Author Topic: Russia in the 21st Century [Superthread]  (Read 276433 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #725 on: April 09, 2017, 18:50:18 »
I disagree with your disagreement. Your "little green men" will infiltrate into the baltics if it is what Russian strategy desires whether they are there are not. The Russians are well aware that those nations are in NATO and are well aware of what any sort of hostile action towards a baltic nation would mean.

Good.  We are in agreement then.  We disagree.  [:D
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #726 on: April 09, 2017, 22:22:51 »
No, Russia won't send a Division into Estonia guns blazing.

Yes, Russia will/may undercut the Estonian government by supporting legitimate opposition parties with policy differences, Estonian businesses opposed to government tax or employment plans, Ethnic Russians, criminal elements, supportive foreigners, activities in international fora like OSCE and the UN, media and television, social media, economic actions and anything else that will destabilize the situation.  Ultimately they will seek an opportunity to exploit any opening that comes their way. 

That exploitation could mean "little green men" and/or "division" invited by the opposition or an elected government or just to "stabilize" a "failed state" on its border, or with a mandate from the UN Human Rights Committee.

This is absolutely the MO of Hybrid Warfare, and it can escalate into Direct Action, such as kidnapping people (like the Estonian customs officer taken at the border and then charged with Espionage when inside Russia), as well as threats like cyber war impeding communications and utilities operations. Hybrid warfare, like Chinese "Unrestricted Warfare" is deliberately designed to be ambiguous, non attributable and limit the possibilities of retribution, so there is a possible argument against using our resources to send a battlegroup to Latvia. The question then becomes what, exactly, are we going to do?

Sitting on our hands is not an option, but Canada's "soft power" is laughably small (the only people who say the world wants more Canada are Canadians), we have very limited alternative enablers like Cyber, IA, economic warfare or other non traditional means, so even a small application of Hard Power in the right place to send a massage of resolve both to the Russians and the Baltic Republics may be the best we can do for the moment. Resolve in the face of ambiguity may well be one of the better counters to Hybrid Warfare.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Bird_Gunner45

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #727 on: April 10, 2017, 01:03:33 »
This is absolutely the MO of Hybrid Warfare, and it can escalate into Direct Action, such as kidnapping people (like the Estonian customs officer taken at the border and then charged with Espionage when inside Russia), as well as threats like cyber war impeding communications and utilities operations. Hybrid warfare, like Chinese "Unrestricted Warfare" is deliberately designed to be ambiguous, non attributable and limit the possibilities of retribution, so there is a possible argument against using our resources to send a battlegroup to Latvia. The question then becomes what, exactly, are we going to do?

Sitting on our hands is not an option, but Canada's "soft power" is laughably small (the only people who say the world wants more Canada are Canadians), we have very limited alternative enablers like Cyber, IA, economic warfare or other non traditional means, so even a small application of Hard Power in the right place to send a massage of resolve both to the Russians and the Baltic Republics may be the best we can do for the moment. Resolve in the face of ambiguity may well be one of the better counters to Hybrid Warfare.

Understood (though this sounds like 4GW, which absolutely is not a thing). It belies the point that deploying a BG to stretch our already stretched resources, is futile in the face of the threat. Assets such as EW, cyber warfare, etc woudl be more appropriate. I dont believe that the Russians care that Canada has sent troops to the baltic nor do I believe that it has any affect other than providing a good training opportunity.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #728 on: April 10, 2017, 06:35:24 »
... It belies the point that deploying a BG to stretch our already stretched resources, is futile in the face of the threat ...
And convince enough NATO & allied governments of this, and Russia has checkmated without needing to deploy divisions ...
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Offline Rifleman62

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #729 on: April 10, 2017, 09:47:58 »
Thucydides:
Quote
Sitting on our hands is not an option, but Canada's "soft power" is laughably small (the only people who say the world wants more Canada are Canadians (Liberals)..........
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Offline GR66

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #730 on: April 10, 2017, 13:15:35 »
Deploying traditional military forces has more of a political objective than a military objective.  It reassures our host allies (and other nearby allies) that we are willing to meet our treaty obligations to defend their territory by putting some of our forces in the potential direct line of fire of the enemy.

At the same time is serves to fairly clearly set the upper limit of what Russia can do in the area.  Annexation or direct military action is effectively off the table, unless things get to the point where they are willing to face all out war with NATO.

The trick then is not being pressured into wasting our militarly resources on political deployments which serve to limit our actual military capability.  The deterrent force only really needs to be symbolic.  Just large enough to provide the political deterrent to a Crimea-style fait accomplit annexation and halt but not so large that the forces themselves could be used to Russian political means (targets for pro-Russian protests, being seen as "occupation" forces, etc.).

That should (hopefully) leave us (the "collective" us) enough resources to provide the kind of resources which could counter Russian non-conventional actions.

Does that maybe raise the question of how we should organize our military forces in general?  If small conventional forces are enough to shape the types of conflicts we can expect in known hot spots, then should the bulk of our remaining forces be organized in such a way to be most effective in unexpected situations/locations rather than as additional conventional forces designed to augment our already deployed forces against a conventional attack that is unlikely?


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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #731 on: April 10, 2017, 13:25:23 »
Russia won't use force if facing NATO;  I guess that depends on how strong and effective you see NATO as.
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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #732 on: April 21, 2017, 13:48:27 »
Russia won't use force if facing NATO;  I guess that depends on how strong and effective you see NATO as.

Considering Europes energy dependence on Russia, I would much more expect to see Russia play that card.
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #733 on: April 21, 2017, 14:38:55 »
Anyone here follow the Elbe Group?

http://www.belfercenter.org/elbe-group/overview-elbe-group

Interesting reading.

Regards
G2G

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #734 on: April 21, 2017, 17:19:51 »
Anyone here follow the Elbe Group?

http://www.belfercenter.org/elbe-group/overview-elbe-group

Interesting reading.

Regards
G2G

Never heard of them before, but thanks for sharing. 
The only time you have too much gas is when you're on fire.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #735 on: April 21, 2017, 17:33:50 »
Never heard of them before, but thanks for sharing.

Likewise.  Thanks G2G.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #736 on: April 22, 2017, 21:05:06 »
On the resurgence of Russian Naval power. Notably this is consistent with Russian History dating back to Peter the Great, so once again, the lessons of history are available to whoever is willing to look for them:

https://warontherocks.com/2017/04/russia-a-land-power-hungry-for-the-sea/

Quote
Russia: A Land Power Hungry for the Sea
Tom Fedyszyn
‎18‎/‎04‎/‎2017

Trying to understand the military behavior of nations has been a hobby of Western academics, beginning with the great geopoliticians of former centuries, such as Nicholas Spykman, Sir Halford Mackinder, and Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan. Simply, the argument is that geography demanded that insular and coastal nations such as England, Japan, and the Netherlands develop strong navies to support their national economic and political interests. Conversely, Germany, the Turkish Republic, and the Roman Empire were required to use their formidable land armies to defend and expand their territories. Russia stands out as a one-off. Situated squarely on the borders of Eastern Europe and central Asia, she endured numerous land assaults, and, accordingly built large defensive and offensive land armies. However, in fits and starts, she has also assembled naval forces equal to or greater than most of her presumptive adversaries. Why does Russia, a traditional land power, engage in such counterintuitive and unique behavior? Do recent international events shed light on Russia’s future naval activities?

When Tsar Peter the Great embarked on building a navy 330 years ago, he did so to defend the homeland from Swedish and Turkish enemies, north and south, while at the same time buying Russia a seat at the “great power” diplomatic table. Serendipitously, his navy did enable him to expand Russian boundaries and give him access to the world’s oceans. A second noteworthy Russian foray into the sea was at the height of the Cold War when Soviet Adm. Gorshkov planned and built a naval force that rivalled American supremacy at sea. His submarines alone (385) outnumbered those of the NATO Alliance and they regularly patrolled off the American Atlantic and Pacific coasts until the fall of the Soviet Union. On the surface of the oceans, it was commonplace for U.S. warships visiting exotic ports around the world to be joined by their Soviet counterparts throughout the Cold War.

All this ended abruptly with the implosion of the Soviet Union. The Soviet 5th Eskhadra ingloriously slipped out of the Mediterranean in the dark of night once it was determined that there wasn’t enough money left in the Kremlin’s coffers to sustain its operations in late 1989. Russian ballistic-missile submarines gradually reduced their Atlantic Ocean patrols until they reached zero in 2001.

Almost as quickly as the Russian Federation Navy vanished, it reappeared. A convenient benchmark for this turnaround is 2008, since a number of factors began to congeal. First, the Russian military (including its navy) performed deplorably while defeating hapless Georgia in a short war of annexation. This incited the Putin-Medvedev team to spur Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov to reform the defense establishment. He mimicked U.S. initiatives to become more professional and “joint.” Additionally, he also addressed the training, morale, and recruit quality in the Russian navy, since it was equally unsatisfactory. Second, the price of oil (Russia’s only meaningful export commodity) began to skyrocket, filling Russian pockets with vast reserves of discretionary resources.  Third, and finally, Putin and Medvedev decided to invest much of this money building a bigger and better military, and the Russian navy got more than its fair share of the 10-year building plan.

Today, we once again are being treated to witness a land power whose sea power switch has been reactivated. For instructive purposes, let’s take a close-up look at Russia’s Syria interlude: The Russian navy had awakened from its Rip Van Winkle-like 20-year sleep and in 2013 re-established a “permanent flotilla” in the eastern Mediterranean, serviced by all four of its major fleets (Northern, Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific). After the Obama administration’s “red line” pronouncement on Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons, only this Russian naval force was in position to escort the vessels carrying Syrian chemical weapons to their ultimate destruction. The world acknowledged Putin’s diplomatic lead on this navy-enabled initiative. Then, Russia’s air force required additional air defense and communications support in its operations in support of the Syrian regime. The Russian permanent naval flotilla obliged. The Russian air campaign was then augmented by the arrival of Russia’s only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, last fall. Finally, in an act that surprised and impressed most of the world, the Russian navy launched multiple long-range Kalibr cruise missiles on so-called terrorist positions in Syria from both small Buyan-M patrol boats in the Caspian Sea as well as similarly small Kilo-class diesel submarines in the Mediterranean. Perhaps of greatest importance, Russia provides virtually all of its logistical support for its Syrian operation with logistic ships operating from the Black Sea and escorted and defended by the naval flotilla, enroute to its base in Tartus, Syria.

Worldwide, the Russian navy has made equally impressive gains, particularly in view of its low starting point in the 1990’s. Operating jointly with the Russian Air Force, there is no point on the Russian periphery where a foreign military can now operate with impunity. This is most obvious in Russia’s northern reaches where she has militarized the Arctic with a vengeance. This initiative is led by the Russian Northern Fleet, which has once again begun deploying submarines into the North Atlantic in great numbers. Given the political focus caused by Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and expansion of its base in Sevastopol, the Russian navy has also been rushing new frigates and submarines to the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Former head of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, Admiral Mark Ferguson, has described this as Russia’s “Arc of Steel” from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea, vaguely reminiscent of the Churchillian Iron Curtain.

What lessons might we learn about the future behavior of this land power with a hefty appetite for maritime power? Does the United States have reason for concern as it, too, launches naval cruise missile strikes into Syria, with the well-armed Russian navy observing on the sidelines?

From the perspective of the United States and its allies, the current status of the Russian navy offers both comfort and consternation. On the plus side for the West, irrespective of how much money Russia throws at its navy, no serious analyst thinks that the Russian navy can contend for control of the world’s oceans. This is eminently logical because the Russian fascination with the sea does not rest on economic necessity. Moscow never had, and still today does not have, an economy that is dependent on global trade, much less one that demands control of the seas. In addition, Russia’s stark inability to build large ships (think, aircraft carriers) ties its hands in any attempt at blue water sea control and power projection. Plus, it goes unsaid that the Russian economy is always at risk. Continued stagnation in Russian GDP growth probably is the death knell of expanding its navy.

Nonetheless, Putin’s navy continues to perform the missions outlined by Peter the Great, which should begin to offer a stew of comfort mixed with consternation. First, defense of the homeland. The Russian navy’s principal focus is on real estate close to the Russian border. Most of its operations and exercises are in waters adjacent to Russia. Think of it as high firepower potential but limited range. This, however, is comforting only if you are not a NATO member in Eastern Europe near the Russian border. Russia’s resumed deployment of ballistic missile submarines in the Atlantic could be unnerving, but is more readily construed as defense of the homeland, since these submarines, more than ever, will constitute Russia’s second strike – that is, deterrent — capability. Tsar Peter’s secondary consideration – gaining international diplomatic respect and recognition – continues to be supported by Russian Navy port visits and exercises around the world. In recent months, Russian ships have visited Namibia, the Philippines, South Africa, and the Seychelles and also conducted fleet exercises with the Indonesian and Chinese navies. While Putin has lost no ground to Peter the Great, this activity need not keep us awake at night.

Now, for the anxiety. The Russian naval mission appears to have quietly expanded to become a vehicle to sell sophisticated weaponry. Witness the salability of the Kalibr cruise missile and the Improved Kilo-Class diesel submarine, highlighted by its recent combat performance in Syria. Weapons exports follow behind the sales of petroleum products as the leading source of Russian foreign exchange. This may be of minimal concern, but even strategically important and friendly nations can unwittingly become client states as they realize weapons systems purchases addict the purchaser to follow-on supply, repair, and support contracts. Think India.

Of even greater concern is that Russia’s navy is now conducting military operations (Syria) some distance from its borders and it can apparently shoot straight. The U.S. Navy has learned over history that there is no alternative in learning to “fight the away game” than by sending naval forces beyond their security umbrella and forcing them to learn how to operate without an umbilical cord to fleet headquarters. This has never been a strong point of the Russian navy in the past. Also, should Russian national strategies be taken seriously, we might anticipate seeing the development of maritime hybrid warfare in the eastern Mediterranean, so well-perfected by Russian ground forces in Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Perhaps the greatest and most serious concern is Russian national security decision making, concentrated in Vladimir Putin. He sure seems to love his navy. For unscientific proof, Google him and note the frequency with which he dons nautical fashion (hint: somewhat less often than bare-chested bear riding). At a recent press conference, he boasted that Admiral Kuznetsov’s deployment to the Mediterranean was his “personal initiative.” Based on the frequency with which he attends naval events and dresses in its uniforms, it is not unreasonable that he has a special affinity for his fleet. Further, he is a risk taker, known to overplay weak hands – and get away with it. And, finally, he is a judo master, fashioning himself along the lines of a navy destroyer: sleek, lean, lethal, vicious, stealthy and a very impressive sight to witness.


Tom Fedyszyn is Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. A retired Navy captain, his military assignments included command of a cruiser and naval attaché to Russia. The views expressed here are his own and do not represent those of the U.S. Naval War College, the Department of the Navy, or any part of the U.S. government.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #737 on: April 22, 2017, 22:29:51 »
And keep in mind that Russia is investing heavily in its leased (just renewed in JAN 2017, until 2066) base in Tartus, Syria.  Additoinally, it seems they are looking to increase the ship-handling capability significantly.

People would do well to try and appreciate why the Russian's will be very protective of the Regime in Syria.  They essentially took Crimea because the extant Ukrainian Government significantly changes its position regarding Sevastopol; no reason to think Syria would be the other exception for Russian Naval bases outside of Russia.

:2c:

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #738 on: April 24, 2017, 20:48:06 »
Russia supporting the Taliban:  don't believe it until both the Russians and the Taliban* deny it.

More here (via Google News)

* - If you don't want to click on a Taliban page, full statement also attached.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #739 on: May 01, 2017, 12:26:09 »
Russia having difficulty keeping troop numbers up.

More foreigners.  More PMCs. More forced conscripts.

Quote
APRIL 24, 2017
Russia’s Desperation for More Soldiers Is Taking It to Dark Places
BY VALENTYN BADRAK, LADA ROSLYCKY, MYKHAILO SAMUS, AND VOLODYMYR KOPCHAK

Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine and intensive military operations in Syria have caused a very big problem: a shortage of qualified people to man its occupation forces. This personnel gap, caused by permanent, heavy losses suffered by Russia’s forces, has drastically changed the scale and character of its military missions.

At the early stages of the conflicts, this shortage of qualified military personnel was corrected by recruitment from the Army Special Operations Forces, the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Foreign Intelligence Service, and other special services. But now, to fill this gap further, Russia has moved to employ private military companies (PMC), expand its recruitment base, and punish contract soldiers for refusing to partake in its illegitimate operations.

To date, information about Russian PMCs remains limited. At least ten PMCs exist in Russia; some operate outside its jurisdiction. Following the Kremlin’s September 2015 intervention in Syria, about 1,500 Russian mercenaries arrived from the Russian PMC “Wagner,” which is linked to operations in Ukraine, where the group is known as “The Cleaners” in areas controlled by Russian and Russian-backed forces. Soviet fighters of the PMC “Malhama Tactical,” with mainly Uzbek and North Caucasus roots, have been noted as forming the first jihadist PMC with a “distinct niche between the worlds of professional PMCs and jihadi groups operating in Syria.”

To further expand its contracted recruitment base, the Kremlin has also amended the recruitment process for Russian conscripts, military reservists, stateless persons, and foreign nationals. Recruitment of Russian citizens for contracted military service is facilitated by the legislative package “On the Introduction of the Draft of Federal Law on Amendments to the Federal Law on Conscription and Military Service,” which passed on October 14, 2016. It enabled short-term missions for contracted recruitment of Russian conscripts and reservists.

Previously, the first military contract with the rank of soldier, seaman, sergeant, or sergeant-major was to be signed for two or three years. Positions with the rank of warrant officer, sub-officer, or officer stipulated five years. Now, these categories are allowed to sign for a term of "between six months and one year" in the cases of “disaster relief or efforts related to a state of emergency, restoration of the constitutional order, and other extraordinary situations, or to take part in collective measures to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

Importantly, the amendments are further justified by “changes in the military and political situation, and intensified activity of international terrorist organizations,” resulting in “the necessity for increasing of mobility of troops (forces), the creation of combined and irregular detachments, and their expedited staffing by contract servicemen, to quickly accomplish short-term yet crucial missions related to participation in peace support operations and operations to fight against terrorist and extremist organizations.” The amendments were signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on December 28, 2016.

These amendments enable Russia to rapidly deploy and use a large invasion and occupation army, under the pretext that the detachments are carrying out “peace support operations” and “fighting against terrorist and extremist organizations.” In effect, they legalize the unlawful recruitment of conscripts for “short-term tours of duty” to Ukraine as contract soldiers.

Significant changes have also been made to the procedure for contracted recruitment and service in the Russian Armed Forces for stateless persons and foreign nationals. On January 2, 2015, a presidential decree amended the “Provision on the Procedure of Military Service” to facilitate the contracted participation of stateless persons and foreign nationals in the Russian Armed Forces; the adoption of Russian citizenship is not required. This includes active service and operations abroad.

The low quality of life, high unemployment rates, and Russian military bases in Central Asia and the Caucasus region make the CIS a fertile recruiting ground. Importantly, the territories of other separatist regions fomented by the Russian Federation (i.e., Crimea, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Transnistria) also contain Russian military bases and equipment, and may also deliver fresh recruits. Russian-speakers in Western Europe, the Middle East, or North America may be willing to join; but with payment and social benefits well below international standards, they are likely to come from fringe groups. Russian experts estimate that twenty-five million Russian speakers could be recruited from abroad.

Such foreign recruits may be used as part of Russia’s neo-imperial policy and hybrid war waged through illegal armed formations, which could, at any point, turn into an open, armed aggression of the Russian army. A real and serious threat lies in the recruitment and training of foreign individuals by Russian special services for use in extremist or terrorist groups and activities. The increase of this risk can be seen in the growing number of Russian and CIS militants actively participating in extremist and terrorist acts by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

High casualty rates in the Russian military have also resulted in widespread avoidance of tours to the Ukrainian border. Between 2014 to mid-2015, the most avoided appointment was service in the 12th Reserve Command of the Russian Armed Forces, in Novocherkassk, Russia, which was created to “officially deploy” Russian military servicemen (under concealment) to Ukraine. Servicemen who try to avoid serving there have found themselves on the receiving end of the Russian government’s repressions. Russian courts fast-track resolutions to discharge and convict them, at times under threat of sentencing to penal colonies.

Employing PMCs, recruiting foreigners, and forcing servicemen to fight in illegitimate wars and follow unlawful orders may be categorized as war crimes. In addition to creating military advantages and cutting costs, Russia’s leadership may also be facing criminal liability for its decision to initiate armed aggression with the use of unlawful forces in Ukraine and Syria. The best evidence of such a course of events is the experience of leaders from former Yugoslavia, whose aggressive Balkan wars and ultra-nationalistic policies landed them as war criminals at the International Tribunal in The Hague.

Valentyn Badrak is the Director the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies; Lada Roslycky is a soft power security expert and strategic communications adviser to government and nongovernmental institutions, including DCAF; Mykhailo Samus is the Deputy Director for International Affairs at the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies; and Volodymyr Kopchak is the Deputy Director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies.

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/ukrainealert/russia-s-desperation-for-more-soldiers-is-taking-it-to-dark-places
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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #740 on: May 01, 2017, 12:37:24 »
And as a result - Pre-emption

Quote
APRIL 27, 2017

The Unsettling View From Moscow
Russia's Strategic Debate on a Doctrine of Pre-emption

By Alexander Velez-Green
 
A rising number of Russia’s senior military strategists are advocating for the adoption of a doctrine of pre-emption for the defense of their nation. This doctrine would be intended to protect the territorial integrity and vital national interests of the Russian Federation. To achieve these fundamentally defensive aims, Russian military strategists argue that if an attack on Russian vital interests appears imminent, Moscow must be prepared to use strategic non-nuclear or limited nuclear force first in order to deter or defeat the United States or NATO. Pre-emption could occur in crisis or in the early stages of an escalating conflict. Russian advocates of pre-emption argue that the pre-emptive attacks on U.S. or NATO targets could serve one or more of three purposes.

1. Deterrence by cost imposition. Pre-emptive attacks on countervalue targets could provide a “punch in the nose” that deters U.S. or NATO aggression by communicating to Western policymakers and publics alike that the costs of attacking or escalating a military confrontation with Russia will outweigh any plausible benefits.
 
2. Deterrence by denial. Pre-emptive attacks on counterforce targets could degrade U.S. or NATO power projection capabilities, and change the “correlation of forces,” such that Washington and other NATO capitals no longer believe that they can prevail in a major war, at acceptable levels of escalation, against Russia.

3. Pre-emption as a defeat mechanism. Some advocates argue that pre-emptive attacks on key Western aerospace – and other – capabilities may allow the Russian armed forces to degrade or eliminate U.S. and NATO forces’ comparative advantages, such as long-range strike, thereby improving Russia’s relative military-operational position.

 
Russia’s potential adoption of a military doctrine based on pre-emption appears to remain in debate. The Kremlin does not yet appear to have shifted to a pre-emptive posture, based on open-source reporting. However, arguments for Russia’s shift to pre-emption seem to have gained traction in Moscow since the mid-2000s. And there is a significant likelihood that Moscow may ultimately endorse pre-emption for the defense of the Russian state in the coming decades.

Consideration of a pre-emptive military doctrine is motivated first by Russian policymakers’ dismal geopolitical outlook. Moscow sees the United States as the world’s sole remaining superpower, intent on maintaining its position by constraining aspirant powers and imposing its own will on other nations – chief among them Russia. The Kremlin has indicated as well its belief that the United States would be willing to use force to impose its will on Russia in the future, if Russia is not prepared to defend itself.

Simultaneously, a growing number of Russian military strategists forecast that defensive or retaliatory operations alone will soon be insufficient to protect Russia’s vital interests. They assess that a host of new military technologies are collapsing the battlespace and giving growing advantage to the side that escalates first. These systems will allow both Russia and the United States to act more rapidly across broader geographic expanses than before. Moreover, many of these emerging technologies – including cyber, counterspace, conventional prompt global strike (CPGS), and certain autonomous weapons – may hold Russia’s strategic nuclear forces at unprecedented risk in the coming decades.
 
From a Russian perspective, seizing the initiative will be the key to deterrence or if necessary military defeat of Western aggression in this collapsing battlespace. Pre-emption advocates contend that if Moscow does not escalate first in a future crisis or conflict, then the United States and its allies will. If that happens, they fear that Russian defenses will be unable to repel or absorb the U.S. or NATO attacks on Russian vital interests. They expect further that the Russian Federation will be unable to seize back the initiative once it is lost. Indeed, if the initial period of this future war is as devastating as many expect, the Russian armed forces may have limited retaliatory options left.

Russia’s adoption of a defensive doctrine of pre-emption would severely complicate efforts by U.S. and NATO policymakers to deter Russia or manage a future crisis or conflict on NATO’s eastern flank – such as a Baltic contingency – without triggering runaway escalation. It would deny Russian, U.S., and NATO officials the time required to determine whether an attack is actually imminent and enact a proportionate response. The result would be to increase the risk of rapid early military strikes and rampant escalation. This will be especially dangerous in the coming years. In view of the growing perceived fragility of Russian and U.S. nuclear forces, once war begins, it may prove difficult to contain at non-nuclear levels.

The United States should therefore take steps to dissuade Moscow from shifting to a doctrine of pre-emption. It is beyond the scope of this study to offer exhaustive recommendations to this effect. As a starting point, U.S. policymakers should seek to reduce both the expected value of and the perceived need for a doctrine of pre-emption, as seen by Moscow.

To reduce the expected value of pre-emption, as seen by Moscow, the United States should:

1. Seek recognition of “rules of the road” for cyber and counterspace operations.
2. Prioritize the development of more resilient U.S. and NATO operational concepts.
3. Demonstrate NATO’s emphasis on resilience in future military exercises.
4. Boost investment in cyber resilience.
5. Expand investment in space resilience.
6. Bolster conventional deterrence in Europe.
7. Sustain Third Offset technological, doctrinal, and organizational innovations.
8. Reaffirm the United States’ intent to respond forcefully to Russian aggression.
9. Engage the American public on the costs of inaction in the face of foreign aggression.
10. To reduce Moscow’s perceived need for pre-emption, the United States should take a complementary but distinct set of steps:
11. Restore U.S.-Russian military-to-military contacts.
12. Sustain engagement with Russia on NATO ballistic missile defenses.
13. Consider limitations on U.S., Russian, and Chinese CPGS forces.
14. Promote the responsible use of military autonomy.
15. Clarify the United States’ preference against pre-emption.
16. Engage Russia on geopolitical concerns.


This policy approach is not without risks. Yet, the evolving security environment demands a more active U.S. strategy. If the Russian Federation officially adopts a defensive doctrine of pre-emption, it will signify the opening of a deeply concerning chapter in U.S.-Russian relations. That chapter would be defined by more acute fear, hastening timelines, and perilous risk-taking in a security environment defined by uncertainty. It would constitute a return to Cold War–level tensions, only this time with more ways for the United States and Russia to stumble into potentially catastrophic escalation than before.

The Unsettling View from Moscow

Russian policymakers believe their nation is under siege. The eastward march of liberalism in post–Cold War Europe is seen by the Kremlin to pose an existential threat to the Russian state. Meanwhile, rapid shifts in the military-technological environment are simultaneously exposing Russia to U.S. or NATO military coercion. These trends inform arguments by Russia’s top military strategists in favor of what they perceive to be a defensive doctrine of pre-emption.

A Dismal Geopolitical Outlook

Moscow has identified the United States and its NATO allies as the Russian Federation’s greatest threats today and for the foreseeable future.1 This pronouncement is rooted in Russian policymakers’ understanding of U.S. hegemonic intent. Russian officials believe that the United States is actively working to weaken the Russian state in order to fortify its own position as the world’s sole remaining superpower.2
 
They cite a host of U.S. policies as evidence of this intent. For instance, Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, often characterize NATO expansion in the 1990s and 2000s as an effort to isolate and subordinate Russia.3 They argue similarly that U.S. activities in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria are motivated by a desire to cultivate U.S. proxies in Russia’s near abroad. Russian analysts say the United States ultimately hopes to use these proxies to stir dissent within Russia itself.4

These attempts to co-opt or reorient regional actors to disadvantage Russia are not isolated events, according to Russian analysts. Instead, they sit within a long history of U.S.-backed “color revolutions” in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.5 U.S. analysts often characterize Russian military-operational art as “hybrid warfare.” Yet, Russian political-military thinkers are clear in their assessments that it is the United States that is using a combination of political, economic, information, and other non-military instruments to destabilize foreign nations.6

Vladimir Putin speaks in July 2015. He has forcefully criticized what he characterizes as the United States’ ongoing efforts to impose its will on weaker nations.

Lastly, Russian policymakers find little reason to expect that future U.S. interference in other nations’ domestic affairs will remain non-military. The Russian Federation has repeatedly highlighted and condemned what it has seen as the United States’ unlawful use of force to impose its will on weaker nations in the post–Cold War era. Frequent citations to this effect include U.S. actions in Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya.7 The regularity and severity with which Russian officials criticize the United States’ alleged overreliance on military force strongly imply their belief that the United States would be willing to use force to impose its will on Russia, if Russia is not prepared to defend itself.

In this context, some Russian officials believe that President Donald J. Trump’s election may offer new opportunities for bilateral political engagement.8 Yet Moscow also knows that U.S. skepticism of Russia has strong and lasting bipartisan support. This means that any gains achieved through U.S.-Russian engagement over the next four or eight years may prove limited or subject to reversal after Trump leaves office. As a result, Russian policymakers assess that the United States and its allies will remain a serious and lasting threat to Russian national security for the foreseeable future. Senior Russian officials thus say quietly that “Cold War 2.0” has begun between the United States and Russia.9

A Collapsing Battlespace

Rising U.S.-Russian geopolitical tensions are paralleled by rapid shifts in the military-technological environment. Russian strategists forecast that a host of novel or improved military technologies will allow both parties to act more rapidly across broader geographic expanses than before. At the same time, new weapon systems integrating greater autonomy and harnessing new physical principles promise to inject even further uncertainty into the U.S.-Russian correlation of forces. These shifts threaten to erode Russia’s ability to deter or defeat future U.S. aggression by defensive or retaliatory operations alone. In this regard, they constitute a primary reason why a rising number of Russia’s senior military strategists endorse a doctrine of pre-emption.

Russian analysts in Military Thought and other outlets consistently forecast that major wars in the future will be fought across all domains – not just in the land, sea, and air.10 They write that fighting will occur in outer space as adversaries attack one another’s space-based military architectures in order to cripple space-dependent air, sea, and land forces.11 And fighting will take place in the information domain – a domain unto itself – the “high ground” of modern warfare upon which all else rests.12

Russian forecasts stress equally that fighting in these domains will occur at once-unfathomable speeds.13 As Major General I.N. Vorobyov (Ret.) writes, “Its Majesty Time has sped up its flight.”14 Novel informational capabilities will allow belligerents to coordinate action by widely dispersed strike units with unprecedented synchrony and precision.15 At the same time, high-precision weapons – particularly conventional prompt global strike assets – will allow belligerents to strike one another’s vital targets faster than ever.16 And, as many analysts predict, novel attack methods – leveraging dramatic advances in military autonomy, directed energy, electromagnetics, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and even the ability to control geological and climatic phenomena – may put the defense at a significant disadvantage relative to an increasingly diverse and deadly array of offensive tools.17

Russian authors posit that enemy targets will no longer be engaged successively in major wars.18 Traditional notions of the front and the rear, strong points, flanks and junctions, and combat-contact lines will be largely outmoded.19 Where is a nation’s flank when the enemy can hold its entire territory at risk through a combination of an expansive array of advanced sensors; exquisite information networks capable of synthesizing large amounts of targeting data in real time; and a balance of long-range precision strike assets that outmatch enemy air defense capabilities? Where is the front line when the objective in future wars will be to ensure that no enemy soldiers ever make it close to a defending nation’s borders?20

https://www.cnas.org/publications/reports/the-unsettling-view-from-moscow

Comment:  A 16 point priority list of things the Yanks need to do to manage Moscow?  That's not a strategy.  I don't know what to call it - perhaps just a statement of how bad things are.

Interesting thoughts about front and rear and cyberspace.  Where does an anti-Russian server located in Toronto sit on the Priority Target list?
Over, Under, Around or Through.
Anticipating the triumph of Thomas Reid.

"One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”  - James Lovelock

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others. [Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century [Superthread]
« Reply #741 on: May 11, 2017, 06:43:46 »
Interesting developments ...
  • "Russian diplomat reproaches US media for heavy bias during Lavrov’s visit to US" (TASS)
  • "Trump Bars U.S. Press, but Not Russia’s, at Meeting With Russian Officials" -- When President Trump met with top Russian officials in the Oval Office on Wednesday, White House officials barred reporters from witnessing the moment. They apparently preferred to block coverage of the awkwardly timed visit as questions swirled about whether the president had dismissed his F.B.I. director in part to squelch the investigation into possible ties between his campaign and Moscow.  But the Russians, who have a largely state-run media, brought their own press contingent in the form of an official photographer. They quickly filled the vacuum with their own pictures of the meeting with Mr. Trump, Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, Moscow’s ambassador to the United States.  Within minutes of the meeting, the Foreign Ministry had posted photographs on Twitter of Mr. Trump and Mr. Lavrov smiling and shaking hands. The Russian embassy posted images of the president grinning and gripping hands with the ambassador. Tass*, Russia’s official news agency, released more photographs of the three men laughing together in the Oval Office. The White House released nothing..."  (NY Times)
And while #POTUS45 was meeting with Lavrov ...
Quote
@VP  Today I met with Foreign Minister @PavloKlimkin & emphasized unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

He did get a photo with #POTUS45, though ...

Mentions of this meeting @ whitehouse.gov?  Not so much yet ...

* - I'm sure the TASS photographer in the White House couldn't possibly be linked to any RUS intelligence agency ...
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Re: Russia in the 21st Century [Superthread]
« Reply #742 on: May 17, 2017, 15:24:04 »
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

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