Sunday, February 8, 2015

XLT: In a 'Circle of Foes', Russia Needs to Reinforce Military Capabilities

                                               [translation of Interfax-AVN news article]

February 6, 2015

The main lesson of World War II for Russia was that you must stay sharp and address defense issues systematically, president of the Academy of Military Sciences Makhmut Gareyev told Interfax-AVN.

"The main lesson, in my view, is that the government must address reinforcing our defense consistently and not zig-zag from side to side as happened in 2008-2011. Back then, without any specific scientific basis, we eliminated entire branches of the Armed Forces and military districts, we deactivated tank and joint service commands, and we 'optimized' dozens of military academies, military schools and institutes," Gareyev said.

He noted that today "the military-political situation around Russia is changing dramatically and at nearly lightning speed."

"They are trying to surround us with NATO and U.S. bases and with American BMD. The conflict in southeastern Ukraine could soon degenerate into a large-scale war. Under these difficult conditions, we need not only to focus our military and scientific capacity on fulfilling the 2020 State Armaments Program and stepping up control and personal responsibility for on-time deliveries of new hardware and weapons to the military forces, but also on using modern forms and methods of planning to organize the country's defense," the general observed.

"Incidentally, as far back as five years ago I spoke several times from various podiums about the geopolitical pressure on Russia, primarily from the U.S. Unfortunately, my forewarnings were not heeded even by other veteran military leaders," the expert added.

According to him, "challenges and threats to Russia today are made not only through military means, but also through political, information, and economic means, as well as various sanctions, which each of us has already felt."

"Under these conditions, I feel that it is appropriate that we develop a state plan for strategic deterrence of the most dangerous threats," the general said.

In his opinion, today the status of the defense minister needs to be raised in view of the increased significance of coordination of military and non-military defensive resources at the state level.

"Specifically, to endow the Russian Minister of Defense with powers of a Deputy Supreme Commander-in-Chief not only in wartime, but in peacetime, as well. And to increase the role of the Armed Forces General Staff for more effective coordination in resolving military issues with the country's power structures," the general said.

"An extremely dangerous situation has now developed around Russia. We cannot even dismiss the possibility, under specific conditions, of an outbreak of large-scale military actions. Therefore, we also need to clearly decide on a mobilization aspect, which until recently was the weakest item in our defense system. From the view of ensuring Russia's security, we have never been (perhaps only in the pre-war years) in such a difficult position, in a circle of foes. In order to not find ourselves in the position that occurred in 1941, we have to continuously conduct realistic threat assessments and be concerned about reinforcing our military capabilities and the capabilities of the state," the general said.