The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has just issued its report on Russian military Power. The New York Analysis of Policy & Government has examined the report, and summarizes key points in today and tomorrow’s articles.
U.S. REVIEW OF RUSSIAN MILITARY POWER
The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has released its 2017 report on Russian military power . The New York Analysis of Policy & Government has reviewed the document, and presents key excerpts.
The resurgence of Russia on the world stage—seizing the Crimean Peninsula, destabilizing eastern Ukraine, intervening on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and shaping the information environment to suit its interests—poses a major challenge to the United States.
Moscow will continue to aggressively pursue its foreign policy and security objectives by employing the full spectrum of the state’s capabilities. Its powerful military, coupled with the actual or perceived threat of intervention, allows its whole-of-government efforts to resonate widely. Russia continues to modernize its extensive nuclear forces and is developing long range precision-guided conventional weapons systems. It is manipulating the global information environment, employing tools of indirect action against countries on its periphery and using its military for power projection and expeditionary force deployments far outside its borders. Its ultimate deterrent is a robust nuclear force capable of conducting a massed nuclear strike on targets in the United States within minutes.
Within the next decade, an even more confident and capable Russia could emerge.
Russian government spending on national defense has generally grown over the last decade and in 2016 reached a post-Soviet record. This increase in defense spending was enabled by both a general increase in the size of Russia’s GDP and a political decision to increase the defense burden—the share of national wealth devoted to defense. The 2016 budget is 4.5% defense burden on GDP. [U.S. spends approximately 3.5%.]
Russia’s commitment to building its military is demonstrated by its retention of the draft. All Russian males are required to register for the draft at 17 years of age and all men between the ages of 18 and 27 are obligated by law to perform one year of military service.
CORE RUSSIAN MILITARY CAPABILITIES
Moscow plans to spend about $28 billion by 2020 to upgrade the capacity of its strategic nuclear triad.
Russia continues to retain a sizable nuclear stockpile even after several decades of arms reduction treaties. Russia has a large nuclear weapons infrastructure and a production base capable of producing large numbers of new nuclear weapons annually.
According to Russia’s New START Treaty data provided on 1 April 2017, Russia declared 1,765 warheads on 523 deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers.215 Russia currently has an active stockpile of approximately 2,000 non-strategic nuclear weapons. These include air-to-surface missiles, short-range ballistic missiles, gravity bombs, and depth charges for medium-range bombers, tactical bombers, and naval aviation, as well as anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-aircraft missiles, and torpedoes for sur – face ships and submarines. There may also be warheads remaining for surface-to-air and other aerospace defense missile systems.
Biological & Chemical Weapons
In 1992, then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin admitted having an offensive biological weapons program and publicly committed to its termination. Subsequently, the Russian government reversed itself and now claims neither the Soviet Union nor Russia has ever pursued an offensive biological weapons program. In 1997, Moscow declared the world’s largest stockpile of chemical agents and munitions—40,000 metric tons of agents—under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The declared inventory consisted of a comprehensive array of traditional chemical warfare agents filled in munitions such as artillery, bombs, and missile warheads, as well as stored in bulk.
As a state party to the CWC, Russia is obligated to destroy its chemical weapon stockpile. As of January 2017, Russia had destroyed 96.4% of its declared chemical weapons stockpile, according to press reporting. Russia intends to complete destruction of its remaining declared stockpile by 2020. Moscow has completed destruction activities and closed the facilities in Gornyy, Kambarka, Maradykovskiy, Leonidovka, Schchuch’ye, and Pochep and continues destruction of its remaining chemical weapons stockpile at a facility in Kizner. Russia used chemical incapacitants to resolve the Dubrovka Theater hostage situation in 2002 and may consider using them in other counterterrorism actions.
Information operations are seen as a critical capability to achieve decisive results in the initial period of conflict with a focus on control of the information spectrum in all dimensions of the modern battle space. Authors often cite the need in modern warfare to control information—sometimes termed “information blockade” or “information dominance”—and to seize the initiative early and deny an adversary use of the information space in a campaign so as to set the conditions needed for “decisive success.” Russia continues to emphasize electronic warfare and other information warfare capabilities, including denial and deception as part of its approach to all aspects of warfare including Anti-access/area denial (A2/AD.)
Strategic Air Operations
Russian doctrine continues to emphasize that strategic objectives can be achieved with mass aerospace strikes early in a conflict with victory achieved without the seizure and occupation of territory by forces.
Russian doctrine places a great deal of emphasis on aerospace defense as a key component in its overall A2/AD strategy. Though still in development, Russia’s 21st century integrated air defense system will be designed to integrate future and existing systems around a central command structure that is designed to promote the interaction of all air defense forces and weapons. Capabilities optimized against cruise missiles are key to this defense component, not just those optimized to target aircraft.
Russia continues to develop a variety of sea and aerospace-based programs that offer a variety of offensive and defensive capabilities that could enable the implementation of its integrated A2/AD strategy. These include the continued production and deployment of coastal defense cruise missiles, air/surface/ sub-surface-launched anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs),249 submarine-launched torpedoes, and naval mines, along with Russian fighter, bomber, and surface-to-air missile capability.
Russia was unable to achieve real progress in the development of precision strike until the first decade of the 21st century, when it was able to create a viable state armaments program that allowed prioritization of certain key components of 21st-century warfare. Between 2010 and 2015, Russia’s strategic forces, space and aerospace defense platforms, and precision-guided munitions such as ISKANDER, KALIBR, or KH-101 were defined as priorities, and system development, production, and testing occurred. The effectiveness of precision-guided munitions are being tested in a variety of settings, as well as operationally against targets in Syria beginning in 2015.
The Report concludes tomorrow.