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Russia and China Prepare for War -- Part 7
United States is Unprepared for War
Christopher Ruddy
March 17, 1999

At the same time that Russia has been building an enormous war machine and making war preparations, the US has been slashing its strategic nuclear arsenal, mothballing ships, and eliminating entire military battle groups.

Equally suicidal, Clinton has cut troop levels in the US Army by 40% and the Air Force, Navy and Marines by over 30%. Clinton has also tied up many of America’s best troops in endless and futile foreign quagmires, including "peace-keeping” in Bosnia and the Middle East, humanitarian projects in Africa, and drug interdiction in Latin America. Few troops are left to defend the United States.

Clinton also been throwing away America’s limited arsenal of cruise missiles. These missiles were primarily built to deliver strategic nuclear warheads deep into Russia. Russia is believed to be vulnerable to such weapons because they evade radar and fly low to the ground.

ABC News reports that before Operation Desert Fox (our recent, undeclared war on Iraq) the US had just 239 cruise missiles left. In the first few days of Desert Fox Clinton ordered that over 90 of these precious cruise missiles be fired on Iraq against what has proven to be mainly empty warehouses and radar installations that were rebuilt in days. As this article is being written, additional cruise missiles have been launched in continuing confrontations with Iraq.

Each missile expended in Iraq is one less that can be used to defend the US -- and at the current rate of expenditure, the US military would have none left in less than 30 days. Why is Bill Clinton squandering these crucial weapons? This question becomes even more serious when one considers that the US is not currently making cruise missiles and has no plans to do so.

And this is just one way that, under Clinton, America is being stripped of its ability to defend itself. Never before has the US been so ill-prepared to defend its own territory and citizens. Here are the chilling facts:

1. The United States has practically no civil defense system to protect its citizens from a biological, chemical or nuclear attack.

2. The United States has no anti-ballistic missile system to protect against incoming missiles.

3. US defense spending has been dramatically reduced, from about 28 percent of the federal budget in 1988 by almost half, to 17 percent today. Former Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, states in his book The Next War:

"...the United States has embarked on a massive disarmament. Since 1985, military budgets have declined 35%. Spending on research and development has been slashed by 57%, and procurement of newly produced weapons by a whopping 71%.”

4. US Naval forces have been slashed. These forces are vital for protecting the US against foreign threats such as Mid-Eastern terrorism and potential attacks on allies like Taiwan and South Korea. Today the Navy only has 336 ships compared to over 600 in 1991. That’s the lowest number of ships since the late 1930’s.

More frightening is the fact that US naval surface ships have been stripped of their tactical nuclear weapons. Even though the US Navy is still much larger than Russia’s or China’s, without nuclear weapons the US fleets are sitting ducks for Russian and Chinese nuclear weapons.

5. The critical balance of nuclear weapons between Russia and the United States has tilted in Russia’s favor. If intelligence estimates are accurate, the US and Russia share an almost equal number of strategic nuclear weapons, but Russia has a huge advantage in tactical nuclear weapons.

The Clinton administration has systematically destroyed the US stockpile of tactical nuclear weapons. Under Clinton, the total number of tactical nukes has dropped from approximately 20,000 weapons in 1988 to a few thousand today. And every day, under Clinton’s orders, the military destroys more tactical nuclear weapons.

Even with these cuts, the Clinton administration is still not happy, and has pushed the Pentagon to seek unilateral cuts well below the current Start I floor of 6,000 strategic weapons.

6. US military preparedness is at the lowest level in 50 years. On March 20, 1998, the General Accounting Office reported to Congress on the preparedness of the five of the Army’s ten divisions that would deploy in the second wave of an overseas war. The results were grim:

# 1st Infantry Division -- the division’s 1st brigade had only 56% of the personnel needed to fill its armored vehicles. Many brigades were only partially filled or had no personnel at all assigned to them.

# 25th Infantry Division -- 52 of 162 infantry squads were "minimally filled or had no personnel assigned.”

# 1st Armored Division -- only 16 of the unit’s 116 tanks had full, battle-qualified four-man crews.

# 4th Infantry Division -- 13 of 54 squads in the divisions engineer brigade either had no personnel assigned or fewer personnel that required.

7. America is paying for Russia’s re-armament. Under programs like Nunn-Lugar, the US has paid Russia billions to dismantle nuclear warheads because Russia said it did not have the money to pay for it (odd, since they have plenty of money to build new missiles, aircraft carriers, and submarines). By funding these expensive warhead dismantling programs for Russia’s obsolete weapons, the US has enabled the Russians to divert millions of dollars to building new weapons.

8. President Clinton has unilaterally changed more than four decades of US defense policy of "launch on warning.” Under a secret Clinton directive -- known as a Presidential Decision Directive or PDD -- issued in November of 1997, the United States would accept a first strike and only retaliate after millions of our citizens had been killed.

Some of the details of the PDD were leaked to the Washington Post (12/7/97). The Post reported that the Clinton administration was unilaterally changing America’s nuclear defense posture. Clinton’s PDD directed the US military to no longer plan to win a nuclear war with Russia.

Just weeks after the Washington Post report, on December 23, Robert Bell gave an interview to Arms Control Today. Bell, senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, helped draft the PDD.

Bell revealed more astounding details of the PDD and Clinton’s new policy:

"In this PDD we direct our military forces to continue to posture themselves in such a way as to not rely on launch on warning -- to be able to absorb a nuclear strike and still have enough force surviving to constitute credible deterrence,” Bell said.

Bell continued, "Our policy is to confirm that we are under nuclear attack with actual detonations before retaliating.”

In other words, Clinton is willing to wait until American cities, military installations, and our vulnerable land-based ICBMs are devastated before counterattacking. If, God forbid, such a surprise attack was launched, most of the US’s strategic weapons would be destroyed and there would be little left to retaliate with.

Clinton’s new launch policy is an invitation for Russia to attack. With the US prevented from launching on warning, a Russian first strike could wipe out two of the three legs of America’s strategic defense triad: land-based missiles and strategic bombers.

At any given time, 6 of America’s 18 ballistic missile submarines are in port and would probably be destroyed in a Russian first strike under the Clinton doctrine. All that would be left to defend America would be 12 ballistic submarines with 180 megatons of warheads. That’s over less than 50% of the 400 megatons required under MAD to deter Russia. [MAD refers to the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction, a policy that kept America safe in the nuclear age.]

Given Russia’s missile defense system, modernized weapons, and vast system of underground shelters, it is easy to see why Russia might find launching a first strike against America in 1999 tempting and any loses they would suffer "acceptable.”

Russia could destroy every major American city and military target, and suffer only limited retaliation against its own cities even if America fired every surviving nuclear weapon. After America launched it’s handful of surviving missiles, Russia would still have tens of thousands of weapons in their arsenal, making them the only military superpower on earth and the world’s likely rulers.

Further evidence that Clinton has diabolically sought to undermine America’s nuclear arsenal, are his numerous proposals to "de-alert” US nuclear forces. Clinton claims that the real risk of war is from the US accidentally launching nuclear weapons. To prevent such an "accident,” the Washington Times reports that the Clinton administration plans on "removing the integrated circuit boards from ICBM’s and storing them hundred of miles away, taking the warheads off the MX missile or possibly the Minuteman ICBM’s, welding shut the missile hatches of some submarines, and doubling the number of orders a hard-to-communicate submarine would have to receive before it could launch a missile.”

The purpose of these changes would be increase the time to launch a weapon "from minutes, to hours or even days.” The truth is that in a nuclear war an unlaunched weapon may never be launched.

Since Clinton can make such policy changes by issuing a secret PDD, these dangerous moves can be made without informing the public or Congress. There are some indications that, in fact, Clinton has taken steps to make it more difficult for our submarines to launch their missiles.

9. America’s land-based Missiles are vulnerable. The Defense Department estimates that Russia would need only need to fire about 15 percent of its ICBM’s to destroy two-thirds to 85 percent of US silos. In contrast, Peter Vincent Pry, a former CIA analyst, reports that Russia’s ICBM’s are "in harder silos and on mobile launchers” -- making them less vulnerable to an American counterattack.

10. The United States has not sanctioned Russia for the breaking the ABM treaty and many other arms control treaties we have signed with them -- including bans on biological and chemical weapons, weapons modernization, and construction of vast underground bunkers.

Why hasn’t the Clinton Administration made receipt of aid from the US, IMF and the World Bank (which are controlled by the US), conditional upon Russia demilitarization or at least their abiding by the treaties they have signed? Why does the US and UN continue to pour tens of billions of dollars into Russia while they are building a vast war machine and apparently preparing for war?

11. Foreign deployment of troops leaves the US vulnerable to foreign military occupation. US troops are currently deployed in some 160 countries, with large deployments in Bosnia and the Mid-East.

Nyquist argues that foreign deployment is an ominous sign, since the United States would not have an army to protect the United States proper.

Since Nyquist made those comments, President Clinton has sent tens of thousands of US troops to the Mid-east, along with most of our naval forces and strategic bombers. This is extremely dangerous, since by deploying our strategic bombers overseas, they are cut-off from their nuclear weapons and are sitting ducks for a Russian attack.

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Бред оф Сив Кобыл

Russia possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the world. Russia declared an arsenal of 40,000 tons of chemical weapons in 1997 and is said to have around 6681 nuclear weapons stockpiled in 2005, making its stockpile the largest in the world. The Soviet Union ratified the Geneva Protocol on January 22, 1975 with reservations. The reservations were later dropped on January 18, 2001.

Nuclear arsenal of Russia

Russia was estimated to have around 6681 active strategic nuclear warheads in its arsenal[1]. Russia also has a large but unknown number of tactical nuclear weapons [1]. Strategic nuclear forces of Russia include [1]:

1. Land based Strategic Rocket Forces: 489 missiles carrying up to 1,788 warheads; they employ immobile (silos), like SS-18 Satan, and mobile delivery systems, like SS-27 Topol M.
2. Sea based Strategic Fleet: 12 submarines carrying up to 609 warheads; they employ delivery systems like SS-N-30 Bulava.
3. Strategic Aviation: 237 bombers(16 Tu-160,63 Tu-95,and 158 Tu-22m) carrying up to 884 Cruise missiles.

[edit] Doctrine of limited nuclear war

According to a Russian military doctrine stated in 2003, tactical nuclear weapons (Strategic Deterrence Forces) could be used to "prevent political pressure against Russia and her allies (Armenia, Belarus, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan)." Thus, the Russian leadership "is officially contemplating a limited nuclear war" [2].

[edit] Nuclear proliferation
USSR/Russian nuclear warhead stockpiles, 1949-2002.
USSR/Russian nuclear warhead stockpiles, 1949-2002.

After the Korean War, Soviet Union transferred nuclear technology and weapons to the People's Republic of China as an adversary of the United States and NATO According to Ion Mihai Pacepa, "Khrushchev’s nuclear-proliferation process started with Communist China in April 1955, when the new ruler in the Kremlin consented to supply Beijing a sample atomic bomb and to help with its mass production. Subsequently, the Soviet Union built all the essentials of China’s new military nuclear industry" [3].

Russia is one of the five "Nuclear Weapons States" (NWS) under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Russia ratified (as the Soviet Union) in 1968.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, a number of Soviet-era nuclear warheads remained on the territories of Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Under the terms of the Lisbon Protocol to the NPT, and following the 1995 Trilateral Agreement between Russia, Belarus, and the USA, these were transferred to Russia, leaving Russia as the sole inheritor of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. It is estimated that the USSR had approximately 39,000 nuclear weapons stockpiled at the time of its collapse.

The collapse of the Soviet Union allowed for a warming of relations with NATO. Fears of a Nuclear holocaust lessened. Recently, however, a new threat has gained attention, both in politics and in popular culture: Nuclear terrorism. Movies such as The Peacemaker and True Lies depict terrorist organizations obtaining nuclear weapons from Post-Soviet states and smuggling them into the US. In September of 1997, the former secretary of the Russian Security Council Alexander Lebed claimed 100 "suitcase sized" nuclear weapons were unaccounted for. He said he was attempting to inventory the weapons when he was fired by President Boris Yeltsin in October 1996.[4] In 2005, Sergey Sinchenko, a legislator from the Bloc of Yulia Timoshenko (a Ukrainian reformist party) said 250 nuclear weapons were unaccounted for. When comparing documents of nuclear weapons transferred from Ukraine to weapons received by Russia, there was a 250 weapon discrepancy.[5] Indeed, several US politicians have expressed worries and promised legislation addressing the threat.[6]

In 2002, the United States and Russia agreed to reduce their stockpiles to not more than 2200 warheads each in the SORT treaty. In 2003, the US rejected Russian proposals to further reduce both nation's nuclear stockpiles to 1500 each. Many say that this refusal was a sign of US aggression and accuse the US of thus leaving the danger of US and Russia's mutual destruction.[citation needed] Russia is actively producing and developing new nuclear weapons. Since 1997 it manufactures Topol-M (SS-27) ICBMs.

Russia refused to discuss reduction of tactical nuclear weapons[2] and allegedly transferred nuclear technology to North Korea [7]

Biological weapons

Soviet program of biological weapons has been initially developed by the Soviet Ministry of Defense (between 1945 and 1973)[8]

Soviet Union signed the Biological Weapons Convention on April 10, 1972 and ratified the treaty on March 26, 1975. Since then, the program of Biological weapons was run primarily by the "civilian" Biopreparat agency, although it also included numerous facilities run by the Soviet Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Chemical Industry, Ministry of Health, and Soviet Academy of Sciences[8]

According to Ken Alibek, who was deputy-director of Biopreparat, the Soviet biological weapons agency, and who defected to the USA in 1992, weapons were developed in labs in isolated areas of the Soviet Union including mobilization facilities at Omutininsk, Penza and Pokrov and research facilities at Moscow, Stirzhi and Vladimir. These weapons were tested at several facilities most often at "Rebirth Island" (Vozrozhdeniya) in the Aral Sea by firing the weapons into the air above monkeys tied to posts, the monkeys would then be monitored to determine the effects.[8]

In 1993, the story about the Sverdlovsk anthrax leak was published in Russia. The incident occurred when spores of anthrax were accidentally released from a military facility in the city of Sverdlovsk (formerly, and now again, Yekaterinburg) 900 miles east of Moscow on April 2, 1979. The ensuing outbreak of the disease resulted in 94 people becoming infected, 64 of whom died over a period of six weeks.

Chemical weapons

Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 13, 1993 and ratified it on November 5, 1997. Russia declared an arsenal of 40,000 tons of chemical weapons in 1997.

Russia met its treaty obligations by destroying 1% of its chemical agents by the Chemical Weapons Convention's 2002 deadline [2] but requested technical and financial assistance and extensions on the deadlines of 2004 and 2007 due to the environmental challenges of chemical disposal. This extension procedure spelled out in the treaty has been utilized by other countries, including the United States.

Russia has built three chemical weapons destruction plants: at Gorny, at Kambarka, and at the Maradykovsky complex. Four more facilities are still under construction at other locations. Lieutenant General Valery Kapashin reaffirmed in 2007 that Russia would fulfill its obligations under the CWC to destroy all of its chemical weapon stockpiles by 2012[9]; however, U.S. analyses have claimed that neither Russia nor the U.S. will finish operations by that date.[10] Russia's program is financed by Russian funding as well as money from the U.S. and other countries.

Nuclear weapons

Main article: Russia and weapons of mass destruction

The Topol-M is one of the world's newest and most sophisticated nuclear missiles. It is designed to be immune to any known or planned ABM defense.
The Topol-M is one of the world's newest and most sophisticated nuclear missiles. It is designed to be immune to any known or planned ABM defense.

Russia possesses the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world.[27] Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces controls its land-based nuclear warheads, while the Navy controls the submarine based missiles and the Air Force the air based warheads. Russia's nuclear warheads are deployed in four areas:

* 1 - Land based immobile (silos), like SS-18 Satan.
* 2 - Land-based mobile, like SS-27 Topol M.
* 3 - Submarine based, like SS-N-30 Bulava.
* 4 - Air-based warheads of the Russian Air Forces' strategic bomber force

Russian military doctrine has called for the reliance on the country's strategic nuclear forces as the primary deterrent against attack by a major power (such as NATO forces or the People's Republic of China). In keeping with this, the country's nuclear forces received adequate funding throughout the late 1990s. Russia, with approximately 16,000 warheads, possesses the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads.[28] The number of intercontinental ballistic missiles and warheads on active duty has declined over the years, in part in keeping with arms limitation agreements with the U.S. and in part due to insufficient spending on maintenance, but this is balanced by the deployment of new missiles as proof against missile defenses. Russia has developed the new SS-27 Topol-M missiles that are stated to be able to penetrate any missile defense, including the planned U.S. National Missile Defense. The missile can change course in both air and space to avoid countermeasures. It is designed to be launched from land-based, mobile TEL units and submarines [1]. Russian nuclear forces are confident that they can carry out a successful retaliation strike if attacked.

Because of international awareness of the danger that Russian nuclear technology might fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue officers who it was feared might want to use nuclear weapons to threaten or attack other countries, the United States Department of Defense and many other countries provided considerable financial assistance to the Russian nuclear forces in early 1990s. Many friendly countries gave huge amounts of money in lieu for Russian Arms purchase deals which kept Russian Agencies functioning just like they used to earlier with high efficiency. This money went in part to finance decommissioning of warheads under international agreements, but also to improve security and personnel training in Russian nuclear facilities.

Boris Yeltsin, the President of Russia at the time, signed the decree about the establishment of the Armed Forced of Russia on May 7, 1992. The process started when the Russian troops previously deployed in the republics of the former USSR and other foreign countries (such as from the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, where the largest grouping was), were returned to the Russian national territory.

About 30 infantry, tank and airborne divisions, over 50 missile, artillery and anti-aircraft brigades, as well as over 60 aviation regiments returned to Russia during the following two years. Over 45,000 units of weaponry and almost four million tons of strategic reserves were taken back to Russia, as well. It became the largest military redeployment in history.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia has discussed rebuilding a viable, cohesive fighting force out of the remaining parts of the former Soviet armed forces. In keeping with its emphasis on the threat of regional conflicts, the new Russian doctrine calls for a Russian military that is smaller, lighter, and more mobile, with a higher degree of professionalism and with greater rapid deployment capability.

The challenges of carrying out reforms and modernizing were magnified by difficult economic conditions in Russia during the 1990s, which have resulted in reduced defence spending. This led to training cutbacks, wage reductions, and severe shortages of housing for other social amenities for military personnel, with a consequent lowering of morale, cohesion, and fighting effectiveness. However, with injections of funds over the past few years, some aspects of the situation are improving.

Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
Military manpower

(Source mostly CIA World Factbook)
Military age 18 years of age
Availability males age 18-49: 35,247,049 (2005 est.)
Fit for military service males age 18-49: 21,000,000 (2006 est.)[9]
Reaching military age annually 821,103 (2008 est.)
Active troops 1,037,000[10] (Ranked 4th)
Total troops 3,796,100[citation needed] (Ranked 8th)
Military expenditures

$40 billion USD (2008) Russian military spending
Russian paratroopers at an exercise in Kazakhstan
Russian paratroopers at an exercise in Kazakhstan

As of 2008, some 480,000 young men are brought into the Army via conscription in two call-ups each year. Liberal legislation allows about 90 percent of eligible young men to avoid conscription.[11] There are widespread problems with hazing in the Army, known as Dedovshchina, where first-year draftees are bullied by second-year draftees, a practice that started to appear in the Soviet Union after the 1950s. To combat this problem, a new decree was signed in March 2007, which cut the conscription service term from 24 to 18 months.[12] The term was cut further to one year on January 1, 2008.[12]

30% of Russian army personnel were contract servicemen at the end of 2005.[13] Planning calls for volunteer servicemen to compose 70% of armed forces by 2010 with the remaining servicemen consisting of conscripts.[13] As of November 2006, the Armed Forces had more than 60 units manned with contract personnel totaling over 78,000 contract privates and sergeants.[13] 88 Ministry of Defense units have been designated as permanent readiness units and are expected to become all-volunteer by the end of 2007.[13] These include most air force, naval, and nuclear arms units, as well as all airborne and naval infantry units, most motorized rifle brigades, and all special forces detachments.[13] All personnel on ships and submarines will be contract servicemen beginning in 2009.[13] Women serve in the Russian military, though in far lesser numbers than men. More than 92,000 females serve on active duty with the Russian Armed Forces (2007).[13] For the foreseeable future, the Armed Forces will be a mixed contract/conscript force.[13] The need to maintain a mobilization reserve of various classes arises from a requirement to have manning resources capable of ensuring prompt reinforcement of the Russian Armed Forces in case the efforts made by the permanent readiness forces to deter or suppress an armed conflict fail to yield positive results.[14]

The ranks of the Russian military are also open to non-Russian citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States, of which Russia is the largest member.[15] Non-Russians enlisting from these states cannot serve in elite or secret units but are in many cases entitled to Russian citizenship after their term of service. The Russian Armed Forces still use the traditional forms of reference of Comrade to help solidify the service personnel as part of something larger than themselves.


The Defence Ministry of the Russian Federation serves as the administrative body of the military. Since Soviet times, the General Staff has acted as the main commanding and supervising body of the Russian armed forces: U.S. expert William Odom said in 1998, that 'the Soviet General Staff without the MoD is conceivable, but the MoD without the General Staff is not.'[6] However, currently the General Staff's role is being reduced to that of the Ministry's department of strategic planning, the Minister himself, currently Anatoliy Serdyukov may now be gaining further executive authority over the troops.[citation needed] Other departments include the personnel directorate as well as the Rear Services of the Armed Forces of Russia, railroad troops and construction troops. The Chief of the General Staff is currently General of the Army Nikolai Makarov.
Major Emblem of Armed forces of the Russian Federation
Major Emblem of Armed forces of the Russian Federation

The Russian military is divided into the following branches: Ground Forces, Navy, and Air Force. There are also three independent arms of service : Strategic Missile Troops, Military Space Forces, and the Airborne Troops. The Troops of Air Defence, the former Voyska PVO, have been subordinated into the Air Force since 1998. The Armed Forces as a whole seem to be traditionally referred to as the Army (armiya), except in some cases, the Navy.

The Ground Forces are divided into six military districts: Moscow, Leningrad (not St Petersburg), North Caucausian, Privolzhsk-Ural, Siberian and Far Eastern. The name Leningrad remains for the district in the north-west of Russia in honour of the estimated 1.5 million who gave their lives during the German siege of the city in 1941-44. There is one remaining Russian military base, the 102nd Military Base, in Armenia left of the former Transcaucasus Group of Forces. It may report to the North Caucasus Military District.

The Navy consists of four fleets:

* Baltic Fleet (HQ at Baltiysk in the enclave of Kaliningrad Oblast).
* Pacific Fleet (HQ at Vladivostok).
* Northern Fleet (HQ at Severomorsk).
* Black Sea Fleet (HQ at Sevastopol, Ukraine. (In 2005, the Ukrainian government agreed that Russia would be allowed to lease several base areas around Sevastopol until 2017.)[7]

There is also the Kaliningrad Special Region, under the command of the Commander Baltic Fleet, which has a HQ Ground & Coastal Forces, formerly the 11th Guards Army, with a motor rifle division and a motor rifle brigade, and a fighter aviation regiment of Sukhoi Su-27 'Flanker', as well as other forces.

Russian command posts, according to, include Chekhov/Sharapovo about 50 miles south of Moscow, for the General Staff and President, Chaadayevka near Penza, Voronovo in Moscow, and a facility at Lipetsk all for the national leadership, Mount Yamantaw in the Urals, and command posts for the Strategic Rocket Forces at Kuntsevo in Moscow (primary) and Kosvinsky Mountain in the Urals (alternate).[8] Many of the Moscow bunkers are linked by the special underground Moscow Metro 2 line.

Russian security bodies not under the control of the Ministry of Defence include the Border Guards, Internal Troops, the Federal Security Service, the Federal Protective Service (Russia), the Federal Communications and Information Agency, and presidential guard services.

he Strategic Rocket Forces comprise the world's largest force of ICBMs, totalling 560 missiles able to deliver 1,970 nuclear warheads. Like most of the Russian military, the Strategic Rocket Forces have been limited in access to resources for new equipment since the end of the Cold War. However, the Russian government has made a priority of ensuring that the Rocket Forces receive new missiles to phase out older, less-reliable systems, and to incorporate newer capabilities in the face of international threats to the viability of the nuclear deterrent effect provided by their missiles, in particular the development of missile defense systems in the United States.

Similar organizations in other nations include Air Force Space Command in the United States and the 2nd Artillery Corps in China. Complementary strategic forces within Russia are the Russian Air Force's 37th Air Army of the Supreme High Command, the bomber force, (which used to be known as Long Range Aviation) and the strategic submarines of the Russian Navy.

In 1989 the Strategic Rocket Forces had over 1,400 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), 300 launch control centers, and twenty-eight missile bases.[2] The Soviet Union had six types of operational ICBMs; about 50% were heavy SS-18 and SS-19 ICBMs, which carried 80% of the country's land-based ICBM warheads. In 1989 the Soviet Union was also producing new mobile, and hence survivable, ICBMs. A reported 100 road-mobile SS-25 missiles were operational, and the rail-mobile SS-24 was being deployed.

The Strategic Rocket Forces also operated SS-20 intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) and SS-4 medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs). Two-thirds of the road-mobile Soviet SS-20 force was based in the western Soviet Union and was aimed at Western Europe. One-third was located east of the Ural Mountains and was targeted primarily against China. Older SS-4 missiles were deployed at fixed sites in the western Soviet Union. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), signed in December 1987, called for the elimination of all 553 Soviet SS-20 and SS-4 missiles within three years. As of mid-1989, over 50% of SS-20 and SS-4 missiles had been eliminated.

Russia continued the reduction in strategic missile inventory required under START I, although at a pace slower than the United States would like. By mid-1996 all nuclear warheads on former Soviet SRF missiles in Kazakhstan and Ukraine had been returned to Russia or destroyed, and all missiles left Belarus by the end of 1996.

The Russian SRF missile inventory not only is shrinking in response to treaty requirements but also is changing in character. The new Topol-M is the only system suited to Russian strategic requirements and acceptable under the requirements of START I, so rocket production efforts will concentrate on this model for the foreseeable future. The SS-25 Topol was fielded in SRF regiments comprising three battalions totaling nine launch vehicles. In 1996 forty such regiments were operational. Several older operational ICBM systems also remained in the field. These included an SS-17 regiment of ten silos, six SS-18 silo fields totaling 222 missiles with multiple warheads, four SS-19 silo fields totaling 250 missiles with multiple warheads, and ninety-two SS-24 missiles of which thirty-six are mounted on trains. All except the SS-24 were being phased out in favor of the SS-25 Topol.

[edit] Organization

In 1989 the 300,000 Soviet soldiers in the Strategic Rocket Forces were organized into six rocket armies comprising three to five divisions, which contained regiments of ten missile launchers each.[3] Each missile regiment had 400 soldiers in security, transportation, and maintenance units above ground. Officers manned launch stations and command posts underground.

In 1996 the SRF had about 100,000 troops, of which about half were conscripts. The SRF had the highest proportion of well-educated officers among the armed services. The numerical strength of its personnel is only 10% of the armed forces' total. As of 1997 the average troop strength was at 85.3% of the table of organization, and officers of all ranks were doing alert duty more frequently — 130 24-hour periods a year. Although ninety-nine percent of RVSN officers have a degree in engineering, and over twenty-five percent of the personnel are contract sergeants and soldiers, among the conscript contingent, less than half of the total have a secondary (high school) education.

As of mid-1997 two-thirds of the strategic forces' nuclear delivery systems were in constant combat readiness, and the readiness of the missile complexes to launch is a few tens of seconds. The organizational structure of the RSVN included four missile armies, which contain 19 divisions, 5456 launchers, and 5,535 nuclear devices at stationary silo, railroad, and road-mobile missile launch complexes.

The control of the missile troops is effected directly by the Supreme Commander in Chief through the central command headquarters of the General Staff and the main headquarters of the RVSN, using a multi-level extended network of command posts operating in alert-duty mode. In the alert-duty forces about 12,000 missile personnel perform a threefold mission: reacting to failures in the missile systems and systems of security communications, and correcting them in the minimum possible time; maintaining readiness to carry out the military mission assigned them; and in the event the armed forces are placed on the highest level of military readiness, to provide for the execution of their assigned missions.

A system to ensure nuclear security is based on a three-level system of protection of the launch installations. The installations are directly guarded by officers and warrant officers. The second line of protection is covered by armored hardware and structures. The third outer line is formed by minefields and security posts.

At the wing level there is a section called the 6th Directorate, consisting of three or four officers, and their sole function is to make sure they know where every nuclear weapon in that wing is. At the Rocket Army level there is a similar kind of organization. And at the Headquarters, Strategic Rocket Forces, there is a 6th Directorate that coordinates with the Ministry of Defense 12th Directorate, whose sole function is this accountability issue.

[edit] Current composition

The composition of missiles and warheads of the Strategic Rocket Forces must be revealed as part of the START II treaty exchange. The latest date of exchange was January 1, 2005.

At the beginning of 2008 the Russian strategic forces included 702 strategic delivery platforms, which can carry up to 3155 nuclear warheads. The Strategic Rocket Forces have 452 operational missile systems of four types that can carry 1677 warheads. The strategic fleet includes 14 strategic missile submarines. Their 172 missiles can carry 606 nuclear warheads. Strategic aviation bomber force consists of 78 bombers that can carry up to 872 long-range cruise missiles. The space-based tier of the early warning system included three satellites that appear operational—two on highly elliptical orbits and one on a geostationary orbit.

The Strategic Rocket Forces operate four distinct missile systems. The oldest system is the R-36M / SS-18 Satan which is capable of carrying ten warheads. 85 remain in service, although plans to retire the older of the two versions in service, the R-36MUTTH, will leave 40 of the less aged R-36M2 in service past 2020. The other missile capable of carrying a MIRV warhead is the UR-100NUTTH or SS-19 as it is known to NATO, with 129 in service with up to six warheads each. The most numerous missile serving is the Topol or SS-25, a road-mobile missile. Despite over 300 in service, they are reaching the end of their service lives and are due for replacement. The only new missile entering service is the Topol-M, or SS-27, and can be either silo-based or road-mobile. Deployment has begun with the announcement of the first operational unit, but full-scale entry into service is expected from 2006.

Organizationally, the Strategic Rocket Forces are divided into three Missile Armies, each with constituent Missile Divisions at each missile base. According to, the RSVN main command post is at Kuntsevo in the suburbs of Moscow, with the alternate command post at Kosvinksky Mountain in the Urals.[4] The commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces is Colonel General Nikolay Solovtsov, appointed on April 27, 2001 by President Vladimir Putin. Order of battle of the forces is as follows:

* 27th Guards Missile Army (HQ: Vladimir)
o 7th Guards Missile Division at Vypolzovo with 18 Topol
o 10th Guards Missile Division at Kostromo completing liquidation
o 14th Missile Division at Yoshkar-Ola with 27 Topol
o 28th Guards Missile Division at Kozelsk with 60 UR-100NUTTH
o 54th Guards Missile Division at Teykovo with 36 Topol
o 60th Missile Division at Tatischevo with 69 UR-100NUTTH and 40 Topol-M
* 31st Missile Army (HQ: Rostoshi)
o 8th Missile Division at Yur'ya with 27 Topol
o 13th Missile Division at Dombarovskiy with 46 R-36M
o 42nd Missile Division at Nizhniy Tagil with 36 Topol
o 59th Missile Division at Kartaly completing liquidation
* 33rd Guards Missile Army (HQ: Omsk)
o 23rd Guards Missile Division at Kansk with 45 Topol
o 35th Missile Division at Barnaul with 36 Topol
o 39th Guards Missile Division at Novosibirsk with 45 Topol
o 51st Guards Missile Division at Irkutsk with 36 Topol
o 62nd Missile Division at Uzhur with 40 R-36M

The total arsenal of the SM Forces is 536 ICBMs, of which 306 are SS-25 Sickle (Topol) missiles and 54 are SS-27 Stalin (Topol-M) missiles.

[edit] Weapons used

[edit] Current ICBMs

* SS-18 'Satan' (R-36M)
* SS-19 'Stiletto' (UR-100N)
* SS-25 'Sickle' (RT-2PM Topol)
* SS-27 (RT-2UTTH Topol-M)

[edit] Previous ICBMs

* SS-4 'Sandal'
* SS-6 'Sapwood' (R-7)
* SS-7 'Saddler' (R-16)
* SS-8 'Sasin' (R-9A)
* SS-8 'Sasin' (R-26)
* SS-9 'Scarp' (R-36)
* SS-11 'Sego' (UR-100)
* SS-13 'Savage' (RT-2)
* SS-16 'Sinner' (RT-21)
* SS-17 'Spanker' (UR-100MR)
* SS-24 'Scalpel' (RT-23)

The IISS estimates that 9,700 T-72s are in the Ground Forces' inventory.
The IISS estimates that 9,700 T-72s are in the Ground Forces' inventory.
A Russian soldier wearing a new ballistic helmet
A Russian soldier wearing a new ballistic helmet
GAZ-2975 "Tigr" on rehearsal of Moscow Victory Parade
GAZ-2975 "Tigr" on rehearsal of Moscow Victory Parade
A Russian soldier wearing modern body armour and ballistic helmet.
A Russian soldier wearing modern body armour and ballistic helmet.

Main article: List of equipment of the Russian Ground Forces

The Ground Forces retain a very large quantity of vehicles and equipment (see table below).[81] There is also likely to be a great deal further, older, equipment in state military store, a practice continued from the Soviet Union.

However, following the collapse of the USSR, the newly independent republics became host to most of the formations with modern equipment, whereas Russia was left with lower-category units with usually older equipment.[82] As financial stringency began to bite harder, the amount of new equipment fell as well, and by 1998, only 10 tanks and about 30 BMP infantry fighting vehicles were being bought each year.[83]

Funding for new equipment has greatly risen in recent years, and Russian defence industry continues to develop new weapons systems for the Ground Forces, including new tanks, such as the T-95 and Black Eagle, and new surface to air missiles such as the S-400 Triumf.

However, for the Ground Forces, while overall funding has dramatically increased, this does not guarantee that large numbers of new systems will enter service. As regards the S-400 SAM, Yury Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff, was reported as saying to President Vladimir Putin in mid 2007 that "Over two dozen battalions are to be equipped with such systems by 2015.[84] In the case of vehicles, as the references show, examination of the actual number of vehicles planned to be bought yearly (about 200 MBTs and IFVs/APCs in the link attached) means that for a force of about thirty divisions, each with about 300–400 MBTs and IFVs, it might take around 30 years to reequip all formations.[85]

Jane's World Armies notes that the Soviet/Russian military tradition has never placed much importance on the survivability of individual soldiers, and thus eschews protective equipment such as flak jackets and helmets as beung too heavy and uncomfortable, though promises to improve this state of affairs have been made.[58] Some modernization has taken place with the adoption of Kevlar and ballistic helmets (resembling the U.S. PASGT helmet).[citation needed]

Equipment Summary[86]
Equipment Numbers
Main Battle Tanks 22,800+
Light Tanks 150 (PT-76)
Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicles 15,000+
Armoured Personnel Carriers 9,900+
Towed Artillery 12,765
Self Propelled Artillery 6,000
Multiple Rocket Launchers about 4,500
Mortars 6,000
Self-Propelled Surface to Air Missiles about 2,500

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