Russia's Armed Forces on the Brink of Reform

  • March 01, 1998
  • Dr Stephen J Blank

Despite over a dozen years of talk, the Soviet and now Russian military has not undergone a true military reform. What did happen was a form of degeneration and disintegration, but not a methodically planned and directed transformation and/or adaptation to new conditions. Consequently, defense policy, in all of its ramifications, has remained essentially unreformed and remains an impediment to Russia's accommodation to today's strategic realities. This study presents an assessment of Russian defense policy as Russia has begun, in late 1997 and 1998, to grapple with the enormous challenges that inhere in the process of military reform. The outcome of what can only be a protracted process will have profound implications, not only for Russia, but for its neighbors and partners, chief among them being the United States. Given the coincidence of this reform process with what many believe to be a revolution in military affairs and the continuing urgency of reducing nuclear threats, the ongoing observation of Russian military policies remains very important for the United States.