This week General-Lieutenant Vladimir Chirkin spoke to Krasnaya zvezda about several things. Recall that Chirkin is acting commander of the troops of the ‘Combined Strategic Command of the Red Banner Central Military District.’ He has been commander of the SibVO until now of course.
His interview brought two things immediately into focus. First, it appears that OSKs will actually be unified or combined strategic commands rather than ‘operational-strategic commands.’ Either way the acronym is OSK. But combined strategic command connotes a couple significant things. They may really unify all armed services and branches on their territory for warfighting. Second, they are beyond the ‘operational-strategic’ level of warfare; they are intended to be strategic.
In this interview, Chirkin was asked and talked at length about the scale and scope of Vostok-2010 in Siberia, as well as the performance of his troops in the exercise.
Asked about the formation of the four new OSKs, Chirkin provided a short dissertation on why the Armed Forces command and control system is being overhauled:
“Recently the Russian Federation adopted a new National Security Strategy and Military Doctrine. The Defense Ministry and General Staff put amendments in these documents. Possible threats of wars and conflicts, basic forms and capabilities for fulfilling strategic missions were determined. The National Security Concept of the Russian Federation proposes that the state could encounter real and potential threats. I won’t reveal all the subtleties, but I will say one thing – the new system of command and control is being created accounting for the realities of the current time and changing international situation, so the state can independently confront possible threats to its security and the security of its allies, and achieve strategic goals.”
“Such a decision was predicated on the realities of our times and repeatedly thought over by both the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the country’s leadership. Reforming the system at all levels is the basis of military reform. In a word, this decision strengthens the preceding results and gives the process a new turn.”
Chirkin says the formation of his new OSK is not interfering with planned combat training at the brigade level and below.
He says there shouldn’t be any concern about excess officers in his command:
“Officers who meet all requirements and wish to continue serving will be appointed to positions. Firstly, the Combined Strategic Commands in Yekaterinburg and Khabarovsk [i.e. Eastern Military District] will require supplements of several hundred officers ready to serve in their directorates, departments, and services. You understand the territories and quantity of troops are increasing. And this means professional-administrators will be needed, and there are not just a few of these among SibVO officers.”
“Secondly, in Chita a combined arms army will be formed. Officers and civilian personnel will also be required there. Besides, in Transbaykal, several more formations and units will be formed, which must make up a large formation [i.e. объединение, an army]. And this, you understand, is hundreds more officer positions. The main thing is an officer should be a qualified specialist, a master of his trade and have the desire to continue serving.”
Recall in early June, General Staff Chief Makarov told the Federation Council three new armies comprising six brigades would be formed, and so it looks like Makarov’s old home, the erstwhile SibVO, and its massive territory in its new Combined Strategic Command of the Central Military District incarnation, will receive two of the new armies. Look for generals with a strong SibVO pedigree to command them. No indication of where Makarov’s third new army will appear. The Eastern Military District might be a good bet.
As a postscript, Chirkin noted that the SibVO has gotten 4,500 apartments to distribute to dismissed or retired officers.