any circumstance or situation.” – Added Gerasimov.

It has been reported in the mass media that On duty personnel are stationed at various locations around the country, from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka. Their function is to collect data on the military-political situation and to send them to Moscow. The information all flows into the center and includes information on developing events and updates on how the orders are being carried out.

What Is the Russia's National Defense Control Center? How It Works?

National Control Center of Defense. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky / RIA News

Supercomputer

The structure of the Center is not known. The General Staff revealed few details, that of a control center of the strategic nuclear forces, command and control, and the Center for the Control Center of daily activities, the remaining divisions are classified as “Secret”.

The technical work of the center is done by a supercomputer, or rather several networked supercomputers located in various data centers around Russia. The machine analyses data from mass media and social networks, and is able to analyse data from 6 languages. The supercomputer is also used to simulate wars and combat operations.

The Defense Ministry reported that their ‘miracle of computing’ has far superior performance, and is well ahead of any overseas analogues, including those at the Pentagon.

The Domestic supercomputer system has a storage capacity of 236 petabytes, performance of the machine is 16 petaflops, and information processing speed – enough to process 50 Lenin Libraries in a second. For comparison, the volume of the US computer hard disk 12 petabytes, and its capacity is up to 5 petaflops.

The results are evident.

In 2013, when information of the impending opening of the Center for Defense became known, military experts began heated discussions about the need for such a body. Experts pointed out that the structure of the Armed Forces General Staff already had the Central Command Center and Situation Center of the Defense Ministry.

Military analyst Dmitry Litovkin called the questioning of new military initiatives a useful practice: “If it were not for the critics and the skeptics, the National Center have not achieved such results. The Ministry of Defense recently began to pay attention to public opinion and evaluations of their activities.”

“Today we can say that the results of the Center and the need for its creation are beyond doubt. When it all started, it was hard to imagine the scale of change on the technical side and of the organization of the Center for Defense ” – said Litovkin assuredly.

According to him, the main advantage of the Center is that collected under one roof of a building on Frunze Embankment are top-class experts from many different specializations. “Shoigu sits next to many leaders of different generations and perspectives, next to troops that can give their proposals to the situation”, – said the analyst.

Thanks to this Center, the number of steps in the process to issuing orders has dropped significantly. It means an increase in efficiency of management. Information is received from the media, from ships and aircraft carrying duty is far outside Russia – all in one place. This system allows you to make decisions instantly.” – Underscored Litovkin.

The establishment of the National Center for Defense was definitely the right decision by Vladimir Putin. Defense Ministry managed to solve the issue of creating a national supercomputer and automated command and control system. The process of creating the Center for Defense was launched in a relatively quiet time. But the current military-political situation has fully proved the need for such a structure.

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