Makarov Briefs the Public Chamber
According to Mil.ru, General Staff Chief, Army General Nikolay Makarov reported to the Public Chamber today as part of its hearings on “The New Profile of the Russian Army: Results, Problems, Prospects.” Here’s a sampling of what he discussed.
According to ITAR-TASS, Makarov said there are 186,400 contract servicemen today, and there will be 425,000 in 2016. Recruiters will work throughout Russia starting next year. Prospective contractees will train for three months before signing contracts. Minimum pay will be 23,000 rubles. Makarov said 2012 will be a test year, and from 2013, 50,000 contractees will be signed up each year.
RIA Novosti printed Makarov’s stark assessment of Russia’s conscript manpower. The General Staff Chief said, of all men liable to conscription, only 11.7 percent can be called up, and 60 percent of them are excluded for health reasons. So, he concludes:
“Therefore we are practically faced with the fact that there is almost no one to callup into the Armed Forces.”
He said Russia’s current mobilization reserve consists of 700,000 ex-conscripts.
Makarov suggested increasing the prestige of military service through a veteran’s preference system. Former soldiers and officers would enjoy a priority in hiring for government service, according to RIA Novosti.
ITAR-TASS quoted Makarov on cuts in military command and control organs. He indicated they’ve been cut by a factor of four — from 51,000 to 13,435 personnel, and this process continues. One-third of C2 organs were disbanded, and the rest reduced in size several times.
He indicated that, when the Defense Ministry’s central apparatus numbered 51,000, it occupied more than 20 buildings in Moscow. The apparat is now in a single building. Other buildings were sold off. But Makarov assured his audience the effectiveness of C2 hasn’t declined because of the reductions.
Regarding the new pay system for officers, RIA Novosti wrote that Makarov said higher pay basically implements the old Order No. 400 on premium pay, but officers will still have the chance to receive extra “stimulus” pay under the new system.
ITAR-TASS printed Makarov’s figures on efforts to get rid of old ammunition. According to the General Staff Chief, at the start of the year, Russia had 119.5 million tons of old munitions to destroy, but now only 7 million. Less than one percent could be dismantled; the vast majority had to be blown up. Makarov indicated the number of ammunition storage sites will drop from 161 at present to about 30.
Makarov defended his past criticism of domestic weapons and equipment by giving more examples where foreign systems are superior to Russian ones (i.e. tanks, MLRS, satellites), according to ITAR-TASS. The general argued for increasing the range and service life of systems as well as providing better protection for soldiers operating them.
RIA Novosti reported Makarov intends to continue pushing for lower prices on arms and equipment the military’s buying. He intimated there will be a “specialized department” for negotiating with producers. He claimed shipbuilding contracts with OSK were concluded on the Defense Ministry’s terms. He added that the military has given Almaz-Antey two years to build two new factories to produce the S-500, according to RIA Novosti.
ITAR-TASS relayed Makarov’s remarks on Russia’s airfields. Makarov indicated Russia has cut from 357 military airfields down to 26 that he describes as meeting world standards. Russia has eight air bases.
He said pilot flight hours are at 90 per year. He said it’s planned to increase them to 130 next year, and then to 220 at some point.
ITAR-TASS and RIA Novosti carried the General Staff Chief’s comments about threats on Russia’s borders:
“Under certain conditions, local and regional conflicts can grow into mass ones with the employment of nuclear weapons.”
“The conflict which could occur in connection with the withdrawal of American troops [from Afghanistan] could lead to a local, regional and even large-scale one. And we have to be ready for it.”