Russia’s Armed Forces have experienced considerable change and modernization since the reforms initiated in late 2008. While these processes have impacted structures, personnel, equipment and weapons systems across the entire range of combat arms and branches, as well as combat support and combat service support, a widely underestimated area of improvement lies in the realm of military decision-making. This process itself witnessed widespread change and efforts to enhance both the overall speed and efficiency of decision-making from strategic, to operational and tactical levels.
Over the past decade, Moscow has prioritized harnessing high technology to transform military decision-making. This has involved reforming and simplifying command and control (C2), introducing new structures in order to ingrate C2, digitizing the technologies involved in facilitating decision-making, and designing and procuring modern automated C2 systems.
These developments in advancing Russia’s conventional military capabilities are closely tied to its pursuit of network-centric approaches to modern and future warfare, adopting command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), rooted in harnessing high-technology to achieve these aims. In the area of military decision-making, a revolution has occurred, making the new system in place barely recognizable compared to the C2 apparatus it has displaced.
Within two years of the reforms that began in 2008, the number of military districts was cut to four (North, South, Central and East) and the concept of the joint strategic command was initiated in each of these. In December 2014, a new National Defense Management Center (Natsionalnyy Tsentr Upravleniya Oboronoy—NTsUO) was formed in Moscow, tasked with playing a unifying role in C2. And on January 1, 2021, the Northern Fleet was upgraded to the status of a military district/joint strategic command. These structural changes were accompanied by efforts to overcome the numerous design issues in developing automated C2 to fit the wider adoption of C4ISR; and all these modifications aimed to increase the speed and efficiency of the military decision-making system. Russia is, thus, increasingly exploiting high-technology to gain an edge over the enemy in future military conflict. As more of this technology is integrated into the Armed Forces, it will compel further modifications to the recruitment, training and education of personnel.
Russia’s military modernization and reform of its conventional Armed Forces since 2008 has resulted in the formulation of a credible and potent set of military capabilities. Moscow’s experience of military conflict in the 1990s and early 2000s, largely tied to counter-insurgency operations in Chechnya, gradually convinced the political-military leadership of the futility of maintaining Cold War–era structures, doctrines, arms and equipment, and force structures. The Russia-Georgia War of August 2008 proved pivotal in shifting the political-military leadership away from concepts such as “mass mobilization” and toward a force structure capable of embracing modern information-era forms of warfare: massive numbers of deployed forces gave way to broadly exploiting the information space to change the way the Russian military conducts battlefield operations. At the heart of this transformation was the adoption and use of high technology to exponentially enhance the speed and efficiency of military decision-making. This has revolutionized how these processes are handled by senior commanders on down to the tactical levels of combat operations. Russia’s Armed Forces have their own distinctive military culture and approaches to the entire panoply of military issues. This is especially the case when it comes to the complex processes involved in military decision-making, as it includes the structures of the Armed Forces, military personnel, as well as increased reliance upon and use of modern technologies. In the early 2000s, for example, the Russian Armed Forces were unable to generate digital communications through the command-and-control (C2) structures and had to reply upon a paper-bound process. This is no longer the case, as the modernization of C2 has since markedly progressed. Russia’s current military decision-making process is, therefore, clearly distinctive, and not only reflects their unique military culture but also the changing nature of modern combat operations in an information-centric era.
The following paper examines the complex contours of the processes of decision-making in the Russian military as well as the various influences involved and how Russia’s experience has differed, at times vividly, from the approaches or standard methods within North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) militaries. The paper purposefully avoids examining the theory of military decision-making and concentrates on the practicalities of who is involved and how this intricate process is handled. It is aimed at informing defense planners and military decision-makers within NATO to better understand the nature of this process in Russia’s Armed Forces. In particular, the following study seeks to identify the areas in which Russia’s Armed Forces are making marked progress to improve the speed and effectiveness of military decision-making, as well as to explore some of the challenges and vulnerabilities still facing Moscow.
Consequently, the paper divides into three parts. In the first, the Russian military decision-making architecture is outlined, identifying the core elements of the state and its military machinery as well as assessing which of these are involved in or influence the decision-making process. The second part considers how this process unfolds or is handled at the various levels, from strategic to operational to the tactical. The third part examines the critical role played by the transition of the Russian Armed Forces into the information era, specifically the pivotal function of automated C2 systems. In order to avoid misrepresenting the extent to which advances have been made in this area, primarily as a result of the reforms in Armed Forces initiated in late 2008, some of the challenges and vulnerabilities facing Russian military decision-making will also be assessed.
The 18th century Russian military leader Alexander Suvorov (1729–1800) rightly identified the importance of speed and time in achieving success on the battlefield: “One minute can decide the outcome of the battle, one hour the outcome of the campaign, and one day the fate of empires.” This truism is even more accentuated in modern approaches to the conduct of warfare, reflecting the fact that its means and methods have radically changed by utilizing advanced technologies in the information era. Indeed, it is the central driving force behind Moscow’s effort to introduce high technology into its C2, and its wider adoption of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR): speeding up the process of decision-making and C2 for the singular purpose of acting faster than the future adversary. This has compelled shifts in how modern militaries assess, use, and try to manipulate time and space factors in their planning processes. Russia’s political-military leadership has also recognized this evolution in modern warfare and, as a result, applied systemic changes to its Armed Forces’ structures, as well as introduced modern technologies and approaches to the conduct of combat operations. A crucial driving factor in these efforts to reform and modernize Russia’s military is the focus on enhancing the speed and efficiency of the C2 bodies in order to achieve the aim of improving decision-making and the timely execution of decisions. In short, their aim is to be able to act faster than the potential adversary.
The complexity of describing and assessing this process in Russia’s Armed Forces partly stems from an issue of terminology. Many of the terms used by the militaries of the United States or its NATO allies do not quite fit the Russian context. For example, the term anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) is a familiar one to Western militaries. However, when the term features in Russian military publications, it is always used to refer to foreign armed forces and their approaches to this concept. Nonetheless, there is clearly a set of capabilities in existence in the Russian military, which, when combined, does, in fact, constitute an A2/AD capability. Similarly, in US and NATO parlance, the term Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) is not only common, but military personnel are expected to be familiar with the constituent parts of both the long and shortened versions of the MDMP. In Russian military publications, the term again is always used to describe how foreign militaries conduct the MDMP. It is not a term in use within the Russian Armed Forces; though such a process evidently exits. This author has no access to current Russian military regulations, since these are classified and accessible primarily to serving military personnel. However, apart from the wider body of military publications, the term MDMP cannot be found in Voyennaya Entsiklopediya (Military Encyclopedia) or Voyennyy Slovar (Military Dictionary).
Nonetheless, the concept of an MDMP undoubtedly exists within the Russian Armed Forces, along with its algorithm and checklist. Indeed, it is the main element in the formal procedure of battle-order (boyevoy prikaz) development. According to Voyennyy Slovar, boyevoy prikaz development follows a set pattern. It sets tasks for subordinate forces during the preparation and conduct of combat operations. These should be “brief, extremely clear, excluding the possibility of different interpretations.” It includes an overview of the force grouping command element and the likely nature of the ensuing actions, delineates the combat mission, plans the combat operation, sets priorities, and distributes the tasks and objectives to the relevant force elements. The orders can then be issued in written form or orally.
Since there is an absence of a “go to” source to describe and assess the Russian MDMP, a different approach is needed to discover its outlines. This author deduces some of the elements of that process through analysis of the post-reform command structures for combat operations. An additional method is to examine how the Russian General Staff and military planners and commanders view the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of operations and how this influences their MDMP. Arguably, the transition toward network-centric approaches to warfare, with the introduction of automated C2 and, indeed, the wider adoption of C4ISR, plays a unifying role in this process, which is designed to maximize both speed and efficiency. Therefore, the sources for this paper are almost exclusively Russian military publications and professional Russian military journals.
The Russian Military Decision-Making Architecture
The military decision-making process in Russia’s Armed Forces must be understood in the context of its military reform and modernization since 2008 and, in particular, the conceptual shift that has attended these developments. As already noted, the decision-making process until these reforms were initiated was largely paper-bound. The transformation in Russia’s Armed Forces over the past decade has been driven by transitioning the force structures into the modern information era. Conceptually, Moscow placed C4ISR capability and the introduction of network-centric approaches to warfare at the epicenter of its Armed Forces transformation and modernization drive since 2008. It is a unifying theme in the transformation and underpins the defense industry’s support for modernization. Moreover, it guides and shapes experimentation with force structure, manpower and the application of network-enabled operations in an informationized combat environment. Therefore, while initially used as a mechanism to promote reform and modernization, within the past several years this process has matured and moved significantly to implementation and working out its implications for future force development.
This process has resulted in numerous practical experiments, advances in capability, and the slow but highly important step of developing and procuring automated command, control and communications (C3) systems. Progress is also evident in introducing improved surveillance and reconnaissance capability, combined with vigorous efforts to upgrade and innovate in terms of electronic warfare, which Russian defense planners see as symbiotic with progress in network-centric capability. Some of these unifying features in Russia’s ongoing military transformation provide pointers as to the likely shape and extent of its future conventional military capability. This is a capability that will prove to be more important for Russia’s military planners as a tool set to indirectly or directly challenge the US and NATO or other powers on Russia’s periphery, depending on the nature of possible conflicts. By adopting network-centric approaches to modern warfare, Russia’s General Staff sought to use this as a means to enhance the speed of C2 and, therefore, to greatly improve the overall efficiency of its military decision-making.
Russia’s intervention in Ukraine revealed little that was network-centric in essence. However, there were experiments with network-centric warfare during Russian military operations in Syria, which most strikingly has shown an absence of massed artillery fires in favor of greater use of precision strikes and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) used for immediate bomb damage assessment (BDA). Nonetheless, most of the Russian operations in Syria have involved non-precision-guided weapons; and certainly, network-centric-based experimental operations constitute a much smaller fraction of the total.  It remains difficult to gauge the extent of progress in this area, but the general picture of advancing toward fuller network-centric warfare capability is consistent with progress in areas such as C2 and especially in electronic warfare and the wider theme of “informationizing” the Armed Forces. Russian specialists anticipate continued progress in developing network-centric capability so long as the state continues to provide sufficient financial investment in this endeavor. A critical element of this process is the transformation of the military decision-making by utilizing modern advanced technologies.
In the writings of Russian military scientists, there is a deep understanding of and body of knowledge on Western approaches to network-centric warfare; they tend to analyze the operational experience of such operations and draw conclusions concerning the relative strengths and weaknesses of such approaches. Additionally, Russian specialists have sought to study and draw lessons from examples of Western militaries (such as Sweden) that tried but later abandoned efforts to introduce network-centric warfare—in order to avoid these pitfalls in Russia. Russian analysis of US/NATO network-centric warfare is also closely linked to how Russia’s military intelligence (GRU) specialist officers follow, assess and understand the concept and the key trends involved. Many of these specialists were writing on network-centric warfare and what this may mean for Russian C2 in an overall search for ways and means to enhance both military capabilities and the speed of decision-making. A major area of concern was how to learn from the foreign operational experience of network-centric operations and adapt this to fit Russia’s military culture.
Despite these issues, the idea of network-centric warfare has been preserved as one of the key drivers in conventional military modernization. For the top brass and defense planners in Russia, this means they rely upon “learning by doing,” and, therefore, they pay closer attention to the experimental use of networked operations in the Syrian theater to better understand how this may be furthered in future planning and subsequent shaping of the internal military structures as well as modernization priorities.
Indeed, recent work by Russian military theorists acknowledges that the adoption of network-centric capability in Russia’s Armed Forces will involve a change in the outlook of the military leadership at all levels, forming the automated infrastructure, operating in a single information space, further developing modern means of surveillance and reconnaissance to fill the modernized telecommunications networks, and populating the Armed Forces with a “sufficient number of high-precision weapons.” Clearly, this involves long-term and systemic work on the part of Russian defense planners to integrate combat platforms into such an information network, accommodating this type of change to appropriate measures related to military manpower and training. Such processes are heavily influencing and transforming approaches toward military decision-making.
Thus, following several years of experimentation with network-centric approaches and what this means for force structure, education, training and operational tactics, Russian top brass and theorists are in broad agreement that the concept in the Russian context may be used to inspire, shape and drive the defense industry’s work to modernize the country’s Armed Forces. Network-centrism is not an end in itself, avoiding what some theorists describe as a “mental trap,” but a method to achieve an additional “force multiplier” in the state’s future war fighting capability.
The Elements of the Military Decision-Making Apparatus
In the Russian military decision-making process, the distinctive culture and military traditions of the country’s Armed Forces are necessary to understand in order to recognize the extent to which this process does not simply mirror US/NATO approaches to and methods of conducting the MDMP. In the Russian context, the roles played by certain structures are important, as is the significance of personality and the abilities and competences of commanders in the field. First, the constituent parts of the reformed Russian military chain of command for combat operations must be outlined, since it is into this context that the Russian MDMP is also conducted. This framework for the overall approach to the MDMP has emerged over the past decade as Moscow carried out widespread structural reorganization of the Armed Forces and its C2. As noted, this is designed to improve efficiency and speed in C2, as well as to position the Armed Forces to conduct operations in an information-driven operational environment.
A three-tiered simplified C2 structure was followed, in June 2010, by a declared target of forming four new military districts/joint strategic commands (Obyedinennyye Strategicheskoye Komandovanie—OSK) by December 1, 2010. The new districts/commands were formed on four strategic axes: West (headquarters in St. Petersburg), East (headquarters in Khabarovsk), Central (Yekaterinburg) and South (Rostov-on-Don). The Western MD/OSK was based on the Moscow and Leningrad MDs, and the Baltic and Northern Fleets. The Eastern MD/OSK comprised the former Far East MD, the eastern part of the Siberian MD and the Pacific Fleet. The Central MD/OSK included the western part of the Siberian MD and the Volga-Urals MD. And the Southern MD/OSK merged the North Caucasus MD and the Black Sea Fleet and the Caspian Flotilla. In April 2019, the defense ministry set the target of December 2019 to upgrade the status of the Northern Fleet to that of an OSK.
These command elements are essentially dual hatted, drawing from Western, Southern, Central and Eastern MDs/OSKs. On December 1, 2015, a fifth OSK was formed: the Northern OSK. Also, by December 1, 2014, a new integrating structure was established in Moscow: the National Defense Management Center (Natsionalnyy Tsentr Upravleniya Oboronoy—NTsUO), aimed at inter-connecting the leadership and direction of defense and security structures in real time. In peacetime, these commands function as MDs; they transition to OSKs during military operations. The high-command elements of the Ground Forces, Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno Kosmicheskikh Sil—VKS) as well as the Military-Maritime Fleet (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot—VMF) are, in effect, structural subunits of the General Staff. And the command process was simplified by reducing the number of stages orders pass through from 16 to 5.
An additional change to the military district system was introduced on January 1, 2021, with the Northern Fleet upgraded to the status of an MD, as part of a reorganization of the overall structure of MDs. According to the ukaz (decree) signed by President Vladimir Putin on December 21, 2020, the purpose in this upgrade was “[t]o consider the Northern Fleet an inter-specific strategic territorial association of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, performing the tasks of a military district.” This is rationalized in the ukaz by linking it to measures to protect the integrity and inviolability of the Russian Federation and to defend the country’s northern borders as well as Moscow’s evolving interests in the Arctic.
Moreover, in June 2020, Putin signed an ukaz giving the Northern Fleet the status of a separate military-administrative unit. Some parts of the Western MD/OSK were cut and subordinated to the new Northern Fleet MD/OSK: the Komi Republic, the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions, as well as the Nenets Autonomous District. The former commander of the Northern Fleet, Admiral Vyacheslav Popov, explained, “From January 1, 2021, the Northern Fleet will de jure perform the tasks of the military district, which exist de facto. This, in particular, involves the solution of issues of mobilization, conscription, interaction with authorities, [and] the creation and development of the infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route.” The change to the status of the Northern Fleet is a departure from the system created in 2010, as the original concept was to subordinate all military and security units and assets within the MD to the OSK commander (with the exception of units and assets under the direct control of the General Staff). By contrast, the updated system places all units in each arm and branch of service as well as security agencies within the geographical area of the Northern Fleet MD/OSK, directly under the control of the commander of the Northern Fleet, Admiral Aleksandr Moiseev. That change effectively makes the commander of the Northern Fleet “dual hatted,” in charge of this key naval fleet in the VMF while simultaneously commanding the MD/OSK.
Figure 1: Russia’s Military Districts/Joint Strategic Commands (January 2021)
The NTsUO will eventually be fully connected to subordinate command centers linking strategic-operational and tactical levels; this will likely be implemented by 2027, with further technological refinements to follow. It will link the OSKs and army group levels. At tactical levels, the ground forces are overcoming automated C2 problems and implementing network-centric warfare capabilities through a variety of new technologies. This broadly fits the procurement and modernization priorities into a much broader network-centric framework. These include: new tactical radios, a tactical digital mobile subscriber system (military digital cell phone and data system), tactical laptops and tablets, as well as a secure military intranet.
Figure 2: The Assessed Chain of Command for Combat Operations
In terms of the changes made to the MD/OSK system, the role of the commander of the MD/OSK has been greatly boosted. The commander of the OSK during combat operations has control over all military and uniformed services in the OSK, apart from strategic-level assets placed under the General Staff, such as the Airborne Forces (Vozdushno-Desantnye Voyska—VDV) or military intelligence special forces (GRU Spetsnaz). In addition to this change, the introduction of the NTsUO is also important, as it brings together many of the key decision-makers to interact in real time and oversee, guide, and fine-tune the MDMP. It is no doubt calculated to aid network-centric approaches to combat operations, but it remains a work in progress and will take time to fully integrate all the various nodes in the Russian military system. The NTsUO is also surely intended to overcome the traditional stove-piping in the Russian military decision-making system; but this will also take time and effort to overcome institutional inertia.
The roles of the General Staff and the Russian Security Council as elements influencing, at times indirectly, the overall architecture for military decision-making are outlined by Major Charles Bartles in an important article examining how Russia might create a framework to conduct large-scale military operations:
In the Russian system, the General Staff is responsible for operational-strategic-level planning. Russia has a fairly nuanced view of the differences between the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of military science. The difference between these levels is based upon the scope of mission, not simply the size of the unit. For example, a brigade fighting under an army group would be considered a tactical asset, but the same brigade fighting independently in a different situation could be considered a tactical-operational asset. Generally speaking, the General Staff’s operational planning duties typically involve the operational and operational-strategic level, or, in Russian parlance, “operational art.” Proponency for strategic planning resides with the Russian Security Council, which is an inter-ministerial body that is chaired by high-level officials, weighted heavily with the intelligence and security services. Although the Russian Security Council is the main proponent of Russian strategy, the chief of the Russian General Staff does sit on the council, bridging operational art to the national security strategy.
As Bartles also notes, it is equally important to understand what the General Staff does not do. It has no operational control over forces. Operational control was removed from the service chiefs and placed in the hands of the OSK commanders. Therefore, in combat, war-fighting assets are under the control of the appropriate field commanders rather than the General Staff. Thus, the role of individual commanders in the Russian MDMP is more pronounced than in Western militaries.
Strategic, Operational and Tactical Levels
Many of these structural themes and unique aspects of Russian military approaches to the reformed C2 system feed directly into the Russian variant of the MDMP. A close linkage exists between these structures and the focal point of commanders within the system across strategic, operational and tactical levels. In short, the Russian MDMP seems predicated on the commander being competent and having strong leadership skills, supported by a relatively weak staff. In this system and within the Russian variant of the MDMP, the personalities of the commanders in the field and, at strategic levels, the OSK commanders play a highly significant role. It is also clear that in the future, the NTsUO will play an increasingly crucial function in smoothing out some of the problematic issues involved in conducting operations using automated C2 as well as in efforts to integrate and streamline the issues facing the future development of the MDMP.
In terms of command and control at the strategic level, the commander-in-chief will most likely play a critical and “hands-on” role. This might change in the future, in the aftermath of the Putin era, but it seems the system in which the overall Russian MDMP occurs is designed to be “top heavy,” and that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. A good illustration of this was offered by Army General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff (CGS). Gerasimov noted that in terms of Russia’s military operations in Syria, Putin had involved himself in the planning on a regular basis as well as in setting operational aims. Asked about Putin’s involvement in overseeing Russia’s military operations in Syria, Gerasimov said,
I usually report to the minister of defense on a daily basis, morning and evening, on the state of affairs and the progress in mission performance, and he reports to the president. Once or twice a week, the minister reports to the president in person, presenting the requisite documents, maps and video materials. Sometimes, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief himself comes to see me; sometimes, the defense minister and I go to him to report. The president identifies the targets, the objectives; he is up to speed on the entire dynamic of the combat operations. And in each sector—moreover. And of course, he sets the objectives for the future.
An additional “work in progress,” already alluded to is the theme of fuller integration of C4ISR and automated C2 to produce a more joined-up approach toward planning and coordinating military operations. Here, a significant role is assigned to the NTsUO, which, as more technologies are introduced and flaws in the “stove piping” are resolved, will play an enhanced role in overseeing operations in real time. The interface between the national political leadership, General Staff, defense ministry and OSKs down to temporary mobile HQs during military operations would be the NTsUO. Next in the chain is the OSK leadership, which means that during wartime, the OSK commander has overall control of military forces within his OSK, including the non-defense ministry forces, except for some strategic assets under General Staff control, such as the Strategic Rocket Forces (Raketnye Voyska Strategicheskogo Naznacheniya—RVSN), Airborne (VDV) and GRU Spetsnaz units. Then in the order of command would be the assets under the command of the OSK: for example, in terms of the Western MD/OSK, these are the 6th and 20th combined arms armies and the 1st Tank Army.
The recent history of Russia’s operational-strategic exercises reveals that the political-military leadership places great emphasis upon internal strategic mobility, and so it is highly likely that units would move from other OSKs in the pre-conflict phase. Equally, there is almost no possibility of the General Staff attempting to use the approach seen in southeastern Ukraine to assemble forces for large-scale conflict for two critical reasons. First the operational environment would differ as the adversary also differs in scope and capability, and the use of Battalion Tactical Groups (BTG), which Russia’s General Staff associates with local wars and armed conflicts, is not the tactical means to be used in large-scale inter-state warfare. That is to say, the structure would be: OSKs–army groups–divisions/regiments–brigades, and not focused on BTGs. The BTGs are not intended for use in this level of operation. The flexible army groups with their tactical maneuver assets (divisions and brigades) would be the main constituent parts of the obyedineniya (i.e., army groups, fronts, Strategic High Command).
Western and Russian analyses of Vostok 2018, for example, tended to be somewhat overshadowed by Moscow’s decision to invite China to send forces to that exercise. However, in referring to that year’s annual operational-strategic exercise (Operativno-Strategicheskie Ucheniya)—Vostok 2018—CGS Gerasimov used the phrase strategicheskiye manevry (strategic maneuvers), adding that Russia needs more of these exercises. It is unclear how Gerasimov understood the elevation of terms or whether the presence of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) units served as the reason to claim a “new level” in the annual exercise. Vostok 2018 focused on five combined-arms and four air-defense training grounds in the Eastern and Central MDs/OSKs. It also involved the VKS, VDV, and the Northern and Pacific fleets. The commander of the Central MD/OSK, Lieutenant General Alexander Lapin, noted the “unprecedented” scale of the exercise would entail “new forms and methods of combat” based on lessons drawn from Russia’s operations in Syria. But he made no mention of the rehearsal of large-scale inter-state warfare, even though it clearly featured in the exercise.
Gerasimov provided an outline of the scenario. The exercise was held from September 11 to 17, with the first two days devoted to planning. The second active phase was staged over five days, and its novelty lay in extending the exercise beyond one MD/OSK to include both the Eastern and Central MDs/OSKs, as well as the participation of the PLA. The General Staff appears to use such strategic-level exercises to asses, among other features, the speed and efficiency of the MDMP. The main action would still focus on combined-arms training grounds in the Eastern MD, at four VKS and air-defense training facilities, and in the Okhotsk and Bering seas. Again, noting the scale of the exercise, Gerasimov noted the presence of advanced weapons systems, such as the Iskandar operational-tactical system. He said that in the second active phase of the exercise, participating forces would rehearse the repulsion of a “massive air strike” while simultaneously practicing repelling cruise missile attacks, involving VKS air-defense and naval platforms in the Sea of Okhotsk and the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The exercise also envisaged conducting offensive and defensive operations using land, air and sea power. The joint operations conducted with the PLA at the Tsugol training ground rehearsed combined-arms action against a hypothetical opponent; this response was coordinated between Russian forces, PLA units and a small number of troops from Mongolia. A complex range of targets reportedly allowed commanders to form a “front” 24 kilometers in length and 8 kilometers deep. On the basis of this detail, some analysts conclude that Vostok 2018 was a rehearsal for large-scale warfare. Yet it also fits a series of conflict types built into an overall scenario to rehearse conflict escalation control.
Such exercises illustrate the Russian approaches to strategic, operational and tactical levels of combat operations, and offer insight into how they seek to fit these together in accordance with the requirements of the exercise scenario vignettes. While the Russian General Staff avoids applying models to its operational planning (as represented in its military exercises), they also believe that the US and NATO do conduct operations based upon templates. Equally, they see the US/NATO MDMPs as fixed and easy to predict in terms of their stages and possible weaknesses. This is evident in Russian military coverage of NATO operations and the interest in countering a massive air attack/campaign; that information is factored into most Russian operational-strategic exercises, with emphasis on countering cruise missile attacks and responding to air sorties. Moreover, when the Russian Ground Forces and other arms and branches of service train to fight, they have an enemy in mind. Unlike the US military, which is capability based, the Russian Ground Forces are combat trained to fight based on the General Staff’s assessment of the likely threats to the Russian state. This is likely to give the Russian Ground Forces a long-term training edge over their US and NATO counterparts as well as reinforce their conviction that conflict will only occur close to Russia’s borders.
Following Vostok 2018, a command-staff exercise was held in October 2018 in the Southern MD featuring large-scale force-on-force maneuvers. The exercise featured elements from the 8th, 49th and 58th combined arms armies, the 22nd Army Corps, the Caspian Flotilla, the Black Sea Fleet, the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army, military units subordinate to the Southern MD, as well as some Spetsnaz units. Colonel General Aleksandr Dvornikov, the commander of the Southern MD/OSK, stated, “For the first time in exercises of this level, the opposed forces principle was implemented, in which troops in two operational directions conducted combat operations against each other… Prior to the command staff exercise, the troops of the military district conducted just company and battalion tactical exercises.” The exercise, as a rehearsal for large-scale force-on-force warfare, did not feature the use of any BTGs but instead rehearsed operations using divisions/regiments and brigades on opposing sides. The General Staff also decided to use units to face off against one another rather than forming an opposing force (OPFOR) to represent the adversary. And, again, with such an emphasis placed upon training for large-scale conflict, this undoubtedly involved testing, refinement and experimentation with the MDMP.
Military Planning and the Russian MDMP
The likely development of the Russian Armed Forces’ conventional capability in the period to 2030, providing that sufficient levels of defense spending are maintained in this period, envisages greater force integration and adoption of C4ISR capability, with an array of related capabilities, including precision-guided weapons (PGW), cyber operations and electronic warfare (EW). This has clear implications for the future development of C2 and automated C2, as well as the challenges for commanders in coordinating and executing the MDMP. As noted, the General Staff has factored into the operational-strategic military exercises the concept of fighting large-scale inter-state war. But how does this differ from the Soviet approach involving multiple echeloned armies and fronts, and what might these differences mean given the need for the General Staff to plan operations according to the specific demands of the local operational environment? In 2017, Major General Sergei Batyushkin (ret.) published Podgotovka i vedeniye boyevykh deystviy v lokal’nykh voynakh i vooruzhennykh konfliktakh Podgotovka i vedenie boevykh deistvii v lokalnikh voinakh i vooruzhennykh konfliktakh (Preparation and Conduct of Military Actions in Local Wars and Armed Conflicts).
This lengthy work offers detail on Russian approaches to military planning and is especially important for explaining the distinction between large-scale warfare and “local wars and armed conflicts [lokalnykh voynakh i vooruzhennykh konfliktakh].” Batyushkin reminds his readers that the Soviet Armed Forces were trained and prepared to fight a conventional war in Europe using means and methods including mass mobilization that will never happen. He distinguishes, in terms of definition, local wars and armed conflicts from large-scale inter-state warfare; and in this regard, Batyushkin’s work is also important in showing how Russia’s Armed Forces would approach operations other than large-scale conflict. It is highly likely that the MDMP in use varies according to the scale, nature and mission goals of any particular combat operation.
In an address to the Academy of Military Sciences in January 2016, the then-commander of the Southern MD/OSK, Colonel General Aleksandr Galkin, discussed the challenges of C2 of integrated force groupings in a theater of military operations. He referred to the US Department of Defense concept of “joint force,” forming forces along with allies and civilian organizations to conduct operations on the ground, in the air, at sea and in the information space. Noting the term “global integrated operation,” he also told his audience that a practical example of this approach began in August 2014, when the US and coalition partners deployed forces to the Middle East to combat the Islamic State. Galkin explained, “The basis for C2 systems is the global information network of the US Department of Defense, which supports all types of communications. Characteristically, due to this advanced communication system, the command-and-control points were deployed at a significant distance from each other on the territories of various states (Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar).” He said that such developments compelled revisions to approaches to conducting operations on the part of Russia’s General Staff. In passing, referring to NATO operations in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya, he said that “now the application of military force is preceded by a long period of political, economic, and informational pressure with a gradual escalation to military conflict.”
During the same conference, similar C2 themes were addressed by Major General I. A. Fedotov, a senior researcher at the Center for Military-Strategic Studies of the General Staff Academy (Tsentr Voyenno-Strategicheskikh Issledovaniy—TsVSI). He prefaced his lecture by referring to defense sufficiency and its impact on forming force groupings: “In the new military-political and military-strategic conditions, the demands of the principle of defense sufficiency [oboronnaya dostatochnost] apply not to the Armed Forces in general but only to the combat strength of the functional components, including force groupings [gruppirovka voysk] deployed along strategic axes to repel an attack and eventually destroy the enemy with the required level of effectiveness.” Despite the enormous progress made in restructuring C2 and introducing automated C2 since the reform of the Armed Forces initiated in late 2008, General Fedotov attacked the limited nature of actual integration and castigated the persistence of stove piping:
In our view, one of the main reasons for the unsustainability of the current command-and-control system is the retention of stereotypes in the structural elements of command, which at one time were designed to conduct strictly defined tasks and consisted of four functional command stovepipes: joint force obyedineniya [i.e., army groups, fronts, Strategic High Command], soyedineniya [i.e., army, division or brigade] and combat units; soyedineniya-level units of the branches of arms [i.e., motor rifle, tank, artillery, air defense] and specialty branches [i.e., reconnaissance, signals, EW, engineers, NBC, logistics/supply] of the Ground Forces; branches of operational and combat support; and comprehensive support branches.
In accordance with the approaches of that time to the forms of employing the Armed Forces, the system of front command and control was necessarily built up with command-and-control stovepipes (Air Force, Air Defense Forces, Navy in coastal or greater maritime areas) that carried out, in general, supporting roles in the interests of the Ground Force groupings.
The command-and-control system was oriented toward detailed planning and control of a Ground Force grouping. Planning for the employment of, and command and control of force groupings of other branches (Air Force and Navy) was carried out by relevant commanders from their own command-and-control locations.
Modern approaches to the forms of employing the Armed Forces are critical for the employment of a force grouping. The significant increase in the number of tasks that are required of the command and control of joint actions of a force grouping in the theater of military activity along a strategic axis demands a correction of the structural levels of command and control.
Despite Fedotov highlighting ongoing issues and challenges related to more fully integrating C2 to avoid the type of stove piping still present within the overall C2 structures, he inadvertently highlights the approximate layout of a force grouping (gruppirovka voysk) that could be formed in any strategic direction. Therefore, large-scale inter-state conflict involving Russia’s Ground Forces acting in concert with support from other branches and arms of service would involve: “joint force obyedineniya [i.e., army groups, fronts, Strategic High Command], soyedineniya [i.e. army, division or brigade] and combat units; soyedineniya-level units of the branches of arms [i.e., motor rifle, tank, artillery, air defense] and specialty branches.” Combined with Galkin’s observation that the initial period of war includes a buildup and preparation phase, a rough picture emerges as to how the Russian General Staff would plan and a form a gruppirovka voysk, to include Ground Forces, for large-scale operations.
It is into this complex command-and-control structure, with its numerous command nodes, as well as the Russian approaches to strategic-, operational- and tactical-level missions that the MDMP actually fits. But it is evidently designed differently from Western militaries’ approaches to such processes. In the United States’ military, for example, the MDMP is divided into long and shortened versions, with commanders and personnel involved in the process being well trained, and well-versed in the use of each version. In the US Army, there are seven stages in the MDMP: receipt of mission, mission analysis, followed by five course-of-action steps, being development, analysis, comparison, approval and orders production. The Russian variant of this system is shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: The Algorithm of the Russian MDMP
Although there may be a similar step-by-step process in the Russian military, there appear also to be some critical differences in how it approaches the MDMP. According to US and Western officers that have interacted with their Russian counterparts during peacetime support operations in the Balkans, there seem to be four main distinctions in the Russian approach to MDMP. Though admittedly, there may additionally be differences in how Russians approach the MDMP depending on the mission type. First, they appear to use a shortened, but largely informal MDMP. Second, they intentionally hold off until the last possible moment before making a decision. Russian commanders wait until they are confident they have gathered as much information as needed before they commence the MDMP. Third, the personality of individual commanders plays a major role within the Russian MDMP. And finally, the Russian system, as noted, is designed to support a highly capable commander and a weaker staff. This raises questions concerning the effectiveness of the MDMP if the commander on the ground lacks such competence.
Some aspects of these differences are worth highlighting. The military cultures and systems in the US, NATO or Russian militaries reflect the individual and distinctive approaches to standards and methods designed to fit their own systems. In the US or NATO militaries, individual initiative and problem solving as well as delegated authority play a much more prominent role, especially at the tactical levels of the process. Therefore, as the information flow starts, a US or NATO commander will also begin the MDMP with his or her staff. However, their Russian counterpart at this stage will not do so. The Russian commander, as observed, begins the MDMP only once the information is assembled. In the Russian military system, the initiative and problem-solving skills are higher up in the system, with less need for this at tactical levels. In some circumstances, especially in a future conflict between network-centric militaries, with each side targeting the information systems of the other side, it is likely to impact on Russian commanders more than US or NATO counterparts. Hypothetically, some Russian commanders in these circumstances would not be trained to initiate the decision-making process in an operational environment where the information flow is disrupted. And the commanders willing or capable of doing so, commencing the decision-making in the absence of the necessary information, most likely would perceive themselves to be engaging in decision-making in effect partially blinded.
The Importance of Automated C2 Systems
Russia’s military decision-making architecture, and its approaches to this process at strategic, operational and tactical levels, is particularly tied into the development in recent years of automated command-and-control systems as well as the wider efforts in its military modernization to transition into the information era. The unifying theme in these efforts both to streamline the C2 system itself and to introduce automated systems is the focus upon speed: speed in decision-making and speed of action in military conflict. The Soviet Union, and later the Russian Federation, has attempted to field a modern network-centric C2 system, though lack of the technical means to implement it resulted in many delays. This situation has changed rapidly in the last few years, as Russia bolstered its information technology sector, with military industries developing and fielding new technologies. Moscow, as noted above, has established a national defense management center that will connect to subordinate command centers at the joint strategic command (military district) and army group levels.
In 2000, President Putin ordered the Russian defense industry to design and develop a Unified System for Command and Control at the Tactical Level (Yedinaya Sistema Upravleniya v Takticheskom Zvene—YeSU TZ). The task was contracted to Sozvezdiye Concern, which oversees a group of domestic defense-industry companies involved in the project. The process intensified following the Russia-Georgia War in August 2008 and the ensuing military reforms, which transitioned the Ground Forces to a brigade-based structure. In particular, the General Staff concentrated on enhancing the speed of military decision-making, which would be facilitated by the YeSU TZ, and grappled with network-centric approaches tied to improving speed in other areas, including strategic and tactical mobility. The base of Figure 4 (below) implies the failure of the process to result in a fully integrated system, and it suggests timeframes and possible approaches toward fixing this issue (discussed in more detail below).
Figure 4: Russian Operational Planning Time
Discussion among Russian military theorists, specialists in network-centric warfare and the top brass, in the period 2008–2012, focused largely on the need to improve the time needed to generate orders for the conduct of an operation. They saw the YeSU TZ as a means to close the gap in this regard with leading NATO militaries. The speed required at the earliest phase in this process is illustrated in Figure 4. The diagram is taken from a Russian military publication in 2013, but it shows how thinking developing in this area since the General Staff carried out its lessons learned from the Russia-Georgia War in 2008; one of its main lessons related to the ineffective nature of the existing command, control and communications system.
Russian military analysts, as well as specialists on automated C2 systems, note the evolution of such technological developments and improvements to C2 in the United States’ and other foreign militaries as well as the course of such efforts within Russia. In the 1950s, for example, the US military developed automated systems to provide C2 for artillery units (TACFIRE) and air-defense units (Missile Monitor). By the late 1990s, the US military sought to exploit the internet to enhance C2. In 2003, the US Department of Defense launched the Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. However, after encountering technical issues, this was phased out, with fresh focus instead on improving more compact programs, such as the Brigade Combat Team Modernization. Russian analysts also note the development of automated C2 in the militaries of the United Kingdom, Israel, France and Turkey. Early efforts, in the 1960s, by the Soviet Union to develop and introduce automated C2 witnessed its appearance in the strategic missile forces, and a set of automation assets was created for the air-defense forces (Almaz-2) and for the Air Force (Vozdukh-1M ACCS). In 1964, the Soviet government set the ambitious task of creating an automated C2 system for use by frontline conventional armed forces, but only by the latter part of the 1980s were elements of the Manevr C2 system finally introduced.
Moscow-based military analyst Petr Nikolayev, noting the long journey undertaken by the Russian defense ministry and defense industry to create the YeSU TZ, explained some of the underlying reasons for the delayed timescale and the design complexities involved in the process:
The most important task was the systematization of the basic requirements for control-and-communications equipment, complexes, and systems at the tactical level and the interconnection of the ongoing research and development for their creation. As a result, in August 2000, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin approved the Concept of Creating a Unified Command and Control System for Troops (Forces) and Weapons at the Tactical Level—YeSU TZ. More than 50 industrial enterprises were involved in its implementation. The Voronezh-based Sozvezdiye Concern became the lead contractor. This integrated structure includes 17 enterprises expected to ensure the functioning of the full life cycle of the system, from development to disposal. The delay in the development of the YeSU TZ within the framework of the Sozvezdiye-2015 project is partly due to the complexity of the system and the delay in the development of its individual components in previous decades. But while deliveries of various types of machinery and equipment were formerly carried out by different factories according to separate plans, the Sozvezdiye Concern took over coordination this time around. It also delivers on a turnkey basis the entire range of technical solutions, including their service.
These complexities in the design and production of the YsSU TZ, from field testing to interaction with senior officers and defense ministry officials, slowed the complex work of the Sozvezdiye Concern. The company is a powerful research and production structure, the successor to the Scientific Research Institute of Communications, established in 1958, which was well known in the Soviet period. The Institute was a component of the USSR Council of Ministers Committee on Electronics. Today, it employs 5,500 personnel, including 2,000 hardware and software developers. Another 1,500 specialists are involved in production.
Sozvezdiye Concern defines the purpose of development of the YeSU TZ and details the main tasks of the system. Accordingly, the YeSU TZ is developed “[t]o increase the effectiveness of using tactical-level military formations on the basis of: coordination of actions of unified (interdepartmental) formations as a single military organism in any conditions of the situation; [and] increasing controllability, mobility, and survivability through provision with modern communications and automation equipment and software.” Nikolayev offers a more concise and practical definition: “The purpose of the introduction of the new system is to improve command and control of troops and increase their combat effectiveness. In other words, if you are ahead of the enemy in making a well-grounded decision, then you have already achieved superiority in real combat.”
Figure 5: Purpose and Development and Main Tasks of the YeSU TZ
According to the Sozvezdiye Concern, the key tasks for the YeSU TZ are as follows:
- To ensure uninterrupted, stable, and secret command and control of troops (forces) and weapons during the performance of combat (special, service-combat, operational-combat) tasks in conditions of fire exposure, radio-electronic, and information warfare, mobilization and military-administrative tasks in peacetime (including in conditions of emergency situations), during the transition of troops (forces) to wartime organization and staffing and during troop redeployment;
- To form and support in the zone of responsibility of commanders of tactical military formations, regardless of their departmental (branch) affiliation, a unified information space on the basis of coordinated application of various software systems;
- To ensure collection, accumulation, processing and transmission of information for timely identification of the enemy’s intentions and the degree of threat to troops (forces);
- To ensure exchange of information with higher-level, subordinated (attached), and collaborating command-and-control bodies, systems (complexes, models) of weapons, and military and special equipment;
- To establish comprehensive intellectual and software support for processes of preparation and making of commanders’ decisions, the setting and delivery of tasks, as well as planning the use of troops (forces) and weapons;
- To solve calculation and information tasks, primarily in the interests of target assignment and target designation in near real-time;
- To create organizational-technical and software support for uninterrupted interaction of tactical military formations regardless of their departmental (branch) affiliation during joint performance of tasks;
- To integrate systems (complexes, means) of destruction, software support for radio-electronic warfare, command and control, communications and exchange of data, and to assure its complex application;
- To ensure multi-level comprehensive protection of information in any conditions and any situation, forms, and methods of use of troops (forces) and weapons;
- To ensure modeling and forecasting of the situation and variants of actions of own troops (forces) and enemy troops (forces) depending on various decisions made by the commander.
The automated control system for combined arms and support for military formations at the tactical level provides the following main characteristics, in comparison with the existing standards (without automation):
- Reduction of troops’ command-and-control cycle—three-fold;
- Reduction of weapons’ command-and-control cycle—three-fold;
- Increase in data relevance: for enemy troops by five-fold; for own troops by three-fold;
- Solution of following tasks with 0.95 probability; collection and mapping of data—not to exceed 10 minutes;
- Setting of combat tasks to subordinates—not to exceed 5 minutes;
- Processing of a combat report, within a time period not to exceed 5 minutes;
- Making of the decision to fight and plotting it on a topographic map—not to exceed 60 minutes;
- Identification of one’s own location and the location of vehicles of subordinate subunits (commanders)—not to exceed 1 minute.
Finally, Nikolayev describes the attributes and advantages of the YeSU TZ as follows:
The “tactical level” in the title speaks for itself. The YeSU TZ provides automated and non-automated control of combined arms and supports military formations, ranging from an individual serviceman and further to a squad, platoon, company, battalion, regiment, brigade and division. Its range of application includes both direct combat operations and participation in joint special and counter-terrorist operations and in the elimination of consequences of emergency situations. The range of functional problems that can be solved with the help of the YeSU TZ is very extensive. The system collects and processes information about its own and enemy troops and displays it on electronic topographic maps. This allows for a quick resolution of planning and combat control tasks. The system prepares and transmits commands, signals, and information for notification, identification, interaction and target designation. During the command-and-control process, it receives, registers, stores, and processes current information and combat documents. And finally, which ultimately determines the end result—[it] ensures the coordinated use of combat arms, systems, and means of combat command and control, reconnaissance, navigation, and communications in a changing operational-tactical situation.
It should be noted how the adoption and introduction of automated C2 dramatically increases the speed and efficiency of Russian military decision-making during combat operations. By investing in and prioritizing the successful completion of the YeSU TZ and its various subsystems, Moscow has substantially increased the speed and functioning of C2: moving toward a more fully formed capability to operate in a unified information space. Suvorov’s emphasis upon speed and time in achieving success in battle—“One minute can decide the outcome of the battle, one hour the outcome of the campaign, and one day the fate of empires”—has finally been achieved through the introduction of high-technology assets to bring Russia’s military C2 into the 21st century and harness information and automation assets. Despite such advances, a number of challenges remain. And these are likely to present ongoing issues as Russia struggles in the future to balance its wider economic development against the need for continued military transformation and modernization. It is not as simple as exploiting high-technology assets for military purposes; it also demands improvements and adjustments to the training and education of officers and enlisted personnel as well as the attraction of higher-caliber individuals to seek access to military careers, which in turn raises issues about military recruitment policy.
While the defense ministry and defense industry struggled with the numerous issues involved in developing and introducing automated command-and-control systems for the Armed Forces, the complex nature of such a system functioning in the information space has also presented many additional problems and challenges. In professional Russian military publications, two themes that stand out are the problems of interoperability and matters related to information conflict (informatsionnoye protivoborstvo). These issues are frequently represented as being closely interconnected with Russia’s military adopting and pursuing network-centric warfare capability, as noted above. If there is conflict between militaries with network-centric capabilities, then it would also involve the information space. But the interoperability problem is also one that weighs heavily in Russian military thinking and planning. It is addressed in detail in a 2017 article by A. Ya. Oleynikov and I. I. Chusov, in Vestnik, the official publication of the Academy of Military Sciences (Akademii Voyennykh Nauk).
The authors highlight that while NATO standards on interoperability are encapsulated in a document, in Russia no such document exists. They then turn to explore interoperability challenges in the context of the information era and the Russian military’s adoption of network-centric approaches to warfare. Oleynikov and Chusov assert,
At the same time—again, judging from open sources—work is not being done for now on a similar document in the RF [Russian Federation] Armed Forces. If this is so, the conclusion can be drawn that under conditions of network-centric warfare, the RF Armed Forces will be unable to oppose a potential enemy and loss of command and control is possible, which means a threat to defense capability and, in the final account, to national security. Interoperability also is important in peacetime to ensure information interaction of RF defense ministry structures with state authorities and with industry.
The authors also note the absence of addressing the problem of standardization for creating a unified information space, which clearly has implications for Russian military decision-making. The importance of standardization for the information space is contained in the latest iteration of Russia’s Military Doctrine (2014), the Concept of Forming and Developing a Unified Information Space of Russia and Corresponding State Information Resources, the RF Military Doctrine (approved by President Putin on December 26, 2014), and the Information Security Doctrine (2016). However, these security documents do not address how to resolve the complex issues involved in standardization. While elsewhere, the full measures needed are outlined. For example, the Russian Federation State Program for Information Society 2011–2020 (adopted April 2014), provides a list of measures to include the “formation of open standards of interaction of information systems, including the development and support of an open standards profile of architecture of state information systems, formats, and data exchange protocols, ensuring the compatibility of state information systems and their components.”
Oleynikov and Chusov draw the conclusion that “high-level Russian conceptual documents, such as the aforementioned ones, give attention to questions of interoperability based on use of ICT [information communication technology] standards, but we will note that this is a declarative level. At the same time, it is well-known that the level of work on ICT standardization in the Russian Federation is significantly lower than it is abroad.” In this sense, it seems the standardization issue and problems of interoperability impact on military decision-making, in addition to the complex challenges of unifying and fitting together multiple automated C2 systems. It is, therefore, important to place Russian military decision-making in the context of the information space architecture and the Russian conceptualization of interoperability. Oleynikov and Chusov outline this as follows:
The Concept of Interoperability in the Russian Federation Armed Forces follows directly from the Military Doctrine (2014), from the provision that combat operations must be conducted based on the network-centric warfare concept. The network-centric warfare concept envisages an increase in the combat power of a grouping of joint forces through the formation of a unified information space that joins together information (reconnaissance) sources, command-and-control entities, means of destruction (suppression), and the real-time communication of valid and complete information about the situation to all participants of operations. The concept proposes the conversion of advantages inherent to individual ICTs into a competitive advantage through unification in a stable network of informationally sufficient, well supported, geographically distributed forces. The RF Armed Forces’ unified information space must encompass all functional components (reconnaissance, command, weapons), all levels of command and control, and all branches and combat arms. It is common knowledge that command-and-control levels include the strategic level, operational level, and tactical level.
The Russian military views the information space as an architecture with three dimensions (see Figure 6). The constituent parts of the Armed Forces (combat arms and branches of service) are shown along the horizontal axis, while the levels of C2 (strategic to tactical) lie along the vertical axis. The performance profile (funktsionalnyy razrez) is displayed on the third axis: reconnaissance network, command and control and communications network, weapon engagement network, as well as the personnel network and support network. According to the network-centric warfare concept, each part (cell or node) in this information space must have the property of interoperability in relation to any other cell or node within this information space.
Figure 6: The Unified Information Space
Thus, Russian military decision-making takes place within the context of the network-centric warfare concept, and planning and conducting operations occur in the information space. The Russian Armed Forces’ unified information space represents a supercomplex system (system of systems), which necessarily includes a large number of subsystems. This suggests it is challenging to make due with a single profile and that there must be a hierarchy within the overall taxonomy.
Oleynikov and Chusov stress that achieving technical interoperability is clearly necessary but insufficient alone to ensure effective interaction. For interoperability to be achieved more fully, it must be done at higher levels and, crucially, it has to be systemic, which is enormously complex. As they note, “These include methods of decision-making theory, methods of integration of unstructured information, graph theory, and so on that are reflected in numerous publications.” Moreover, since interoperability is vital in the military decision-making process, it is also important to note that in a conflict between network-enabled militaries, they will target each other’s information systems. As the authors highlight, in an information conflict each side will target and try to disrupt the enemy’s use of the information space and degrade interoperability: “It is rather obvious that objects ensuring interoperability, the so-called ‘key interfaces,’ should be the targets of cyberattacks, and accordingly reliable protection must be provided for these objects where possible. This means that the makeup of the interoperability profile must include standards of protection and information security.”
Russia’s MDMP fits into its wider military cultural and distinctive context, shaped and heavily influenced by the reform and modernization of the Armed Forces conducted since 2008. The transition of the Armed Forces into the information era, the adoption of network-centric warfare capability, continued experiments with C2 and adjustments to force structure, as well as lessons learned from these initiatives and, indeed, from its operational experience in Ukraine and Syria and strategic-level military exercises, has resulted in a complex system. That wider system, which involves the command structures and the order of battle, automated C2 and the adoption of C4ISR, continues to lay great stress on the competence of individual commanders, rather than competent staffs.
The Russian MDMP is less formalized than what may be familiar to its Western counterparts. Russian commanders, in many cases, will wait until they are confident that all information is gathered, and only then do they commence the MDMP. While the presence of automated C2 systems and subsystems is designed to speed up the decision-making process, there are clearly challenges both with the integration of those automated systems and also in terms of the training and educational standards of the end user. Areas also exist where the decision-making process naturally slows, mainly at the strategic level, while the commanders in the field would face deep challenges if executing their MDMP in an information-challenged operational environment.
The introduction of network-centric approaches to modern warfare certainly has profound implications for the Russian Armed Forces, especially in the area of the MDMP. In fact, it inadvertently increases the need for more highly trained and competent commanders in the field with an ability to make decisions quickly and to also delegate authority and responsibility—a challenge that is traditionally unfamiliar within the Russian military system. But part of the transition to C4ISR capability has been the overall structural changes in the C2 over the Armed Forces, flattening out and simplifying these as well as introducing high-technology based systems; these initiatives have a direct bearing upon the speed and efficacy of the MDMP. Critical in the coordination of the process in the future will be the extent to which the NTsUO can be exploited as a mechanism through which traditional stove-piping may gradually erode and result in greater speed and coordination in setting the framework for the MDMP in real time during combat operations.
Strategic, operational and tactical levels of military operations are viewed differently within the culture of Russia’s defense planning community compared to its US or NATO counterparts. And the MDMP probably functions differently in the Russian system according to the scale and mission of each type of combat operation. However, the Russian MDMP seems less formalized and shorter than in NATO militaries and appears to offer more scope for flexibility.
Nevertheless, there are a number of challenges facing Russian military planners in seeking to maximize the speed of the MDMP in future combat operations. These relate primarily to the issue of fully integrating the existing automated control system (avtomatizirovannoy sistemy upravleniya—ASU), further developing the capacity of the NTsUO, as well as, in the future, completing the wider equipping of the military with the ASU from the strategic to the tactical levels. Only part of the overall force structure has access to and is equipped with the capabilities associated with the ASU technology; in the longer term, this will likely reach a larger proportion of units.
The equipping of the Armed Forces with the ASU has experienced multiple delays and faced a crisis in its development in 2012. Work in this area is progressing, but it will be sometime before all these issues are addressed and fuller procurement occurs for the Armed Forces. The Russian military has made marked progress in transitioning into the information era and adopting network-enabled capabilities. And yet, were conflict to erupt with another network-enabled opponent, the Russian Armed Forces will still face the challenge of how to adequately manage their MDMP in an information challenged operational environment. It appears, for the time being, that this issue is not being addressed in Russia’s operational-strategic exercises. This may give rise to revising training for officers and attempting to forge a new generation of commanders both at the levels of the OSK and commanders in the field. Yet by the consistent efforts to design and introduce advanced high-technologies into this critical area, Russia’s military has revolutionized its decision-making process, not least by digitizing and automating the C2. As a result, Russia’s Armed Forces are exponentially more combat capable than the military that was sent south through the Roki tunnel to invade Georgia in August 2008.
 Aleksey Leonkov, “Nash asimmetrichnyy otvet na amerikanskiye setetsentricheskiye voyny,” Zvezda Weekly, https://zvezdaweekly.ru/news/t/20181041654-460kh.html, October 16, 2018.
 Yu. Bobkov and N. Tyutyunnikov, Kontseptual’nyye Osnovy Postroyeniya ASU Sukhoputnymi Voyskami VS RF, Moscow: Paleotip, 2014.
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 Author video teleconference (VTC) with retired Russian officers, Moscow, November 2020; ‘Rossiyskiye ‘Iskandery’ vpervyye perebrosili na ucheniya v Tadzhikistan,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, http://www.ng.ru/news/582227.html, May 25, 201; Arkadiy S. Borzov, ‘VKO: pora prekratit’ terminologicheskiye diskussii,’ Vozdusho-Kosmicheskaya Oborona, http://www.vko.ru/koncepcii/vko-pora-prekratit-terminologicheskie-diskussii, No. 4, August 4, 2010.
 Author VTC with retired Russian military officers, Moscow, December 2020.
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 See: Lester Grau, Charles Bartles, ‘The Russian Way of War,’ Military Mentor, 2018.
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 V. I. Korchmit-Matyushov, “Teoriya voyn,” M.:BFRGTZ, Slovo, 2001; S. A. Parshin, Yu. Ye. Gorbachov, Yu. A. Kozhanov, “Sovremennyye tendentsii razvitiya teorii i praktiki upravleniya v vooruzhonnykh silakh SSHA,” M.: LENAND, 2009; “Khochesh’ mira, pobedi myatezhevoynu! Tvorcheskoye naslediye,” Ye. E. Messnera/russkiy voyennyy sbornik, No.21, 2005; V. I. Slipchenko, “Voyny novogo pokoleniya: distantsionnyye i beskontaktnyye,” M., OLMA-PRESS obrazovaniye,’ 2004; M. A. Gareyev and V. I, Slipchenko “Budushchaya voyna,” M., OGI, 2005; “Setetsentricheskaya voyna. Daydzhest po materialam otkrytykh izdaniy i SMI,” Moscow. VAGSH VS RF, 2010.
 V. D. Dobykin, A. I. Kupriyanov, V. G. Ponomarov, L. N. Shustov, Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Silovoye porazheniye radioelektronnykh sistem, M.: Vuzovskaya kniga, 2007; A. I. Paliy, Ocherki istorii radioelektronnoy bor’by, M.: Vuzovskaya kniga, 2006; Sovremennaya radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Voprosy metodologii, M.: Radiotekhnika, 2006; V. V. Tsvetnov, V. P. Demin, A. I. Kupriyanov, Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Radiomaskirovka i pomekhozashchita, M.: MAI, 1999, T. 1; V. V. Tsvetnov, V. P. Demin, A. I. Kupriyanov, Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Radiorazvedka i radioprotivodeystviye, M.: MAI, 1998, T. 2; Chernavin V. N., Voyenno-morskoy slovar’, M.: Voyenizdat, 1990; Entsiklopediya ‘Oruzhiye i tekhnologii Rossii. XXI vek’ Tom 13, ‘Sistemy upravleniya, svyazi i radioelektronnoy bor’by.’
 O. V. Tikhanychev, “O roli sistematicheskogo ognevogo vozdei’stviia v sovremennykh operatsiiakh,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 11, November 2016, pp. 16–20.
 Author interviews with Russian SMEs, December 2016.
 Jacob W. Kipp, “Promoting the New Look for the Russian Armed Forces: the Contribution of Lieutenant-Colonel Aleksandr Kondratyev,” Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 7, Issue 113, The Jamestown Foundation, June 11, 2010, https://jamestown.org/program/promoting-the-new-look-for-the-russian-armed-forces-the-contribution-of-lieutenant-colonel-aleksandr-kondratyev/.
 A. Kondratyev, “Problemy organizatsii aviatsionnoi podderzhki operatsii sukhoputnykh voisk SShA,” Zarubezhnoe Voennoe Obozrenie, No. 9, November, 2009; A. Kondratyev and A. Medin, “Doroga SShA k novomu obliku sukhoputnykh voisk,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, October 14, 2009; A. Kondratyev, “Edinaia razvedka evrosoiuza: byt ili ne byt?” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, February 25, 2009.
 A. Kondratyev, “Problemnye voporsy issledovaniia novykh setetsentricheskikh kontseptii vooruzhennykh sil vedushikh zarubezhnykh stran,” Voyennaya Mysl, No. 11, November, 2009, pp.1–74; V. V. Kvochkov, Y. A. Martsenyuk, “On the Character of Wars and Armed Conflicts With the Participation of the Russian Federation,” Voyennaya Mysl, No. 2, 2002.
 Yu. Ye. Donskov, S. V. Golubev, A. V. Mogilev, “Model’ podgotovki spetsialistov radioelektronnoy bor’by k vypolneniyu zadach po informatsionnomu obespecheniyu voyennykh (boyevykh) deystviy,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 4, 2015.
 “Iranskiy BLA, Khamashekh vpervyye prinyal uchastiye v uchebnykh manevrakh KSIR,” Voenno-Tekhnicheskoe Sotrudnichestvo, April 2016; Dmitriy Litovkin, “Armiya perekhodit na elektronnyye pasporta,” Izvestia, July 26, 2016.
 Anatoliy Isayenko, “Nastupayet Era Tsifrovogo Mirotvortsa,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, November 13, 2015.
 V. Kovalov, G. Malinetskii, Y. Matviyenko, “Kontseptsiya ‘setetsentricheskoy” voyny dlya armii Rossii: ‘mnozhitel’ sily’ ili mental’naya lovushka?” Vestnik, Akademii Voyennykh Nauk, No.1, (50), 2015.
 The author is grateful to Major Charles Bartles for the graphics used in this paper for illustrative purposes. Grigoriy Maslov, “They Will Divide the Russian Armed Forces by the Compass,” Infox.ru, April 30, 2010.
 Aleksey Ramm, Aleksey Kozachenko, Bogdan Stepovoy, “Polyarnoye vliyaniye: Severnyy flot poluchit status voyennogo okruga,” Izvestia, April 19, 2019, https://iz.ru/869512/aleksei-ramm-aleksei-kozachenko-bogdan-stepovoi/poliarnoe-vliianie-severnyi-flot-poluchit-status-voennogo-okruga.
 “Severnyy Flot Rossii Poluchil Status Voyennogo Okruga,” Interfax, January 1, 2021, https://www.interfax.ru/russia/743819; “Severnyy Flot s 1 Yanvarya Budet Vypolnyat’ Zadachi Voyennogo Okruga,” Izvestia, December 21, 2020, https://iz.ru/1102711/2020-12-21/severnyi-flot-s-1-ianvaria-budet-vypolniat-zadachi-voennogo-okrug.
 Yury Gavrilov, “Flot Ukhodit v Avtonomku Severnyy Flot Rossii Priravnyali k Voyennomu Okrugu,” Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 22, 2020, https://rg.ru/2020/12/22/severnyj-flot-rossii-priravniali-k-voennomu-okrugu.html.
 Based on the structure of MDs/OSKs displayed on the Russian defense ministry website, accessed on January 7, 2021.
 Ye. O. Ostroovskiy and A. S. Sizov, “Podkhod k modelirovaniyu kognitivnoy sfery ob’yektov operativnoy razvedki,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 2, 2016.
 “Ukazatel’ Statey, Opublikovannykh V Zhurnale ‘Morskoi’ Sbornik,” Morskoi’ Sbornik, No. 12, 2015.
 This graphic is based upon one shown in Gudrun Persson (Ed.), “Russian Military Capability in a Ten-Year Perspective—2016,” Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI), December 2016. The original graphic does not depict the National Security Council, which consists of various military officers and civilian ministry and agency heads. These members of the National Security Council serve in senior positions at the operational and strategic levels in the boxes shown above.
 Charles K. Bartles, “Russian Force Structure for the Conduct of Large-Scale Combat Operations,” Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, January 2019.
 Viktor Baranets, “Nachal’nik Genshtaba Vooruzhennykh sil Rossii general armii Valeriy Gerasimov: ‘My perelomili khrebet udarnym silam terrorizma,’ ” Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 26, 2017, https://www.kp.ru/daily/26775/3808693.
 Oleg Vladykin, “Zapad-2017 natselen na zashchitu Vostoka,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 15, 2017, http://nvo.ng.ru/realty/2017-09-15/1_965_west2017.html; “Pochemu Zapad-2017 vyzval isteriyu na Zapade,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 8, 2017, http://nvo.ng.ru/gpolit/2017-09-08/2_964_nvored.html; Ivan Dragomirov, “Soldatam – udachi!” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, September 19, 2017, https://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/39002; “Sily PVO Zapadnogo voyennogo okruga razvernulis’ v novykh rayonakh na ucheniyakh Zapad-2017,” TASS, September 16, 2017, http://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/4567491; “Baltic Fleet corvettes destroy air, sea and coastal targets during Zapad-2017 drills,” TASS, September 17, 2017; Zapad 2017, Livejournal, September 20, 2017, https://bmpd.livejournal.com/2857093.html.
 Popov, “Faktor mobil’nosti v sisteme boyevoy gotovnosti Vooruzhennykh Sil,” Op. Cit.
 The terms operativno-strategicheskikh ucheniy (operational-strategic exercise) and strategicheskiye komandno-shtabnyye (strategic command staff [exercise]) are frequently used interchangeably in Russian military literature, though the latter implies fewer forces used or deployed for the exercise.
 “V Rossii podoshla ochered’ provodit’ strategicheskiye manevry, zayavil Gerasimov,” RIA Novosti, September 9, 2018, https://ria.ru/defense_safety/20180906/1527948289.html.
 “V masshtabnom uchenii Vostok-2018 budut zadeystvovany osnovnyye sily Tsentral’nogo voyennogo okruga,” Rambler.ru, August 30, 2018, https://news.rambler.ru/middleeast/40685993-v-masshtabnom-uchenii-vostok-2018-budut-zadeystvovany-osnovnye-sily-tsentralnogo-voennogo-okruga/; Dmitriy Sergeyev, “Vostok-2018: kakova tsel’ samykh masshtabnykh za postsovetskiye gody manevrov voysk,” Tvzvezda.ru, August 21, 2018, https://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201808210722-xsmd.htm.
 Ivan Dragomirov, “Vostok – delo gromkoye Bol’shiye vostochnyye manevry proshli ot Zabaykal’skogo kraya do beregov Severnogo Ledovitogo okeana i tikhookeanskogo poberezh’ya Rossii Dragomirov,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, September 18, 2018, https://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/45052; Il’ya Kramnik, “Vostok s oglyadkoy na zapad: chem interesny ucheniya Vostok-2018 Dlya chego nuzhny samyye krupnyye s sovetskikh vremon manovry,” Izvestia, September 17, 2018, https://iz.ru/789818/ilia-kramnik/vostok-s-ogliadkoi-na-zapad.
 The United States’ version of the MDMP differs from those of other NATO members. However, sufficient levels of similarity are retained in order to ensure military interoperability within the Alliance.
 Oleg Vladykin, “Zapad-2017 natselen na zashchitu Vostoka,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 15, 2017, http://nvo.ng.ru/realty/2017-09-15/1_965_west2017.html; “Pochemu Zapad-2017 vyzval isteriyu na Zapade,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 8, 2017, http://nvo.ng.ru/gpolit/2017-09-08/2_964_nvored.html; Ivan Dragomirov, “Soldatam – udachi!” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, September 19, 2017, https://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/39002.
 Vladislav A. Morenko and Andrei N. Tezikov, “Istoricheskiy aspekt razvitiya ASU PVO,” Vozdusho-Kosmicheskaya Oborona, No.1, February 7, 2015, http://www.vko.ru/oruzhie/istoricheskiy-aspekt-razvitiya-asu-pvo; Igor M. Kuptsov, “Bor’ba s giperzvukovymi letatel”nami apparatami (GZLA): Novaya Zadacha i trebovaniya k sisteme vozdushno-kosmicheskoy oborony (VKO),” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, January 2011, pp.10–17; Anton Balagin, “Ispytaniya zenitnoy sistemy S-500 nachnutsya do kontsa goda,” Russkoye Oruzhiye, February 1, 2016, http://rg.ru/2016/02/01/s500-site-anons.html; “S-500 Prometheus,” Missile Threat, last modified April 26, 2013, http://missilethreat.com/defense-systems/s-500/; “S-500 budet sposobna odnovremenno porazhat’ 10 ballisticheskikh tseley s pochti pervoy kosmicheskoy skorost’yu – glavkom VVS,” TASS, December 24, 2012, http://tass.ru/politika/654566; “ZRK S-400 ‘Triumf’: obnaruzheniye – dal’neye, soprovozhdeniye – tochnoye, pusk – porazhayushchiy,” Vozdusho-Kosmicheskaya Oborona, June 3, 2008, http://www.vko.ru/oruzhie/zrs-s-400-triumf-obnaruzhenie-dalnee-soprovozhdenie-tochnoe-pusk-porazhayushchiy.
 “Soyedineniya armii Yuzhnogo voyennogo okruga (YuVO), dislotsirovannyye v Volgogradskoy i Rostovskoy oblastyakh prinimayut uchastiye v dvukhstoronnem komandno-shtabnom uchenii,” Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, October 1, 2018, https://tvzvezda.ru/news/forces/content/201810011602-mil-ruj6tgf.html; “Chetyre divizionnykh i brigadnykh takticheskikh ucheniya proydut v ramkakh KSHU sgruppirovkami voysk YuVO,” Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, September 18, 2018, https://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/more.htm?i[email protected].
 Major General (ret.) Sergei Batyushkin graduated from the Frunze Military Academy (now called the Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation) with a prestigious “gold medal” for academic excellence and was later an instructor at the institution. He is also a Doctor of Military Sciences, and a member of the Russian Academy of Military Science. Batyushkin’s impressive credentials make him a suitable authority on these issues.
 Sergey Batyushkin, Podgotovka i vedeniye boyevykh deystviy v lokal’nykh voynakh i vooruzhennykh konfliktakh Podgotovka i vedenie boevykh deistvii v lokalnikh voinakh i vooruzhennykh konfliktakh, (Preparation and Conduct of Military Actions in Local Wars and Armed Conflicts), Moscow: KnoRus, 2017, pp. 438.
 A. V. Galkin, “Forms of the Application of Military Force and the Organization of Command and Control of Integrated Armed Force Groupings in the Theater of Military Activity,” Vestnik, Academy of Military Sciences 2(55) 2016, pp. 51–54.
 I. A. Fedotov, “Trends in the Development of the Operational-Strategic Command of the Military District at the Present Stage of Developing the Structure of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” Vestnik, 4 (57) 2016, pp. 65–69.
 Fedotov, “Trends in the Development of the Operational-Strategic Command,” pp. 65–69.
 Department of the Army, Field Manual 101-5, Staff Organization and Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 31 May 1997), 5-1.
 Major Donald R. Baker, “Military Decision-making in the First Russian Peacekeeping Separate Airborne Brigade,” Military Review, September–October, 2003, pp. 46–50.
 Author discussions with US military officers and defense officials, Washington, DC, November 2018.
 Author’s emphasis.
 Ye. O. Ostrovskiy and A. S. Sizov, “Podkhod k modelirovaniyu kognitivnoy sfery ob’yektov operativnoy razvedki,” Voennaia mysl’, No. 2, 2016.
 G. I. Metlitsky and Yu. E. Zaitsev, “Sovershenstvovanie sistemy upravleniya voinskimi chastyami” (“On the Improvement of the Command-and-Control System”), Voyennaya Mysl’, April 4, 2008, pp. 18–22, http://www.mil.ru/files/vm4_2008.pdf; E. A. Perov and A. V. Pereverzev, “O perspectivnoi cifrovoi sisteme svyazi Vooruzhennih Sil Rossiiskoi Federacii” (“On the Prospective Digital Communication Network of the Russian Federation Armed Forces”), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 3, March 2008.
 Author’s emphasis. See: Dmitry Kandaurov, “Komp’yuteru davno pora priyti na smenu karandashu v rukakh shtabnogo ofitsera,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, November 12, 2010, http://nvo.ng.ru/armament/2010-11-12/10_computer.html; Dmitry Kandaurov, “Glavnyye resursy v rasporyazhenii ASUV – informatsiya i vremya,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, October 8, 2010, http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2010-10-08/6_asuv.html; A valuable insight into characteristic flaws in Russian defense planning can be found in: Carolina Vendil, Russian Military Reform: A Failed Exercise in Defense Decision Making, Routledge: London, 2009.
 Nikolay Palçhikov, “Povestke – sud’bonosnyy vybor,” Krasnaya Zvezda, November 6, 2015; V. I. Vladimorov and V. I Stuchinskiy, “Obosnovaniye boyevogo primeneniya aviatsionnykh nositeley sredstv radioelektronnoy bor’by v operativnoy glubine dlya zavoyevaniya informatsionnogo prevoskhodstva,” Voennaia Mysl, No. 5, 2016.
 Interview with CGS Makarov, Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, February 1, 2011, https://vpk-news.ru/articles/7058; Aleksandr Postnikov, “Time ‘Automated’ War,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, January 14, 2011, http://nvo.ng.ru/realty/2011-01-14/1_automate.html.
 L. V. Savin, “Setetsentrichnaya i setevaya voyna. Vvedeniye v kontseptsiyu,” M.: Yevraziyskoye dvizheniye, 2011; Igor Sheremet, “Komp’yuterizatsiya kak put’ k pobede v vooruzhennoy bor’be,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, November 11, 2005, http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2005-11-11/4_computers.html; Yury Gorbachev, “Borba v elektronnom prostranstve usilivaetsya,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, January 30, 2015, http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2015-01-30/6_cyber.html; B. N. Kotiv, I. M. Samokhvalov, V. I. Badalov, A. V. Goncharov, V. V. Severin, V. A. Reva, Y. N. Petrov, “Voenno-polevaya khirurgiya v nachale XXI veka,” Voenno-Medichinskii Zhurnal, May 31, 2016; P. A. Sharikov, “Rossiiskii vector amerikanskoi informacionnoy politiki, SShA – Kanada, ekonomika, politika, kultura,” September 30, 2015; V. Litvinenko, “Perspektivy razvitiya artilleriiskogo vooruzheniya i boepripasov dlya sukhoputnykh voisk,” Armeiskiy Sbornik, July 2015; V. Babich, “ ‘Yazyk’ do Kieva dovedet,” Armeiskiy Sbornik, September 2015.
 Petr Nikolayev, “Boy. Upravleniye. Pobeda Dlya Rossiyskoy armii sozdayut ASU takticheskogo Zvena,” Armystandard.ru, December 24, 2020, https://armystandard.ru/news/202012231642-IPIrh.html.
 Around 90 percent of the production volume is manufactured in the interests of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense and other security agencies. Nikolayev, “Boy. Upravleniye. Pobeda Dlya Rossiyskoy armii sozdayut ASU takticheskogo Zvena,” Op. Cit.
 Nikolayev, “Boy. Upravleniye. Pobeda Dlya Rossiyskoy armii sozdayut ASU takticheskogo Zvena,” Op. Cit.
 Yu. Bobkov and N. Tyutyunnikov, Kontseptual’nyye Osnovy Postroyeniya ASU Sukhoputnymi Voyskami VS RF, Op. Cit.
 S. V. Morozov and O. A. Kudrenko, “O podkhode k sozdaniyu yedinoy statsionarnomobil’noy avtomatizirovannoy sistemy upravleniya voyskami i oruzhiyem obyedinyonnogo strategicheskogo komandovaniya,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, 2013, pp. 126–134; A. A. Protasov, V. A. Sobolevsky, V. V. Sukhorutchenko, “Planirovaniye primeneniya strategicheskikh vooruzheniy,”Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 3, 2014, pp. 42–62; O. A. Kudrenko and S. V. Morozov, “Uchyot morfologicheskikh, sintaksicheskikh i stilisticheskikh osobennostey operativnykh dokumentov pri sozdaniyi ASU spetsnaznacheniya,” Voprosy Radioelektroniki, No. 2, 2013, pp. 23–31.
 A. Ya. Oleynikov and I. I. Chusov, “Voyenno-organizatsionnoye: razvitiye Problema vzaimodeystviya v Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii,” Vestnik, Akademii Voyennykh Nauk, No 1 (61), 2017, pp 61–68.
 A. A. Kupriyanov, “Kompleksnaya avtomatizirovannaya sistema upravleniya silami (voyskami), oruzhiyem i sredstvami,” Avtomatizatsiya protsessov upravleniya, # 2 (20), 2010, pp. 62–70.
 Oleynikov and Chusov, “Voyenno-organizatsionnoye,” Op. Cit.
 I. I. Bystrov, B. V. Tarasov, A. A. Khoroshilov, S. I. Radomanov, V. M. Gukasov, “Ontologiya i komp’yuternaya lingvistika v avtomatizirovannykh informatsionnykh sistemakh,” Meditsina i Vysokiye Tekhnologiyi, # 4, 2015, pp. 31–38; A. V. Palagin, S. L. Krivoy, N. G. Petrenko, “Znaniye-oriyentirovanniye informatsionniye sistemy s obrabotkoy yestestvenno-yazykovykh obyektov: osnovy metodologiyi i arkhitekturno-strukturnaya organizatsiya,” Upravlyayushchiye Sistemy i Mashiny, # 3, 2009, pp. 42–57.
 A. Ya. Oleynikov and I. I. Chusov, “Voyenno-organizatsionnoye: razvitiye Problema vzaimodeystviya v Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii,” Vestnik, Akademii Voyennykh Nauk, No 1 (61), 2017, pp 61–68.
 I. I. Bystrov, V. N. Kozichev, B. V. Tarasov, “Kontseptual’niye osnovy avtomatizirovannoy obrabotki nestrukturirovannoy informatsiyi v perspektivnykh sistemakh Upravleniya,” Sistemy i sredstva informatiki, Informatics and Management Center Press, RAS, Moscow, Vol. 26, # 4, 2016, pp. 162–170; A. M. Shcherbin, “Sovremenniye bortoviye informatsionno- upravlyayushchiye sistemy avtomobilnoy tekhniki,’ ” Issledovaniya, konstruktsiyi, tekhnologiyi, # 3 (92), 2015, pp. 26–29.
 Oleynikov and Chusov, “Voyenno-organizatsionnoye,” Op. Cit.
 L. V. Savin, “Setetsentrichnaya i setevaya voyna. Vvedeniye v kontseptsiyu,” M.: Yevraziyskoye dvizheniye, 2011; I. A. Sheremet, “Kontseptsiya ‘setetsentrichnoy voyny’ i osobennosti yeyo prakticheskoy realizatsii,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, November 11, 2005, http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2005-11-11/4_computers.html.
 Baker, U.S. Army, “Military Decision-making in the First Russian Peacekeeping Separate Airborne Brigade,” Op. Cit.
 Yury Gorbachev, “Borba v elektronnom prostranstve usilivaetsya,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, January 30, 2015, http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2015-01-30/6_cyber.html; B. N. Kotiv, I. M. Samokhvalov, V. I. Badalov, A. V. Goncharov, V. V. Severin, V. A. Reva, Y. N. Petrov, “Voenno-polevaya khirurgiya v nachale XXI veka,” Voenno-Medichinskii Zhurnal, May 31, 2016; P. A. Sharikov, “Rossiiskii vector amerikanskoi informacionnoy politiki,” SShA – Kanada, ekonomika, politika, kultura, September 30, 2015; V. Litvinenko, “Perspektivy razvitiya artilleriiskogo vooruzheniya I boepripasov dlya sukhoputnykh voisk,” Armeiskiy Sbornik, July 2015; V. Babich, “ ‘Yazyk’ do Kieva dovedet,” Armeiskiy Sbornik, September 2015.
 V. I. Kovalev, E. S. Larina, N. A. Sergeev, “The psychological factor of warfare,” Information War, No.2, (30), 2014; V. V. Kruglov, “On the Armed Struggle of the Future,” Military Thought, No. 5, 1998, pp.54–58; N. I. Turko and S. A. Modestov, “Reflexive Control and the Development of Strategic Forces, the Mechanism of Modern geopolitics,” Conference Report “Systems Analysis on the Threshold of the 21st Century: Theory and Practice,” Moscow, February 1996, p. 366; V. Kruglov and D. Lovtsov, “The Concept of Information-Strike Operations in Modern Warfare,” http://old.nasledie.ru/oboz/N12_99/12_14.html; M. D. Ionov, “Psychological Aspects of Managing an Adversary in Antagonistic Conflict (Reflexive Control),” Applied Ergonomics, Special issue No.1, 1994; Viktor Riabchuk, “Voyennaya Teoriya i Praktika,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 6, 2001, pp. 32–36, http://militaryarticle.ru/voennaya-mysl/2001-vm/9117-voennaja-teorija-i-praktika-9; “Interview with Retired Major-General Vladimir Dvorkin, the former head of the RF MoD 4th Central Scientific Research Institute (1993–2001),” Svobodnaya Pressa, June 5, 2014; Andrei Kokoshin, Ensuring Strategic Stability in the Past and Present: Theoretical and Applied Questions, (Cambridge, Mass.: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, June 2011).
 Vladislav A. Morenko and Andrei N. Tezikov, “Istoricheskiy aspekt razvitiya ASU PVO,” Vozdusho-Kosmicheskaya Oborona, No.1, February 7, 2015, http://www.vko.ru/oruzhie/istoricheskiy-aspekt-razvitiya-asu-pvo; Igor M. Kuptsov, “Bor’ba s giperzvukovymi letatel’nami apparatami (GZLA): Novaya Zadacha i trebovaniya k sisteme vozdushno-kosmicheskoy oborony (VKO),” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, January 2011, pp.10–17; Igor Pristupyuk and Nikolai Somko, “Ustoyat’ pod udarami VTO,” Vozdusho-Kosmicheskaya Oborona, No. 4, July 12, 2007, http://www.vko.ru/koncepcii/ustoyat-pod-udarami-vto.