The Navy in the Prejubilee Year

Moscow MORSKOY SBORNIK, Jul 95 No 7, (signed to press 20 Jul 95) pp 3-7
by Admiral V. Selivanov]

The activity of naval forces in the 1995 winter training period took place during preparations for a banner event in the state's life, the semicentennial of Victory in World War II of our people and their allies. In addition, this year also is the last prejubilee year, for in 1996 we will celebrate a famous date, the tricentennial of the founding of the homeland's regular Navy. All this places a certain imprint on our navymen's military affairs. And although the economic conditions of our activity have been preserved and for a number of points even have become more complicated--defense appropriations have been reduced, spasmodic financing has been noted, there has been a significant shortage of supplies and fuel, and Navy reform continued--we managed to perform assigned missions in the winter training period. Main efforts were aimed at preventing a decline in the level of real combat readiness of fleet forces and at training the flag officers commanding, the commanders and the staffs in the practice of command and control, in their preparation to perform primary combat tasking missions, in directing subordinates' day-to-day activity and in unconditionally fulfilling outlined plans.

Combat duty and alert duty remained very important indicators of the real state of the Navy. They were planned and carried out in all fleets with the advisable detail of forces and with consideration of the real situation and operational necessity. Patrolling at sea and alert duty in bases by strategic missile cruiser submarines were the basis of combat duty and alert duty, and the course of preparation for it was under constant supervision of staffs of formations and large strategic formations. General- purpose forces performed traditional missions, but combat duty was conducted by limited forces and not in all regions, with consideration of the altered world situation. The Northern and Pacific fleets bore the main burden. It can be said that combat duty and alert duty missions in the first half of this year were performed successfully on the whole.

Thus, the areas and methods of operation of foreign submarines in fleet zones of responsibility were clarified in the course of search operations by ASW forces. The best indicators in terms of operations of ASW forces on combat duty were achieved in Northern Fleet--82 percent of all foreign submarine detections. Practical experience was gained here in command and control of a grouping of ASW forces in the period of an ASW search operation. The Navy took an active part in foreign policy activity by fulfilling the mission of "showing the Russian flag." In particular, Northern and Baltic Fleet ships paid official calls on the ports of Oslo, Norway and Rotterdam, Netherlands.

It must be admitted that although radical changes in the international and military-strategic situation lowered the likelihood of direct aggression being initiated against Russia, conditions have been maintained under which situations may arise representing a threat to Russian Federation national security and capable of leading to military conflicts on a varying scale. Therefore, preventing local wars and armed conflicts becomes a very important mission for Russia in the area of ensuring military security. At the same time, the geopolitical and geostrategic position of Russia, which ended up being moved back somewhat into the interior of the Euro-Asiatic continent and which was deprived of a number of very important ports on the Baltic and Black seas, limited its capabilities for ensuring its military security, especially in the European region. All this dictated the Navy's special attention to practical work of preparing the sea component of the state's Mobile Forces to conduct combat operations on any axis where a threat to Russian Federation security may arise.

For familiar reasons, the actual employment of naval infantry formations and units of Northern, Baltic and Pacific fleets in operations to disarm illegal armed force elements in the Chechen Republic became a very important element of that preparation. Performing those missions required bringing these formations and units urgently up to full strength in arms, armored equipment and personnel. And they were brought up to strength only from the Navy personnel limit, which was a very difficult task with the personnel shortage. Nevertheless, despite these difficulties, the redeployment of forces, their combat teamwork training and preparation to perform missions not too inherent to naval infantry were done in an organized manner and in short time periods.

It must be emphasized that not once did a single naval infantry subunit leave a single occupied line during counterattacks, around 20 naval infantrymen were recommended for the title of Hero of the Russian Federation and nine already have had this title conferred on them for courage and heroism they displayed. Over 3,500 persons were recommended for awards and 1,725 of them already have been decorated with Russian orders and medals. More than 70 officers were promoted to the next military rank ahead of schedule. It also should be noted that experience gained in practical employment of immediate reaction and rapid deployment forces of the sea component of Mobile Forces in combat operations in Chechnya showed the need for making adjustments to the makeup, status and procedure for employing the naval infantry as a special component service of the Navy.

Considering the present military-strategic situation, the training of command and control entities and of naval forces was aimed at rehearsing the actions of command and control entities and forces in local wars and armed conflicts. All operational training measures conducted from the beginning of the year were devoted to performing these missions. Thus, a drill in command and control of forces in the Far Eastern region permitted realistically assessing capabilities of Pacific Fleet forces and of entities for command and control of them in performing assigned missions under nontraditional conditions of the outbreak and development of armed conflicts. Their analysis can serve as a basis for making decisions in a further reform of our Navy. A command and staff exercise also was held for the first time with the Kaliningrad Special Area (formed at the end of last year) in its new table of organization structure, which permitted accumulating experience in command and control of a large strategic formation made up of different branches and outlining ways of training it which unquestionably will help the commanding general and staff of the Kaliningrad Special Area in their development. Another achievement in conducting operational training measures in the winter training period was the fact that essentially all operational-tactical calculations for employing forces and the development of proposals for decisionmaking were done with the help of computers, using automated workstations of a multifunctional computer complex combining such workstations on the Main Naval Staff and on fleet staffs. This permitted promptly involving subordinate command and control entities in the work and making practical use of the method of parallel work in decisionmaking.

Despite financing difficulty, the Main Naval Staff sought opportunities for giving practical assistance and monitoring the progress of operational training measures in the fleets. This permitted improving the organization of their conduct and permitted the Main Naval Staff to make a more in-depth study and evaluation of trainees' work. An analysis of the fulfillment of these measures in Navy central command and control entities, on fleet staffs, in large strategic formations and in formations permits concluding that command elements and staffs on the whole correctly understand their missions and are organizing training in accordance with requirements of the latest guidance documents.

Speaking of operational training deficiencies, it should be noted that certain indulgences and oversimplifications still occur in conducting exercises, drills and classes. A low level of developing the concept of staff drills, determining the initial situation and rehearsing plans for building up efforts in performing specific missions is not infrequent in preparing such drills. The methodology for preparing and conducting separate staff drills frequently is violated in Baltic Fleet staff directorates, services and departments, and their heads give insufficient consideration to the features and procedure of their conduct. Officers whose training level does not always conform to demands being placed on them often are assigned to elaborate training methods documents. And leaders themselves do not delve deeply into the gist of documents being drawn up and begin personal work only in the concluding stage right before documents are submitted to the higher staff for approval. This leads to a substantial amount of incomplete work and affects the quality of preparation and conduct of the measures. And far from everything is well with reports on exercises held. A simple enumeration of the procedure for conducting the command and staff exercise and of objective difficulties and also general statistical data are substituted for a detailed analysis of the preparedness of staffs, of actions of forces and command and control entities, of the quality of documents drawn up and of the working of training and research problems. Insufficient methods preparedness of a number of heads of command training groups and their formal attitude toward conducting the training also negatively affect operational training results. Lesson plans are drawn up arbitrarily and conclusions are not drawn from them. Lectures and briefings often are planned instead of active forms of classes.

The Main Naval Staff took special measures to increase the effectiveness of operational training in fleets. Thus, at a command and staff exercise under the direction of CINC Northern Fleet in March, at a command and staff exercise with Kaliningrad Special Area in April, and in the course of end-of-training-period performance evaluations for the winter training period, the Main Naval Staff Operations Directorate held methods classes with leadership personnel of Northern and Baltic fleet staffs and some of their subordinate staffs, where specific deficiencies in preparing and conducting command and staff exercises were pointed out. Later, materials were sent out to the fleets with an analysis of these exercises and of the other largest measures and with corresponding conclusions and recommendations. The Northern Fleet was recognized in the best light based on results of operational training in the winter training period.

Unfortunately, in the first half-year we did not succeed in fulfilling all combat training measures planned for this period. Their number was reduced basically because of the restriction on limits of fuel and engine life. To economize on the latter, for better quality in conducting combat training measures and to create a complex tactical situation with the activation of a large number of forces, the fleets practiced integrated combat training at sea under the immediate direction of fleet command elements. The ever growing shortage of supplies, engine life and means of support to combat training forced us to revise the combat training planning system again. All formations are introducing an integrated approach to organizing combat training with the purpose of increasing intensity and reducing outlays in conducting it through more sensible use of training time, mutual support of forces at sea and strengthening of base training. In working combat exercises at sea, special attention was given to creating a confrontation, duel situations and a difficult tactical background, and to eliminating oversimplification and formalism in gunnery practice. In addition, special attention was given to between-deployment training at Navy training centers. Programs for this training were revised to make them more concrete and tie them in with missions assigned to a crew for the year.

Another important aspect of our activity was the completion of the Navy's transition or, more precisely, the Navy's return to a two-year term of service of seamen and petty officers, which also required planning and fulfillment of a number of measures. Further, with consideration of present economic difficulties, the entire tenor of day-to-day life as well as the course of combat training were aimed above all at conserving ships, armament and equipment, keeping them in the established readiness condition, and preparing them to perform their operational tasking missions. This required the flag officers commanding and the commanders to give thorough consideration to many factors, including the actual status of ships and supplies, level of financing, ship repair capabilities, quality of manning and so on.

We saw to it that each ship was given specific missions in strict accordance with her actual status and tied in with technical and logistic support capabilities. This required commanders at all levels to reinforce attention to base training, since specifically it has acquired priority importance for us now. But in redistributing the main volume of training time to base training, we are giving increased attention to those elements of combat training which have a determining influence on the level of combat readiness. Therefore, weapons training of Navy submarines and surface ships in the winter training period was aimed at having ship combat teams rehearse tactics of employing ASW, missile, torpedo, mine and mine countermeasures weapons. All combat firing for the record was done against the background of opposed- forces tactical exercises with mutual employment of practice weapons. As noted, almost all combat exercises were performed in integrated sorties of ships and in the period when fleet command and staff exercises were held. Along with the primary mission of rehearsing the employment of weapons, this permitted more effective base training of forces and permitted targeting fleet command and control entities toward quality technical preparation of weapons.

Thus, in the course of a drill in battle management of Naval Strategic Nuclear Forces under the direction of the Russian Federation minister of defense, the Northern Fleet strategic missile cruiser submarine commanded by Captain 1st Rank V. I. Tankov performed firing in the shortest time for a grade of "outstanding." The excellently executed missile firings by cruiser submarines commanded by captains 1st rank A. I. Lebedev and S. G. Safronov also should be noted. Best indicators in the winter training period were achieved by Pacific Fleet, where the greatest number of combat exercises using antisubmarine missiles, practice torpedoes and mines was performed. And no instances of practice torpedoes and mines being lost occurred there, which attests to the specific, purposeful work of the command element and all personnel of ships and weapons preparation units.

The success of employing practice weapons in Pacific Fleet was 100 percent. In terms of quantitative indicators, in the winter training period Northern Fleet performed almost as many combat exercises as Pacific Fleet, and even surpassed it in certain kinds, but was considerably inferior to Pacific Fleet in quality of their performance. Formations commanded by Vice Admiral V. A. Popov and Captain 1st Rank N. A. Skok (Northern Fleet); Vice Admiral M. G. Zakharenko and captains 1st rank A. I. Polyakov, Yu. A. Shiyanov and S. N. Tegentsev (Pacific Fleet); and Captain 1st Rank A. V. Bezmeltsev (Black Sea Fleet) achieved best indicators based on results of the winter training period.

But there still are a number of substantial shortcomings in organizing, planning and conducting combat training measures. Thus, base exercises are being introduced slowly to the combat training process (the Baltic and Black Sea fleets are noted in the worst light). Commanders of a number of formations give insufficient attention to training subordinates in navigational safety, in ensuring technical readiness of ships and in elevating the personnel's special training. Work being done on questions of accident prevention is insufficiently effective and did not permit reducing the number of accident incidents. Thus, an expensive practice torpedo sank in the Northern Fleet submarine formation commanded by Rear Admiral M. V. Motsak because of poor organization and training of torpedo search and recovery forces. Damage to a submarine was allowed here as well because of poor organization of duty, inferior planning and poor naval proficiency of submarine commander Captain 1st Rank A. G. Shchurenkov.

It must be admitted that command training in ship commander groups still remains at a rather low level. Exactingness toward special training of personnel has declined (Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets). Formations commanded by Rear Admiral Motsak and Captain 1st Rank A. M. Karamyshev (Northern Fleet) and by Captain 1st Rank K. S. Sidenko and Captain 2nd Rank A. N. Voydovich (Pacific Fleet) are behind in fulfilling the combat training plan, in organizing planning and in quality of combat training measures being conducted.

Main efforts in improving mobilization readiness in the winter training period were aimed at quality in working out new mobilization plans. Mobilization training of formations and units was aimed at checking the reality of plans for mobilizing and placing them in a readiness condition and also on optimizing the table of organization structures of command and control entities and forces for wartime. Emphasis was placed on studying and selecting reserve personnel of scarce specialties for their intended role, because of which the basic quantitative and qualitative indicators of the status of mobilization readiness managed to be preserved. At the same time, some of these indicators, particularly the quality of wartime manning of Navy command and control entities and forces in terms of primary military occupational specialties, became somewhat worse for objective reasons. The main reason was the cancellation of military reservist training courses because of the absence of necessary financing.

Of the multitude of problems and tasks which we had to resolve in the winter training period, that of navymen's education, comprehensive support and social protection was the priority and at the same time the most difficult. And although we were unable to progress substantially in resolving the latter, nevertheless, we managed to safeguard the main components of naval personnel's morale potential: patriotism, allegiance to the ship commander and ensign, and fleet comradeship. The high assessment of navymen's actions in Chechnya by the President, Government and Russian Federation minister of defense is confirmation of this.

Meanwhile, in realistically assessing the morale and mental state of naval personnel and above all of the officer corps, it is necessary to recognize the ambiguity of performing this task as well. It must be understood clearly that the state is incapable of giving the Navy everything it needs in all spheres of life and activity over the next few years. Therefore in the current year the Navy command has advanced use of the Navy's internal reserves to the foreground, and one of them is educational work with personnel. Today it can be said that a unified system of methods support to this work is taking shape in the Navy. Experience shows, however, that the determination of priorities, goals, tasks, and methods foundations of education will be ineffective without the organizing work of commanders, staffs and educational structures in combining the training and education of servicemen into a unified process.

The main shortcomings of this work are that staffs and educational work entities are not managing to overcome the separation of education from combat training. And we saw how important this was in the experience of Chechen events, where information work in the first phase, including also by our fleet information structures (press centers, newspapers and television centers), was insufficiently effective. The effectiveness of employing weapons in the first three weeks of combat operations proved to be considerably below what was possible as a result of great emotional stresses.

I must establish the fact that the personnel's poor knowledge not only of federal laws in force and of Russian history, but also of traditions and history of the Navy and of specific military collectives stands behind the high numerical indicators of results of this training period for the basic form of educational work--state training. Educational work entities have low activeness and initiative in organizing heroic-patriotic education and leisure-time cultural activities on ships and in units. This leads to where on days off the personnel find no application for their enthusiasms and abilities and do not receive a positive emotional charge for the upcoming work week. The incomplete work of fleet military command and control entities largely determined the fact that in the winter training period the Navy failed to achieve a fundamental strengthening of discipline. Instances of the death of personnel also failed to be avoided.

Thus, despite an improvement in absolute and relative indicators for basic kinds of law violations, the situation with military discipline and law and order in the Navy remains difficult, and we are faced here with daily, difficult, painstaking work. It is obvious that considerably wider use must be made of the period of preparation for celebration of our Navy tricentennial for strengthening military discipline, improving the work of military-patriotic education of servicemen and the youth, and achieving high combat training results.

In conclusion it must be noted that the Navy also is faced with resolving difficult and important problems in the summer training period. Therefore flag officers commanding (commanders) and staffs at all levels above all must thoroughly analyze results of preparation for the winter training period, study them with subordinates, and outline and implement specific steps for remedying the deficiencies noted.

We must continue to improve the methodology of operational, mobilization and combat training and raise quality in conducting measures being planned. We must carefully prepare materials of exercise critiques and build them on in-depth theoretical conclusions. We must strive for integrated performance of tasks for all kinds of training and must seek out nontraditional methods of creating troop (force) groupings and forms of their employment. All measures must be conducted with a research bias for updating basic provisions of operational art and tactics as well as table of organization structures of large strategic formations and formations. In conducting operational training measures, we must continue to work to upgrade the structure of facilities for command and control of fleet forces. We must conduct the professional training of admirals, generals and officers with consideration of measures and tasks being accomplished by staffs both in peace as well as wartime. We must give more attention to training officers to use computers in command and control. We must elevate personal responsibility for the level of training of subordinate command and control entities and officers.

Considering the difficult economic situation in the country, it is hard to count on a substantial improvement in Navy financing in the second half-year. Therefore missions assigned to the Navy in the summer training period must be performed by seeking optimum ways of expending financial and material resources and improving the quality of base and special training. We are sure that the Navy will cope with assigned missions in this prejubilee year.