New Russian command system rapidly creates combined forces

Five years ago, the Russian armed forces held a unique military operation in Crimea. Foreign observers focused on the appearance of the engaged Russian military. They noted the discipline, uniform and new hardware. But the main changes remained unnoticed at the time, the Izvestia daily writes.

New Russian command system rapidly creates combined forces
2S9 Nona-S self-propelled gun of the Russian airborne forces at Army-2018 near Kubinka (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Only after the operation in Syria, western observers began to comprehend that changes concern not the outfit, but a new command system and combat organization. Modern communication means and a changed command structure provided a new possibility to rapidly create combined groups of forces for flexible engagement in any mission.

It is more difficult to notice such major changes than the delivery of new tanks and aircraft. Even large-scale drills do not provide a full perception of them. The command system can be tested only in real combat. Crimea demonstrated that numerous reforms were not in vain. When necessary, the Russian army was capable of immediate deployment and action.

In the 2008 war in Georgia, each arm of forces engaged in its own operation. In 2014 in Crimea, a single and cohesive, although heterogeneous group was created. The Aerospace Forces, the Ground Forces, commandos and paratroopers properly interacted due to a new concept of the automatic command system.

NATO was impressed by the rapid and organized deployment in Crimea and the reinforcement of the Russian group by sea and air, as there was no land corridor to Russia. Transportation difficulties did not create problems for the reorganized military logistics.

The same happened in Syria. It took less than a month to prepare a base thousands of kilometers away from Russia and redeploy aircraft and everything necessary. All regional players were taken aback by the quick arrival of the Russian airpower to the theater of warfare. Since the deployment and up to now Russia supplies its force in Syria with everything it requires.

Crimea only tested the first elements of the new concept. Even tactical drones were something new and did not play a leading role. They developed into a key element of the Russian tactic after the Syrian operation. Their number and role in the troops increased several-fold.

Troops command traversed the same path. Three years of active combat in Syria streamlined it. Today it often happens when commandos on the ground detect targets and aim aviation at them while drones control the results of the strikes. New communication and command systems allowed to temporarily hand over the command of the airpower in Syria to the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. All information about the adversary and friendly forces arrived in the Russian headquarters in Humaymim airbase and the National Defense Command Center in Moscow for the top military and political leadership. Ten years ago, such a prospect would be fantastic for the Russian army.

The command system, reconnaissance-strike forces and interaction between arms and types of troops which were tested in Crimea and Syria are actively introduced into combat training in the whole of Russia. It has intensified since 2018. The deep changes in command system allow reinforcing the effectiveness of the Russian army at drills and in combat operations without increasing its strength. Five years ago, the modernized Russian army impressed foreign experts. Since then time has not been lost and the armed forces surpassed the 2014 level, the Izvestia daily writes.

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