Tag Archives: Gerasimov

Principles of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence

Putin signed the “Principles of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence.” It hasn’t brought anything really new. It merges many documents into one. Still, the Military Doctrine from 2014 is a far better document. Nevertheless, some points are important to note. This included See below my (poor) translation of the document with the important parts in red and my comments in green.

Principles of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence

I. General

1. These principals are a strategic planning document in the field of assuring defense and reflect the official views on the essence of nuclear deterrence, determine which military dangers and threats are to be neutralized, the principles of nuclear deterrence and the conditions which nuclear deterrence is to be applied, and the conditions for employing nuclear weapons.

2. One of the most important defense priorities is to guarantee the deterrence of a potential adversary from aggression against the Russian Federation and/or allies. Deterrence is to be achieved by the totality of the military power of the Russian Federation, including nuclear weapons.

3. The state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of nuclear deterrence (hereinafter referred to as the state policy in the field of nuclear deterrence) is a set of coordinated political, military, military-technical, diplomatic, economic, information and other measures implemented by the force and means of nuclear deterrence, to prevent aggression against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.

4. The state policy in the field of nuclear deterrence is defensive in nature. It has the objective of maintaining the potential of nuclear forces at a levet enough to ensure nuclear deterrence, and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, deterring a potential adversary from aggression against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies, and in the event of a military conflict – preventing the escalation of hostilities and their cessation on conditions acceptable to the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.

5. The Russian Federation considers nuclear weapons exclusively as a means of deterrence, the use of which is an extreme and compelled measure. It is making all necessary efforts to reduce the nuclear threat and to prevent the aggravation of interstate relations that could provoke military conflicts, including nuclear ones.

6. The regulatory framework of these Principles is constituted by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, generally recognized principles and norms of international law, international treaties of the Russian Federation in the field of defense and arms control, federal constitutional laws, federal laws, other regulatory legal acts and documents regulating defense issues and security.

7. The provisions of these Principles are binding on all federal government bodies, other government bodies and organizations involved in nuclear deterrence.

8. These Fundamentals may be specified depending on external and internal factors affecting the provision of defense.

II. The Essence of Nuclear Deterrence

9. Nuclear deterrence is aimed at ensuring that the potential adversary understands the inevitability of retaliation in the event of an aggression against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.

10. Nuclear deterrence is ensured by the Armed Forces’ combat-ready forces and the bmeans capable of using nuclear weapons to inflict unacceptable damage on a potential enemy in any situation, as well as the willingness and determination of the Russian Federation to use such weapons.

11. Nuclear deterrence is carried out continuously in peacetime, during the period of direct threat of aggression and in wartime, until the start of the use of nuclear weapons.

12. The main military dangers, which, depending on the change in the military-political and strategic situation, can develop into military threats for the Russian Federation (threats of aggression) and which can be neutralized by nuclear deterrence, are:

a) the building up of military capabilities by a potential adversary, including nuclear weapons and systems near the Russian Federation and its allies, including maritime areas;

b) the deployment of anti-ballistic missile defense systems and means, medium- and shorter-range cruise and ballistic missiles, high-precision non-nuclear and hypersonic weapons, shock unmanned aerial vehicles, and direct energy weapons by states that consider the Russian Federation as a potential adversary;

For many years the Russian Armed Forces have been developing both at the doctrinal and the operational level the idea of non-nuclear weapons having the same strategic and tactical effect as nuclear-weapons. Gerasimov have mentioned this issue many times in the last three/four years. The development of the new hypersonic weapons reflects this. There are two issues. First, hypersonic missiles can use plasma stealth to create a cloud of plasma around the missile absorbing any radio waves. This results in the missile being invisible to radars and able to penetrate air defense systems. One example is the Russian 3M22 Tsirkon and the under development BrahMos-II (with India).

Very much of the Soviet programs are still alive. Some time ago, I’ve read a paper called “Weapons of the XXI Century.” Terrifying stuff, including non-lethal biological weapons, earthquakes, radiological weapons, microwaves, and other. Of course, the question is about capacity. Do they have the technological capacity to develop such weapons? Some yes, but still most of Russia’s technology is from Soviet times. It is very much dependent of Western technology. Still, they’re trying and the idea of direct energy weapons has some populararity, since it often appears in doctrinal documents.

c) the creation and deployment in space of missile defense and strike systems;

Reagan’s Star Wars traumatizes them. At the doctrinal level they have been consistently mentioning the outer space as the next warfare frontier.

d) the presence of nuclear weapons and (or) other types of weapons of mass destruction which can be used against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies, as well as means of delivery of these types of weapons in non-allies states;

e) the uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear weapons, their means of delivery, technologies and equipment for their manufacture;

f) deployment of nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles in the territories of non-nuclear states.

This is a clear message for the Baltic States and Poland. There were some think tanks in Washington flirting with the idea.

13. The Russian Federation carries out nuclear deterrence in relation to individual states and military coalitions (blocs, unions) that consider the Russian Federation as a potential adversary and possess nuclear weapons and (or) other types of weapons of mass destruction or significant combat potential of general forces.

This is obviously about NATO.

14. In carrying out nuclear deterrence, the Russian Federation takes into account the deployment of a potential adversary’s offensive capabilities on the territories of other states, including cruise and ballistic missiles, hypersonic aircraft, attack unmanned aerial vehicles, directed energy weapons, anti-missile defense, a warning about an attack with a nuclear missile, nuclear weapons and (or) other types of weapons of mass destruction that can be used against the Russian Federation and (or) its allies.

See above.

15. The principles of nuclear deterrence are:

a) compliance with international arms control obligations;

b) the continuity of measures to ensure nuclear deterrence;

c) the adaptability of nuclear deterrence to military threats;

d) the uncertainty for a potential adversary of the scale, time and place of the possible use of forces and means of nuclear deterrence;

e) centralization of state administration of the activities of federal executive bodies and organizations involved in nuclear deterrence;

Nothing new here, but this is clearly about the National Defense Management Center.

f) the rationality of the structure and composition of the forces and means of nuclear deterrence, as well as their maintenance at a level minimally sufficient to fulfill the tasks;

g) maintaining the constant readiness of the allocated part of the forces and means of nuclear deterrence for combat use.

16. The nuclear deterrence forces of the Russian Federation include land, sea and air-based nuclear forces.

III. Conditions for the Russian Federation to using nuclear weapons:

17. The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation using conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened.

Again the idea of conventional and nuclear weapons having similar strategic and tactical effect.

18. The decision on employing nuclear weapons is taken by the President of the Russian Federation.

19. The conditions determining the possibility of employing nuclear weapons by the Russian Federation are:

a) the receipt of reliable information about the launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of the Russian Federation and (or) its allies;

b) the use by the adversary of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction across the territories of the Russian Federation and (or) its allies;

c) the enemy’s impact on critical state or military facilities of the Russian Federation, the failure of which will lead to the disruption of the response of nuclear forces;

d) aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons, when the very existence of the state is jeopardized.

20. The President of the Russian Federation may, if necessary, inform the military-political leadership of other states and (or) international organizations of the readiness of the Russian Federation to use nuclear weapons or of the decision to use nuclear weapons, as well as the fact of their use.

IV. Tasks and Functions of the Federal Government Agencies, Other Government Agencies and Organizations for the Implementation of the State Policy in the Field of Nuclear Deterrence

21. The President of the Russian Federation exercises general guidance on state policy in the field of nuclear deterrence.

22. The Government of the Russian Federation is developing measures to implement economic policies aimed at maintaining and developing nuclear deterrence facilities, as well as formulating and implementing foreign and information policies in the field of nuclear deterrence.

23. The Security Council of the Russian Federation establishes the main directions of the military policy in the field of nuclear deterrence, and also coordinates the activities of federal executive bodies and organizations involved in the implementation of decisions adopted by the President of the Russian Federation regarding nuclear deterrence.

24. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, through the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, directly plans and conducts organizational and military measures in the field of nuclear deterrence.

Gerasimov is the boss.

25. Other federal executive bodies and organizations participate in the implementation of decisions adopted by the President of the Russian Federation regarding nuclear deterrence, in accordance with their authority.


Gerasimov: A World on the Brink of War

As every year, General Gerasimov’s address to the General Assembly of the Academy of Military Sciences was published by the VPK (http://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/35591), Military-Industrial Courier, Issue No 10 (674), 15th March 2017. Below is Mark Voyger from NATO LANDCOM’s brilliant translation. My comments are in green.

A World on the Brink of War

Tracking the current challenges is not enough, it is the future ones that must be forecast
Army General Valeriy Gerasimov, Chief of General Staff of the RF AF

This article is based on the report “Contemporary Warfare and the Current Problems of the Defense of our Country” presented by the ChoGS to the General Assembly of the Academy of Military Sciences.

It was Clausewitz who compared warfare to an expanded single combat, defining it as an act of violence whose purpose is to force the adversary into acting according to our will. The prominent Russian and Soviet theoreticians from the early 20th century Andrey Snesarev and Aleksander Svechin had their considerable contribution to the development of the science of warfare. The subject of their research became the main trends in the conduct of warfare that are the result of not only the political, but also of the economic and social relations. By the early 1990s a firm understanding had been formed of warfare as the means of attaining political goals based exclusively on armed struggle.

Svechin and Snesarev are very important Russian military thinkers.  The first was the first chief of the Soviet General Staff. 

A classification was developed in the USA that includes traditional and non-traditional warfare, and in the beginning of 21st century the American theoreticians posited that hybrid warfare should be added to it. They define it as actions taken during a period, which is impossible to define purely as either war or peace.

The concept of Hybrid Warfare was fully developed by Frank Hoffman, but I remember to see a Master Thesis from some USA’s military institutional calling similar strategies “hybrid” already in the beginning of the 1990’s.  It was mostly about developments of Low Intensity Conflict. If someone find it, please drop me a line. 

“The mobilization capacities of the social networks were first revealed during the conflicts in the Middle East”

Our country’s science and practice offers a more balanced approach to the classification of contemporary armed conflicts that accounts for a larger number of parameters. At the same time, the definition of warfare is lacking in the international and domestic official documents. The Military Doctrine of the RF calls it a form of resolving interstate or intrastate conflicts by using military force.

An active discussion is ongoing in trying to clarify the term itself. Some of the scholars and specialists adhere to the classical definition. Others propose a radical revision of the views on the content and substance of the term “warfare”, as they think that armed struggle is not one of its mandatory attributes. At present one can encounter definitions, such as information, economic, hybrid warfare, and numerous other variations.

The General Staff pays due attention to the discussion of the said problem. In 2016 a discussion was organized at the Military Academy of the General Staff on the meaning of the term “warfare” under the current conditions. The said issue was being discussed during the session of the Security Council’s scientific council section. In the course of the discussions a common position was elaborated on the necessity of analyzing the characteristics and features of contemporary armed conflicts, and of revealing the trends in their emergence and evolution.

This is most the result of authors as Chekinov. Bogdanov, Maruyev and others claiming for “futurology” to be recognized as a branch of Military Sciences. The Russian General Staff has great interest in the subject.

The No-Contact Warfare has been replaced by the Hybrid One

Such conflicts of the end of the 20th and early 21st centuries differ from each other in the composition of their participants, the types of weapons used, the forms and methods of troop actions. At the same time, however, they do not exceed the limits of the overall content of warfare, while they include as components various forms of struggle – the direct armed one, along with political, diplomatic, information, and others. New features have appeared nowadays. These include the change in the ratio of contribution of one or another type of struggle into the overall political success of the war, the overwhelming superiority of one of the sides in terms of military power and economic strength.

Basically, it is a development of Low Intensity Conflict. New technologies, etc., of course changed the character of warfare.

Contemporary conflicts can be characterized by a number of features.

The experience of NATO’s operations in Yugoslavia that ushered in the age of the so-called no- contact or distance warfare, did not gain universal distribution. The reason for this was objective since the limitations of geographical, as well as economic nature impact the attainment of the goals of war. The factor of the cost of armaments, and of the war as a whole, started to play an important role in the choice of methods for conducting military actions.

He is referring to Slipchenko’s discussion about 6th Generation Warfare. Also, Putin’s idea that warfare has to be asymmetric, as explained by him already in 2006. Besides, it is clear he knows Russia doesn’t have the money to afford engaging in long traditional wars. Russia isn’t a rich country.

An important feature is the increased use of the newest robotic systems and unmanned aerial vehicles of various purposes and actions.

New forms of application of the diverse forces and means have appeared. For example, in the course of the operation in Libya, a no-flight zone was created while simultaneously imposing a naval blockade in conjunction with the joint actions of private military companies from the NATO member- states, and the armed formations of the opposition.

Here it’s clear how the Russians see the West as a mirror. If they use private military companies as mercenaries in the orst sense of the word, of course  the US and NATO do the same.

The army operating concepts of the leading states postulate that achieving information dominance is an indispensable pre-requisite of combat actions. The means of mass media and social networks are used to perform the set tasks. Simultaneously, the forces and means of information-psychological and information-technical influence are activated. Thus, the mobilization capacities of the social networks were first revealed during the conflicts in the Middle East.

The conflict in Syria became a visual example of the use of hybrid methods. It involved the simultaneous use of traditional and non-traditional actions of military, as well as non-military nature.

It’s implicit that the Hybrud part was the proteste of the populaiton agains Assad. Of course it has to be Western interference… 

During its first phase the internal Syrian contradictions were transformed into armed demonstrations of the opposition. After that, they became organized in nature with the support of foreign instructors, accompanied by active information warfare.

It’s the West again. And the United States is to blame. The CIA, the illuminati, the Free Mansonry and Soros. :-))))))

Later on, terrorist groups supplied and directed from abroad entered the fight against the government forces.

The hybrid actions are actively introduced in practice on the international arena by the USA and the NATO countries. In many respects this is conditioned by the fact that this variation of activities does not fall under the definition of aggression.

In the Western media the combination of such methods has received the name “hybrid warfare”. However, it is still premature to use this term as an established one.

I agree, Sir.

The New Perception of a Common Term

The analysis indicates a number of trends testifying of the transformation of armed conflicts in the beginning of the 21st century. Nowadays the erasing of the boundary between the state of war and peace is obvious. The negative side of hybrid actions is becoming the new perception of peacetime, when no military or other overt violent measures are used against one or another state, but its national security and sovereignty are under threat and can be violated. The range of reasons and causes for using military forces is widening, as it is activated ever more often to secure the economic interests of states under the slogans of defending democracy, or the inculcation of democratic values into one country or another.

He’s clearing referring to the USA again, but he has a point.

The emphasis of the content of conflict methods is moving toward the wide application of political, economic, diplomatic, information and other non-military means, implemented by involving the protest potential of the population.

It’s post-modern Low Intensity Conflict. 

The non-military forms and means of action have experienced unprecedented technological development, and have acquired a dangerous, often violent nature.

Their practical use can trigger the collapse of the energy, banking, economic, information and other spheres of the state’s vital functions. The example can be adduced of the impacts of the cyberattacks against Iran’s energy infrastructure sites in 2015.

Or Russian attacks against Estonia…

The analysis of the characteristics, features and trends in the evolution of contemporary conflicts demonstrates that all of them share a common feature – the use of violent military means. At the same time, almost classical armed struggle is used during some of those, such as the two US wars against Iraq or the NATO operations against Yugoslavia. In other conflicts, such as Syria, for example, the armed struggle was waged by one of the parties in the form of anti-terrorist operations, and by the enemy – in the form of actions of the illegal armed formations and terrorist groups. This way, the essence of wars in modernity and in the foreseeable future will remain the same. Their main feature is the presence of armed struggle.

This is a very important point. It isn’t only asymmetric Low Intensity Conflict (Hybrid, if you prefer). Concentional military force is and will be part of the Russian strategy.

Along with that, the question of defining the nature of warfare has not been closed, it is still relevant and requires constant studies and a thorough development.

For this purpose, the scientific-business program of the international military-technical forum “Army-2017” to be held in August of this year will include a “roundtable” discussing the topic of “Contemporary warfare and armed conflict: characteristics and features”. The scientists from the Academy of Military Science must take the most active participation in it. It is necessary to continue working on the inter-institutional standardization of the military-political and military terms and definitions.

The rise of the world’s conflict potential underlines the relevancy of a number of tasks in the sphere of our country’s defense.

The High-Precision Measures

The main among those remains the same – the guaranteed repelling of potential aggression against the Russian Federation and its allies from any direction. At the same time, it is necessary to guarantee the neutralization of the threats to the security of the country by relying on the existing forces and means in the course of performing the activities of strategic containment in peacetime. In that regard, the role and importance of forecasting the military threats and dangers increases, as it is expedient to conduct it in conjunction with the assessment of economic, information and other challenges.

“The strike potential of high-precision weapons in the RF Armed Forces will
increase fourfold by 2021”

The improvement of the capabilities of the Armed Forces is implemented by means of the balanced development of all of the troops (forces) branches and services, the mastering of high-precision weapons and the modern means of communication, reconnaissance, automated command and control, and electronic warfare. At present, a large-scale re-armament of the Strategic Rocket Forces with modern systems is underway. The navy is receiving new nuclear submarines armed with ballistic and cruise missiles that have no analogues in the world. The strategic aviation airplanes, our legendary missile carriers Tu-160 and Tu-95MS are being actively modernized. This will allows us to re-arm the strategic nuclear forces with 90 percent of modern weapons by 2020. The strike potential of high-precision weapons in the RF Armed Forces will increase fourfold by 2021, which will allow for guaranteeing the security of Russia along the entire perimeter of our borders. By 2021 the share of modern weapons and military hardware in the Ground Forces will be no less than 70 percent. The Aerospace Forces will receive new-generation airplanes, which will increase the combat capabilities of the air force by 50 percent. The Navy will receive modern ships armed with high-precision long- range missiles.

It WILL. One day. The important point here isn’t about they having the capabilities or not at this moment. First, it is about the strategic changes on the Russian strategy, the way of fighting. Second, that they’re trying to catch up and sooner or later they might surprose the West with some new technologies.

A considerable role in increasing the combat capabilities is played by robotics. The large-scale and substantiated application of robotic systems of various purposes will increase the effectiveness of troop actions, and will guarantee the considerable reduction of personnel loss.

It’s like an Industrial Revolution in combat capabilities. 

The Science of Preemption

Nowadays the Armed Forces are gaining combat experience in Syria. They have had the unique opportunity to check and test the new models of weapons and military hardware under complex climatic conditions. It is necessary to continue summarizing the experience gained by using the means of armed struggle during the Syrian campaign, and draw lessons for their improvement and modernization.

We must remember – victory is always achieved by using not only the material, but also the spiritual resources of the people, its cohesion and its drive for resisting aggression by using all its strengths. The military-political leadership of the Russian Federation is exerting serious efforts to restore the nation’s confidence in the army. Nowadays the Armed Forces are reaching a fundamentally new level of combat readiness, and it is enjoying the utmost support of society. In the interest of increasing their prestige further, it is important to develop the linkages between army and society, and in order to achieve that we must improve the system of training of service members and of patriotic upbringing of the youth.

Solving the current problems of our country’s defense would be impossible without studying them in a thorough and preemptive fashion. In that regard, it is worth focusing the attention on the priority tasks of the Academy of Military Science.

The study of the new forms of conflict between states and the development of efficient methods to counter that stand above all.

In other words, Russian miltary scientists will look very closely to what the US and NATO do. They will reframe what they’ve seen within their own moral system, beliefs, etc., and that will become the new developments of Russian New Generation Warfare.

A relevant task is the development of scenarios, long-term forecasts of the evolution of the military- political and strategic situation in the most important regions of the world. It is necessary to study operationally the features of contemporary armed conflicts and based on them to develop the work methodology of military command and control and the troop actions under various conditions.

General Gareev, did you understand? Enough of your guys writing about WWII. It’s the second time he saying that.

A separate study is required of the problems related to the organization and conduct of regrouping of forces (troops) to distant theaters of operations. The standard tasks of military science have not lost their relevancy, as they also need further development.

Voyennaya Misl will start to publish such articles soon. I’m ready to bet. 



Russian Warfare is not Hybrid

1394730896_1I’m writing this post to react to many articles I’ve read trying to discuss what became known as Russian Hybrid Warfare. Although I’m glad people finally woke up, there’s still too much misunderstandings about what it is and what it is not. The latest article I’ve read is Michael Kofman’s “Russian Hybrid Warfare and Other Dark Arts.” It’s a good one. Although he lost the target by some centimeters, the article is good to stimulate discussion.

Overall (Kofmann excluded), the first mistake is to believe that the Russians used Hoffman’s framework to shape their own strategy. They didn’t. Instead, they’ve been learning from previous experiences of warfare, mostly from the WWII, the ones based on the concepts of Low Intensity Conflict, Network Centric Warfare, and General Slipchenko’s 6th Generation Warfare. Therefore, it might be characterized as hybrid, only if it means “mix of tools.” It’s completely wrong to believe that the Russian strategy is limited to non-linear, hybrid, call as you wish, methods. They part of it, but don’t define it. The main goal is to achieve the objectives with the minimum application of kinetic force.  It should be self-evident, that force will be employed when necessary, including linear and conventional capabilities. See my paper discussing Russian New Generation Warfare. The phases I discuss are not mutually exclusive and can be operationalized simultaneously or independently. Continue reading


Gerasimov, the Experience in Syria, and “Hybrid” Warfare

hqdefaultGeneral Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, published a very interesting article on the “VPK – Voenno-promyshlennyi kur’er” (Military-Industrial Courier) entitled “On the Syrian Experience.” Although it is usually an obscure publication, in reality it is an important one.  It is Gerasimov’s preferred publication, followed by the “Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie”  (Independent Military Review). General Vladimirov, the vice-president of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, also publishes there. Thus, it’s good to take a look.

I’m publishing below a bad spaghetti western English translation of the article made by a software. I changed  only what was impossible to understand. The piece presents Gerasimov’s views on modern warfare and how Russia should defend itself. It also slaps the Russian Military Science.

My comments are in green.

On the Experience in Syria
Valery Gerasimov

Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov: “Hybrid war requires high-tech weaponry and a scientific substantiation.”

The rapid development of science and technology changes the nature of warfare. Since the end of the last century, a concept that has been widely use is “high-tech war.” Continue reading