Tracing Russia’s Path to Network-Centric Military Capability

Executive Summary

Since 2008, Russia has consistently sought to adopt and introduce command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities to the Armed Forces as part of its conventional military modernization plans. At their core, those efforts are rooted in developing a Russian variant of network-centric warfare, reflecting changes in the international strategic environment as well as accompanying transformation in the means and methods of conducting warfare.

The origins of network-centric approaches to modern and future warfare are rooted in the Revolution in Military Affairs, championed by Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov in the 1980s. As he predicted, modern and future inter-state warfare will be short and sharp, no longer envisaging a period of mobilization or “follow-on” forces. Russia’s contemporary General Staff understands that the key to securing political-military objectives in such a scenario depends on gaining the advantage in the information space and utilizing speed of decision-making through improved automated command and control. As such, Russian military strategists and policymakers have consciously sought to move away from the country’s traditional reliance upon mass mobilization to forming leaner and more capable forces. While this may not result in Russia becoming a global military power, it will have significant implications for its conventional war-fighting capabilities closer to its borders.

After many years of analysis, discussion and planning, the Russian military is now well on the path toward the fuller formation of a network-centric capability that will present challenges for any potential adversary. Thus, Russia’s Armed Forces, together with their numerous technological advances, are confidently entering the high-tech battlespace.

However, even as Russia continues to pursue this military transformation, various technological and manpower challenges are likely to persist. Among these:

  • Impediments within the homegrown defense industry, especially related to advanced micro-components and Russia’s broader technology lag behind leading NATO members;
  • The lack of force integration traditionally seen in Soviet/Russian military operations;
  • Problems in the design and production of an integrated automated command, control and communications system;
  • The absence of delegated authority down the chain of command to include responsible non-commissioned officers;
  • An absence of individual initiative within Russian military culture and traditions at tactical levels;
  • Moscow’s defense ministry, General Staff and its defense industry face the long-term challenges of producing and then integrating highly interoperable systems as well as standardizing weapons and equipment; and while progress is evident, this will remain a key factor in ensuring the successful exploitation of high-technology-based approaches to warfare;
  • Within the defense industry, standards will need to be raised to address weaknesses in tactical and operational unmanned combat aerial vehicles as well as to further develop drone strike capabilities.



Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s conventional Armed Forces experienced difficult times, suffering from chronic under funding, and were widely regarded in Western policy circles as posing little threat in comparison to Moscow’s military power during the Cold War. This conventional military weakness has been largely rectified in recent years—though clearly not on the Soviet scale—via sustained modernization and force transformation. Yet the contours and policy implications of this process of rebuilding a credible conventional force capability has had limited traction within policy circles in the United States or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).[1]

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, much attention among policymakers has focused on issues around so-called “gray zone” operations. Nevertheless, Russia’s military modernization program increasingly focuses on providing the state with enhanced military capability rooted in the adoption of high-technology assets; these fit into a broader framework of a drive to modernize the conventional Armed Forces along command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) lines.[2] This increasing emphasis placed on the adoption, integration and role of high-technology assets in Russia’s Armed Forces is presently underestimated in both Washington and NATO, with many of their policymakers still accustomed to perceiving Russia’s conventional military as comparatively weaker. However, much of the focus of Moscow’s introduction of high-technology assets and approaches to modern war fighting is aimed at equipping its military with the capacity to counter peer adversaries in potential conflicts on the country’s periphery, which has long-term, policy-relevant importance for the US and its transatlantic allies.[3]

The Jamestown Special Project “Russia’s Path to the High-Tech Battlespace” aims to examine in granular detail for a policy-orientated readership the nature of Moscow’s plans and the development of the country’s Armed Forces, rooted in adopting and deploying high-technology assets and crafting its force development and defense posture based upon the integration of C4ISR capabilities. These issues will have significant implications for assessing Russian military capability in terms of its future warfare options and approaches; strategic deterrence; US and NATO policy to reassure allies on NATOs eastern flank; as well as in determining the potential of the “Russia challenge” in the coming decades.[4] In addressing those topics, the Special Project will represent a vital one-stop resource for the policy communities in the United States and other NATO members seeking data on these vitally significant developments in Moscow’s future defense planning and strategy. It will examine inter alia the reconnaissance-fire complex, electronic warfare, C4ISR, the use and experimentation with network-centric operations in Syria, approaches to cyber and information warfare, and the drivers and aims behind the adoption of high-technology in shaping the future battlespace.

The following paper explores Russia’s lengthy path toward the adoption of high-technology approaches to modern and future warfare, placing this within the conceptual framework of network-centric capability. At the same time, it links the quantum leap in Russia’s conventional military capability of recent years to its origins in the military thought of the late Soviet era. It is not coincidental that the current Russian defense leadership constantly presents the innovative culture of Soviet military theorists as an example when it frames its appeals to the military-scientific community to support the development of strategic thought and military modernization.[5] This study also ties the most recent development to the reform initiated in late 2008, which allowed the exploration and adoption of the later high-technology supported conventional warfare capability. Equally, it touches on advances in automated command and control, improving the speed of decision-making, as well as some of the challenges facing the ongoing process of wider and deeper force integration through C4ISR.[6]


Reforming the Armed Forces

In the aftermath of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia War, the Russian government under the leadership of then–president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin authorized a long-planned reform of the Armed Forces.[7] The reform that ensued not only involved systemic force restructuring and transitioning from a Soviet legacy force to a more flexible, lethal and capable military, it placed at its epicenter a modernization process that has since been sustained.

Prior to setting this reform in motion, Russia’s leading military strategists had for decades been aware of the technological gap that had opened with the country’s potential state-level adversaries and their consequent conventional military weaknesses vis-à-vis these powers.[8] Since Moscow initiated genuine reform and modernization of the Armed Forces in 2008, many Russian military strategists advocated pursuing setetsentricheskaia voina (network-centric warfare) capability as a vital force enabler and force multiplier and as a means to instigate deeper and more meaningful military transformation.[9] The origins of such thinking, of course, lie in late-Soviet and Russian military theory, particularity with the proponents of the Revolyutsiya v Voyennom Dele—the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA).[10]

Russian military understanding and use of the term setetsentricheskaia voina (network-centric warfare) is important to define within the Russian context and how it is used in the analytical and defense circles in common parlance. A solid and clear definition from a reliable Russian military source places emphasis upon information superiority:

Network-centric war—A concept of military operations oriented toward the achievement of information superiority that provides for an increase in combat power through the creation of an information and communication network linking sensors (data sources), decision makers and assets, which ensures that the participants of operations have situational awareness, accelerating command and control as well as increasing the pace of operations, effectiveness of defeating enemy forces, survivability of troops, and level of synchronization.[11]

The seismic shift that has occurred since 2008 in the capabilities of Russia’s conventional Armed Forces owes to the fact that the Russian political-military leadership finally acted on these theoretical approaches toward future warfare, sympathetic as it was to alternative perspectives on how information technology and high-technology changes the battlespace. Consequently, Moscow has invested in the necessary modernization program, and that trend is likely to continue for decades. Russian military theorists and planners have a lengthy history of interests in the areas of assessing the plausible patterns or scope of future warfare and in the possibility of forming new capabilities. These views and discussions lead into numerous areas, but they also share some unifying themes.[12]

Modernization plans since 2008–2009 have certainly paid attention to such ideas, with reference to robotics, nanotechnologies and even to further developing or refining the “non-military means” elements in the Russian hard/soft power mix. Critically, there are constant references to “developing weapons of new physical principles” Many observers assume this phrase indicates some breakthrough using unique technologies; but in fact, in Russian “military art,” it only refers to possessing weapons and systems better or with stronger capability than those used by an adversary. In this sense, a “weapon of new physical principles,” as a historical example, would be the medieval long bow, since it could strike further and with greater damaging impact than any contemporary medieval archer could match.[13]

As a result of these complex processes, Moscow has placed C4ISR capability and network-centric approaches to warfare at the epicenter of the Armed Forces’ transformation and modernization drive since 2008–2009.[14] That dual focus is indeed the sole unifying theme in the transformation: it underpins the defense industry’s support for modernization as well as guides and shapes experimentation with force structure, manpower and the application of platform-based operations in an increasingly high-technology informationized combat environment. In October 2010, the intellectual “father of the military reform,” Colonel (ret.—died 2011) Vitaly Shlykov explained that although the level of understanding of network-centric warfare concepts among senior Russian officers and in the political establishment was not advanced, it was sufficient to use it as a means to “light a fire under” the domestic defense industry and provide an overall aim for the reform process.[15] So while this process was initially used as a means to promote reform and modernization, over the past decade it has moved significantly toward implementation and working out its implications for future force development and procurement requirements.[16]

This process has involved 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 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability, combined with vigorous efforts to upgrade and innovate in terms of electronic warfare (EW) assets, which Russian defense planners see as symbiotic with progress in network-centric capability.[17] Some of these unifying features in Russia’s military transformation provide pointers as to the likely shape and extent of the country’s future high-technology based conventional military capability. This is a capability that will prove to be more important for Russian military planners as a tool set to indirectly challenge the US and NATO on Russia’s periphery than will the contemporary Western preoccupation with Russia’s “hybrid warfare” or any of its subsequent variants. In short, the trends in Russia’s conventional warfare capability are deeply embedded in adopting C4ISR and network-enabled capability, utilizing high-technology to enhance precision strike and greatly increase the accuracy of fires.[18]

Moscow’s surge in interest in network-centric warfare stems from three preoccupations. First is Russia’s threat perception of potentially facing network-enabled forces in its Western strategic direction. Second is the emergence on its eastern flank of a network-centric capability in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). And third is Russia’s lag in military technology compared to other advanced powers. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, the Russian state’s attempts to address the imbalance in its conventional forces compared to the world’s leading militaries resulted in a lengthy period of over-reliance upon nuclear deterrence to compensate. Nonetheless, this is equally consistent with the well-known Russian military preoccupation with the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945) and the lasting impact it has had on modern military-security culture, nurturing chronic fears of a sudden attack from the western flank.[19]

At the same time, the Russian political-military leadership pays close attention to the “initial period of war,” when the Armed Forces are tasked by the political leadership with shaping the battlespace to suit and facilitate the achievement of desired political or strategic ends. Given the political-military elite’s perspectives on the roots of the power disparity and perceived injustice in Russia’s treatment by the US and NATO, the Russian interest in network-centric warfare is closely tied to a professed need to develop additional tools and capabilities to challenge and disrupt Western military operations rapidly and in real time—without risking conflict escalation or elongating the timescale for nuclear first use.[20]

The process itself, marked by force restructuring and advances in military modernization, reached a crisis during the operational-strategic exercise Kavkaz 2012, after which Russia’s General Staff recommended terminating the contract with the defense company group tasked with designing and manufacturing the automated komandovaniye i upravleniye (command and control—C2) system. Political support for the scheme returned after the intervention of then–deputy defense minister Dmitry Rogozin, permitting a stay of execution for the companies working in this area.[21] Since that crisis, progress on automated C2 has been extensive, and this trend will likely continue over the next decade and beyond. Kavkaz 2016, for example, which marked the next major test for automated C2, demonstrated that significant improvement was achieved, with the signals chief reporting similar advances in further digitizing military communications systems.[22] Not only did the exercise prove the efficacy of newly developed technologies, it also showed that officers and enlisted personnel were sufficiently well trained, indicating progress toward a force structure increasingly well versed in network-enabled systems and their uses.

Russia’s military modernization also betrays consistent efforts to introduce new assets and platforms exploiting network-centric approaches, as revealed in the ongoing agenda to “integrate systems”[23] and further strengthen mobile field communications as well as to markedly improve the levels of training required for personnel. According to top brass sources, the old analogue systems of signals/communications have been removed from all fixed command posts, and work is continuing to replicate this in mobile communications points.[24] This will only expand and be consolidated by 2027–2030.

Russia’s intervention in Ukraine revealed little that was network-centric in essence; however, there have been experiments with network-centric warfare during the Russian military operations in Syria. The latter campaign showed a remarkable absence of massed artillery fires in favor of greater use of precision strikes and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) used for immediate bomb damage assessments (BDA).[25] Nonetheless, most of the Russian operations in Syria still involved non-precision guided ordinance, with network-centric-based experiments constituting a small fraction of the total operations.[26]

Russian specialists anticipate progress in developing network-centric capability provided that the state continues to invest sufficiently in this endeavor.[27] In turn, the military uses the apparent emergence of this technology-centered capability to convince Russia’s political leadership of the need for continued high levels of defense spending in the non-nuclear sphere. In the decades ahead, as the various interested parties strive to maintain comparatively high defense spending or to push their respective service’s interests, investment in C4ISR will attract funding on levels that eclipse other transient areas.


The Role of Reviving Russia’s Military Science

In a lengthy article in 2018, published in Russia’s official journal of the General Staff, Voyennaya Mysl (Military Thought), Major General (ret.) Kharis I. Saifetdinov assessed the contribution to the development of Russian military science in the early 20th century by Aleksandr Svechin (1878–1938). Svechin’s key work, Strategiya (Strategy, 1927), foresaw many of the features of the coming war with Germany (1941–1945). And though, like many of his peers, Svechin fell victim to Joseph Stalin’s purges of the Soviet officer corps, the current leadership of Russia’s General Staff frequently appeals to his legacy as an outstanding military theorist. Saifetdinov drew a number of lessons from Svechin’s legacy, notably:

Lesson number one has to do with the fundamental problem of military science, i.e. the chance of foreseeing the nature of future warfare. Aleksandr Svechin largely foresaw the nature of the armed struggle of the future, and many of his forecasts came true during the Second World War. A major condition of foreseeing the nature of armed struggle is a creative atmosphere in the area of military-science thought and tolerance for different views. As Academician Pyotr Kapitsa used to say, in the absence of debates and comparison of opinions in science, the latter can only go to the cemetery, to attend its own funeral. The only thing that can ensure continuity in the development of military art theory and the correctness of decisions taken is objectivity of research into the likely nature of future warfare, a formulation of conclusions and estimates based not on pure theory but on analysis of reality. Whereas previously it was impossible to construct a modern army without military science, nowadays, given inadequate funding, science is the one thing that can rescue it.

Lesson number two, stemming from the legacy of Alexander Svechin, answers the question about the ratio between politics and military strategy. Aleksandr Svechin firmly and consistently defended the stand of the prerogative of politics with regard to strategy. At the same time, the scholar stressed that political decisions, too, should conform to the strategy and military potential, that a politician had to pay heed to the opinions of military professionals and be aware of the way the military machine was working as well as of what the state’s military mobilization mechanism was like. Therefore, defining the goals of war and preparing state decisions in the military area should be done jointly by politicians, economists, the military and other experts. This is especially important today, when threats to Russia’s national security are assuming a new nature and are implemented with fairly intricate means and methods, chiefly politico-diplomatic, economic, information, and other non-military means and methods.[28]

In this historical context, it is unsurprising that since launching the reform and modernization of the conventional Armed Forces in 2008, the incumbent chief of the General Staff (CGS) has used the platform of his annual address to the Academy of Military Sciences (Akademii Voyennykh Nauk—AVN) in Moscow to stimulate research on future warfare and encourage Russian military scientists to examine and discuss a range of strategic ideas. Army General Nikolai Makarov (CGS, 2007–2012) and Army General Valery Gerasimov (appointed in 2012) have expounded and promoted such themes. Thus, appeals to the traditions and contributions to military thought from leading Soviet and Russian military theorists aim to stimulate today’s Russian military scientists to similarly contribute to the process of modernization.[29]

While Soviet and Russian military theorists have reputations for their interest in and analyses of the theme of future war, the upsurge in this area that followed the reform and modernization of the Armed Forces since 2008 naturally resulted in numerous publications examining these issues. One illustration of such thinking is found in a 2017 article in Voyennaya Mysl by Colonel (ret.) S. G. Chekinov and Lieutenant General (ret.) S. A. Bogdanov. The main distinctions of future wars are listed briefly below:

  • weapons designed on new technological principles—high-precision weapons based on several platform varieties, aerospace attack weapons, strike- and fire-capable reconnaissance systems, remote-controlled and piloted aerial vehicles, and robot-controlled weapons—will have an overwhelming superiority;

  • nuclear weapons will have their significance reduced where strategic and political objectives will have to be attained and their functions taken over by conventional high-precision weapons, weapons on new physical principles, and other types of conventional weapons;

  • strategic operations by armed forces will become the principal form of strategic task fulfillment; and

  • a unified system will be deployed to collect and process information by integrating space, aerial, and ground reconnaissance capabilities for target allocation and designation in real time.

As we look at the present trends in the development of new technologies to produce the latest models of weapons and specialized military hardware, we can assume that the timeframe of fast-running wars of the future will be set by information technologies operating in the nanosecond format. Speed, synchronization and concurrency will be the decisive factors (principles) behind the success of military operations. Joint task forces and their fire strikes will be controlled in real time with reliance placed on the capabilities of computers, telecommunications and satellite communications.

In the authors’ view, strategic operations in future wars will achieve their objectives in these conditions if the armed forces are fully supplied with their needs in weapons, ammunition, materials and other logistics. The scope and quality of logistics will, in turn, depend on several circumstances, primarily the country’s readiness to engage its adversary in a future war.

Forecasting is a way to gain an insight into a situation in which employment of weapons based on new physical properties—new weapons having greater destructive power, longer range, higher accuracy and rate of fire, broader capabilities of reconnaissance and robot-controlled assets, automated weapons control, communication, and information warfare, and closer integration of space-based, aerial, and ground reconnaissance systems in target designation and acquisition in real time—will have a significant impact on the fast pace of future wars. It can be expected, therefore, that future wars will each consist of an opening and a closing period.[30]

The authors firmly root their outline of future warfare capability to “high-precision weapons based on several platform varieties, aerospace attack weapons, strike-and fire-capable reconnaissance systems, remote-controlled and piloted aerial vehicles, and robot-controlled weapons.” Chekinov and Bogdanov assess that this high-technology exploitation of conventional firepower will eventually reduce the role and significance of nuclear weapons. The “unified system” the authors describe is consistent with network-centric approaches to shaping the battlespace, integrating “space-, aerial-, and ground-reconnaissance capabilities for target allocation and designation in real time.” Significantly, the authors draw attention to the trends in developing “new technologies” to modernize weapons and hardware that will result in utilizing “information technologies” operating at high speed: “Joint task forces and their fire strikes will be controlled in real time with reliance placed on the capabilities of computers, telecommunications, and satellite communications.” Again, the portrait offered of future Russian military operations appears rooted in adopting high technologies to facilitate conducting network-centric combat in real time by improving and harnessing C4ISR.[31]

Indeed, in 2013, the same authors analyzed the developments and implications of foreign military network-centric warfare capability. They concluded that its adoption in the United States military had envisaged the concept applied to bringing all information, communications systems combined with military forces and weapons into one unified system:

Advanced countries already use the new strategy for preparing and conducting new-generation warfare that differs significantly from war strategies of the 20th century. The changes that have since occurred in all things military have compelled the US armed forces to develop a new concept—Network-Centric Warfare, or NCW. In substance, the NCW concept is not a system of views on the conduct of a modern-day war (armed conflicts) as such; rather, it is a concept of control over combat operations as a new way of directing armed forces in 21st-century operations.

The network-centric warfare concept arose immediately in the wake of rapid advances in information technologies and development of high-precision weapons and weapons based on new physical principles. Armed with the NCW concept, American planners want to use information attack at the outset of a new-generation war to disable all elements of the adversary air-defense system—control posts, communication centers, radar stations, anti-aircraft missile batteries, and the air-defense aircraft control system. In their estimates, a loss of up to 50 percent of control-system capabilities would have an adverse effect on the enemy’s strategy and force him to discontinue resistance—the end goal of the NCW concept.

In a network-centric warfare environment developing on the guidelines of the NCW concept, US forces’ operations at any level (tactical, operational and strategic) will be directed regardless of where the forces are deployed across the world, whatever combat missions they fulfill, whatever strength they have, and however they are structured. Actually, a “network-centric environment” comprises information and communication elements bringing the armed warfare forces and weapons into one system.[32]


The Revolution in Military Affairs and Ogarkov’s Legacy

A particularly close linkage exists between Russian military theory and its evolution of network-centric warfare. This is due to the origins of the RMA in the latter Soviet era, combined with persistent Russian interest and analysis of how this was adapted and introduced by the US and other NATO militaries. The RMA, US approaches to networking warfare, operational analyses of the First Gulf War (1991) and other factors stimulated high interest among Russian military scientists. Colonel General Vladimir Slipchenko (deceased) wrote extensively in the 1990s on so-called “sixth-generation warfare” and argued that Russia had to take note of this fundamental advance in the means methods of conducting warfare or pay a heavy price later. Slipchenko set in motion a tradition among Russian advocates of network-centric warfare to study these developments within foreign militaries.[33]

In 2013, the Norwegian researcher Henrik Olsen Nordal highlighted the relatively long recent history of the RMA concept, its far-reaching influences, and its consequences for the evolution of modern approaches to combat operations:

The origins of the RMA concept we use today has its roots in the Soviet military thinking of the 1960s. Later, in the early 1970s, it appeared in the title of a major Soviet book of military theory.[34] This book dealt primarily with the strategic and operational exploitation of nuclear firepower. However, by the early 1980s the Soviet General Staff developed the concept of what many today call the information revolution in military affairs. What they saw was advanced data processing and communications technology applied to hi-tech conventional firepower potentially increasing the US and NATO conventional capabilities.[35]

This overview of the origins and influences of the RMA in Russian military thought illustrates the transition in such thinking from nuclear issues to how information systems and technologies would revolutionize conventional warfare. Commenting on Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov’s significance in the development of the RMA concept in the 1980s, as well as the Soviet general’s lasting importance in the transformation of Russia’s modern Armed Forces into a force structure rooted in high-technology approaches to modern and future warfare, Michael Kofman, the director for Russia/Eurasia at the Center for Naval Analysis, Arlington, Virginia, notes:

The most recent decade of military transformation would be better known as the ‘Ogarkov reform inheritance,’ since it represents the successful implementation of a vision he had for the Soviet armed forces in the early 1980s, which was only partly realized during his tenure. Looking across the changes implemented in the Russian armed forces, from the flattening of the command and control structure, to the execution of complex exercises with combined or inter-service groupings from different military districts, the deployment of recon-strike and reconfire loops, the integration of combat branches and arms around strategic operations in the theater of military operations, and the increasing emphasis on non-nuclear strategic deterrence, we can see that Ogarkov’s intellectual children have come home. This is not to dismiss the lasting influence of Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Alexander Svechin or Georgii Isserson, whose writing is also used to underpin modern military thought. But none of those men lived through the Cold War, and many of the current ideas or concepts take their heritage from the Ogarkov period.

Ogarkov was a technologist at heart, arguing for a revolution in military affairs in 1982, to reshape the Soviet armed forces with a new generation of technology. Many of the latest weapon systems deployed in the Russian military date back to the 1980s in terms of design, and were conceived as answers to the capabilities then being deployed by NATO. More important, though, is the doctrinal thought that the Russian General Staff has visibly inherited from him, which drives the development of capabilities and concepts of operations for their employment, i.e. the Russian way of war. The goal is to establish a balanced force, consisting of general purpose forces for warfighting, a non-nuclear conventional deterrent, a capable non-strategic nuclear force for escalation management, and a credible strategic nuclear deterrent.[36]

Kofman is entirely justified in characterizing the military transformation in Russia’s Armed Forces over the past decade as the “Ogarkov reform inheritance,” since it has largely implemented Marshal Ogarkov’s vision for the Soviet Armed Forces. By acting upon these ideas, investing in modernization and conducting force restructuring, Russia’s General Staff placed at the heart of this process the adoption of C4ISR and network-centric warfare capability. Indeed, this has come to encapsulate “the Russian way of war.” As Kofman concludes, “The goal is to establish a balanced force, consisting of general purpose forces for warfighting, a non-nuclear conventional deterrent, a capable non-strategic nuclear force for escalation management, and a credible strategic nuclear deterrent.”[37]

The heightened Russian interest in and study of network-centric warfare notwithstanding, some skepticism persisted among the top brass and in the military scientific community. For simplicity, Russian military theorists writing in the post-1992 period can be divided loosely into three groups: traditionalists, modernists and revolutionaries. The traditionalists generally argued in favor of conservative approaches to warfare, stressing the continued need to study the Soviet experience of World War II while trying to adapt its lessons to modern conflict settings. Modernists favored a modification of this approach that would allow a general modernization of the doctrine, tactics, and weapons and equipment inventory to suit modern conflicts Russia might face. Whereas, revolutionaries argued that entirely new approaches and schemes were needed, and they were open to a complete overhaul of the Russian Armed Forces.[38]

These areas could often overlap. Chief among the traditionalists is Army General (ret.; deceased in 2019) Makhmut Gareev, widely considered one of Russia’s greatest military theorists. Gareev was highly skeptical of US advances in network-centric warfare and argued against its adoption in Russia.[39] However, with the onset of the reform of the Armed Forces in 2008, the modernizers and revolutionaries gained ascendency, both pushing the defense ministry, top brass and political leadership to pay closer attention to C4ISR and the adoption of network-centric warfare capability.[40] This trend continued under Sergei Shoigu (appointed defense minister in November 2012), with the political-military leadership remaining committed to network-centric warfare and the modernization of the Armed Forces along C4ISR lines. This complex theoretical environment presents multiple sources of contradiction and makes establishing the longer-term shape of Russian military capability exceedingly difficult.[41] Gareev, for example, frequently wrote against C4ISR, which was met with varying degrees of sympathy from the political-military leadership.

In addition, these efforts have proven sensitive to Russian military traditions and culture; thus, the transformation in progress must be understood and assessed in this historical, cultural and distinctive setting. The network-centric capability transformation is not about copying or mirroring the US and leading NATO militaries, since their approaches are unlikely to fit within the Russian system. Nevertheless, the top bass is evidently entertaining substantive changes.[42] Moreover, Russian military terms, as in other cases, do not quite fit or complement how their Western counterparts use or understand them. This is especially evident in the case of “C4ISR.” In Russian military parlance, the key developmental and conceptual terms since the 1990s were the “reconnaissance-strike complex” (razvedyvatelno-udarnnyy kompleks—RUK) or the “reconnaissance-fire complex” (razvedyvatelno-ognevoy kompleks—ROK). During the early 2000s, Russian military scientists added the “reconnaissance-strike system” (razvedyvatelno-udarnaya sistema—RUS), the “reconnaissance-fire system” (razvedyvatelno-ognevaya sistema—ROS), and the “reconnaissance-fire operation” (razvedyvatelno-ognevaya operatsiya—ROO) to augment the RUK and ROK concepts. By 2009, two additional concepts were appended: the “information-strike system” (informatsionno-udarnaya sistema—IUS) and the “information-strike operation” (informatsionno-udarnaya operatsiya—IUO).[43] While all these encapsulate specific elements of a C4ISR approach, there is, in fact, no direct Russian equivalent of overarching “network-centric warfare” as such. Indeed, when Russian experts have used the term, it first and foremost referenced such developments in US and NATO contexts or, more recently, was employed to grapple with its adoption in the Russian setting. The closest Russian military term to network-centric warfare is the above-mentioned reconnaissance-fire system (ROS).[44]

Equally, it is critical to understand the frequent appeals made to modern Russian military science by CGSs Makarov and Gerasimov because an examination of post-war Soviet military theory confirms a culture of exploiting the latest scientific and technological developments. This included breakthroughs in nuclear physics, space and electronic technology. Since World War II, Soviet military theory also examined laser, neutron beam, microwave, infrasound and kinetic weapons technology. Many of these themes were expressed in the leading works from the post-war era: Kharakter sovremennoy voyny i yeyo problem (The Nature of Modern Warfare and its Problems, 1953); Sovremennaya voyennaya nauka (Contemporary Military Science, 1959); Sovremennaya voyna (Modern Warfare, 1960); Voyennaya strategiya (Military Strategy, 1961); Nachalniy period voyny (The Initial Stage of War, 1964); Strategicheskaya operatsiya na teatre voyennykh deystviy (The Strategic Operation at the Theater of War, 1966); and Voyna i voyennoye iskusstvo (War and Military Art, 1972). In 1980, a key handbook, Osnovy strategicheskikh operatsiy (Basics of Strategic Operations), was issued. Earlier, in 1966, the M. V. Frunze Military Academy published two crucial works in military theory, titled Obshchevoyskovoy boy (Combined-Arms Battle) and Taktika (Tactics).[45]

In addition to this rich wealth and variety of theoretical works, the Soviet General Staff experimented and closely assessed the course of operational-strategic military exercises such as Tempest (1962), Typhoon (1963), Dnieper (1967), Neman (1968), Spring Thunder (1968), East (1969), West (1969), North (1970) and Ocean (1970). Between 1971 and 1980, nine operational-strategic exercises were conducted in the west, seven more in the east, two in the south, plus four operational-strategic exercises for the air-defense troops, three for the Air Forces (Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily—VVS), and two strategic exercises for the navy, the Military-Maritime Fleet (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot—VMF).[46] It is the nexus between theory rooted in Russian analysis of military conflicts on the one hand and experimentation in operational-strategic exercises on the other hand that served to propel the drive to introduce C4ISR and exploit high-technology assets in a network-enabled environment.[47]


Military Science and the Ogarkov Reform Inheritance

The network-centric concept has been widely and deeply assessed and analyzed in the body of articles in Russia’s professional military journals since the formation of Russia’s Armed Forces in 1992, following the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. In an article published in Voyennaya Mysl, in 2013, examining the history of Soviet and Russian military theory, Major General (ret.) I. N. Vorobyov and Colonel (ret.) V. A. Kiselyov noted the transformation in approaches to modern warfare denoted by network-centric capability:

At present, increasingly close attention is being paid to research into information (cybernetic) warfare. And this is perfectly right. In the 20th century, humanity mastered all the three domains that make up nature on planet Earth (the land, water and aerospace), having turned them into spheres of armed struggle. At the same time, the fourth dimension, on-air space [i.e., the electromagnetic spectrum], was also vigorously explored. But on-air warfare, as it was known at the time, was not exactly a strategic resource, nor was it all-embracing, and frequently it was merely sporadic.

The 21st century became the age of IT [information technology] triumph. Progress in the information sphere started influencing the forms and methods of fighting. Characteristically, information acts at once as the target, resource and means of combat. Information confrontation is even now becoming a form of armed struggle in its own right, taking on a global, multidimensional nature, in space, on land, at sea and on-air. As local wars show, armed struggle is shifting toward the information sphere, and spatial characteristics of combat activity expand owing to active use of on-air space.

The concept of informational superiority over the enemy in operations fits organically in the currently developed concept of network-centric operations, which constitutes a system of views on the methods of controlling armed forces in 21st-century operations involving a single integrated information space formed in near-real time and based on three integrated nets—a global information-controlled network, an intelligence and surveillance network, and a destruction weapons network. Informational superiority within this system acts as the first and essential stage in achieving superiority in troops and weapons control, and it becomes a dominant factor of combat potential.

As one can see, information is now a species of weapon. It does not simply complement fire, strikes, [or] maneuvers but transforms and unites all of those. Among the new forms of informational confrontation are the electronic strike, the electronic information blockade, [and] the comprehensive electronic and energy impact on the enemy. Computer science expands the scope for contactless battles, and the battlefield structure gets more complex; its parameters are no longer just constants (width, depth, height), but also the invisible virtual space. Summing up, let us say that achieving superiority in the information sphere, along with winning fire supremacy over the enemy and achieving dominance in the air, is getting to the forefront of the network-centric environment of combat actions.[48]

Vorobyov and Kiselyov present an important Russian understanding of operations conducted in a network-enabled operational environment, representing this as “a system of views on the methods of controlling armed forces in 21st-century operations involving a single integrated informatsionnoye prostranstvo (information space) formed in near-real time and based on three integrated nets—a global information-controlled network, an intelligence and surveillance network, and a destruction weapons network.” In this force multiplier way of war, information itself becomes a weapon: “It does not simply complement fire, strikes, [or] maneuvers, but transforms and unites all of those.” Thus, as Vorobyov and Kiselyov note, network-centric warfare prioritizes the information sphere: “achieving superiority in the information sphere, along with winning fire supremacy over the enemy and achieving dominance in the air, is getting to the forefront of the network-centric environment of combat actions.”[49]

Analysis of professional Russian military journals over the past 20 years reveals high levels of attention to network-centric warfare and related high-technology themes heavily tied to interest in forecasting the nature of future warfare. In terms of recent published work in relation to future warfare, some of these observations are borne out by reference to Voyennaya Mysl. For example, during the first six months of 2019, a relatively small number of articles appeared in relation to the theme of future warfare. In January 2019, Colonel (reserve) M. I. Nosov and Major (reserve) V. V. Karganov published a piece related to the single information space, with clear implications for future warfare: “Kontseptual’nyye podkhody modelirovaniya yedinogo informatsionnogo prostranstva podsistem spetsial’nogo naznacheniya” (“Conceptual Approaches to Modeling of Special Purpose Subsystems of Single Information Space”).[50]

In February 2019, two articles were published in Voyennaya Mysl, linked to the issues of future warfare. The first was written by V. V. Selivanov and Colonel (ret.) Yu. D. Ilyin, who followed a trend in other theorists’ writings on the theme of asymmetrical responses to conflict with a high-technology adversary: “Metodicheskiye osnovy formirovaniya asimmetrichnykh otvetov v voyenno-tekhnicheskom protivoborstve s vysokotekhnologichnym protivnikom” (“Methodical Frameworks of Asymmetrical Response Formation in Military Technical Struggle Against High-Technology Enemy”).[51] Second, in the same issue, Colonel (ret.) A. S. Brychkov, Colonel V. L. Dorokhov and Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) G. A. Nikinorov assessed future warfare through the prism of hybrid warfare: “O gibridnom kharaktere voyn i vooruzhennykh konfliktov budushchego” (“About Hybrid Nature of Future Wars and Armed Conflicts”).[52]

In the March issue of Voyennaya Mysl, Lieutenant Colonel A. A. Zhigalov, V. A Drogozov and V. V. Matveev examined the development of robotic units for military-medical use: “Formirovaniye sistemy svyazi i peredachi dannykh dlya upravleniya perspektivnym semeystvom meditsinskikh robototekhnicheskikh kompleksov” (“Forming a System of Communications and Data Transmission to Operate the Advanced Family of Military Medical Robotic Units”).[53] In the same issue, Lieutenant (reserve) Y. A. Chizhevskiy explored how network-centric warfare is being implemented in the United States military: “Realizatsiya kontseptsii setetsentricheskikh boyevykh deystviy v vooruzhennykh silakh SShA” (“Implementing the Conception of Network-Centric Combat in the US Army”).[54]

Coverage of the theme of future warfare linked to high technology resurfaced in the June issue of Voyennaya Mysl, which featured a cluster of articles on military robotics. Namely, Lieutenant Colonel N. A. Rudianov and Colonel (reserve) V. S. Khrushchev assessed the implications of developing autonomous robotic systems and how this might change the wars of the future: “Kontseptualnyye voprosy postroyeniya i primeneniya avtonomnykh robototekhnicheskikh kompleksov voyennogo naznacheniya” (“Conceptual Issues of Making and Using Military-purpose Autonomous Robotic Units”).[55] The same issue contained a piece by Colonel (ret.) N. V. Babin, Lieutenant Colonel O. N. Ivanyushenko and N. N. Magdalinov, looking at engineering robotic units: “Nekotoryye aspekty boyevogo primeneniya perspektivnogo inzhenernogo robototekhnicheskogo kompleksa shturma i razgrazhdeniya” (“Certain Aspects of Combat Use of an Advanced Engineering Robotic Unit for Assault and Obstacle Clearing”).[56] Finally, Lieutenant Colonel M. A. Gudkov, Colonel (ret.) V. N. Lukyanchik and Colonel (ret.) V. N. Melnik considered robotic units linked to forward aviation: “Nazemnyy robototekhnicheskiy kompleks peredovogo aviatsionnogo navodchika” (“The Ground-based Robotic Unit of the Forward Aviation Gunlayer”).[57]

Similarly, if the Voyennaya Mysl net is cast over a longer period, recurring names and certain themes emerge. Since 1997, for example, future warfare has been discussed by V. P. Gulin, V. A Kiselyov, I. N. Vorobyov, S. G. Chekinov, S. A. Bogdanov, M. R. Gizitdinova, S. M. Cherkasov, V. N. Gorbunov, O. V. Alyoshin, A. N. Popov, V. V. Puchnin, A. V. Serzhantov and A. P. Martoflyak. Their subjects of focus included a new concept of war, hybrid operations, the nature of new-generation warfare, mobile underwater robots, armed confrontation in the 21st century and the changing role of naval power.[58]

Casting the net still wider and across additional Russian military publications across the past two decades, the following writers feature heavily: Vladimir Andreyev, Dmitriy Borisov, Vladimir Chebakov, I. Chernishev, Ivan Chichikov, Makhmut Gareev, A. Kondratyev, I. G. Korotchenko, Vladimir Kozhemyakin, V. V. Kruglov, S. Leonenko, Yevgeniy Lisanov, D. A. Lovtsov, N. E. Makarov, Gennadiy Miranovich, Sergei Modestov, P. Peresvet, Nikolay Poroskov, A. A. Proxhozhev, Mikhail Rastopshin, V. D. Ryabchuk, Vladimir Shenk, I. D. Sergeev, N. A. Sergeev as well as N. I. Turko.[59]

These authors covered a broad range of future warfare-linked themes:

  • Military science and military forecasting;
  • The character of future conflict;
  • Rooting future warfare in the lessons of the past;
  • Strategic deterrence and strategic foresight;
  • Network-centric warfare;
  • War in space;
  • Deep defense in information warfare;
  • Asymmetric warfare;
  • Psychotronic weapons;
  • Climate weapons;
  • Reflexive control;
  • Nanotechnologies.[60]

The concept of network-centric warfare is closely tied to the RMA, with the advances and practical application unfolding through complex processes in the enhancement of US military combat power, particularly in the 1990s. According to Russian military specialists, this meant new means and methods of conducting warfare, integrating “technical reconnaissance, automation and control of fire damage by means of information and telecommunication networks and data transmission to enhance the effectiveness of combat operations through harmonization and coordination of available forces and means based on a common information space.”[61]


Russian Analyses of the Origins of Network-Centric Warfare

Russian authorities on network-centric warfare trace the origins of the concept in its evolution within the US military to its first appearance in the computer industry, as a result of a breakthrough in technologies enabling interaction between computers and different operating systems. Later, the concept was adopted by the developers of network-centric approaches toward modern combat operations by the US proponents of the experimental shift from platform-centric to network-centric operations. A Russian military monograph in 2008 noted, “As a model of the fighting, illustrating the process of achieving in the ‘network-centric’ information war superiority over the enemy abroad is the widely used concept of the ‘control loop.’ Recently, such a cycle used the basic element of the theory developed by US Air Force Colonel John Boyd and his followers—the so-called OODA (Observe–Orient–Decide–Act) Loop.”[62]

As one Russian specialist points out:

US Navy Vice Admiral Arthur Tsebrovsky and US Department of Defense expert John Garstka noted that the concept of “network-centric warfare” is not only the deployment of digital networks in order to ensure both vertical and horizontal integration of all participants in combat operations. It is also a change in the tactics, promising formations with dispersed military orders, optimization methods of intelligence activities, simplification of procedures, harmonization and coordination of fire destruction, as well as a leveling of distinction for management positions means.[63]

In an article published in 2015 in Vestnik, V. Kovalov, G. Malinetskii and Y. Matviyenko stress information superiority and the need for unified information and combat networks:

At its core, “network-centric warfare” is focused on achieving information superiority by organizing the management of forces, providing an increase in their combat power through a unified information network connecting sensors (data sources), decision-makers and forces to supply the necessary information on the situation, accelerating control over such forces and resources. Consequently, it increases the efficiency of operations to defeat the enemy.[64]

A collection of materials on network-centric warfare issued in 2010 by Russia’s General Staff takes this still deeper, emphasizing speed of decision making, self-synchronization with initiative from below within the military units deployed in a theater of operations, and the integration of sub-systems:

According to the concept of development, the “network-centric” warfare method also makes it possible to move from war to exhaustion to more transient and more sustainable forms of armed struggle, characterized by speed and control of the principle of self-synchronization, or the ability to self-organize military structure from below, without waiting for orders from above.[65]

Another Russian analysis of US approaches toward network-centric operation, published in 2009, adds:

The conceptual and theoretical-level model of “network-centric” war is presented as a system consisting of three subsystems having a lattice structure: the information subsystem, the touch (intelligence) subsystem, and the subsystem of battle (subsystem of individual tactical units and command and control). The basis of the system is considered to be the first subsystem, which overlaps the second and third subsystem. The elements of the second subsystem are the forces and intelligence agents; and third [is composed of] the means of destruction, the military equipment and personnel of individual tactical units, and the combined government and command. “Network-centric” warfare, according to the authors of the concept, can encompass all levels of government, and the principles of its conduct do not depend on the geographic region, combat missions, or composition and structure of the armed forces. Themselves, the armed forces in this case are an extensive network of well-informed but geographically distributed forces.[66]

The upsurge in interest in network-centric concepts among Russian military scientists since 2008 reflects a clear influence from the senior military and defense leadership. In 2010, Russia’s General Staff Academy published an extensive collection of open-source materials dealing with the concept of network-centric warfare: Setetsentricheskaya voyna: Daydzhest po materialam otkrytykh izdaniy i SMI (Network-Centric Warfare: Digest on Materials of Open Publications and Mass Media).[67] Moreover, the Russian military scientific community continues to maintain considerable focus on network-centric warfare, especially following and analyzing its evolution within the United States military. In 2018, for example S. I. Makarenko and M. S. Ivanov published a 901-page study: Setetsentricheskaya voyna—printsipy, tekhnologii, primery i perspektivy (Network-Centric WarfarePrincipals, Technologies, Examples and Perspectives).[68]

It is clear, therefore, that within the existing body of professional Russian science, there is persistent interest in network-centric warfare. But the emerging view of the capability in the Russian context is cautious, and many specialists warn against the state investing too heavily in this area, fearing wastage of resources. As such, these experts tend to counsel against seeing its adoption as a panacea. It is also vital to understand that Russian theorists see network-centric warfare capability as an offensive rather than defensive capability, and they envisage it serving as a tool against other high-technology adversaries.[69]

In the published writings of Russian military scientists, a deep understanding and body of knowledge exists concerning Western military 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’s, that tried and later abandoned efforts to introduce network-centric warfare—in order to avoid these pitfalls in Russia. Russian analyses of US/NATO network-centric capability are also closely linked to how Main Intelligence Directorate (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye—GRU) specialist officers follow, assess and understand the concept and the key trends involved. An outstanding example is Colonel Aleksandr Kondratyev.[70]


The Influence of Aleksandr Kondratyev: Harnessing Theory for Modernization

Kondratyev, during the formative period of Russian military reform under then–defense minister Anatoliy Serdyukov, contributed extensively to furthering and deepening the domestic understanding of network-centric warfare by writing on its use and evolution within the US military as well as the work carried out on network-centric warfare by China’s PLA.[71] These were published in Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie, Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, Voyennaya Mysl and Zarubezhnoe Voennoe Obozrenie—professional journals or leading publications of the General Staff and the GRU. In these articles, Kondratyev examines issues such as command and control, speed of decision-making, moving away from platform-centric approaches to warfare, implications for space and airpower, as well as maritime exploitation. Generally, his work cautioned against seeking exclusively technology-based solutions to the deeper problems confronting the Russian Armed Forces.[72]

In 2011, Kondratyev published a collection of his articles in one volume. The translated titles listed below reveal the depth and breadth of his research into C4ISR/network-centric concepts in foreign militaries:

  • The Fight for Information-Based Information;
  • Implementation of the Concept of Network War in the ASAF;
  • Implementing the Concept of Network War in the US Navy;
  • Influence of the Concept of Network War on Efficiency;
  • US Forces’ Intelligence;
  • Unified Understanding of the Situation on the Battlefield is Integral;
  • Attributes of Netcentric War;
  • General Characteristic of Network Architectures Used in the Implementation of Netcentric Concepts;
  • Leading Foreign Countries’ Problematic Issues of Researching New Netcentric;
  • Concepts of the Armed Forces of Leading Foreign Countries;
  • New Network Opportunities or War for the Arms Market;
  • Some Features of the Implementation of the Netcentric Concept;
  • Concepts vs China;
  • Is an Information Revolution Needed in the Army?;
  • New Features for a New Skin;
  • Netcentric Front.[73]

In Kondratyev’s preface, he outlines a number of areas of complexity in dealing with network-centric warfare and argues that it offers no panacea for Russian military planners. Chief among these relates to the sheer complexity involved in the creation and smooth running of such a system of enhancing warfighting capability:

At the end of the 19th century, the Russian scientist Alexander Popov invented the radio, which at the beginning the next century was already adopted by the Russian army. A coup in military science did not happen, however; the forms and methods were improved and the use of groupings of troops and new means of armed struggle appeared. A century later, the next stage of implementation of modern information technologies in warfare appeared. The only difference is in scale. In fact, a real revolution is happening now, and it is network-centric. In the era of the formation of the modern multipolar world, the complication of the military-political situation and the appearance of numerous hotbeds of tension for militaries to face, countries around the world are setting new tasks to ensure national security and the fight against terrorism. In these conditions, network-centric warfare turns into a real tool that increases combat capabilities and reduces [the required sizes of] armed forces.

The large-scale introduction of information technology into the military sphere began in the USA. New regulations, equipment and weapons have already been repeatedly tested by the Americans in different wars and armed conflicts. Success is evident; however, even in the United States, there is no consensus on the new concept of network-centric warfare. The military science community is divided into supporters, doubters and opponents of such development. Indeed, network-centrism is not a panacea. With an undeniable increase in the level of combat capabilities, there are a number of serious dangers associated, in the first place, with an increase in the complexity of the system of warfare being formed.[74]

Kondratyev’s writings were most frequent in the period 2009–2013. During this time, it also became clear that although there is clear understanding of network-centric warfare capability among Russian military scientists, there was no equally elaborated Russian variant of the concept.[75] In other words, it remained uncertain in the collective work of the country’s leading specialists in this area as to how precisely the concept is adopted, adapted and applied in the Russian context.[76]

Jacob W. Kipp, an adjunct professor at the University of Kansas, summarized Kondratyev’s refined and detailed understanding of network-centric warfare:

Kondratyev understands the core relationship in John Boyd’s OODA Loop (observe, orient, decide, and act), the struggle for the mystery of time in a combat situation. The OODA Loop takes on a new dimension in the information age. The loop could be divided into two parts—one informational (observe and orient) and the second kinetic (decide and act) relating to both maneuver of forces and firepower. If industrial war emphasized the second (kinetic part of the loop) then the information age underscored the importance of the former, understood as C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance). Computational power and networks have made possible a quantum leap in informational flow, which has changed the informational/intellectual part of the loop. It turns intelligence into knowledge to aid the decision-makers across the entire battle space. Post-industrial kinetic means would also reshape future war. Kondratyev sees major possibilities in foreign work on lasers and nano-technologies, making them important areas for Russia to develop. Not all the issues associated with the development and employment of these systems have been answered. Yet Kondratyev concludes that many governments had already committed to this technological revolution reshaping military art in the twenty-first century. Russia could not afford to ignore this “qualitative new military potential.”[77]


Challenges on the Path to C4ISR Integration

The sheer complexity and set of challenges presented to Russia’s defense leadership in pursuing the integration of C4ISR and network-centric concepts in modern combat operations was certainly understood at an early stage by Russian military specialists. For example, Major General (ret.) Vasiliy Burenok, then the director of the defense ministry’s 46th Research and Development Institute, argued the reform launched in 2008 was inexorably linked to the adoption of network-centric warfare capability. In an article published in Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, in April 2010, Burenok outlined the conceptual and theoretical features of network-centric warfare as a system consisting of three subsystem grids: sensor, information and combat. This system is formed by the information grid, which mutually intersects and overlays the other grids influencing the entire system of armed combat. The sensor system unites reconnaissance, and components of the combat grid are the means of destruction, while these are combined by the technical means of C2 bodies. Burenok explained that the force structure must be adapted to suit network-centric concepts, requiring structural identity or similarity among units as well as information compatibility and transferability (the absence of nodes that might interrupt the information flow).[78]

Burenok then stated that such restructuring must involve the following:

Stability [ustoichivost]: the capability of forces to perform all their assigned missions. Recoverability [vosstanavlevoaemost]: the capacity of forces to function or recover their combat capabilities after suffering defeat by the enemy. Proficiency [operativnost]: the ability to respond to changes in the operational environment. Flexibility [gibkost]: the capacity to generate (formulate) and execute different variants to perform a mission. Innovativeness [innovatsionnost]: the capacity to apply new technical means and new methods of performing a mission. Adaptability [adaptivnost]: the capacity (non-critical nature [nekritichnost]) to change processes for the execution of tasks and of organizational structure in response to change in the concept for the combat employment of troops.[79]

As this author noted in a report published in 2010 by the Foreign Military Studies Office (Fort Leavenworth Kansas):

The first of these, stability (ustoichivost), demands forming the so-called soldier of the network-centric war, prepared “theoretically, technologically and psychologically.” Burenok admitted that despite the structural progress of Serdyukov’s reform the Russian armed forces in this area remain at the beginning of a very lengthy journey. However, focusing upon the last two aspects, Burenok pointed to the experience of foreign militaries in which innovativeness (innovatsionnost) has become a crucial principle in developing the armed forces of leading foreign countries in recent years. The US military, for instance, has outperformed all others simply in terms of the number of its innovations. This innovativeness denotes a military culture within which new types and models of arms can be quickly and efficiently absorbed into the units and formations of the US military. Correspondingly, it underscores the need to revise combat training manuals and regulations accordingly, carefully select procurement procedures and ensure delivery of new assets to units along with the necessary resources for repair and maintenance. It is precisely this very culture of innovativeness that must be formed within the Russian armed forces, in order to ensure their successful transition into the information age.[80]

At an early stage in the reform and modernization of Russia’s Armed Forces, the annual strategic exercises were used to experiment with the introduction of an automated C2 system that would facilitate the development of the embryonic network-centric capability. In March 2010, in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, CGS Makarov discussed a variety of issues arising from the reforms. His interviewer explored the introduction of a new C2 system, experimentally trialed during three major exercises held during 2009—Kavkaz, Lagoda and Zapad—and he confirmed that the General Staff would also field test such systems during the operational-strategic exercise Vostok 2010. Makarov corrected his interviewer, who equated the reform and modernization of C2 with actually possessing network-centric warfare capabilities. Makarov’s interjection suggested that the official Russian military understanding of the network-centric concept was not limited to C2:

The network-centric method makes it possible to collect within the integrated information and communication space all space, aviation, ground, and other assets, intelligence assets, and weapons: seeing in real time, the entire country, and in the future, the world. Also, to employ the requisite forces at a given moment in keeping with the situation. Modern software will make it possible to determine the most expedient options for the accomplishment of combat missions, choose the weapons, and assess the probable impact of attacks, but, the commanding officer still has the final say [this author’s emphasis], all the same. It is he that makes the final decision on the use of the troops. There is one further advantage of the network-centric method. Constant and concealed supervision of the enemy makes it possible to mount surprise attacks without direct contact with the antagonist. This sows panic and chaos, breaks his will, and ultimately results in his defeat. I shall in confirmation cite the second war in Iraq [2003]. According to our previous canons, two or threefold superiority in men and equipment was needed to break the enemy. For his assured defeat, five or sixfold. So, then, the Iraqis were five to six times superior [in numbers] to the Americans, but were smashed within three weeks.[81]

Makarov went on the say that “ambitious tasks” were set to settle the issues involved in adopting network-centric capability within “two to three years.” Despite this over-estimation, however, Makarov had offered a fairly balanced and succinct overview of network-centric warfare, and he refuted any idea that Russian planners restricted themselves to a narrow understanding of the network-centric concept. Moreover, he clearly identified that the human component will remain important, as the complexity of network-centric warfare lies in the fact that it seeks to produce “synergy between man and machine” as well as in the need for a new systematized methodology to aid its introduction.[82]

In January 2013, CGS Army General Gerasimov delivered a keynote address to the annual AVN conference in Moscow. His report covered “The Main Trends in the Forms and Methods of the Armed Forces,” focusing on how military science can play a pivotal role in achieving advances in military capability. Noting that the distinction between war and peace has blurred in the modern era, he addressed issues arising from the Arab Spring and outlined Moscow’s concerns about “color revolution” or “foreign intervention, chaos, humanitarian disaster and civil war.”

Gerasimov then posed the question, “What is modern war?” And how should Russia’s military be prepared and armed? The CGS explained that the means and methods of modern conflict have fundamentally changed, denoted by intelligence and dominance of the information space. Information technologies have reduced the “spatial, temporal and information gap between army and government. Objectives are achieved in a remote contactless war; strategic, operational and tactical levels or offensive and defensive actions have become less distinguishable.” Gerasimov was demonstrating awareness of the potential role to be played by harnessing network-centric capabilities.[83]

Indeed, some Russian critics of network-centric warfare argue that it is alien to Russian military culture and that it is not the gamechanger in warfare that its US advocates claim is the case. Moreover, a number of systemic barriers exist to adopting network-centric warfare in Russia, both technically and in terms of military manpower.[84] These can be summarized as follows:

  • Challenges within the defense industry especially related to advanced micro-components and its technology lag behind leading NATO members;
  • The lack of force integration traditionally seen in Soviet/Russian military operations;
  • Problems in the design and production of an integrated automated command, control and communications system;
  • The rigid nature of Russian military doctrine and tactics that inhibits the adoption of new or innovative approaches to operations;
  • The absence of delegated authority down the chain of command to include responsible “officer style” non-commissioned officers (NCO);
  • An absence of individual initiative within Russian military culture and traditions at tactical levels;
  • Russia’s General Staff leadership understands the crucial role of information superiority and the need to both disseminate and utilize information at high speed to be credible in a dynamic operational environment in modern or future warfare. Traditionally, the Russian military has not been short on firepower; its problem has been in identifying and locating the target. To achieve this through enhanced C4ISR, the Armed Forces must connect sensors to the source of fires to exploit truly network-centric capability;
  • Moscow’s defense ministry, General Staff and the Russian defense industry face long-term challenges of producing and then integrating highly interoperable systems as well as standardizing weapons and equipment, which (although progress is evident) will remain a key factor in the exploitation of high-technology-based approaches to warfare;
  • Within the defense industry, standards will need to be raised to address weaknesses in tactical and operational unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV), and further develop UCAV and UAV strike capabilities.[85]

Despite these barriers to adopting network-centric warfare in the Russian Armed Forces, the idea of network-centric warfare has been preserved as the key driver in the conventional military modernization.[86] For the top brass and defense planners in Russia, this means reliance upon “learning by doing” and, therefore, paying close attention to the experimental use of networked operations in the Syrian theater since 2015, to better understand how this may be furthered in future planning and subsequent shaping of the internal military structure and subsequent modernization priorities.[87]

Indeed, during its military operations in Syria, officially designated as a military aerospace operation (vozdushno-kosmicheskaya operatsiya), Russia’s Armed Forces evidently experimented with and refined their version of network-centric warfare with the use of advanced air assets as well as precision strikes from long range, exploiting naval platforms to fire Kalibr and Oniks cruise missiles. An important dimension of this feature of Russian operations in Syria is the extent to which it uses inter-service precision strikes involving air and naval platforms operating in the Syrian theater. An insightful assessment of these operations appeared in November 2016 in Voyennaya Mysl, the professional journal of the Russian General Staff. Its author, O. V. Tikhanchev, reviews the effort to develop and use reconnaissance strike complexes (razveditalnie udarnye kompleksy—RUK) in the conflict.[88] His article highlights the role of inter-service reconnaissance and fire complexes in Syria; this includes aircraft and missiles launched by naval platforms. This would seem to imply network-centric fires and strikes. The author also highlights the use of UAVs to collect immediate bomb damage assessments as a key part of the complex. Although the network-centric experiments and testing in Syria have been quite limited, it is worth noting that only a few years ago this would have been impossible in Russia’s Armed Forces.


Automated Command, Control and Communications Systems

Russia’s military leadership, like its Soviet predecessor, has aspired to develop and introduce a modernized network-centric C2 system, long delayed due to the lack of sufficient technical means and state-level investment. Over the past decade, this has changed, as Russia developed its information technology sector and defense industries working with the defense ministry to capitalize on these new technologies. In 2016, Moscow established a national command center, the National Defense Management Center (Natsionalnogo Tsentra Upravleniya Oboronoy—NTsUO), aimed at integrating the subordinate command centers at the operational strategic command (military district) and Army Group levels.[89]

In the tactical echelon, the Russian Ground Forces benefit from a variety of new technologies to facilitate the integration of C4ISR and enable network-centric capability. This aligns the procurement and modernization priorities in a broader network-centric warfare framework.[90] These advances include new tactical radios, a tactical digital mobile subscriber system (military digital cell phone and data system), and tactical laptops and tablets.

The Russian military’s theoretical interest in developing and fielding an integrated automated C2 dates back to the early 1970s, and pursuit of this goal has progressed markedly since 2000 (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: Creation of the Interbranch Automated Command Control, (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, September 1, 2015)


In 2000, recently elected 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). Sozvezdiye Concern was tasked with overseeing the work of a group of domestic defense industry companies in this project. In the aftermath of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia War and the ensuing initiation of military reforms, including the introduction of a brigade-based force structure for the Ground Forces and reforming a flattened C2, progress on the YeSU TZ garnered momentum. The base of Figure 1 suggests that in 2015, a failure of the process occurred in achieving a fully integrated system, and the author offered time-frames and possible approaches toward its resolution.[91] During this process, Russian military theorists and the top brass appeared to focus their discussions on the need to enhance the speed of decision-making and the time required to generate orders for the conduct of an operation.[92] They saw the YeSU TZ as a means to close the gap in this regard with leading advanced militaries.

The Russian defense industry struggled to meet the demands of the defense ministry and the General Staff, despite awareness of the importance to digitize communications and to eventually field an integrated network-enabled command, control and communications system. At the heart of the numerous design flaws and software issues was the failure of the defense ministry to coordinate with senior officers and the defense industry. The YeSU TZ was repeatedly tested during tactical or operational-strategic exercises since 2009. On all occasions, new design failures were detected, including the lack of a user-friendly interface, through to concern over the system’s survivability during combat operations against a high-technology adversary. This was illustrated in a series of brigade-level tests in 2010, with officers and soldiers complaining that the graphic displays in hand-held or laptop devices were too overloaded with icons and complex software tools.[93]

As the elongated testing phase unfolded, the Ministry of Defense and General Staff came to understand that a wider underlying problem lay in the need to train officers and contract personnel in the use and exploitation of the new system. The training system was forced into rapid adjustment after failures identified based on analysis and “lessons learned” from the annual operational-strategic exercise Kavkaz 2012.

Kavkaz 2012, among other features of the exercises, provided an important testing opportunity for the automated command system (avtomatizirovannoy sistemy upravleniya—ASU). Namely, however, it exposed a large number of flaws in the prototype system. The report submitted to the General Staff identified more than 200 such defects; consequently, the leadership of the General Staff recommended to the defense ministry that the YeSU TZ contract be terminated. Then–deputy defense minister Dmitry Rogozin succeeded in preserving, albeit under modified arrangements, the contract with Russia’s defense industry and set a timeframe to address the future command system’s weaknesses. Among the flaws exposed during the exercise, 160 were considered to be a result of human error, underscoring the need for additional training. The technical issues had to be resolved by Sozvezdiye Concern.[94]

An additional problem is that the Russian military’s services and arms all have different automated systems. For example, the Airborne Forces (Vozdushno-Desantnye VoyskaVDV) utilize the automated Andromeda-D system, specifically tailored to meet their operational needs, which offers challenges for overall automated C2 integration.


Figure 2: Russia’s Automated Command System and Linkages


The existence of these divergent systems is illustrated in Figure 2. The automated systems differ between the Ground Forces, VDV and Naval Infantry—trying to link all of these to new or modernized platforms and digitized communications systems presents a truly intricate challenge. Russian specialists critical of network-centric warfare stress the failure to create a fully integrated automated system. Yet the pattern in addressing the issues involved suggests that a new generation of systems could be sufficiently integrated in the period 2027–2030. The Armata, Bumerang and Kurganets platforms for the Ground Forces are classified as Ground Troops vehicles, and they will also have their own Tactical Echelon Integrated Command and Control Systems, which could, in turn, create additional issues in achieving full systems integration. Despite these issues, the testing of the ASU complexes during Kavkaz 2016 was deemed by the defense ministry and the General Staff to be successful, suggesting that some, if not all, of the technical issues may have been remedied. The trend, therefore, in the modernization of the Russian Armed Forces is toward greater information and network-enabled integration, placing more emphasis on speed of command and control, speed of operations, strategic and tactical mobility, and networked-communications during combat operations.


Figure 3: Digital Communication and Automated C2, Providing Entry Into a Single Information Space for the Russian Armed Forces


Figure 3[95] illustrates that an integrated communications model is gradually becoming a more realistic prospect for the Russian military, with all fixed command posts already digitized and plans to totally digitize the mobile command post over the next several years. In late 2016, the signals command had referred to the overall system as containing 13 subsystems, and called for further sustained work to improve the functionality of the automated system.[96]



Russia’s Armed Forces have moved beyond a theoretical understanding of C4ISR and developing network-centric capability to actually implementing this in practical terms.[97] This does not represent any particular breakthrough in Russian military theory: it simply denotes that the state is now actively investing in supporting the implementation of such ambitious efforts.[98] Nevertheless, despite the undoubted progress in this critical aspect in the drive to adopt high-technology approaches toward modern and future warfare, it will require time, further experimentation, as well as doctrinal and training modifications in order to introduce this more fully and effectively.[99]

  • Progress in the technical training sides of adopting network-centric warfare approaches is most visible in overhauling the command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) structure, introducing automated C3I, replacing analogue radios and communications systems with modern digital versions, and integrating modern and advanced platforms to network at least part of the force structure, as well as in seeking to experiment with network-centric warfare approaches to fires and precision strikes.
  • The process of networking the force structure, which also demands retraining and educating officers and contract personnel in the use of these systems, includes the introduction of new-generation network-enabled personnel gear for individual soldiers (Ratnik). Procurement plans over the next several years will see increased emphasis on introducing network-enable platforms, to include the Armata and the Kurganets in the Ground Forces. It is likely that this will be accompanied by further state investment in and progress in relation to EW.
  • Although the rate of introducing the automated systems into the Ground Forces brigades may be somewhat slow, it also appears that the defense ministry wishes to avoid networking the entire force structure.
  • Despite the advances the Russian military has made and continues to make in this area, there are still a number of barriers to its more successful introduction and exploitation as a “force multiplier,” as noted above.
  • At present, the Russian Armed Forces possess a limited, embryonic and evolving capability, but as the inventory is modernized and the force moves toward being digitized and informationized over the next several years, with higher numbers of sufficiently trained contract personnel within the system, it can be expected that Russian network-centric warfare capability will continue to strengthen.
  • The priority and principle testing ground for these advances is in the Western Military District, suggesting concern in Moscow over a possible confrontation with NATO forces.
  • Russia is likely to harness network-centric capability to suit its own military culture and requirements. Given the publicly available information on the capacity to deliver brigade sets of the YeSU TZ, around 40 percent of Ground Forces units may be network-enabled by 2030. And that percentage will rise to 100 percent in the elite units: Special Forces, GRU Spetsnaz, VDV, Naval Infantry, etc.
  • Russia’s network-centric capability is being developed with US and NATO vulnerabilities in mind, particularly in potential operational areas on Russia’s periphery, and is most likely to emerge as a critical tool to challenge or restrict US/NATO capability to reinforce or deploy in the North Atlantic Alliance’s east during a period of crisis.
  • The network-centric/C4ISR adoption in Russia’s Armed Forces also feeds into and drives the exponentially growing interest and advances in EW capability. Left unchallenged, as these developments unfold in the years ahead, Russia will asymmetrically close numerous technology and capability gaps with the US and NATO, proving a new and potentially dangerous tool set to manipulate and shape events and use during the early phases of kinetic events close to Russia’s borders.
  • Russia’s likely emergence over the next several years with viable network-centric warfare capability will pose increased challenges for NATO, especially on the Alliance’s northeastern and eastern flanks, as the Russian Armed Forces make further advances to harness advanced, network-enabled capabilities that are more likely than not intended for use in offensive operations on Russia’s periphery.

Recent work by Russian military theorists acknowledges that the adoption of network-centric capabilities 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 “sufficient numbers of high-precision weapons.”[100] Clearly, this will involve long-term and systemic work on the part of Russian defense planners to integrate combat platforms into such an information network, accommodating such change to corresponding measures related to military manpower and training.[101] 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-centricism is not an end in itself, avoiding what some theorists describe as a “mental trap,” but a method to achieve a “factor of power” in the state’s future warfare capability.[102]



[1] Colonel General Yury Baluyevskiy, “Geopoliticheskiye problemy i vozmozhnosti ikh resheniya v kontekste obespecheniya bezopasnosti rossii,” Voyennaya bezopasnost’ rossiyskoy federatsii v xxi veke: sbornik nauchnykh statey, Ed. Colonel General Yu. Baluyevskiy, TsVSI: Moscow, 2004, pp. 10–25.

[2] Korchmit-Matyushov V.I. ‘Teoriya voyn,’ Moscow: BFRGTZ, Slovo, 2001; Parshin S.A., Gorbachov Yu.Ye., Kozhanov Yu.A. ‘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; Slipchenko V. I., ‘Voyny novogo pokoleniya: distantsionnyye i beskontaktnyye,’ M., Olma-Press obrazovaniye, 2004; Gareyev M.A., Slipchenko V.I, ‘Budushchaya voyna,’ M., OGI, 2005; ‘Setetsentricheskaya voyna. Daydzhest po materialam otkrytykh izdaniy i SMI,’ – M. VAGSH VS RF, 2010; Sergey Osipov, Aleksandr Kolesnichenko, Vitaly Cheplyaev, ‘Nam est chem gorditsya,’ Argumenty i Fakty,, May 13, 2015.

[3] Johan Norberg, ‘Training to Fight– Russia’s Major Military Exercises 2011–2014,’ FOI: Stockholm, 2015, p. 61.

[4] See: Daniel Goure, “Moscow’s Visions of Future War: So Many Conflict Scenarios So Little Time, Money and Forces,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies, No. 1, January–March 2014, pp. 63–100; Jacob W. Kipp, “Smart Defense From New Threats: Future War From a Russian Perspective: Back to the Future After the War on Terror,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies, No. 1, January–March 2014, pp. 36–62; Stephen J. Blank, Arms Control and Proliferation Challenges to the Reset Policy, Carlisle, Pa.: U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, November 2011.

[5] V. I. Kovalev, E. S. Larina and 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 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,”; M. D. Ionov, “Psychological Aspects of Management 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; “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.

[6] 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.

[7] Roger N. McDermott, “The Restructuring of the Modern Russian Army,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol. 22 (4), 2009, pp. 485–501; Olga Bozhyeva, Festival “Novaya Voina,” Moskovskiy Komsomolets,, October 17, 2009; Viktor Litovkin, “So Strategicheskim Razmahom Rossiya Sozdaet Glubokoeshelonirovannie Oboronitelnie Strukturi na Evropeiskih Teatrah Voennih Deistvii,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, November 9, 2009; Vladimir Mukhin, “Strane Skomandovali ‘v rug’e!’ ” Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 17, 2009.

[8] V. Baulin and Aleksandr Kondratyev, “Realizatsiia kontseptsii ‘setetsentricheskaia voina v VMS SShA,” Zarubezhnoe Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 6, June 2009.

[9] An extensive body of literature exists on the development and formulation of network-centric warfare in English-language studies pertaining to its introduction within the US or other NATO militaries; many of these are studied by Russian defense specialists and are cited in their sources. See the following examples: Vice Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski, US Navy, and John J. Garstka, ‘Network-Centric Warfare: Its Origin and future,’ Proceedings, January 1998; Thomas P.M. Barnett, ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Network-Centric Warfare,’ Proceedings, January 1999; Edward A. Smith, Jr., ‘Network Centric Warfare: Where’s the Beef?’ C4ISR Cooperative Research Program (CCRP), February 2000; John J. Garstka, ‘Network-Centric Warfare,’ Phalanx, Military Operations Research Society, December 2000; ‘Network-Centric Warfare,’ Report to Congress, Department of Defense, April 2002; Paul Murdock, ‘Principles of War on the Network-Centric Battlefiled: Mass and Economy of Force,’ Parameters, Spring 2002; Jeffrey R. Cares, Raymond J. Christian, Robert C. Manke, ‘Fundamentals of Distributed, Net-worked Military Forces and Engineering of Distributed Systems,’ NUWC-NPT Technical Report, May 2002; John J. Garstka, ‘Network-Centric Warfare Offers War Fighting Advantage: Datalinks are the New Weapon of the Information Age,’ Signal, May 2003; Gregory M. Maguire, ‘Concept of a Dynamic Organizational Schema for a Network-Centric Organization,’ Naval Post Graduate School, June 2003; John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt, ‘Swarming: The Next Face of Battle,’ Aviation Week & Space Technology, 29 September 2003; Michael Sirak, ‘Pentagon Commissions Net-Centric Studies,’ Jane’s Defence Weekly, October 29, 2003; Henry S. Kenyon, ‘Tactical Operations: Tactical Web Takes Shape,’ Signal, November 2003; Col. Alan D. Campen, USAF (ret.), ‘Look Closely at Network-Centric Warfare: Technology Can Both Aid and Dominate the War Fighter,’ Signal, January 2004; Daniel Gonzales, Michael Johnson, Jimmie McEver, Dennis Leedom, Gina Kingston, Michael Tseng, ‘Network-Centric Operations Case Study: The Stryker Brigade Combat Team,’ RAND, 2005; ‘The Implementation of Network-Centric Warfare,’ Department of Defense, Office of Force Transformation, January 2005; John Luddy, ‘The Challenge and Promise of Network-Centric Warfare,’ Lexington Institute, February 2005; Henry S. Kenyon, ‘Modular Devices Weave Tactical Networks,’ Signal Magazine, March 2005; Lt. Col. Steven G. Zenishek, David Usechak, ‘Net-centric Warfare and its Impact on System of Systems,’ Defense Acquisition University, April 2005; Nancy J. Wesensten, Gregory Belenky, Thomas J. Balkin, ‘Cognitive Readiness in Network-Centric Operations,’ Parameters, Spring 2005; Lt. Col. David Schmidtchen, ‘Network-Centric Warfare: the Problem of Social Order,’ Working Paper No.125, Land Warfare Studies Center, June 2005; Melissa A. Schilling, Col. Christopher Paprone, ‘Modularity: an Application of General Systems Theory to Military Force Development,’ Defense Acquisition Review Journal, August-November 2005; Col. Stuart A. Whitehead, ‘Battle Command: Toppling the Tower of Babel,’ Military Review, September-October 2005; Greg Grant, ‘Network-Centric Warfare Experts Look to Improve Communications,’ The Journal of Net-Centric Warfare, 11 October 2005; Brian L. Gilman, ‘Distributed Operations: Translating Tactical Capabilities Into Effects,’ Naval War College, February 2006; David S. Alberts, Richard E. Hayes, ‘Understanding Command and Control,’ Command and Control Research Project, March 2006; Network Centric Operations Case Study, Department of Defense, February 27, 2007; Clay Wilson, ‘Network-Centric Operations: Background and Oversight Issues for Congress,’ Congressional Research Service, March 2007; ‘The Evolution of NATO Network-Enabled Capabilities,’ Network Centric Operations Case Study, Department of Defense, August 6, 2007.

[10] V. Burenok, “Bazis setecentricheskih voyn – operezhenie, intellect, innovacii” (“Basis for Network-Centric Wars: Anticipation, Intellect, Innovations”), Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, April 2, 2010; V. Burenok, A. Kravchenko and S. Smirnov, “Kurs – na stetsentrcheskuiu sistemu vooruzheniia,” Vozdushno Kosmicheskaia Oborona, May 2009.

[11] Tyutyunnikov, N, Voyennaya mysl’ v terminakh i opredeleniyakh: v trekh (Vol. 3), Moscow, Russia: Pero, 2018, p. 160.

[12] Bozhyeva, O, “Festival novaya voina,’ ” Moskovskiy Komsomolets, October 17, 2009.

[13] Author’s discussions with retired Russian military officers, Moscow, October 2011.

[14] A. Garavskiy, “Svyaz reshaet vse,” Krasnaya Zvezda, June 4, 2010; B. Cheltsov, I. Zamaltdinov and S. Volkov, “NATO and Western Countries’ Work on ‘Network-Centric’ Warfare and Russia’s Slowness in This Area,” Vozdushno Kosmicheskaya Oborona.

[15] Author’s interview with Vitaly Shlykov, Moscow, October 2010.

[16] Korchmit-Matyushov V.I. ‘Teoriya voyn,’ M.:BFRGTZ, Slovo, 2001; Parshin S.A., Gorbachov Yu. Ye., Kozhanov Yu. A. ‘Sovremennyye tendentsii razvitiya teorii i praktiki upravleniya v vooruzhonnykh silakh SShA,’ Moscow: LENAND, 2009; ‘Khochesh’ mira, pobedi myatezhevoynu! Tvorcheskoye naslediye,’ Ye.E. Messnera/russkiy voyennyy sbornik, No.21, 2005; Slipchenko V. I., ‘Voyny novogo pokoleniya: distantsionnyye i beskontaktnyye,’ M., OLMA-PRESS obrazovaniye,’ 2004; Gareyev M.A., Slipchenko V.I, ‘Budushchaya voyna,’ Moscow, OGI, 2005; ‘Setetsentricheskaya voyna. Daydzhest po materialam otkrytykh izdaniy i SMI,’ – Moscow: VAGSH VS RF, 2010.

[17] Kopylov A.V, ‘K voprosu o kritike kontseptsii setetsentricheskikh voyn (operatsiy) v amerikanskikh SMI,’—NCW.html, July 8, 2013; Belenkov O.V, ‘Realizatsiya tekhnologii setetseitricheskogo upravleniya v ASU voyskami i oruzhiyem na baze GIS Karta-2011,’, July 8, 2013; Burenok V.M, Kravchenko A.Yu., Smirnov S.S, ‘Budushcheye za setetsentricheskoy sistemoy vooruzheniy,’ Poslezavtra: internet-gazeta,, November 21, 2009; Burenok V.M., Ivlev A.A., Korchak V.Yu, ‘Razvitiye voyennykh tekhnologiy XXI veka: problemy, planirovaniye, realizatsiya,’ Tver’: Izdatel’stvo OOO KUPOL, 2009.

[18] Oleg Vladykin, ‘Zapad-2017 natselen na zashchitu Vostoka,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye,, September 15, 2017; ‘Pochemu Zapad-2017 vyzval isteriyu na Zapade,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye,, September 8, 2017; Ivan Dragomirov, ‘Soldatam – udachi!’ VPK,, September 19, 2017; ‘Sily PVO Zapadnogo voyennogo okruga razvernulis’ v novykh rayonakh na ucheniyakh Zapad-2017,’ TASS,, September 16, 2017; ‘Baltic Fleet corvettes destroy air, sea and coastal targets during Zapad-2017 drills,’ TASS, September 17, 2017; Zapad 2017, Livejournal,, September 20, 2017;‘Chislo batal’onnykh grupp, sostoyashchikh iz kontraktnikov, v rossiyskoy armii cherez dva goda dostignet 125 – nachal’nik Genshtaba VS RF,’, September 14, 2016; ‘Kompleks upravleniya Sozvezdiye ispytan na uchenii Kavkaz-2016,, September 11, 2016; ‘Tsentr 2015,’, September 16, 2015; ‘Krupneyshiye ucheniya Tsentr-2015 startovali na poligonakh TsVO,’ TVZvezda,, September 14, 2015; See: RIA Novosti, ‘Tsentr 2015,’ RIA Novosti,, September 19, 2015; Oleg Vladykin, ‘Tsentr-2015 nikomu ne ugrozhayet,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye,, September 11, 2015; Yury Gavrilov, ‘Prikaz po Tsentru,’, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, September 14, 2015; Oleg Vladykin, ‘Ucheniye Tsentr-2015 zavershilos’ udarno,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye,, September 21, 2015; ‘V khode ucheniy Tsentr-2015 voyska REB otrabotayut naneseniye radioelektronnogo udara,’,, September 15, 2015.

[19] Savin L.V, ‘Setetsentrichnaya i setevaya voyna. Vvedeniye v kontseptsiyu,’ Moscow: Yevraziyskoye dvizheniye, 2011; Sheremet I.A, ‘Kontseptsiya ‘setetsentrichnoy voyny’ i osobennosti yeyo prakticheskoy realizatsii,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, November 11, 2005,
Valetskiy O.V, ‘Novaya strategiya SShA i NATO v voynakh v Yugoslavii, Irake, Afganistane i yeyo vliyaniye na razvitiye zarubezhnykh sistem vooruzheniya i boyepripasov,’ Moscow: Arktika 4D, 2008.

[20] V. I. Kovalev, E. S. Larina and 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, 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,”; M. D. Ionov, “Psychological Aspects of Management 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; “Interview With Retired Major General Vladimir Dvorkin” 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.

[21] Roger McDermott, “Kavkaz 2012 Rehearses Defense of Southern Russia,” Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume: 9 Issue: 174, The Jamestown Foundation September 25, 2012.

[22] “Interview with Major General Aleksandr Viktorovich Galgash by General Staff Program Host Igor Korotchenko: ‘They Will Equip Army Brigades with Redut. They Are Conducting Trials of the New Communications System at Exercises,’ ” Moscow Life, October 23, 2016.

[23] Author’s emphasis.

[24] Galgash Interview, Op. Cit.

[25] This will the subject of a future chapter.

[26] O. V. Tikhanychev, ‘O roli sistematicheskogo ognevogo vozdei’stviia v sovremennykh operatsiiakh,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 11, November 2016, pp. 16-20.

[27] Author interviews with Russian SMEs, December 2018.

[28] Major General (ret.) Kharis I. Saifetdinov, “Aleksandr Svechin: vydayushchiysya voyennyy myslitel’ XX veka,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 8, 2018.

[29] Army General Valery Gerasimov, “Vektory razvitiya voyennoy strategii,” Krasnaya Zvezda,, March 4, 2019; Army General Valery Gerasimov, “Mir na granyakh voyny,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer,, March 13, 2017; Charles K. Bartles, “Getting Gerasimov Right,” Military Review, January–February 2016.

[30] Colonel (ret.) S. G. Chekinov and Lieutenant General (ret.) S. A. Bogdanov, “Evolyutsiya sushchnosti i soderzhaniya ponyatiya voyna v XXI stoletii,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, 2017, pp. 30–43.

[31] Chekinov and Bogdanov, “Evolyutsiya sushchnosti i soderzhaniya ponyatiya voyna.”

[32] Colonel (ret.) S. G. Chekinov, Lieutenant-General (ret.) S. A. Bogdanov, “Priroda i soderzhaniye voyny novogo pokoleniya,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 10, 2013, pp. 13–24.

[33] V. I. Slipchenko, Voyna Budushchego, Scientific Reports edition 88 (Moscow: Social Science Foundation), 1999.

[34] Carl W. Reddel, “A Step Toward Understanding the Soviet View of Modern Warfare,” Air University Review, September–October 1975,

[35] Henrik Olsen Nordal, “Thinking of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA): Towards a Common Understanding of RMA,” Master’s Thesis, University of Oslo, 2013.

[36] Michael Kofman, “The Ogarkov Reforms: The Soviet Inheritance Behind Russia’s Military Transformation,” Russia Military Analysis,, July 11, 2019.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Tor Bukkvoll, “Iron Cannot Fight-The Role of Technology in Current Russian Military Theory,” Journal of Strategic Studies, XXXIV, No. 5, 2011.

[39] Makhmut Gareev, “For the army of the 21st Century: a local war is first of all a war,” Krasnaya Zvezda, October 31, 2010; Makhmut Gareev, “Opyt pobeditelei v velikoi voine ne mozhet ustaret,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, March 12, 2010.

[40] Gavrilov, Y, Interview with General Staff Chief Makarov, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, March 23, 2010.

[41] S. P. Stolyarevskiy, D. V. Sivoplyasov, “Problemy realizatsii federal’nykh gosudarstvennykh obrazovatel’nykh standartov vysshego obrazovaniya v podgotovke ofitserskikh kadrov,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 3, 2016.

[42] S. Melkov and O. Zabuzov, “Initiativa v onlaine i offlaine. Virtualnie voini i realnie problem,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, July 16, 2010.

[43] S. N. Razin’kov, Ye. A. Reshetnyak, A. M. Chernniy, “Radioelektronno-informatsionnoye obespecheniye voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by Vooruzhennykh Sil Rossiyskoy Federatsii,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 12, 2015; Andrey Yevdokimov, Narine Karapetyan, Mikhail Rutman, Mikhail Yakovlev, ‘Strelyayem moshchno. no chasto mimo,’ Zashchita i bezopasnost’, June 30, 2016; Sergey Osipov, Aleksandr Kolesnichenko, Vitaliy Tseplyayev, ‘Nam yest’ chem gordit’sya!Argumenty i fakty, May 13, 2015.

[44] See the forthcoming paper on the reconnaissance-fire system (razvedyvatel’noognevaya sistema—ROS).

[45] Istoriya voyennoy strategiyi Rossiyi, Kuchkovo pole publishers, Moscow, 2000.

[46] Ibid p. 406.

[47] Oleg Vladykin, “Ucheniye Tsentr-2015 zavershilos’ udarno,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye,, September 21, 2015; “V khode ucheniy Tsentr-2015 voyska REB otrabotayut naneseniye radioelektronnogo udara,”,, September 15, 2015.

[48] Major General (ret.) I. N. Vorobyov and Colonel (ret.) V. A. Kiselyov, “Russian Military Theory: Past and Present,” Military Thought, Vol. 3, 2013.

[49] Vorobyov and Kiselyov, “Russian Military Theory.”

[50] M.I. Nosov and V.V. Karganov, “Kontseptual’nyye podkhody modelirovaniya yedinogo informatsionnogo prostranstva podsistem spetsial’nogo naznacheniya” (“Conceptual Approaches to Modeling of Special Purpose Subsystems of Single Information Space”), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, 2019. Nosov is a doctor of technical sciences, associate professor and senior research officer at the Research Center of the Research Department of the Military Signals Academy, and his colleague Karganov works as a senior research officer in the same department.

[51] V.V. Selivanov, Yu. D. Ilyin, “Metodicheskiye osnovy formirovaniya asimmetrichnykh otvetov v voyenno-tekhnicheskom protivoborstve s vysokotekhnologichnym protivnikom” (“Methodical Frameworks of Asymmetrical Response Formation in Military Technical Struggle Against High-Technology Enemy), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 2, 2019. Selivanov is a professor and Honored Worker of RF Science as well as head of a Department of the Moscow State Technical University named after N. E. Bauman (Moscow). Colonel Ilyin is Cand. Sc. (Tech.), senior researcher and leading analyst of the SPC “Special equipment” of the Moscow State Technical University named after N. E. Bauman (Moscow).

[52] A. S. Brychkov, V. L. Dorokhov and G. A. Nikinorov, “O gibridnom kharaktere voyn i vooruzhennykh konfliktov budushchego” (“About the Hybrid Nature of Future Wars and Armed Conflicts”), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 2, 2019. Brychkov is a professor and fellow of the Academy of Military Sciences and of the Russian Academy of Social Sciences as well as a professor of the Department of the Russian Federation Armed Forces Military Academy of the Air Defense Forces (Smolensk). Dorokhov is chief of the Department in the same Academy. Their colleague Nikinorov is an associate professor in the same department.

[53] A. A. Zhigalov, V. A Drogozov and V. V. Matveev, “Formirovaniye sistemy svyazi i peredachi dannykh dlya upravleniya perspektivnym semeystvom meditsinskikh robototekhnicheskikh kompleksov” (“Forming a System of Communications and Data Transmission to Operate the Advanced Family of Military Medical Robotic Units”), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 3, 2019. Zhigalov is the head of department at the Main Administration for Research and Technological Support of Advanced Technologies (Innovation Research) of the Russian Ministry of Defense (Moscow). Drogozov is a leading expert of the Design Bureau at Voentelekom R&D Center (Moscow). And Matveev is a test engineer at the defense ministry’s Main Robotics Research and Testing Center (Moscow).

[54] Y. A. Chizhevskiy, “Realizatsiya kontseptsii setetsentricheskikh boyevykh deystviy v vooruzhennykh silakh SShA” (“Implementing the Conception of Network-Centric Combat in the US Army”), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 3, 2019. Chizhevskiy is a postgraduate student in the Department of Comparative Politics at MGIMO (Moscow).

[55] N. A. Rudianov and V. S. Khrushchev, ‘Kontseptual’nyye voprosy postroyeniya i primeneniya avtonomnykh robototekhnicheskikh kompleksov voyennogo naznacheniya, (Conceptual Issues of Making and Using Military-purpose Autonomous Robotic Units), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 6, 2019.

[56] N.V. Babin, O.N. Ivanyushenko, N.N. Magdalinov, “Nekotoryye aspekty boyevogo primeneniya perspektivnogo inzhenernogo robototekhnicheskogo kompleksa shturma i razgrazhdeniya,’ (Certain Aspects of Combat Use of an Advanced Engineering Robotic Unit for Assault and Obstacle Clearing), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 6, 2019. Babin is a senior researcher at the Central Research Institute of Engineering Troops in the Ministry of Defense (Nakhabino, Moscow Region). Ivanyushenko is head of department at the defense ministry’s Central Research Institute of Engineering Troops (Nakhabino, Moscow Region); and their colleague Magdalinov is a senior researcher in the same institute.

[57] Lieutenant-Colonel M.A. Gudkov, Colonel (retired) V.N. Lukyanchik, and Colonel (retired) V.N. Melnik, “Nazemnyy robototekhnicheskiy kompleks peredovogo aviatsionnogo navodchika” (“The Ground-Based Robotic Unit of the Forward Aviation Gunlayer”), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 6, 2019. Gudkov is head of the Research Center at the Military Academy of Communications (St. Petersburg). Lukyanchik is an assistant professor and senior researcher in the same center, as is Melnik.

[58] V. P. Gulin, “A New Concept of War,” Military Thought, Volume 2, 1997; V. A. Kiselyov and I. N. Vorobyov, “Hybrid Operations: A New Type of Warfare,” Military Thought, Volume 24, 2015; S. G. Chekinov and S. A. Bogdanov, “The Nature and Content of a New-Generation War,” Military Thought, Volume 22, 2013; M. R. Gizitdinova and S. M. Cherkasov, “Mobile Underwater Robots: Their Mission in Navy Missions,” Military Thought, Volume 17, 2008; V. N. Gorbunov and S. A Bogdanov, “Armed Confrontation in the 21st Century,” Military Thought, Volume 1, 2009; O. V. Alyoshin and A. N. Popov and V. V. Puchnin, “The Naval Might of Russia in Today’s Geopolitical Situation,” Military Thought, Volume 25, 2016; A. V. Serzhantov and A. P. Martoflyak, “Modern Military Conflicts,” Military Thought, Volume 2, 2009.

[59] V. D. Ryabchuk, ‘Problemy Voennoy Hauki I Voennogo Prognozirovaniya v Usloviyakh Intellektual’no-informatsionnogo Protivoborstva,’ (Problems of Military Science and Military Forecasting under Conditions of an Intellectual-Information Confrontation),’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 5, 2008, pp. 68-69; N. E. Makarov, ‘Kharakter Vooruzhennoy Bor’by Budushchego, Aktual’nye Problemy Stroitel’stva i Boevogo Primeneniya Vooruzhennykh Sil RF v Sovremennykh Usloviyakh,’ (The Character of Future Armed Conflict, Actual Problems of the Development and Deployment of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Today), Vestnik Akademii Voennykh Nauk, No. 2, 2010, p. 19; Makhmut Gareev, ‘Concepts: The Experience of the Victors in the Great War Cannot Become Obsolete. We Need to Find the Roots of Future Victories in the Past,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, March 12, 2010; Makhmut A. Gareev, If War Comes Tomorrow, Frank Cass, London 1998, pp. 52-53; M. A. Gareev, ‘Strategicheskoe Sderzhivanie: Problemy i Resheniya,’ (Strategic Deterrence: Problems and Solutions),’ Krasnaya Zvezda, No. 183, 8 October 2008; Sergei Modestov, ‘Prostranstvo Budushchey Voyny,’ (The Space of Future War),’ Vestnik Akademii Voennykh Nauk, No. 2, 2003, p. 65; Sergei Modestov, ‘Strategicheskoe Sderzhivanie Na Teatre Informatsionnogo Protivoborstva,’ (Strategic Deterrence in the Theater of Information Warfare),’ Vestnik Akademii Voennykh Nauk, No. 1, 2009, p. 35; Sergei Modestov, ‘Kontseptsiya Glubokoy Oborony v Informatsionnom Protivoborstve,’ (A Concept for Deep Defense in Information Warfare),’ Informatsionnaya Bezopasnost’ Rossii (Information Security of Russia), Moscow 1998; I. G. Korotchenko, ‘Tendentsii razvitiya sovremennogo operativnogo iskusstva,’ (Tendencies in the Modern Development of Military Art),’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, 1999, p. 11; I. D. Sergeev, ‘Osnovnyi Faktory, Opredelyayushchie Voenno-Tekhnicheskuyu Politiku Rossii Nakanune XXI Veka,’ (The Main Factors which Determine Russia’s Military-Technical Policy on the Eve of the 21 st Century),’ Krasnaya Zvezda, No. 259, 9 December, 1999; Mikhail Rastopshin, ‘V Labirinte Asimmetrichnykh Otvetov,’ (In the Labyrinth of Asymmetric Responses),’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 17, June 01, 2007; Gennadiy Miranovich, ‘Voyennaya Reforma: Problemy i suzhdeniya. Geopolitika i bezopasnost Rossii ,’(Military Reform: Problems and Judgment. Geopolitics and Russian Security),’ Krasnaya Zvezda, July 31, 1999; V. V. Kruglov, ‘O Vooruzhennoy Bor’be Budushchego,’ (On Future Armed Conflict),’ Voyennaya Mysl’, September-October 1998, No. 5, pp. 54-58; N. A. Sergeyev and D. A. Lovtsov, ‘O probleme ‘organizatsionnogo oruzhiya,’ (On the Problem of the ‘Organization Weapon’),’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 1, 1999, p. 34; I. Chernishev, ‘Polychat li poveliteli ‘zombi’ blast’ nad mirom,’ (Can a Ruler Make ‘Zombies’ Out of the World),’ Orientir, February 1997, pp. 58-62; Vladimir Andreyev, ‘Novye Tendentsii Razvitiya Sredstv Protivoborstva: Netraditsionnoe Oruzhie Mozhet Okazat’ Reshayushchee Vliyanie na Iskhod ‘Voyny Budushchego,’’ (New Trends in the Development of Weapons: Non-traditional Weapons May Have a Decisive Influence on the Outcome of the ‘War of the Future’),’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, March 4, 1999; Dmitriy Borisov and Vitaliy Koreshkov, ‘Voyny Menyayut Oblik: v Sposobakh Vedeniya Boevykh Deystviy Vozrastaet Rol’ Nesmertel’nogo Oruzhiya,’ (Wars are Changing their Look: The Growing Role of Non-lethal Weapons in Methods of Combat Operations),’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 26, 1999; S. Leonenko, ‘O Refleksivnoe upravlenie protivnikom,’ (On Reflexive Control of the Enemy),’ Armeyskiy Sbornik, No. 8, 1995, p. 28; A. A. Proxhozhev and N. I. Turko, ‘Osnovy Informatsionnoy Voyny,’ (The Basics of Information Warfare),’ in Analiz Sistem na Poroge XXI Veka: Teoriya i Praktika: T. Chetvertyy (Systems Analysis on the Threshold of the 21 st Century: Theory and Practice: Volume Four), Moscow February 1996; N. I. Turko and S. A. Modestov, ‘Refleksivnoe Upravlenie Razvitiem Strategicheskikh Sil Gosudarstva Kak Mekhanizm Sovremennoy Geopolitiki,’ (Reflexive Control in the Development of Strategic Forces of States as a Mechanism of Geopolitics),’ in Analiz Sistem na Poroge XXI Veka: Teoriya I Praktika: T. Chetvertyy (Systems Analysis on the Threshold of the 21 st Century: Theory and Practice: Volume Four), Moscow February 1996; Vladimir Chebakov, ‘Kto Tut ‘Shmel’? Leninskuyu Premiyu Emu…,’ (Who’s the Shmel Here? Give Him the Lenin Prize),’ Armeyskiy Sbornik, No. 3, 2003; Yevgeniy Lisanov, ‘Proyti Nad Propast’yu i Ne Svalit’sya,’ (Pass Over the Abyss without Falling In),’ Krasnaya Zvezda, June 4, 2008, Yevgeniy Lisanov, ‘Predvidenie Uchenykh—Voennomu Delu,’ (Foresight of Scientists—Military Affairs),’ Nezavisimaya Gazeta, No. 193, September 10, 2008; Kondratyev, A, Shchukin, M, ‘Razvedyvatel’noe obespechenie boevykh deistvii sukhoputnyhk voisk SShA v gorodskikh usloviiakh,’ (Intelligence Support for the Military Operations of US Ground Troops), Zarubezhnoe Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 9, September, 2008; Kondratyev, A, ‘Obshchaia kharakteristika setevykh arkhitectur, primwniaemykh pri realizatsii perspectivnykh setetsentricheskikh kontseptsii vedushykh zarubezhnykh stran,’ (General Characteristics of the Web Architecture, Used in the Process of Applying the Perspective of Network-Centric Concepts of Leading Foreign Countries), Voyennaya Mysl, No. 12, December 2008; Vladimir Shenk, ‘Stikhiey—po Vragu: Klimaticheskoe Oruzhie Voydet v Arsenal Sovremennykh Armiy,’ (Using Natural Disasters against the Enemy. Climate Weapons will be Part of Modern Armies’ Arsenals),’ Voenno-Promyshlennyy Kur’yer, October 28, 008; Vladimir Kozhemyakin, ‘Kariby, Iran, i Kavkaz—Tri Bol’nye Mozoli SShA,’ (Caribbean, Iran, and the Caucasus—Three Painful Calluses for the US),’ Argumenty I Fakty, No. 38, September 17, 2008; Ivan Chichikov, ‘Nanovoina: Masshtab Ugrozy,’ (Nanowar: The Scale of the Threat),’ Krasnaya Zvezda, January 28, 2009; Nikolay Poroskov, ‘Nanogonka Vooruzheniy,’ (Nano Arms Race),’ Vremya Novostey, No. 182, 5 October 2007; P. Peresvet, ‘Nanovoyna-2030: Skrytaya Ugroza,’ (Nanowar 2030: The Hidden Threat),’ Ekonomicheskiye Strategii (Economic Strategy),, No. 5-6, 2009; ‘Perechen, ’Osnovnykh Napravleniy Fundamental’nykh Issledovaniy v Oblasti Oboronnoy Bezonpasnosti,’ (List of Basic Directions of Research in the Defense Security Area),’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, February 18, 1999.

[60] Ibid.

[61] N. Sidorin, I. A. Ryabchenko, V. P. Gerasimov, “Informatsionnyye, spetsial’nyye, vozdushno-desantnyye i aeromobil’nyye operatsii armiy vedushchikh zarubezhnykh gosudarstv: informatsionno-analiticheskiy sbornik,” Moscow: Voyenizdat, 2011; Setetsentricheskaya voyna. Daydzhest po materialam otkrytykh izdaniy i SMI, Moscow: VAGSh Russian Federation Armed Forces, 2010.

[62] A. A. Ivlev, Osnovy teorii Boyda. Napravleniya razvitiya, primeneniya i realizatsii, Moscow, 2008.

[63] Savin L.V, “Setetsentrichnaya i setevaya voyna. Vvedeniye v kontseptsiyu,” Moscow: Yevraziyskoye dvizheniye, 2011.

[64] V. Kovalov, G. Malinetskii and Y. Matviyenko, “Kontseptsiya ‘setetsentricheskoy’ voyny dlya armii Rossii: ‘mnozhitel’ sily’ ili mental’naya lovushka?Vestnik, Akademii Voyennykh Nauk, No.1, (50), 2015.

[65] Setetsentricheskaya voyna: Daydzhest po materialam otkrytykh izdaniy i SMI, Moscow: VAGSh Russian Federation Armed Forces, 2010.

[66] S.A. Parshin, Yu. Ye. Gorbachov and Yu. A. Kozhanov, Sovremennyye tendentsii razvitiya teorii i praktiki upravleniya v vooruzhonnykh silakh SShA, Moscow: LENAND, 2009.

[67] Setetsentricheskaya voyna: Daydzhest po materialam otkrytykh izdaniy i SMI, Op. Cit.

[68] S. I. Makarenko, M.S. Ivanov, Setetsentricheskaya voyna – printsipy, tekhnologii, primery i perspektivy, Sankt-Peterburg Naukoyemkiye Tekhnologii, 2018.

[69] I. M. Kapitanyets, “What should we be prepared for?” Voyenno-Istoricheskiy Zhurnal, June 2001.

[70] 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.

[71] Aleksandr Kondratyev and P. Mikhailov, “Medal za . . . reformirovanie,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer,, October 3, 2007; Aleksandr Kondratyev and M. Shchukin, “Razvedyvatel’noe obespechenie boevykh deistvii sukhoputnyhk voisk SShA v gorodskikh usloviiakh” (“Intelligence Support for the Military Operations of US Ground Troops”), Zarubezhnoe Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 9, September 2008; Aleksandr Kondratyev, “Obshchaia kharakteristika setevykh arkhitectur, primwniaemykh pri realizatsii perspectivnykh setetsentricheskikh kontseptsii vedushykh zarubezhnykh stran” (“General Characteristics of the Web Architecture, Used in the Process of Applying the Perspective of Network-Centric Concepts of Leading Foreign Countries”), Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 12, December 2008.

[72] Aleksandr Kondratyev, “Nekotorye osobennosti realizatsii kontseptsii ‘setetsentricheskaia voina’ v vooruzhennykh silakh KNR” (“Some Peculiarities of the Realization of the Concept of ‘Network-Centric War’ in the Chinese Army”), Zarubezhnoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 3, 2010, pp. 11–17; Aleksandr Kondratyev, “Stavka na voiny budushchego,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, June 27, 2008; Aleksandr Kondratyev, “Realizatsiia kontseptsii ‘setetsentricheskaia voina’ v VVS SShA,” Zarubezhnoe Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 6, May 2009.

[73] Aleksandr Kondratyev, Setetsentricheskiy Gonka za Vremya, Moscow, 2011.

[74] Ibid.

[75] Aleksandr Kondratyev, “Problemy organizatsii aviatsionnoi podderzhki operatsii sukhoputnykh voisk SShA,” Zarubezhnoe Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 9, November, 2009; Aleksandr Kondratyev and A. Medin, “Doroga SShA k novomu obliku sukhoputnykh voisk,” Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, October 14, 2009; Aleksandr Kondratyev, “Edinaia razvedka evrosoiuza: byt ili ne byt?” (“The European Union Intelligence Service: To Be or Not to Be?”), Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, February 25, 2009.

[76] Aleksandr Kondratyev, “Problemnye voporsy issledovaniia novykh setetsentricheskikh kontseptii vooruzhennykh sil vedushikh zarubezhnykh stran,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 11, November 2009, pp.1–74; V. V. Kvochkov and Y. A. Martsenyuk, “On the Character of Wars and Armed Conflicts With the Participation of the Russian Federation,” Military Thought, No. 2, 2002.

[77] Jacob W. Kipp, “Promoting the New Look for the Russian Armed Forces.”

[78] Vasiliy M. Burenok, “Bazis setecentricheskih voyn—operezhenie, intellect, innovacii” (“Basis for Network-Centric Wars: Anticipation, Intellect, Innovations”) Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye,, April 2, 2010.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Roger N. McDermott, Russian Perspective on Network-Centric Warfare: The Key Aim of Serdyukov’s Reform, FMSO, December 2010.

[81] Yuriy Gavrilov, “Interview with General Staff Chief Makarov,” Rossiyskaya Gazeta, March 23, 2010.

[82] Gavrilov, “Interview with General Staff Chief Makarov.”

[83] Valery Gerasimov, ‘Tsennost’ nauki v predvidenii,’ Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer,, February 26, 2013.

[84] A. V. Khomutov, ‘Opyt i perspektivy ispol’zovaniya kontseptsii yedinoy informatsionno-kommunikatsionnoy seti v upravlenii voyskami,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 11, 2015.

[85] Author’s assessment based on discussions with Russian military SMEs by VTC in Berlin, Brussels, Hamburg, London and Washington DC, October 2020.

[86] Yu. Ye. Donskov, S. V. Golubev and A. V. Mogilev, “ ‘Model’ podgotovki spetsialistov radioelektronnoy bor’by k vypolneniyu zadach po informatsionnomu obespecheniyu voyennykh (boyevykh) deystviy,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 4, 2015.

[87] Russia’s use of C4ISR in its military operations in Syria will be the subject of another chapter.

[88] O. V. Tikhanychev, Op. Cit.

[89] Ye. O. Ostrovskiy and A. S. Sizov, “Podkhod k modelirovaniyu kognitivnoy sfery ob’yektov operativnoy razvedki,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 2, 2016.

[90] Ukazatel’ statey, opublikovannykh v zhurnale ‘morskoy sbornik’ v 2015 G.,” Morskoi’ Sbornik, No. 12, 2015.

[91] See: Dmitry Kandaurov, “Computer: It is Time to Replace the Pencil in the Hand a Staff Officer,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye,, November 12, 2010; Dmitry Kandaurov, “The Main Resources Available to ASUV: Information and Time,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye,, October 8, 2010. A valuable insight into some of the 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.

[92] Nikolay Pal’chikov, “Povestke – sud’bonosnyy vybor,” Krasnaya Zvezda, November 6, 2015; V. I. Vladimirov and V. I Stuchinskiy, “Obosnovaniye boyevogo primeneniya aviatsionnykh nositeley sredstv radioelektronnoy bor’by v operativnoy glubine dlya zavoyevaniya informatsionnogo prevoskhodstva,” Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 5, 2016.

[93] Dmitry Kandaurov, “ASUV at Alabino: Desired and Actual,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye,, November 19, 2010.

[94] Author’s discussions with Russian SMEs, December 2018.

[95] General Skokov (ret.) Livejournal Commentary,, October 13, 2013.

[96] Galgash Interview, Op. Cit.

[97] A. Muratkhanov, V. Litvinenko, “Varianty ognevogo porazheniya,” Armeskiy Sbornik, May 31, 2016.

[98] Aleksandr Karpovich, “Kompleksy vozdushnoy razvedki v sostave razvedyvatel’no-ognevoy sistemy,” Zashchita i bezopasnost’, March 31, 2016.

[99] Dobren’kov V.I., Agapov P.V, ‘Voyna i bezopasnost’ Rossii v XXI veke,’ Moscow: Akademicheskiy proyekt, Al’ma Mater, 2011; Rukshin A. S, ‘Nekotoryye itogi reformy Vooruzhennykh Sil». Stat’ya v gazete,’ Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kur’yer, 14 November 2012; Zatuliveter YU., Semonov S, ‘Oriyentir – dostatochnaya oborona. Pomimo yadernogo zontika Rossiya mozhet obezopasit’ sebya merami setetsentricheskogo protivodeystviya,’ Natsional’naya Oborona, No.11, 2012.

[100] B. Iranskiy, “Khamashekh vpervyye prinyal uchastiye v uchebnykh manevrakh KSIR,” Voenno-tekhnicheskoe sotrudnichestvo, April 2016; Dmitriy Litovkin, “Armiya perekhodit na elektronnyye pasporta,” Izvestia, July 26, 2016.

[101] Anatoliy Isayenko, “Nastupayet era tsifrovogo mirotvortsa,” Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, November 13, 2015.

[102] V. Kovalov, G. Malinetskii and Y. Matviyenko, “Kontseptsiya ‘setetsentricheskoy’ voyny dlya armii Rossii: ‘mnozhitel’ sily’ ili mental’naya lovushka?Vestnik Akademii Voyennykh Nauk, No.1, (50), 2015.