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Official website of the President of Russia


Excerpts from the speech of Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov at the expanded meeting of the Defence Ministry Board

March 18, 2011

Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov: Mr President, Colleagues,

The first, most difficult phase of giving our armed forces new features was completed in 2010. The Defence Ministry's activities were aimed at protecting Russia’s national military interests and accomplishing the tasks set by the Supreme Commander in Chief. These were primarily the procurement of new types of arms, providing combat training for the armed forces, social protection guarantees for servicemen, and creating a new military pay system.

I will focus on the main results of the work accomplished. The armed forces have new effective combat strength with one million servicemen, and six military districts have been reorganised into four. Today these are powerful multiservice forces covering strategic directions: south, west, centre and east. The systems of combat readiness and troop command and control, logistics support and troop training have been fundamentally upgraded. The Defence Ministry has divided operational and administrative functions. Two areas of responsibility have been created: first the planning, administration and formation of the armed forces, and, second, support for the activities of the army and navy. Giving our Armed Forces new features also requires a high level of social support for the servicemen, retired military personnel and their families.

* * *

The main focus of the Defence Ministry's activities is the rearmament of the army and navy. In recent years, there have been positive developments in this regard. The supplies of up-to-date arms have increased, and in 2010 their share rose to 15 percent. The army received 27 strategic ballistic missiles, 34 air-based strategic cruise missiles, 6 space vehicles, 21 airplanes, 37 helicopters, 19 surface-to-air missile systems, 61 tanks, and 325 armoured fighting vehicles. In total, the military received 20,000 units of arms and military technology, which served to re-equip 34 military units. 

Last year, the President approved the state arms procurement programme for 2011–2020. More than 19 trillion rubles have been earmarked to implement the programme, which will enable the purchase of the following already in 2011: 36 strategic ballistic missiles, 2 strategic ballistic missile submarines, 20 air-based strategic cruise missiles, 5 space vehicles, 35 airplanes, 109 helicopters, 3 multipurpose nuclear submarines, a naval surface ship and 21 surface-to-air missile systems. By 2016, the armed forces will have a hundred percent of the arms and military equipment required. The share of advanced models will rise to 30 percent.

The Ministry of Defence is continuing to carry out the President's instruction to optimise the system for storing missiles, missile stocks and ammunition. Because of their ageing, 74,000 loads of these potentially explosive items will be destroyed. More than 35,000 loads of missiles, ammunition and explosives will be removed from arsenals located in cities. Work to optimise the system for storing stocks of missiles and ammunition should be completed within two to three years.

According to the President's instruction out-of-date analog equipment must be replaced by digital by 2012, and modern information and telecommunications infrastructure must be put in place. At present 259 armed forces' facilities have been re-equipped along these lines, and by the end of 2011 they will number more than 500. Thus, the instruction will be fulfilled punctually and in full.

A line of sixth-generation radio stations is being developed. This year we will start to deliver portable radios to the troops. In accordance with the President's orders, we will start building an advanced satellite-based communications cluster, which should be completed by 2018.

In the past year we paid a great deal of attention to full-value military training. We conducted more than 2,000 exercises involving practical activities of formations and military units. This is 30 percent more than in 2009. The largest of these were the operational-tactical exercises Vostok-2010. 56,000 troops, more than 10,000 units of military arms equipment, including 170 combat aircraft and helicopters, and 54 warships were involved in these strategic exercises. This year we plan to hold about 3,000 practical training events. The most important of these will be the operational-tactical exercises Centre-2011, involving our allies in the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), and joint exercises between the armed forces of Russia and Belarus, called Cooperation-2011.

* * *

One of the main purposes of the Defence Ministry's activities is to improve the security of the army and navy. In 2010 we created a unified logistics system for supplying troops with arms, military equipment, ammunition, fuel, food, clothing and other effects, and optimised the system for storing stocks of material.

In 2010 we amended the deployment of troops in strategic fields. To improve our mobility and firepower capacities, we created eight bases for army aviation and optimised the airfield network. These eight airbases will replace 33 existing ones, which will allow us to prepare the crews and use airfields more efficiently. At each airbase the number of aircraft will increase by 2.5–3-fold.

* * *

Giving the armed forces new features requires reorganising the system of military education. We have created a Department of Education to address these issues. At present military education is faced with the following challenges.

First, we must provide a new quality of military education, applying common approaches to training in military and civilian institutions.

We propose using specialist training programmes for junior-level officers. To this end, new federal educational standards have been developed for military educational institutions, the best civilian universities, and companies within the military industrial complex. High-ranking officers will be trained through a system of additional professional training. We will create a system of continuing professional education of officers that also provides servicemen with training for every new position.

The second task is to bring the network and capacities of military training institutions into line with existing personnel requirements. As we fulfil this task, the process of consolidating universities will continue.

* * *

An important aspect of the armed forces’ reform is improving the system of troop recruitment. The President of the Russian Federation has approved the Defence Ministry's proposal concerning a new makeup of the armed forces involving 220,000 officers and 425,000 soldiers serving under contract. We consider these changes promising and they are linked with keeping the missile army and four missile divisions effectively operating within the armed forces, as well as increasing the number of units in land-based troops and creating aerospace defence troops.

* * *

The main international legal activities of the Ministry were focused on ensuring the national security of the Russian Federation by non-military means. In April 2010 the Russian Federation and the United States signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on further measures to reduce and limit strategic offensive arms. Russia fulfilled its international obligations by providing peacekeeping forces to UN and EU missions. Positive developments occurred in Russian-Ukrainian military cooperation. According to a bilateral agreement signed last year, the Black Sea Fleet will be stationed in Ukrainian territory for another 25 years. Agreements on the presence of Russian military facilities in Abkhazia, Armenia and South Ossetia were concluded for 49 years.

* * *

The main challenge of the next phase of military reform is to improve the combat capabilities of force groupings in strategic directions. To this end, in 2011 we plan to complete the creation of new units and military installations, three combined arms brigades, one missile brigade, two artillery brigades, seven anti-aircraft missile brigades, nine reconnaissance brigades and three engineering ones. We also plan to create aerospace defence forces, implement a set of measures to improve the readiness of various units to perform combat missions, continue to re-equip the army with modern arms and technology, continue constructing military communities within the new system of troop bases, set up a service housing fund, and improve the system of social protection for military personnel and their families.