A 'NEW LOOK' AT THE RUSSIAN MILITARY: WHAT THE 2008 RUSSO-GEORGIAN WAR EXPLAINED ABOUT ONGOING MANPOWER REFORMS IN THE RUSSIAN MILITARY
Nichols, Thomas M
The military of the Russian Federation celebrates twenty years of existence in 2012, much of which it has spent struggling with the challenges of adapting to a post-Soviet world. The latest round of reforms was initiated in 2008 under the leadership of the country's first civilian Minister of Defense and in the midst of the country's first deployment of combat troops outside of its borders since 1979. The Russian military's performance in the August 2008 Five-Day War against Georgia gave the world a glimpse of what the past twenty years of reforms - mostly conducted behind the closed doors of the Kremlin - had, and had not yet, been accomplished. This paper analyzes just one aspect of Russia's multi-faceted military reform, namely its manpower reform. By drawing from its performance in the war of August 2008, I show that the Russian military has yet to develop a comprehensive manpower solution to meet its needs. Russia will not transition to a wholly-contracted professional army in the near future but has taken steps to ensure that the small percentage of its contracted personnel are utilized effectively in the right billets and receive the appropriate training. In these features the manpower reform illustrates the complex issues faced by the Russian military in the overall reform effort.
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