Glen Grant, defense reform and change management expert, former British adviser to President and Defense Minister of Estonia on NATO membership writes in his article for Censor.NET.
1. Respect for life. This means that operational decisions should take saving life into account and the medical system must be made to ensure that anyone injured has the greatest chance of survival. Neither of these standards is met.
2. Respect for the serviceman and their families. This means that all servicemen should be properly led, equipped and supported at all times by their commanders and the chain of command with all the necessities they need to live, train and fight. This includes proper pay and allowances. It means that servicemen should be treated as human equals by commanders not servants. Officers should always feed last. This standard is not met.
3. Searching for honesty. This means that the system should consider honesty to be the benchmark in all things, be it operational reports, reporting to the public, hearing what officers and soldiers say or not misusing government properly and money for private purposes; the curse of corruption. This standard is not met.
4. Civilian control of the military. This means that the Ministry of Defence is the driver of all military affairs. This should be done through the production of policy and the allocation of priorities and budgets to meet political aims. The military should then act upon this policy and turn it into military actions. This standard is not met.
5. Political direction. This means political direction from Government and endorsed by the President. The President may be the Commander in Chief but this should be a titular title as he has no control of resources. He should limit his activities to providing strategic direction, advice, wisdom, and political support, and endorsing or rejecting government proposals. (He has no time to do more) The Chief of Defence should get his direction from government through the Defence Minister. He should only appeal to the Prime Minister or President over the head of the Minister on matters that are so serious that he feels if he is not backed he must resign. And if he does appeal over the Minister and is not backed then he must resign immediately. This standard is not met.
6. Adequate military training. Military training in peace and war should cover all aspects of individual and collective training. Before operations soldiers should train together with their crews, sub units and units, that unit should train together with its brigade and also at divisional level to train staffs. Units should also train jointly with air and other units and staffs if needed. No serviceman should ever be committed to operations when not properly trained. This standard is not met.
7. Adequate leadership by officers. Officers should be selected for their leadership abilities, honesty and motivation for a military career. Their training should primarily be active, skill and exercise based with classroom time limited to just enough to teach the basic concepts of command and their future career. They should be deployed to units whilst they still have the vitality and courage of youth. Middle career officers should learn to command and lead operational and technical staffs. Senior officers should be skilled in strategy and strategic thinking. Commanders should be given a clear task and zone of responsibility. Given this task and zone their actions should not be interfered with by senior commanders. The operational commanders are the closest to the action and should be the decision makers. Intervention by senior officers should only occur if the commander fails or the situation changes dramatically. Even then the task should be redefined and the commander left to deliver and not over-controlled. Officers who are inadequate in their skills and operational performance, who are not honest, who refuse to delegate authority, or who treat servicemen improperly should be removed. This standard is not met.
8. Robust unit structures. A unit should have sufficient servicemen to do the task given. In NATO the basic structures are clear. A platoon has about 30 men, a company about 120, a battalion between 500 and 600. They have all the vehicles they need, proper command posts with alternates at sub unit and unit level, they have logistic supply and maintenance, mortar and reconnaissance platoons, a doctor and medical team and they have proper communications at all levels with redundancy. Brigades should also be balanced consisting of three or four full battalions with artillery, engineers, signals, medical, supply and maintenance. This standard is not met
9. A military supply system. At each level of operation there should be a full logistic tail supporting the forward troops. Each level should have its own resupply and spares enough to keep the unit fighting for three to four days. Each brigade should have the same spare combat supplies and each division (Sector) its own supply system and extra supplies and ammunition. Combat units should NEVER be allowed to run short of any supplies or support. This standard is not met.
10. A properly trained and manned MOD. The ministry of defence is an arm of government. It should be a strategic liaison, strategic thinking, policy making, planning and budget making organisation. It should be led and filled by skilled, quick and flexible thinking managers. Retired or serving military officers should only fill posts when rank is required to make the system work such as in security or some technical areas like maintenance policy. Otherwise the MOD should be civilians with a wide range of education and backgrounds, policy and business skills. This standard is not met.
Glen Grant, defense reform and change management expert. Former British adviser to President and Defense Minister of Estonia on NATO membership.
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