|I'm not a grunt, so maybe some of you ground-pounders can correct me, but doesn't this sound similar to our "Unit of Action" stuff? I note that the PLA is also trying to move away from the old communist bloc model of 1/3 officers and 2/3 grunts, and toward a military structure with a sizeable NCO corps doing much of the work, and far fewer officiers. It sucks when the threat actually becomes both technically *and* doctrinally modernized!
Outside View: Russia's new army structure
by Ilya Kramnik
Moscow (UPI) Oct 23, 2008
The Russian army is changing. In addition to troop-size reduction, yet another reform is aimed at fundamentally changing personnel composition and structure, especially within the ground forces.
Until now, despite all recent reforms and cutbacks, the Russian armed forces largely remained a scaled-down version of the Soviet army, which was supposed to lead a full-scale war preceded by a general mobilization. Under present circumstances, however, the probability of such a war is relatively low. In the case of a nuclear conflict, there will be no time for a general mobilization, while a local conflict can be won without resorting to such measures. So what will the Russian military look like after reform?
The main change will be a move from the current vertical chain of command of the Russian armed forces, a military district-army-division-regiment structure, to a military district-operative command-brigade regime, in order to increase efficiency by abolishing redundant elements. Mobile permanent readiness brigades, consisting of battalions, will be capable of operating tactical maneuver groups, either independently or together with other brigades under joint command.
In addition, each military district in the Russian Federation will establish rapid-response brigades that most likely will be formed out of airborne units.
Other important news is the plan to change the personnel composition of the Russian armed forces, including reducing the commissioned officers' numbers from the current more than 400,000 -- more than 30 percent of the current 1.2 million servicemen -- to around 150,000 -- 15 percent of the future 1 million-strong force. The cutback mostly will affect logistics and staff commissioned officers and generals, while the number of first and second lieutenants will increase from 50,000 to 60,000.
A reduction in commissioned officer numbers will be accompanied by a boost in the size of the sergeant corps. The sergeant corps will play a much larger role in the future Russian army. Well-trained and experienced professional sergeants will ensure fast and effective training of privates, both contract soldiers and conscripts.
Although the new military reform is to be finished by 2012, some unofficial sources have told RIA Novosti that the main reduction will take place within the next year.
If this is true, a significant number of discharged officers from the Russian army will have to face the problem of civil readjustment. Official Russian government sources report, however, that the reduction will be done by attrition, by retiring commissioned officers who have exceeded their term of required service. This is difficult to believe, however.
(Ilya Kramnik is a military commentator for RIA Novosti. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.)
(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)