The Cold War has ended, ushering in a new phase in U.S. and Russian study of military theories, especially on contemporary warfare. They have come up with new theories, new concepts, and new policies. Today, U.S. and Russian armed services are revising their strategies and tactics based on these new theories, concepts, and policies.
Compared to the Cold War era, there are six major developments and changes.
The latest U.S. "Report on National Security Strategies" points out that economic security is the basic principle of national security; economic strength is the stronghold of economic security, and it is vital for the United States to restore its economic health to lay the foundation for increasing its competitiveness in global markets in the next century. The fiscal 1995 U.S. "National Defense Report" points out that in the short-run, the U.S. security is dependent on strong armed forces, but in the long-run, its security must depend on a strong economy.
At the 49th United Nations General Assembly, Russian President Yeltsin said, in the past "security" was interpreted in a military sense, but that no longer holds true today. He said that security matters people run into today are much broader; today, security is almost synonymous with the concept of "steady development." The deputy secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council pointed out that, in principle, there are different levels of security--personal, social, and national; the three are inseparable; they are coordinated and interrelated, but the most important thing is to safeguard national security, to safeguard Russia's national interests and the state's rights and privileges with surety.
Russia's new military doctrine emphasizes that military strength will be its backing in the future, and it will use political, diplomatic, legal, economic, and other means to settle and prevent armed confrontations. Russia will use every means to safeguard its security, but it will give priority to utilizing peaceful, especially political and diplomatic, means; military force will be used only to defend itself and to drive away invaders.
Russia, on the other hand, believes that any realistic threat will not come from the United States or NATO; rather, it will come from the surrounding countries. The likelihood of an all-out nuclear or conventional war between Russia and the NATO countries has clearly diminished, but the likelihood of limited war and armed confrontation with neighboring states caused by political, economic, territorial, national, and religious conflicts has increased sharply. Therefore, the focus of Russian war-preparedness is on how to deal with limited wars and armed confrontations, which will be the main form of warfare in the future.
Russia, on the other hand, believes that in the near-term, the main threat will come from the surrounding states, and in the long-run, the main threat will come from the United States and Japan.
Russia's guiding principle stresses that it will not initiate an attack on neighboring states and will conduct mobile defense operations and rely on its mobile troops as the main fighting force. It wants to be able to participate in two medium-sized wars or in one or two fairly large-scale wars concurrently in which maximum troop participation may reach 200,000 men.
Russia believes that nuclear weapons are a political means to deter war and not a means of military action. It is understandable why some people refer to Russia's strategic nuclear force as a strategic deterrent force. Thus, both the United States and Russia understand that future wars will be conventional wars fought under nuclear threat.
Russia also has overhauled the duties of Ministry of Defense and the headquarters of the General Staff. The Ministry of Defense is responsible for formulating national defense policies and safeguarding troop supplies and technologies. The headquarters of the General Staff is in command of the combat troops. Russia also has trimmed its five major armed services to four, eliminating the territorial air defense unit and turning the duties over to the air forces. The combat forces have also been reorganized. The army has replaced its "group army-division" system with the "army-brigade" system. The navy has set up a new branch--the coast guard, responsible for coastal defense operations. The air force has set up a military aerospace command; it is the youngest branch command in the Russian military.
The U.S. Army has turned its air-land combat strategy into an air-land-sea-space strategy. Based on that strategy, in future wars, its troops will be an important follow-up combat unit capable of fighting two simultaneous large-scale limited wars. At peacetime, they will be stationed at home, but in wartime they will be shipped to trouble spots by the mobilization unit to complete follow-up combat duties alongside other branches of the military.
The U.S. Navy has formulated a new "from-sea-to-land" military strategy. In the past, its troops were responsible for blue-water combat duties; today, they are charged with "from-sea-to-land" combat duties, which means in future wars, they will be the mobile strike force capable of fighting two simultaneous large-scale limited wars alongside units dispatched to forward areas. The
U.S. Air Force has formulated a new "global destination, global strength" strategy. Its troops have special importance in fighting two simultaneous large-scale limited wars and are the most important response and attack force; they will share mobile attack combat duties with the Navy and other branches.
The Soviet Army has replaced a "large, in-depth, multilevel defense strategy" with an "all-points mobile defense strategy." Upon completing overseas military withdrawal, the Russian military will be reorganized according to plans to set up a mobile unit and a strategic reserve unit. Specifically, the mobile unit is under the jurisdiction of the central authorities and is the main unit that deals with limited wars and domestic crises. The strategic reserve unit is the main force that deals with wars that have further escalated.
The Russian Navy has shifted from a "blue-water attack" strategy to an "inshore defense" strategy. It will fight alongside other branches in future wars to effectively protect Russian territorial sovereignty and maritime rights.
The Russian Air Force will shift from a "foreign soil operations" strategy to a "territorial defense" strategy. Upon completing overseas military withdrawal, the Russian Air Force will undergo comprehensive reorganization to form a new aeronautical group and then begin to make a transition to a mixed formation system and gradually create a "dragon"--a continuous command, combat, and safeguard chain--to fight alongside the navy and the army.
The U.S. military is replacing a "basic strength" structure with a "plank" structure. The former was a military structure introduced during the Bush administration. It divided the U.S. Armed Forces into four parts: the strategic, Atlantic, Pacific, and emergency commands. After Clinton took office, some changes were made, and subsequently, the "plank" structure was put in. It also divides the armed forces into four categories--troops dealing with two simultaneous large-scale regional conflicts, troops for maintaining a U.S. military presence overseas, troops for noncombat military operations, and a strategic deterrence unit.
Upon thorough examination by the Defense Department, the preliminary decision is that in peacetime, troops for fighting two simultaneous regional conflicts will be stationed at home; troops for maintaining a U.S. military presence overseas will be stationed in the major theaters of operations; personnel for the noncombat military operation units will be picked from troops that handle regional conflicts; the strategic deterrence unit will rely heavily on sea-based ballistic missiles and will be stationed at home as well as overseas in peacetime.
Russia will install a new armed forces structure, and before the year 2000, the new structure will be made up of four branches--an army, a navy, an air force, and a strategic deterrence unit. After the year 2000, there will only be three branches--the air force and the strategic deterrence unit will be combined to form an aerospace air force. The new branches will create new formations: The army will form a mobile unit and a strategic reserve unit. The navy will still rely on its four main fleets as the mainstay but will set up a coast guard. The air force will be made up of the long-range airmen, frontline airmen, and two other units. The strategic deterrence unit will rely heavily on sea-based ballistic missiles.
At the end of August 1994, Russia had completed troop withdrawal from outside former Soviet territory. Specifically, it has withdrawn 575,000 men from Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary; 186,000 men from Mongolia, Vietnam, and Afghanistan; and 5,000 men from Cuba. Currently, it is withdrawing 130,000 people from the three Baltic states. When these troops return home, the Russian military will redeploy them according to the principle of a forward-leaning, inverted-triangle setup.
With this round of major revision, U.S. and Russian overseas troop deployment will change dramatically, abandoning the old posture that emphasized central Europe; both will maintain a low-level strategic balance in Europe. The United States may still put its strategic focus on Europe, but Asia's strategic position has clearly increased. After completing troop withdrawals, Russia will still regard the West as the focal point of strategic deployment and will emphasize establishing strategic relations with the former Soviet republics; it will further reduce the number of troops stationed along the Chinese-Russian border to the east and will improve relations with neighboring states.
The U.S. military considers that as an early response, it should be able to dispatch a heavy-duty army division--made up of one to three regiments--plus support platoons and eight air force fighter wings and one to two units of troops equivalent to an army brigade at anytime, from immediately to up to 14 days, and in approximately a month's time it should be able to deploy another heavily-armed unit made up of three divisions plus the rest of the 10 wings of air force fighters and additional units of marines, and in the next six weeks after that, it should be able to dispatch the rest of the troops needed to launch a counterattack.
On the Russian side, an army instant response unit will be sent to the war zone; the main force should be dispatched within one to three days after the incident, and the rest of the forces should be airlifted to the trouble spot within three to seven days. Rapid deployment units will be used to support the instant response unit if the conflict should escalate. The strategic reserve force is a unit set up to deal with extraordinary situations or large-scale wars. Naval and air forces will provide effective support to ground operations.
At the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia began to pursue a general military construction policy that puts quality at the heart and replaces quantity with quality, embarking on the road to building quality troops. Quality troop-building consists of three parts:
The United States has declared that it will construct a modern army that is the best equipped in the world and which can win two simultaneous large-scale regional conflicts, so that by the early 21st century, the U.S. military will become a force with the greatest "personnel edge" and "technological edge" in the world.
Russia has suggested abandoning the old strategy of competing with the United States "one-on-one," and instead it will maintain a standard which will enable it to participate in two medium-sized wars concurrently and will no longer seek to outnumber the United States. It has made improving quality its army-construction policy, "sufficiency and reasonableness" its guiding principle, and compatibility with its economic strength the basis as it builds a sharp, small-scale, modern army that meets the needs of high-tech conventional warfare, that is highly mobile, that is in possession of the most modern equipment, and that has the highest proportion of professionals.
The latest U.S. developmental plans include the following: The army will be equipped with Comanche armed helicopters and XM8 armored guns; the air force will be equipped with mid- and high-altitude maximum endurance pilotless planes, laser-gun-equipped planes, and kinetic weapons; the planes have maneuvering radii of 500-2,000 nautical miles, with up to 30 hours of flight time, and meanwhile, the navy will build new submarines which can secretly approach enemy coastlines for reconnaissance of the coastal and air defense systems and to send special forces ashore. They are also planning to build multipurpose vessels to replace the existing cruisers and destroyers.
Russia has formulated plans to equip its troops according to a "long-term armament program." Specifically, they will increase the defense and combat capacity of individual soldiers, develop aerospace technologies and equipment and various high-accuracy weapons and mobilization tools that can send troops to the war zones quickly, increase the reliability of strategic nuclear weapons, and vigorously upgrade combat command and communications means at all levels, from squads to divisions.
In addition, the United States and Russia are vigorously developing nonlethal weapons, also known as mild weapons. They fall into three main categories: Weapons that cause the other side to lose combat effectiveness; weapons that disarm the other side's conventional equipment; and weapons that interfere with or destroy the other side's electronic equipment. Experts predict that such weapons will be introduced into the battlefields en masse within the next 15 years.
In accordance with their need to build a quality army and their troop construction plans, the United States and Russia are in the midst of changing their military from a personnel-intensive to a technology-intensive mode; troop size is getting smaller, and things are changing dramatically.
To make sure that reducing the size of the military and reducing forward deployment will not undermine combat effectiveness, both the United States and Russia have built rapid response units. The U.S. military has built a force capable of fighting two simultaneous large-scale regional conflicts in addition to a non-combat military action unit. The former is made up of four to five army divisions, four to five army brigades, 10 air force fighter wings, 100 air force bombers, four to five naval aircraft carrier combat groups, and several special combat groups, with total manpower of 480,000. The air force is made up of one air strike or airborne division, one light infantry division, one mechanized infantry division, one marine division, one to two aircraft carrier groups, one to two air force combined aircraft wings, and air and sea transport units, with total manpower of 50,000.
Russia has formed a mobilization force which is divided into an instant response unit and a rapid deployment unit. According to GUOFANG, a Japanese monthly magazine, the instant response unit is made up of five airborne divisions, eight paratrooper brigades, six light infantry brigades, five to seven fighter wings, five bomber wings, and six naval infantry battalions, with total manpower of 750,000. The rapid deployment unit is made up of three group armies, one infantry division, three helicopter wings, and three bomber divisions, with total manpower of around 125,000.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union set up their respective military blocs--NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Both sides prepared for the outbreak of a major war and remained in a state of tense military confrontation. At the end of the Cold War, the nature of NATO has changed dramatically, and the Warsaw Pact has collapsed; U.S.-Russian relations have changed. According to this new situation, the United States has come up with the strategic theory of "superalliance" and the principle of forging partnerships. Russia has come up with the strategic idea of "joint defense" and the theory of maintaining a "military presence" in formerly Soviet territories. Compared to the Cold War era, the nature and format of military alliances have changed dramatically:
The Warsaw Pact has disbanded, but, in accordance with its joint defense concept and its "military presence" theory, Russia has established new "nonalignment" relations with the former Warsaw Pact nations through bilateral cooperative agreements. It has entered into collective security pacts with nine members of the Commonwealth of Independent States; the Commonwealth states are moving from disunion to union, and a new phase has unfolded in their reintegration. According to its National Defense Council, the Commonwealth states will set up a defense alliance at the end of 1995; its duties will be to safeguard the region's peace and stability during peacetime and set up a supreme command and organize a counterattack during wartime.
Russia believes its mission is mainly to protect its own national security and maintain its sphere of influence as a world power. To that end, Russia has decided, with the consent of the pertinent nations, to dispatch troops outside of its territory or within the former Soviet territory to take up peacekeeping duties.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union were each other's main enemy, and each concentrated on developing an antimissile weapon system to protect its territorial airspace; these were intended primarily to be used to destroy the other side's strategic missiles. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States revised its "strategic defense" theory, abandoned the "Star Wars" program, and came up with a new defense theory of strengthening "strategic depth." That theory first appeared in the fiscal 1993 "National Defense Report." It maintained that the need for an early deployment national missile defense system had diminished and suggested that in the future the focus should be on developing and improving a war-zone ballistics missile defense system. On that basis, the U.S. Defense Department also came up with the concept of "multilevel defense," and based on that concept, the U.S. military began to set up a joint war-zone ballistic missile defense system, namely, the new antimissile system, in the western Pacific, the Middle East, and Europe.
That system is made up of three parts:
One, the warning and monitoring system. It includes an advanced land-based radar system, an aerial warning system, and a "brilliant eye" space surveillance system which will primarily provide the antimissile system with target intelligence.
Two, the strategic guided missile defense system. It includes an army land-to-air guided missile system, an air force booster missile interceptor system, and naval "high altitude" and "low altitude" missile defense systems; its main purpose is to deal with mid- to short-range guided missiles, cruise missiles, and unmanned aircraft; their interception distance is 200 kilometers, at an altitude of 150 kilometers. This system will be completed around the year 2000.
Three, the battlefield management system. The U.S. Defense Department has presented its budget to Congress and has asked for investments of $50 billion over a 15-year period to build and develop that system.
Russia has come up with the "mutual security concept," based on which they have developed the new theory of "joint defense" and have decided to set up a multilevel defense system.
1. To set up a unified air-and-space defense system. The Russian military believes that the early stage of a future war will basically consist of intense air and space combat; air and space have become inseparable, and only by setting up an air-and-space defense system can they guarantee the successful launching of the first strategic battle in the early stage of war. The air-and-space defense system follows the regional deployment principle and relies on the air force to set up an air-and-space reconnaissance system and a unified air defense troop and armament system in each air defense area to facilitate unified combat. Within each air defense area, there will be an inner-ring and an outer-ring; the outer ring will be 100-130 kilometers and the inner ring will be 50-70 kilometers from the center, and the entire country will form a unified air-and-space defense system.
2. Setting up key protection and defense systems in key areas. The Russian Ministry of Defense has decided to set up special defense zones in places like Kaliningrad to the west to be put under a special plan.
3. Setting up bilateral and multilateral joint defense systems with the nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Currently, Russia is proposing a transnational plan which will benefit all nations and which will proportionally match costs to benefits.
The organic combination of the above three systems forms the new Russian
strategic defense system.