General Staff deputy chief discusses army reform with Valdai Club members
Russia’s Deputy Chief of Operations at the General Staff, Andrei Tretyak, discussed military development issues at the Valdai Club’s Defense and Security section meeting in Moscow on Friday, the Defense Ministry’s press and information service told RIA Novosti.
“Tretyak discussed the qualitative improvements in the army and navy and answered questions about the progress of army reform,” the agency’s source said.
The source added that, on Wednesday, meeting participants were taken to the 5th Guards Brigade of the Western Military District in Alabino, Moscow Region, to see the quality of military training there and on Thursday inspected the Don-2N radar facility in Sofrino, outside Moscow, which is part of the capital’s air defense system.
This was the first meeting for this session. Experts from ten countries – Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Belarus, Norway, Turkey, Germany, Poland and Japan – took part in the event.
The Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2004 by RIA Novosti, the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, The Moscow News, Russia in Global Affairs, and Russia Profile. The club is named after the location of its first meeting. The club was designed to develop and sustain a dialogue between Russian and foreign scientists, politicians, and journalists, and to promote the analysis of political, economic, and social issues affecting both Russia and the world.
Under the military reform plan, Russia’s army strength is to be reduced from 1.2 million to one million by 2012. The number of officers was initially scheduled to be cut from 335,000 to 150,000, but early in February 2011, Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced a decision to increase officer personnel by 70,000 – raising it to 220,000. This decision was prompted by the establishment of a military-space defense branch within Russia’s armed forces, per Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s announcement in November 2010.
In addition, six military districts have been converted into four – Western, Eastern, Central and Southern – as required by the reform and there are plans to increase officers’ pay substantially from 2012 (a lieutenant will receive up to 50,000 rubles a month), to reform military educational establishments and introduce outsourcing in the army (with catering and other functions not directly military in nature to be performed by civilian contractors).