High-level seminar on military doctrine held on May 24-25 in Vienna. Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, US Army Europe Commander (USA), Lt. Gen. Walter Gaskin, deputy chairman, NATO Military Committee, Lt. Gen. Markus Bentler, Commander, Response Force Operations Command (Germany), Col. Gen. Oleg Salukov, Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, First Deputy Head of the CSTO Joint Staff, Major-General Vladimir Sulimov, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, Mr. Vasily Pavlov, Councillor of the Department of International Security and Arms Control (Belarus), Dr. Anatoli Rozanov, Research Director of the Foreign Policy and Security Research Center (Belarus), among others, presented their papers and comments.
Such seminars are held every five years (this seminar was the sixth of its kind), and draw attention from politicians and military experts. The security situation in the Euro-Atlantic area ("from Vancouver to Vladivostok") varies considerably and this requires adequate reflection in the military and doctrinal orientations and in the directions of reforming the Armed Forces in different countries.
According to the Decision No. 1/11 of the Forum for Security Cooperation, the main purpose of the seminar was "to examine changes in military doctrine derived from evolving threats, changing forms of conflict and the emergence of new technologies. These changes shall be addressed with regard to their impact on armed forces and their defence structures”.
A fundamentally important point, which is now seen among almost all states of the OSCE, is a progressive reduction of military budgets and conventional armed forces due to the emergence of "asymmetric" challenges, risks and threats (terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, cyber security, etc.) and reduced risk of the conventional type of threats such as the possibility of large-scale military confrontation in Europe. Only a few European NATO member states have military expenditures which reach or exceed 2% of the GDP, recommended by the NATO guidance, the rest – only around 1,5% of the GDP.
In this perspective, in particular, stands out a significant reduction of the U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR). During the Cold War years there were more than 320,000 U.S. troops in Europe and the Americans kept here (mainly in Germany) 4 divisions, including 2 armored divisions. Today, the U.S. Army Europe has only four Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) - two infantry, one airborne brigade and the Stryker Brigade Combat Team (which are armed with the latest wheeled armoured fighting vehicles), and by 2015 it will fall to three BCT. The troops of 1st Armored Division of the United States almost fully pulled out from Germany to the permanent deployment in Texas.
Since 2003, USAREUR was reduced by one third, from 62 to 42 thousand troops, and the half of 239 military bases and facilities were closed. It is noteworthy that there are less than 300 main battle tanks M1 Abrams in the inventory of USAREUR, while there could be several times more in accordance with the limits laid down in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
In his keynote address at the seminar, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, US Army Europe Commander (USA), described the changes in the doctrinal views of the American army on the basis of a new Field Manual (FM) 3.0. The essence of the changes is that troops get more flexibility and mobility, decentralization of management, as local commanders get significant decision authority within a framework of Mission Command.
Lt. Gen. Walter Gaskin, deputy chairman, NATO Military Committee, focused on issues of relations between politicians and military professionals in the current setting of civil-military relations to which the West, first of all the United States, pay close attention as against the post-Soviet countries.
Col. Gen. Oleg Salukov, Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation described changes in Russian military doctrine and noted new tendencies in Russian military building.
Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, First Deputy Head of the CSTO Joint Staff, focused on the efforts of the CSTO to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, including through the formation of the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (CRRF) of the CSTO. As it is known, important agreements on the status, development and use of the CSTO CRRF in different operations were signed at the last session of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in Moscow on December 10, 2010.
Major-Gen. Vladimir Sulimov, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, and Councillor of the Department of International Security and Arms Control (Belarus) described in general terms the Belarusian approach to military doctrine and position on Arms Control.
In his comments at the session 3 "IMPACTS OF DOCTRINAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES”, Dr. Anatoly Rozanov mentioned his positive impression of presentations of Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling and Lt. Gen. Markus Bentler and shared his reflections on the nature of transformation of the U.S. Army. Dr.Rozanov also addressed the prospects for arms control process.
Dr. Anatoli Rozanov, Research Director of the Foreign Policy and Security Research Center (Belarus):
There is ongoing intense debate in Washington, D.C., over proposals for a sweeping reorganization of the U.S. Army. The debate has supposedly divided Army leaders into two main groups: one that wants the Army to develop specialized units to conduct counterinsurgency, stabilization, and training advisory missions. Another group believes that the Army must remain generalists, that is, one of full-spectrum units, all capable of conducting a wide range of missions. The second approach, in my view, is more rational, and it is understandable that it is favored by the U.S. military professionals. The first approach is more sympathetic to the American politicians.
In my opinion, in the next decade we are unlikely to see the signing of any large-scale agreement on arms control after the signing by President Obama and President Medvedev in Prague of the U.S.-Russia treaty on the strategic offensive arms reduction.
The arms control agenda of today is not similar to that of the Cold War years. Now the states are actively reducing their military capabilities and standing armies and do so without any reference to agreements with other countries. These are the realities of the current military and political situation in Europe and conditions of the crisis in the global economic and financial system.