eDefenseonline takes a look at how European forces are developing, or in Russia’s case, not developing 21st century infantry programmes to fight in the low-level conflicts prevalent today.
Despite 25 years of real combat experience in low-intensity conflicts in Afghanistan and Chechnya, the Russian MoD focus is on strategic force capabilities, strategic defense, air-force programs, new tanks, new missiles, and the building of a common information network (a Russian version of network-centric warfare). The life of individual soldiers was never valued particularly highly in the Soviet Union, and this has changed little in Russia. One source, tongue planted firmly in cheek, suggests a typical Russian MoD statement would read as follows: "In order to fight international terrorism, being presently a goal of the highest priority, the procurement of six new ICBMs has been authorized."
This is symptomatic of how the top brass based in Moscow thinks, but more important is the poor quality of those doing the Russian military’s actual fighting today. The article goes on to observe that, of all the men selected in the Russian draft, the infantry gets the dregs. Those that aren’t deemed good enough to use technical equipment get given a kalshnikov and a pair of boots and are sent to the killing fields.
Today Russia is fighting a very real low-level conflict in Chechnya, and it may well fight more in years to come. Unless Russia can find men with brains to fill those boots on the ground and point their kalashnikovs in the right direction, it will regularly be outthought and outfought by its opponents.
(Hat tip: Joe Katzman at Winds of Change).