Roger McDermott

Roger N. McDermott specializes in Russian and Central Asian defense and security issues and is a Senior Fellow in Eurasian Military Studies, The Jamestown Foundation, Washington DC, Senior International Research Fellow for the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Affiliated Senior Analyst, Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen. McDermott is on the editorial board of Central Asia and the Caucasus and the scientific board of the Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies. He recently wrote The Reform of Russia’s Conventional Armed Forces: Problems, Challenges and Policy Implications (October 2011).

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Articles by Roger McDermott

Russia’s Military Paper Tiger

The reputation of Russia’s Armed Forces was boosted by its involvement in Ukraine and its out-of-area intervention in Syria, on the back of the publicity generated by ongoing long-term military

Image and Reality in Russia’s Armed Forces

Threat inflationists, both within Russia and internationally, seize on every manifestation of military modernization to argue that Russia’s Armed Forces are fast becoming one of the world’s leading militaries and

Russia’s Military Paper Tiger: Mobilization

The Russian Armed Forces are routinely subject to “snap inspection” exercises and various measures to boost their ability to fight and deploy to assorted theaters of operations. And combat readiness

Putin Bluffs on Challenging NATO

President Vladimir Putin has reacted cautiously and avoided outright triumphalism over the Brexit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, while much of his recent comments on the forthcoming

Moscow Anticipates Anti-Russian NATO Summit

Ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) July 8–9 summit in Warsaw, commentators widely expect the Alliance to adopt a range of measures to boost security on its northeastern

Shoigu Builds Mythical Russian Army

Since President Vladimir Putin appointed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in November 2012, the official message from the top brass and leading defense officials presents the Russian military as advanced, reformed

Russia’s Tactical Missile Systems in Syria

Russia’s announced partial military drawdown of its force deployment in Syria has effectively given way to conceding that its military footprint in the country will endure for some time. With

Russia Withdraws Su-25s From Syria

Russia’s air operations in support of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), which commenced on September 30, 2015, continue to experience modification and experimentation despite President Vladimir Putin’s order to begin

Putin the ‘Peacemaker’ Ends Operations in Syria

On March 14, President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly announced his order to commence withdrawing the main element of Russia’s military deployment in Syria. Justifying the decision, Putin said that most of

Russia’s Cost-Benefit Interest in Syria

As Washington and Moscow join efforts to initiate a ceasefire in war-torn Syria, there is growing evidence that Russian policymakers believe the cost-benefit side of the military intervention is yielding

Russia Raises the Stakes in Aleppo

Russia’s air campaign in Syria initially provoked critical remarks and skepticism from Western governments and commentators. However, the intervention, which involves targeted air strikes and close air support (CAS) for

Russia Strengthens Western Military District

Russia’s defense leadership has signaled that among its priorities for 2016 will be the creation of “three divisions” in the Western Military District (MD): a move sure to ignite further

Russia’s 2015 National Security Strategy

Russia’s new National Security Strategy (NSS), signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on December 31, 2015, marks the culmination of a long process in deteriorating relations between Moscow and

Putin Challenges NATO Over Turkey

Despite both the ongoing tensions in Ukraine as well as Russia’s out-of-area air campaign in Syria, much of the focus of the Russian political-military elite is currently on Turkey, which

Putin Adjusts Russia’s Syria Strategy

President Vladimir Putin’s decision to militarily intervene in Syria came after long and careful preparations to mitigate the risks of conflict escalation. However, two events complicated Russia’s involvement and demanded

Russia’s Naval Encirclement of Syria

Recent statements by Russia’s top brass concerning precision-strike capabilities against “terrorist” targets in Syria, future basing plans and the high-profile use of cruise missiles launched from the Caspian Sea, on

Russia Hosts CSTO Exercises in Western Military District

In late August, Russia hosted military exercises for elite forces assigned to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Vzaimodeystviye (Collaboration) 2015 was staged near Pskov, in the Western Military District

Russia Reforms Aerospace Defense Structures—Again

Moscow has implemented another step toward improving and consolidating its conventional military force capabilities by creating an entirely new arm of service: the Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno Kosmicheskikh Sil—VKS). The Aerospace

Russia Set to Strengthen Hard Power Options

Russia’s Armed Forces, feeling the strain of unofficial involvement in Ukraine and maintaining higher readiness throughout the crisis, have recently experienced a number of high-profile air force crashes and setbacks

Putin’s Use of the ‘Nuclear Card’

President Vladimir Putin continues to use strong rhetoric not only linked to what he sees as Kyiv’s “responsibilities” to adhere to Minsk II but also in an increasingly controversial area

Does Russia’s ‘Hybrid War’ Really Exist?

In the early stages of the Russian military operation to annex Crimea, in February–March 2014, the level of surprise triggered in Kyiv and in Western capitals caused many journalists and

Russian Spetsnaz Personnel Detained in Ukraine

Ukrainian military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, told a press conference on May 17 that two Russian Spetsnaz (special forces) personnel were arrested by government forces 15 kilometers from Luhansk. The details

Rebel Forces Prepare Spring Offensive in Ukraine

All parties to the Minsk Two agreement, which has resulted in a shaky ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine since February 12, express varying levels of concern about a possible full resumption

Assessing Russia’s Defense Priorities in Crimea

Since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in March 2014, senior Russian political-military leaders have, on numerous occasions, referred to military reinforcement and consolidation when speaking about integrating the peninsula into

China’s Tacit Approval of Moscow’s Ukraine Policy

Since Moscow initiated military operations in Ukraine in February 2014, China has seemingly adopted an ambiguous stance as Russia’s annexation of Crimea and destabilization of southeastern Ukraine evoked international condemnation.

Russia’s Role in the Fall of Debaltseve

In the aftermath of concluding the Minsk Two agreements earlier this month, the strategically important Debaltseve soon fell to the Russia-backed Ukrainian separatists—amidst clear disagreement over whether or not the

Vladimir Putin’s Dirty Little War

Since Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine in February 2014, its ongoing operations center upon “plausible deniability.” With the passage of time and more and more evidence entering the public domain, however,

Ukraine on the Brink: Donbas Conflict Escalates

Following the outright collapse of the notional ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Kyiv and Moscow have traded accusations and drifted further from pursuing a possible political solution. Neither side shows any

Putin Sets Military Trap for Poroshenko

The collapse of the nominal ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, marked by an escalation of military operations around Donetsk airport, has resulted in a fresh diplomatic confrontation between Moscow and Kyiv.

Russia’s Defense Leadership Reflects on 2014

In December 2014, Russia’s defense leadership publicly reflected on what was deemed to be a highly successful year for the Armed Forces. Although similar statements frequently mark such year-end reflections,

Russia Creates Arctic Military Command

The Kremlin has created a new Arctic military command—the clearest and most practical signal yet of Russia’s long-term strategic stake in the High North. Russia’s military Arctic command became operational

Russia Activates New Defense Management Center

Since President Vladimir Putin appointed Sergei Shoigu as defense minister in November 2012, the greatest organizational innovation in the Russian Armed Forces has been the creation of a National Defense

Moscow Prepares Revised Military Doctrine

Russian President Vladimir Putin undoubtedly timed the coordinated effort to initiate a ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine to coincide with both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) September 4-5 summit in

Putin’s War for Novorossiya

After recent successes by Russia-backed rebel forces in southeastern Ukraine, increased reports of Russian regular troops involved in the conflict, and belligerent statements by the Russian leadership, speculation mounts in

Russia’s Elite Airborne Forces Celebrate VDV Day

The annual celebration of Russia’s elite Airborne Forces (Vozdushno Desantnye Voyska—VDV) on August 2, 2014, combined shows of strength with loutish behavior. Traditional displays of strength range from breaking bricks

Russia-NATO: No ‘Business as Usual’

On July 22, President Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian Security Council and effectively declared the demise of cooperation between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Putin covered issues

Moscow Prepares S-400 Export Model for China

As Moscow seeks to enhance Russian air defense and modernize its missile systems as well as pursue closer cooperative arrangements with its partners in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),

Putin’s ‘Self-Sufficient’ Defense Industry

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has placed increasingly high expectations and demands on the domestic defense industry. Putin intermittently reminds the heads of the various defense companies that the modernization plans

Russian Military Technology Post-Crimea

Russian military operations in Crimea have increased the prestige of serving in the Armed Forces, which has been a welcome boost to Moscow’s on-going efforts to recruit larger numbers of

Unraveling the Kremlin’s Strategic Paradigm

Since the eruption of the Ukraine crisis, Russian and Western commentators have tried to define those elements of Russian actions and policymaking that constitute “new” factors in Moscow’s relations with

Crimea Operation Boosts Russian Military Prestige

Public statements by Russia’s defense minister, Army-General Sergei Shoigu, indicate that planning for the military and defense implications of absorbing Crimea into Russia is far advanced, while he has also

NATO-Russia Relations Post-Crimea

Since the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia’s complex relationship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has experienced high hopes, drift and

Putin’s Silence Shakes the World

As the crisis in Ukraine unfolds and shows signs of escalation, Western media circles and policymakers appear to be underestimating a number of mysterious elements in Russian security thinking and

Russia’s Long-Term Naval Rearmament Plans

President Vladimir Putin continues to support the creation of a modernized and combat-capable military by 2020. A significant element in such military modernization is the Navy, which also protects Russia’s

Russia’s Navy Inches Forward

Russia’s Navy entered 2014 with some small signs of progress, while the Ministry of Defense faces significant challenges centered on the development of the Bulava sea-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) for

Putin Struggles to Maintain Real Military Rearmament

Russian President Vladimir Putin has conducted an intensive series of meetings with the domestic defense industry and adopted measures to fine officials for state defense order failures. Putin held discussions

Russian Airpower Skydives to New Depths

In theory, the Russian Air Force (Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily—VVS) is in “permanent readiness,” with 80 percent of its assets in a serviceable condition. Nonetheless, the real condition of the VVS, according

The Role of Women in Russia’s Armed Forces

More than one year after the appointment of Sergei Shoigu as defense minister, Moscow still struggles to fully man Russia’s Armed Forces. Despite official claims that the total under arms

Dostoevsky Doctrine Dominates Russian Naval Planning

Recent statements by Russia’s naval top brass concerning highly ambitious plans to develop sixth-generation warfare capabilities at sea and to shortly introduce another Borey-class submarine run contrary to the long-term

Shoigu Opts for Mystical Defense Plans (Part Two)

Russia’s defense minister, Army-General Sergei Shoigu, has served in office for one year and has scaled back or halted some of the reform initiatives of his predecessor, Anatoly Serdyukov. Yet,

Shoigu Opts for Mystical Defense Plans (Part One)

As the anniversary approaches in November 2013, marking one year since President Vladimir Putin sacked Anatoly Serdyukov and appointed Sergei Shoigu as Russia’s defense minister, evidence is mounting to indicate

Russian Navy Cannot Escape Its Sinking Feeling

Moscow’s recent high profile diplomatic involvement in the Syria crisis resulted, in part, in some unmerited publicity for its navy due to the decision to dispatch a number of its

Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces: Organizational Chaos

Recent specialist commentaries in the Russian military press indicate deep dissatisfaction with the Aerospace Defense Forces (Vozdushno-Kosmicheskaia Oborona—VKO) created in December 2011. The complexity of the new structure is not

Putin Blasts Rogozin Over Rearmament Failures

Moscow’s highly ambitious military rearmament plans to 2020 always appeared destined to encounter major setbacks linked to the capacity of the domestic defense industry to deliver the modernization of weapons

EDM analysts cited in Eurasia Review article

Jamestown analysts Roger McDermott, Vladimir Socor, Pavel Felgenhauer, Georgiy Voloshin, Richard Weitz, and Dumitru Minzarari were cited in an article by Ariel Cohen in Eurasia Review.

General Gerasimov Downplays Nuclear Cuts

A conference on European security, organized by the Russian defense ministry on May 23–24 in Moscow, served as a platform for the top brass to reiterate well-worn themes and perspectives

Shoigu Kicks Serdyukov Reform into Long Grass

Six months after his appointment as Russia’s defense minister, Army-General Sergei Shoigu has initiated a number of policy reversals in key areas of his predecessor’s Armed Forces reform. Some of

Shoigu Suspends the “Serdyukov” Military Reform

A near catatonic trance descended upon the Russian media in the aftermath of President Vladimir Putin sacking his controversial Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov on November 6, with a preoccupation on

Moscow Resurrects Battalion Tactical Groups

At the heart of the reform of Russia’s Armed Forces, launched in October 2008, was the aim to create “permanent readiness” brigades, principally to facilitate rapid deployment and enhance combat

CSTO Stages First Peacekeeping Exercise

Kazakhstan has hosted the first Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) peacekeeping exercise on October 8–17, as the organization positions itself to play a more active role in defense and security

Kazakhstan Downplays NATO’s Role in Central Asia

Kazakhstan has recently participated in international military exercises with its NATO partners as well as through the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in what at first sight appears to confirm

Kavkaz 2012 Rehearses Defense of Southern Russia

Kavkaz 2012 (Caucasus 2012), the strategic command-staff military exercise staged in Russia’s Southern Military District (MD) from September 17 to September 23, tested key features of the reform of the

Kazakhstan Hosts Steppe Eagle 2012

Kazakhstan is hosting the international peacekeeping exercise Steppe Eagle 2012, amidst growing speculation that the country plans to deploy a company of peacekeepers abroad. Astana ultimately resisted the West’s efforts

Shamanov Fights for VDV’s Future

Since the reform of Russia’s conventional armed forces began in October 2008, Colonel-General Vladimir Shamanov has fought to protect the country’s elite airborne forces (Vozdushno Desantnye Voiska – VDV) from

Russia’s “New Look” Military Reaches out to Space

Russia’s Armed Forces, facing continued and long term convulsions due to inadequately planned and poorly executed defense reform, has further complicated the process by developing and introducing the Aerospace Defense

Uzbekistan Prepares for the NATO Drawdown

Tashkent’s controversial decision on June 20 to suspend its membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was widely misinterpreted as either signaling its complete withdrawal from the organization or

Russian Army Intensifies Combat Training

As the summer combat training period intensifies for the Russian Army, supporting programs and changes to the training schedule suggest that greater attention is being given to improving its quality.

The Bear and the Bison Streamline the CSTO

Moscow has recently reacted with caution and patience following the announced suspension of Uzbekistan’s membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), while leading Russian military officials and experts continue

Kazakhstan Faces Long Term Border Security Reform

Following the unprecedented mass killings at the Arkan Kergen border post in eastern Kazakhstan, the main suspect, Vladislav Chelakh, was sent to Almaty on June 28 to undergo psychiatric checks.

Russian Report Questions Missile Defense Myths

The continued standoff and potential risk to US-Russian bilateral relations over the Obama administration’s missile defense plans were recently underscored by Chief of the General Staff, Army-General Nikolai Makarov who

China Leads SCO Peace Mission 2012 in Central Asia

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) security agenda has been boosted in recent years through promoting multilateral counter-terrorist cooperation. One important feature in this counter-terrorist cooperation is the staging of Peace

Uzbekistan Snubs SCO Peace Mission 2012

Uzbekistan is often cast as a reluctant or difficult member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), because of its consistent opposition to new

Kyrgyzstan Signs NATO Reverse Transit Agreement

On May 22, during the NATO Summit in Chicago, Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbaev and NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow signed an agreement on ground transport routes for the

Russia Recreates the Berdsk Spetsnaz Brigade

An apparently random movement of a Russian Special Forces battalion located in the Central Military District (MD) may be an indication that the General Staff is increasingly concerned about future

Moscow Modernizes South Military District

Despite the slow pace of introducing new or modernized weapons and equipment into the table of organization and equipment (TOE) in Russia’s Armed Forces, there are signs that progress is

Russia’s Airborne Forces Await Fresh Reform

Newly inaugurated Russian President Vladimir Putin has given clear signals that the military will experience a fresh wave of reform during his first six-year term in office. Putin is also

Russia’s “New Look” Contract NCOs

Moscow plans to introduce a new training program for military professionals in early May, which envisages intensive six week courses for contract personnel. The latest in an endless series of

CSTO Proposes Cooperation with NATO on Afghanistan

Moscow has again proposed formal multilateral cooperation with NATO. On April 6, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Astana to attend the council of foreign ministers of the Collective

Moscow Dreams of Future Naval Power

During a recent reception for naval officers serving in Russia’s Northern Fleet hosted by Dmitry Dmitriyenko, the governor of Murmansk Oblast, changes to combat training and the achievements of the

Russia Expands the Role of Army Snipers

In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the Russian military top brass announced yet another planned innovation for the Armed Forces involving the introduction of sniper units in the “new

Who’s Afraid of the Russian Ground Forces?

In the aftermath of the Russian presidential election, the military top brass awaits the return of the real commander-in-chief to the Kremlin as well as a government reshuffle and a

Putin’s Military: Let the Good Times Roll

In the aftermath of the long-anticipated presidential election victory secured by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on March 4, Russian media coverage of issues related to the future of the Armed

The Curious Case of the Silent Russian Generals

Army-General Nikolai Makarov, the Chief of the Russian General Staff launched an apparently scathing attack on the domestic defense industry. His comments were offered in two parts over a fortnight,

Russian Military Intelligence: Shaken but Not Stirred

On January 26, the Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov announced an apparently routine measure to strengthen the Southern Military District by stationing additional Special Forces elements in Stavropol and Kislovodsk.

General Shamanov Faces Birthday Blues

Lieutenant-General Vladimir Shamanov, the commander of the elite Russian airborne forces (Vozdushno Desantnye Voyska – VDV), turns 55 on February 15, 2012. The significance of his forthcoming birthday, the retirement

Serdyukov Dreams of Network-Centric Conscripts

In his recent year ender interview, Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov provided a relatively smoothly crafted overview on the course of the reform launched in the fall of 2008 and

Russia Forms New Aerospace Defense Structure

Planning to create a new branch of service in the Russian military, Aerospace Defense (Vozdushno Kosmicheskaya Oborona –VKO), has reached its final stages with its formal completion due on December

Russia and Belarus Prepare Union Shield 2011

Russia and Belarus will stage a joint military exercise, Union Shield 2011, on September 16 to September 22 with low-key participation by Ukraine. On August 22, Army-General Nikolai Makarov, the

Tsentr 2011 Scenario and CSTO Transformation

Preparations are intensifying ahead of the operational-strategic exercise Tsentr 2011 scheduled for late September in southern Russia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Tsentr 2011 will test the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)

Mist Hangs Over Franco-Russian Mistral Deal

Much of the western attention to the Franco-Russian political agreement on the procurement of the helicopter landing dock Mistral for the Russian Navy emphasizes its potential “power projection” capability. NATO

Moscow Explores Asia-Pacific Security Role

Moscow’s apparently random decision to increase tensions with Tokyo over the disputed Kurile Islands provoked anxiety among international observers. Yet, the recent surge in bilateral diplomatic heat over the issue

Bat or Mouse? The Strange Case of Reforming Spetsnaz

One distinguishing hallmark of Russian defense reform is the unpredictable and apparently indiscriminate manner in which it is implemented. This approach leaves officers wondering about their future and where the

Moscow Searches for Strategic Depth in the “Reset”

 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s edict on September 23, formalizing sanctions against Iran following the UN Security Council resolution passed on June 9, has rekindled domestic interest in the “reset” policy

Reflections on Vostok 2010: Selling an Image

Jacob Kipp recently analyzed the political-military context of Vostok 2010 and drew attention to an increased threat perception in the Russian Far East relating to China. Kipp also referred to

Moscow Ponders “Strategy” in the “Reset”

Ahead of US President, Barack Obama, meeting his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, in Washington on June 24, Moscow-based analysts have considered the progress of the “reset.” In two recent articles

Russian Military Prepares for Vostok 2010

Preparations are intensifying ahead of the Russian operational-strategic military exercise, Vostok 2010, scheduled for June 29 to July 8 in the Siberian and Far East military districts involving more than

Nazarbayev’s Role in the Kyrgyz Crisis

Kazakhstan, currently chairing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), by extricating the former Kyrgyz President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, from internal exile in Jalalabad has highlighted opaque features of

Moscow Ties “Reset” to Afghanistan

On April 3, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Andrey Denisov, noted the generally positive change in the atmosphere between Moscow and Washington, but remarked that the relationship lacks “content.” The increased

Russian Strategic Interests Shifting Eastward

On March 8, an open letter by a group of German politicians and military officers, including the former German Defense Minister, Volker Ruehe, recommending that NATO should offer membership to

Russian Military Doctrine Looks East

Statements by senior Russian defense officials raise many questions concerning Moscow’s defense posture. The Chief of the General Staff Army-General Nikolai Makarov and the First Deputy Defense Minister Army-General Nikolai

Moscow’s CSTO Olive Branch to NATO

One year after the “reset” policy was announced by the Obama administration, aimed at improving relations with Russia, the negative characterization of NATO continues to feature prominently in the thinking

Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Takes to the Sky

On January 29, the prototype Russian fifth generation Prospective Aircraft Complex of Frontline Aviation (PAK FA) “T-50” finally completed a successful 45 minute test flight in Komsomolsk-na-Amurye. The stealth multirole

Moscow Boosts CSTO Military Dimension: on Paper

On January 18, Nikolai Bordyuzha, the Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) announced that member states are planning several joint military exercises in 2010. He noted that the

FSB Contemplates Procuring Israeli UAV’s

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has reportedly opened negotiations to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) in Israel for use within the FSB border guard service. On January 13, Kommersant

Kazakhstan Promotes Security Through the OSCE

Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has begun with a clear indication that the country intends to prioritize security. Astana will present its initiatives

“New Look” Russian Army Officially Formed

On November 17, an expanded session of the Russian defense ministry board met to review the results of the training year and consider future plans. The annual meeting, however, was

Moscow Offers Helicopter Cooperation to ISAF

Moscow plans to sell helicopters on a commercial basis to NATO in support of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan. Sources within the Russian aviation industry indicated that

Bi-Annual Draft Begins in the Russian Military

On October 1 the fall military draft began in Russia with the defense ministry publicizing its “serious reorganization of the enlistment offices system,” while admitting that recruitment levels had been

Russian Military Plans New NCO Training Center

In a clear break with its former pattern in producing praporshchiki (sergeants) for the army, the Russian defense ministry has begun forming a professional non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps, which will

Russia’s Vision in Crisis for CSTO Military Forces

On June 14, after the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Moscow formally created its new Collective Operational Reaction Forces (CORF), Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hailed this achievement as

Transformation of Russian Combat Training Begins

On June 3 the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) defense ministers met to consider intensifying military cooperation and formalizing the new rapid reaction forces. They are currently finalizing preparations to

Nazarbayev Signals Kazakhstan’s OSCE Priorities

On May 21 Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev characterized the country's forthcoming chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as a vital part of its interest in

Russia’s National Security Strategy

The Russian National Security Strategy until 2020, approved by President Dmitry Medvedev on May 12, has been portrayed as innovative while clarifying the nature of the strategic environment facing the

Manas Scheduled to Resume Civilian Status

The military and security authorities in Kyrgyzstan are actively preparing for the planned closure of United States' air base at Manas in August. Bishkek is also intensifying its efforts to

Russia Planning Arctic Military Grouping

Russia plans to reinforce the security of its northern borders by forming a military grouping for the Arctic before 2020, tasked with protecting its economic and political interests in the

Uzbekistan Signs Transit Route Agreement

On April 3, after protracted negotiations, the U.S. and Uzbekistan finally signed a crucial agreement on the transit of non-military cargo to Afghanistan. This allows the U.S. to ship supplies

Medvedev Reforming a Military in Crisis

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, having recently reaffirmed his support for the military reform and modernization program, has declared that the country's economic challenges will not derail this process. Several factors

Azerbaijan Opening Supply Route to Afghanistan

As the United States prepares to increase its military deployment in Afghanistan, attention is being devoted to the question of supply routes for these and other coalition forces. The U.S.

Tashkent and Dushanbe Cautious on CSTO Forces

The announcement in Moscow on February 4, 2009 to activate the CSTO Collective Rapid Deployment Forces and transform them into a more viable, well equipped force structure akin to NATO's

Kazakhstan Raising Its Afghanistan Profile

On January 28 the United States announced plans to purchase a "significant part" of the goods needed to supply its forces in Afghanistan from Kazakhstan. U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard

Tajikistan Claims Border Security Improving

Tajikistan’s border security agencies, severely challenged by the continued flow of narcotics and arms across the country’s porous borders, have released official statistics and details on their successes over the

Georgia Dispute Casts Shadow over NATO

On November 25 Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, questioned by a parliamentary panel probing the circumstances of the war with Russia, quoted Saakashvili’s entourage as saying, “the U.S.

Russia Wants New Airbase in Tajikistan

Russia’s defense priorities within Central Asia are changing in the aftermath of its war in the South Caucasus. There, the Russian armed forces rediscovered the importance of airpower, which it

Another Disaster in the Russian Navy

On November 8 Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev ordered Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov to instigate a full and thorough investigation into a fire on board a nuclear-powered submarine, the latest accident

Medvedev’s Ambitious Military Reform Plans

Russia has announced its most ambitious, systemic military modernization program since the collapse of the USSR, scheduled to deliver a more efficient and combat-ready military by 2020. These plans betray

BISHKEK: A TALE OF TWO BASES

On October 17 during a visit to Bishkek, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher reiterated Washington’s commitment to preserving the Ganci Air base at Manas. Replying to a question

KAZAKHSTAN AND RUSSIA PLAN AIR DEFENSE EXERCISE

Kazakhstan and Russia are in the final stages of planning large-scale training of their air defense forces. Shield-2008 will be held in western Kazakhstan as a joint air defense exercise,

NAZARBAYEV OFFERS MEDVEDEV SUPPORT

During a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Aktobe, Kazakhstan, on September 22, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev offered his support to Russia with regard to the conflict in Georgia.

NEW CSTO MILITARY FORCE PLANNED

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), long regarded by Western military experts as something of a “paper tiger,” will become increasingly active in Central Asia as Russia’s President Medvedev presses

ARMED CLASH IN ASHGABAT

According to Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry press service, an incident occurred in Ashgabat on September 13, as a consequence of the activities of an illegal drug ring. The Prosecutor-General’s Office said

MEDVEDEV PATIENTLY COURTING CENTRAL ASIAN LEADERS

On July 6 Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during their visit to Kazakhstan to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the renaming of Astana. Details on the

REFLECTIONS ON MANAS

The U.S. Air Force deployment to Manas, which has sparked intermittent controversy in the Kyrgyz Republic, has arguably been misunderstood by policy makers in Bishkek. Colonel Thomas Smith, the commander

KAZAKHSTAN EMERGING AS AN ARMS EXPORTER

Kazakhstan has announced ambitious plans to become the leading regional exporter of arms in Central Asia, transforming its defense industry capabilities within the next two years in order to export

TURKMENISTAN STAGES MILITARY EXERCISES

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov attended the high profile Galken 2008 military exercises held in the Kelete training range on May 5. Turkmenistan conducted these exercises with an “antiterrorist dimension” both

ALIYEV CASTS LONG SHADOW OVER KAZAKH INTELLIGENCE

Amangeldy Shabdarbayev, Chairman of Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee (KNB), has confirmed continuing concern about the infamous case of Rakhat Aliyev, while trying to give a positive image of the KNB

U.S. ACCESS TO UZBEKISTAN SPARKS RUMOR AND MISTRUST

Robert Simmons, the NATO secretary-general's special representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia, told a news conference in Moscow on March 5 that the Alliance welcomed Uzbekistan's willingness to

NEW KYRGYZ INTERIOR MINISTER LAUNCHES POLICE REFORM

Kyrgyz leaders intend to reform the country’s police force, by decentralizing its organizational structure. Such reforms, if properly implemented, could create a useful additional network for gathering information designed to

KAZAKHSTAN: THE CHALLENGES OF THE OSCE

Perhaps hoping to burnish Kazakhstan’s international image, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has called upon members of his Nur Otan party to fight corruption more actively. “Regional branches of the party must

AKHMETOV SIGNALS KAZAKHSTAN’S NEW CONFIDENCE

Kazakhstan’s armed forces face a new shake up in 2008, designed to facilitate progress toward greater efficiency. Military reform in Kazakhstan has been underway for several years, resulting in structural

KAZAKHSTAN “TRUSTS” RUSSIAN BORDER GUARDS

On December 29 border guards in East Kazakhstan arrested four people -- two citizens of Uzbekistan, one citizen of Russia, and one citizen of Tajikistan -- for allegedly attempting to

NAZARBAYEV ORDERS DEFENSE AND SECURITY REFORMS

Last week, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev again called for the reform of the country’s defense and security structures. On November 15, he ordered the various heads of the defense and

A STEPPE TOO FAR: KAZAKHSTAN’S GANGLAND POWER

Officially, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of the Interior (MVD) claims to have crushed the power of organized crime in the country. This assertion appears partly supported by the considerable reduction in the

NATO TREADS WARILY IN KAZAKHSTAN, AS RUSSIA WATCHES

Kazakhstan’s military cooperation with the NATO Alliance appears to be progressing steadily, despite the problems emerging between NATO and Russia. On October 31 Robert Simmons, NATO representative for Central Asia

DEFENSE RELATIONS: LONDON LOOKS TO ASHGABAT

On October 21 London refocused British diplomatic efforts in Central Asia from Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan. The Turkmen state news agency publicized a visit to Ashgabat by an official from the

CAN UZBEKISTAN COME IN FROM THE COLD?

On October 18 Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov met with his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov for wide-ranging talks on international and regional issues. The summit was initially given only passing reference

“The Rising Dragon: SCO Peace Mission 2007”

*Click Here to View PDF  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY• The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held historic counterterrorist exercises in China and Russia that lasted from August 9-17, 2007. The exercises involved military

CSTO: SAFE CHOICE IN CENTRAL ASIA

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has recently raised its profile by expanding its traditional emphasis on anti-terrorism to include potential peacekeeping activities within the former Soviet region. Moreover, its

TURKMENISTAN PONDERS PARTNERSHIP WITH WASHINGTON

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov delivered a keynote speech at the UN General Assembly on September 25, indicating that Ashgabat wants to “open up” to the outside world and build a

KAZAKHSTAN’S CADETS PREFER BELARUS TO AMERICA

Kazakhstan has strengthened its security ties with Washington since 9/11 in order to maximize the numbers of officers from Kazakhstan’s armed forces who receive military training and education in the

RUSSIA AND CHINA HOLD ANTI-TERRORIST EXERCISE

Russia and China held an anti-terrorist drill in Moscow region, September 4-6, designed to promote interoperability between their special services and special forces in another public display of the growing

KAZAKHSTAN CRACKING DOWN ON HIZB-UT-TAHRIR

Kazakhstan’s National Security Service (KNB) is continuing to crack down heavily on the activities of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the Islamic Party of Liberation. According to the KNB press service, on August 24

SCO PREPARES LIST OF BANNED RADICAL GROUPS

Radical groups operating within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states will be placed on a new, common list of banned organizations. On July 24 Toygonbek Kalmatov, from the Kyrgyz government

SPY ROW CHILLS U.K.-RUSSIA RELATIONS: FOR HOW LONG?

As the diplomatic crisis between Moscow and London deepened over the extradition request that Andrei Lugovoi stand trial for the murder of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, Russian politicians and media

SPY CATCHING KYRGYZ STYLE

Accusations of espionage against Dzhyparkul Arykova, a consultant to the Kyrgyz parliamentary press service arrested on June 19, has thrown the national intelligence community into crisis. In recent days the

TURKMENISTAN AND IRAN STRENGTHEN RELATIONS

Bilateral relations between Iran and Turkmenistan appear on the verge of a breakthrough. At the end of Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov’s official visit to Tehran on June 15-16, the presidents

DUSHANBE EXPANDS INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS BEYOND RUSSIA

On June 12 Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon held meetings with high-ranking officials from the country’s law-enforcement agencies. These included the recently appointed head of the Internal Affairs directorate of the

KYRGYZSTAN HOSTS SCO ANTI-TERRORIST EXERCISES

Kyrgyzstan hosted joint command and staff exercises of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) May 29-31. “Issyk Kul Anti-Terror-2007” included elements from the regional anti-terror structure, the Collective Security Treaty Organization,

MANAS AGREEMENT UNDER REVIEW

The authorities in Kyrgyzstan increasingly favor the Collective Security Treaty Organization in general and the Russian air base at Kant in particular. This view is becoming more prevalent in the

U.S. PLANS TO ATTACK IRAN FROM MANAS DENIED

On May 3 Marie Yovanovitch, U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, denied reports that the Manas base near Bishkek is being used to store nuclear weapons for a possible attack on Iran.

KAZAKHSTAN RELYING ON THE CSTO

Kazakhstan’s Defense Minister Daniyal Akhmetov recently described the country’s participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and its military partnership with members of the organization as priorities. “Kazakhstan's new

KAZAKHSTAN LAUNCHES AMBITIOUS MILITARY REFORM PLAN

On April 7 Kazakhstan published its new military doctrine, outlining both its strategic interests and priorities for future military cooperation. The doctrine advocates intensified cooperation within the framework of the

UZBEKISTAN FOSTERS EU CONTACTS

Uzbekistan, isolated from the West since the Andijan massacre in May 2005, clearly regards the European Union as its best hope for rapprochement as a means to promote its interests

AKHMETOV CALLS FOR SYSTEMIC MILITARY REFORM

After years of touting successful military reform under the direction of former defense minister Army-General Mukhtar Altynbayev, Kazakhstan has announced plans to change the command structure of its troops. Daniyal

RUSSIA USING CSTO TO COUNTERBALANCE NATO

On February 28 Nikolai Bordyuzha, secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), addressed a meeting of students from the Russian-Tajik (Slavonic) University in Dushanbe. Ostensibly he promoted the CSTO

PUTIN SEEKS CLOSER TIES WITH TURKMENISTAN

The election of Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov as Turkmenistan’s new president, widely expected since he became acting president after the death of Saparmurat Niyazov in December, has already witnessed diplomatic overtures by

TAJIKISTAN FORMING LINKS WITH SYRIA

On February 8 Tajikistan’s President Imomali Rakhmonov held bilateral meetings with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Rakhmonov was in Damascus as part of his current tour of the Middle East, which

KAZAKHSTAN DEEPENS TIES WITH GERMANY

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has moved to deepen the level of Kazakhstan’s cooperation with Germany. On January 30, during a visit to Germany, Nazarbayev explored ways to increase existing bilateral political,

U.S. MILITARY NEEDS LONG-TERM STAY IN MANAS

On January 24 U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Marie Yovanovitch gave an important indication of Washington’s long-term commitment to its deployment at Manas air base. Specifically, U.S. military personnel will remain

CHINA AND TAJIKISTAN SIGN NEW TREATY

On January 15 Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmonov arrived in Beijing for talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao. During this visit the two presidents signed a treaty on good neighborliness, friendship,

TASHKENT USES “DEMOCRACY CARROT” TO ENTICE WEST

On January 4 the Rand Corporation released a report on U.S. security assistance to Uzbekistan and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2005. The report concluded that, despite intense efforts, Washington’s assistance

NAZARBAYEV APPOINTS CIVILIAN DEFENSE MINISTER

On January 10 Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev took the dramatic step of appointing Kazakhstan’s first civilian defense minister. In general terms the step will be welcomed in the West, as

NEUTRAL TURKMENISTAN PRESENTS SECURITY DILEMMA IN THE CASPIAN

On December 26 Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, Turkmenistan’s acting president, was shown on national television conducting meetings of the State Security Council and Cabinet of Ministers. These images showed Agagelgy Mametgeldiyev, Turkmenistan’s

BISHKEK’S MANAS BASE IN CRISIS

On December 6 a Kyrgyz citizen was shot at the U.S.-led international anti-terrorism coalition’s Ganci airbase at Manas. Alexander Ivanov, a 43-year-old truck driver, appeared to be on a routine

KAZAKHSTAN’S EU STRATEGY BASED ON REGIONAL ASCENDANCY

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev emphasized regional security as a crucial strategic area of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom, during a visit to London on November 21. “Cooperation between

KAZAKHSTAN DEEPENS SECURITY TIES TO MOSCOW

An unusually explicit avowal of dependence on Russia for Kazakhstan’s most sensitive security needs, made in passing during bilateral talks, indicates once more the complexities underlying Astana’s foreign policy. Prime

TAJIKISTAN CLAIMS SUCCESS IN COUNTER-NARCOTICS OPERATION

Tajikistan is claiming success in its counter-narcotics capabilities based on its performance during the “Operation Channel 2006” program conducted among Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries October 9-15. In fact,

KAZAKHSTAN DEEPENS ITS PARTNERSHIP WITH NATO

Kazakhstan is pursuing efforts to deepen its existing partnership with the NATO Alliance, as it explores various foreign policy options aimed at securing greater help in reforming its armed forces.

KARIMOV PRIORITIZES RUSSIAN ARMAMENTS

Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov has prioritized procuring Russian armaments, not only to further the reform and modernization of the Uzbek armed forces, but also to strengthen Tashkent’s security response to

IMU ISSUES NEW THREAT TO CENTRAL ASIAN LEADERS

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is showing renewed confidence in Central Asia and has apparently increased its capacity to carry out terrorist acts within the region. A speech marking

KARIMOV FORGING PARTNERSHIP WITH JAPAN

Still tainted by the May 2005 Andijan massacre and its aftermath, Uzbek President Islam Karimov has discovered that Japan is willing to explore economic cooperation and to develop closer relations

TAJIKISTAN RETHINKS BORDER SECURITY

Tajikistan, painfully aware of the weaknesses within its border security structures, is embarking on key strategic and operational changes to the Tajik border guard service. These will be evident in

BAKIYEV PLAYS THE SECURITY CARD

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, having secured a deal over the future of the U.S. military deployment at Manas, is rapidly consolidating his regional reputation for combating terrorism and extremism. He

IRAN BUILDS PARTNERSHIP WITH TAJIKISTAN

Iran, despite intense U.S. and British diplomatic efforts, has pressed ahead with its strategy of strengthening regional ties in Central Asia, putting a special focus on Tajikistan. Washington and London

WASHINGTON SECURES DEAL ON KYRGYZ BASE

The United States has successfully secured the future of its military deployment at the Ganci airbase at Manas, ending a period of protracted uncertainty over the presence of the American

KARIMOV GAMBLES ON RUSSIA, CHINA, AND GERMANY

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov has staked much on his efforts to strengthen and sustain relations with both Russia and China. He predictably talked up Uzbekistan's ties with China during the

CHAOS IN THE KYRGYZ SECURITY STRUCTURES

Kyrgyz Armed Forces Day, scheduled for May 27, normally passes with a routine military parade. However, in the current tense political climate in Kyrgyzstan, routine has given way to suspicion

KAZAKHSTAN BOOSTING CASPIAN SECURITY

Kazakhstan is boosting its Caspian security through the successful implementation of foreign military and security-assistance programs. These have helped Kazakhstan to develop its maritime border capabilities by providing military hardware,

KAZAKH-UZBEK BORDER INCIDENT SIGNALS TENSION

An April 19 incident involving Uzbek border guards and a Kazakh national revealed the ongoing cross-border tensions and geopolitical rivalry between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Reports in the media of both

DUSHANBE HOSTS CIS INTERIOR MINISTERS’ MEETING

On April 21 a session of the CIS Council of Interior Ministers opened in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The agenda included the routine security issues of combating terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, and

CHINA ADVANCES ITS INTERESTS IN CENTRAL ASIA THROUGH SCO

On April 13 Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretary-General Zhang Deguang announced that the SCO's upcoming June summit would consider renaming and reforming the organization's secretariat, as well as granting permanent membership

RUSSIA AND TAJIKISTAN HOLD JOINT ANTI-TERROR EXERCISES

Russia and Tajikistan have completed anti-terrorist drills in Tajikistan aimed at improving cooperation between the two states as part of their anti-terrorist strategy. Although such exercises are a regular occurrence,

TAJIK MILITARY WEARY OF NATO

Tajikistan's military leadership has expressed public concern over the country's recent trend toward closer involvement with the NATO Alliance as a mechanism through which Dushanbe will gain enhanced military and

BISHKEK STAGES ANTI-TERRORIST EXERCISES

Kyrgyzstan has launched a series of military exercises aimed at testing and enhancing its anti-terrorist capabilities. Commencing on March 10, and scheduled to finish in late March, these two-stage command

UZBEKISTAN HOSTS SCO ANTI-TERRORIST DRILL

The member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conducted a joint anti-terrorist drill in Uzbekistan, March 5-9. The drill itself was aimed at developing greater interoperability among the Special

KARIMOV SEEKS STRONGER MILITARY FORCES

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov has set an ambitious agenda to strengthen Uzbekistan's armed forces, despite recent bilateral problems with Washington. The precise nature of what Karimov wants to improve, how

KAZAKHSTAN SET TO BOOST MILITARY EXPORTS

Kazakhstan is set to boost its military exports markedly during 2006, as it seeks to expand its access to international arms markets and further strengthen its defense industry. This concerted

TAJIKISTAN CONCENTRATES ON NATIONAL GUARD REFORM

Tajikistan's President Emomali Rahmonov has declared his intention to raise the combat readiness of the Tajik armed forces in order to address adequately the security threats facing the country. Such

CALLS GROW FOR RESIGNATION OF KYRGYZ SECURITY CHIEF

Members of the Kyrgyz parliament are calling for the resignation of Tashtemir Aytbayev, chairman of the National Security Service. A resolution, adopted on January 26, aims at tackling the unsatisfactory

KAZAKHSTAN CLAIMS REGIONAL LEADERSHIP ROLE

The inauguration ceremony of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, held in Astana on January 11, witnessed more than the expected national display of Nazarbayev's tight grip on power. According to sources

KAZAKHSTAN LOOKS WARILY TO NATO

Kazakhstan continues to strengthen its ties with the NATO Alliance, despite its close relations with Russia and China and the pressures this brings to the Nazarbayev regime. Officials on both

TASHKENT SEEKS NEW MILITARY ASSISTANCE

Since the Andijan massacre in May 2005, Uzbekistan has made little headway with its recent attempts to use pro-Western contacts to establish a way forward for its military and security

PUTIN’S FORLORN CHECHEN POLICY

Russian President Vladimir Putin, intermittently reminded of his stated intention of bringing peace and stability to the Chechen Republic when he rose to power in 1999, made a surprise visit

KAZAKHSTAN PLAYS THE NATO CARD

Kazakhstan has again raised the prospect of closer relations with the NATO Alliance, despite its already close relations with Russia and China and the restrictions placed upon its room for

RUSSIA OFFERS HELP COMBATING DRUGS IN CENTRAL ASIA

Russia has long expressed concern about the rising security risks associated with burgeoning drug trafficking through Central Asia, though its assistance to these countries has often been questioned in terms

PUTIN PLEDGES TO BACK UP KARIMOV IN A CRISIS

Russia and Uzbekistan have formally signed a new military alliance agreement with far-reaching consequences for bilateral relations between the two states and for Central Asia. Russian President Vladimir Putin invited

BISHKEK WEIGHS BENEFITS OF U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE

The Kyrgyz government, keen to promote its own financial interests in the continued American military presence in Kyrgyzstan, has strongly pressed for greater revenue from Washington. This not only reflects

TAJIKISTAN SEARCHES FOR BORDER SECURITY ASSISTANCE

Tajikistan has launched another serious diplomatic effort aimed at increasing its border security capabilities and addressing the long-standing international security issues presented by the weakness of the Tajik-Afghan border. Dushanbe

KAZAKHSTAN STRENGTHENS TIES WITH NATO

Kazakhstan has taken further steps towards strengthening its partnership with the NATO Alliance, as part of its ongoing strategy aimed at improving its domestic and regional security while balancing its

KAZAKHSTAN OPENS MILITARY LANGUAGE INSTITUTE

Kazakhstan has taken a small, but significant step towards preparing more of its military personnel to receive education and training in Western countries by opening a new military language institute

TURKMENISTAN PULLS BACK FROM CIS

Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov announced on September 1 that his country would downgrade its links with the Commonwealth of Independent States. Arguing on the basis of his avowed and UN-approved

KAZAKHSTAN QUESTIONS U.S. MILITARY ROLE IN CENTRAL ASIA

Kazakhstan's delicate foreign policy, predicated upon balancing its relations among China, Russia, and the United States, has come under increased pressure both from its involvement in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

TAJIKISTAN’S BORDER SERVICE PLAGUED BY CORRUPTION

Tajikistan's border guard service, with enhanced and independent responsibilities for Tajik border security since the withdrawal of Russian border units, continues to be hampered by internal corruption and poor discipline.

TERRORISM DOMINATES RUSSIAN SECURITY AGENDA

Senior Russian security officials are once again confirming the importance and priority of terrorism in Russia's domestic security agenda. A mixture of exercises, discussions, and initiatives to advance the interests

CORRUPTION UNDERMINES RUSSIAN MILITARY REFORM

High-profile efforts by Russia's authorities to promote a positive image of military reform, notably its efforts to switch more divisions to contract service, are being undermined by allegations of financial

UZBEKISTAN’S RELATIONS WITH CHINA WARMING

Uzbekistan's relations with China have been developing at a much more rapid pace since its internal crisis in Andijan in May 2005. That renewed impetus towards building closer ties has

U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE IN CENTRAL ASIA IN DOUBT

The future of the U.S. military deployment in Central Asia has been thrown into doubt by Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Both local politics and the geopolitical dynamics have changed since the

RUSSIA CONSIDERS ITS BORDER SECURITY

Russian security officials, aware of the diverse security threats facing the country, are taking steps to raise the overall effectiveness of the border guard service. Plans to gradually increase the

THE RUSSIAN MILITARY FLEXES ITS WEAKENED MUSCLES

Russia State Duma deputies have launched a concerted effort to rally opposition to the American military's rising interest in, and possible future deployments around, the Caspian region. Specifically, some deputies

Kazakhstan’s Emerging Role in the War on Terror

Kazakhstan has taken on an increasingly active role in the war on terrorism since its initial declaration of support after 9/11, promoting regional security and developing more effective means to

RUSSIA BLAMES TALIBAN FOR UPRISING IN UZBEKISTAN

Official statements emanating from Moscow on the unfolding crisis in eastern Uzbekistan firmly place the blame on Taliban elements promoting political violence within Andijan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov first

UKRAINE’S ARMED FORCES LEAD THE WAY IN THE CIS

Ukraine took another key step toward closer relations with NATO with the disclosure of their intention to upgrade military communications to NATO standards. Major-General Volodymyr Rudyk, deputy chief of the

TAJIKISTAN FOSTERS SECURITY LINKS WITH IRAN

Tajikistan has recently implemented measures aimed at fostering its military and security cooperation with Iran, as it seeks to diversify its foreign sources for security assistance. On April 20 Tajik

RUSSIAN DEFENSE INDUSTRIES EXPAND FOREIGN SALES

Russian defense industries are seeking to boost foreign sales primarily in Latin America and the Middle East, providing opportunities for Russian companies to compete with potentially expensive Western options. In

BELARUS LOOKS TOWARDS RUSSIA FOR MILITARY ASSISTANCE

On April 20 Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka met senior Russian defense officials in Minsk in order to examine mutual security threats and consider ways to deepen bilateral military cooperation. Lukashenka

KAZAKHSTAN OPENS NEW ANTI-TERRORIST TRAINING CENTER

Kazakhstan has opened a new anti-terrorist training center in Almaty designed to enhance the sophistication and professionalism of some of its most elite anti-terrorist personnel. Located within the existing Police

RUSSIAN ARMY REMAINS IN DECLINE

Russia's military manning system continues to struggle with unwilling conscripts forced to serve in deplorable conditions and with inadequate training. Health problems among young conscripts arriving in the barracks are

KARIMOV AGAIN SEARCHES FOR WESTERN SUPPORT

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov re-launched his efforts to secure further Western support for his regime during a visit to Slovenia March 15-17. His campaign comes at a time when NATO

UZBEKISTAN AND PAKISTAN SIGN ANTI-TERRORISM DEAL

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf held bilateral talks with President Islam Karimov during his visit to Uzbekistan on March 5-6. Cooperation in the fight against terrorism was one of the various

RUSSIA SENDS MIXED SIGNALS ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS

Russian officials have hailed Moscow's announcement of a potentially historic deal with Iran, concerning its continued involvement in developing the nuclear power facility at Bushehr, as a breakthrough. Alexander Maryasov,

SECURITY IN CENTRAL ASIA MOVES CLOSER TO MOSCOW’S ORBIT

Recent events within Central Asia, ranging from maneuvers toward Western military deployment in Kyrgyzstan to political statements from Bishkek indicating the intention of closer security integration with Russia, coupled with

TURKMENISTAN SEEKS STRONGER MILITARY

Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov, having traditionally maintained neutrality for his country in its international relations, has now made strengthening the armed forces one of Turkmenistan's top priorities. Such efforts to

KAZAKHSTAN INCHES TOWARDS NATO

Kazakhstan's Deputy Defense Minister, Major-General Bolat Sembinov, concluded a successful series of meetings with senior NATO officials in Brussels on January 21. The meetings signify a clear turning point in

RUSSIA SENDS MIXED SIGNALS ON ANTI-TERRORISM

Senior officials within the Russian Navy confirmed that Russia would participate in the NATO-led Active Endeavor anti-terrorist operation in the Mediterranean Sea in 2005, though it has not committed as

RUSSIAN AIR FORCE PINS HOPES ON TECHNOLOGY

Russia's top brass have decided that the best way to halt the decline of Russian airpower capabilities is to upgrade equipment and transform some air elements into effective anti-terrorist strike

KAZAKHSTAN SEEKS DIVERSE SECURITY PARTNERS

Kazakhstan has opened a new hanger at a military air base in Karaganda, both commemorating Independence Day (December 15) and highlighting its image as a regional power prepared to take

RUSSIAN INTERIOR TROOPS EXPAND SECURITY ROLE

The Russian Interior Ministry (MVD) has successfully completed the first stage of its expanded security role in the aftermath of the Beslan tragedy. It has added to its current responsibilities

RUSSIAN INTERIOR TROOPS PRIORITIZE CHECHNYA

Russia's Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev has appealed for the fight against terrorism in Russia to transcend military and security structures and include psychological, ideological, and economic means. Speaking in Moscow

RUSSIA PONDERS FEMALE SUICIDE BOMBERS

As the specter of female suicide bombers has entered the known repertoire and tactics of the domestic terrorist attacks carried out within the Russian Federation, more efforts are being made

RUSSIAN MILITARY PROBLEMS IN CHECHNYA

Reports of Russian military losses in Chechnya, though varied and difficult to confirm, indicate the ongoing struggle within Russia's army to realign its Soviet thinking, doctrine and tactics to deal

GENERAL BALUYEVSKY BUILDING TRUST WITH NATO

Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, met with senior NATO personnel on November 15, taking part in working meetings aimed at resolving issues

KYRGYZ INTELLIGENCE ASSESS COUNTER-TERRORIST PRIORITIES

Kyrgyzstan's intelligence services remain vigilant regarding the threat posed by Islamic terrorists ranging from the IMU to al-Qaeda, although they often use the legitimate security concerns posed by international terrorism

KAZAKHSTAN’S FUTURE COUNTER-TERRORIST AGENDA

Kazakhstan has positioned itself as a staunch supporter of the war on terror, not least in its steadfast commitment to peace support operations in Iraq through its deployment of KAZBAT.

RUSSIAN ARMY ABUSE: DENIALS AND RHETORIC

The recent Human Rights Watch report on the abuse of conscripts within the Russian army has provoked outrage in Moscow, eliciting strong denials and attempts by the authorities to downplay

RUSSIA’S VISION FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICEMEN FALTERS

Russia's perennial introspection within its security elites, pondering the troubles that have so beset its armed forces generally and in Chechnya specifically, has again broached the idea of creating professional

RUSSIAN MILITARY FACES ANTI-TERRORIST CHALLENGES

The Russian military is being increasingly tasked with countering terrorism within the Russian Federation, in an attempt to increase security and strengthen the state's capacity to respond to and effectively

UZBEKISTAN’S SEARCH FOR IMPROVED SECURITY

Uzbekistan has implemented a series of practical measures in Namangan Region (Eastern Uzbekistan, bordering Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), aimed at raising public confidence in the ability of the local authorities to

Tajikistan Diversifies Its Security Assistance

In the aftermath of 9/11 and NATO's renewed strategic emphasis on developing its partnership with the Central Asian states, Tajikistan has increasingly sought to enhance its security assistance from foreign

Cis Summit Pins Hope On Greater Security

CIS heads of state gathered in Astana on September 15-16 for a scheduled Commonwealth of Independent States summit meeting. Such meetings usually serve as a forum that projects a semblance

Questions Raised Over Alleged Kazakh Hostage Takers

Recent allegations, circulated in Moscow, concerning the presence of ethnic Kazakhs among the terrorists in Beslan, provoked swift denials and concerted efforts in Astana to downplay any possible speculation about

Putin Links Beslan To Global War On Terror

As the death toll in Beslan climbed past 350, Russian President Vladimir Putin broke his silence on September 4 in an address to the Russian people. During his televised speech,

Karimov Responds To Terrorism In Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov, speaking during an unscheduled press conference in Tashkent on August 26, revealed key aspects of Uzbekistan's position on responding to terrorism within its borders and illustrated

Russia Strengthens Its Airbase In Kyrgyzstan

Russia intends to further strengthen its military presence within Central Asia this year, beginning with deepening its commitment to its airbase in Kant, Kyrgyzstan. Essentially designed to enhance the anti-terrorist

Kazakhstan’s Military Reform Creeps Forward

Kazakhstan's efforts to successfully reform its largely Soviet-legacy armed forces has taken small steps towards achieving some of its longer-term goals, though much remains to be tackled if its future

Historic Russia-NATO Naval Maneuvers

Naval maneuvers in the Atlantic Ocean will mark the first joint exercises conducted between the Russian Navy and NATO. On August 7 the Baltic Fleet set sail for the Mediterranean

Anti-terrorist Exercises Underway In Central Asia

Anti-terrorist exercises are currently underway in Central Asia, witnessed by observers from non-CIS States including China, Iran, and Pakistan, within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). These

Abizaid Visit Highlights Kazakh Role In Iraq

General John Abizaid, Commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), visited Kazakhstan on August 2 with the express purpose of discussing ways to strengthen military cooperation between the United States

Baluyevsky: New Chief Of The Russian General Staff

President Putin's July 19 appointment of Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky as Chief of the General Staff, after sacking General Anatoly Kvashnin the previous day, has been met with widespread support in

Putin Fires Chief Of General Staff Kvashnin

On July 19, President Vladimir Putin fired Anatoly Kvashnin, Chief of the General Staff, as part of sweeping changes to the top brass in the Russian military. The announcement followed

Tashkent Largely Silent On Cut In U.s. Aid

The United States has slashed foreign aid to Uzbekistan by $18 million, according to a July 13 announcement by the State Department. The move was a calculated rebuttal to the

Kvashnin’s Future Hangs In The Balance Ñagain

Russia has prepared a new combat regiment for deployment in Ingushetia. The regiment consists of 600 servicemen, who joined under a contract after completing their military training in the North

Russia Signs Strategic Partnership With Uzbekistan

On the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Tashkent, June 16-17, a historic agreement was signed between Russia and Uzbekistan, which paves the way towards closer bilateral

Russia Launches Large-scale Military Exercises

A historic large-scale Russian military exercise is currently in progress, testing the ability of the armed forces to deploy high-readiness and reserve units rapidly across Russian territory. The operational strategic

Russia’s Anti-terrorist Agenda In Tajikistan

Russian border guards based in Tajikistan have carried out their first extensive training to cope with the aftermath of a possible chemical attack in the country launched by Al Qaeda.

Kyrgyzstan As Consumer Of Security Assistance

The Collective Rapid Deployment Forces (CRDF) held a command and staff exercise in Kyrgyzstan June 2-3, signaling the start of a summer of military exercises which will underscore the organization's

Karimov Moves Closer To Russian Fold

On June 2, the Russian Duma unanimously backed an agreement, originally signed in October 2001, on joint air patrols and the exchange of information, paving the way for the future

Kazbat Deployment In Iraq Faces Uncertainty

The Kazakh parliament's May 13 decision to postpone the request for extending the deployment of the country's peacekeeping battalion (KAZBAT) in Iraq highlights the question over the future deployment of

Kazakhstan’s Emerging Role In The War On Terror

Kazakhstan has taken on an increasingly active role in the war on terrorism since its initial declaration of support after 9/11, promoting regional security and developing more effective means to

RUSSIAN MILITARY PROBLEMS IN CHECHNYA

Reports of Russian military losses in Chechnya, though varied and difficult to confirm, indicate the ongoing struggle within Russia's army to realign its Soviet thinking, doctrine and tactics to deal

RUSSIA PONDERS FEMALE SUICIDE BOMBERS

As the specter of female suicide bombers has entered the known repertoire and tactics of the domestic terrorist attacks carried out within the Russian Federation, more efforts are being made

PUTIN’S FORLORN CHECHEN POLICY

Russian President Vladimir Putin, intermittently reminded of his stated intention of bringing peace and stability to the Chechen Republic when he rose to power in 1999, made a surprise visit