President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear colleagues,
Today we are having a regular scheduled session of the Security Council. The item we have on the agenda today, however, is a complex issue, an issue of fundamental importance. We are here to discuss the direction our country’s military development will take through to 2015. We have already discussed this subject on a number of occasions. We have drawn up and approved the corresponding plans, but developments in the country, developments in the military reform process and the economic development outlook dictate the need for us to constantly come back to this matter and make the required adjustments to our programme.
As I said, and as you know, we are always coming back to the basic issues of building our military organisation. We have approved and are implementing the fundamental provisions of state policy in this area. Our growing economic possibilities are enabling us to channel increasing resources into modernising our Armed Forces.
Our work together has allowed us to make headway in resolving many of the most pressing issues we face. A process of the size and structure of the Armed Forces optimisation is underway.
I would also point out the clear successes we have had in organising operational and combat training. Large-scale, regular, army and navy exercises have resumed after what was too lengthy a hiatus. Progress has been made in establishing a modern social protection system for servicemen and new provisions on providing servicemen with housing through mortgage schemes have come into force.
Note that I say these provisions have come into force, but servicemen are unlikely to have really felt their effect yet. Now we need to ensure that these new provisions start working effectively, and that is the task we have before us. We need to realise that we have so far tackled only the most pressing, most acute, problems, essentially the tactical matters in the modernisation process, and all we have really done so far is stabilise the situation.
Our task today is the transition to consistent development of all the components of our military organisation based on a genuinely long-term strategy. This long-term programme should be based on a clear understanding of the numerous factors making their influence felt today and should be in keeping with the fast-changing situation in the world. We need a precise analysis of the nature of threats such as international terrorism, drug trafficking, technological disasters and social and ethnic conflicts in neighbouring regions — and not to forget that we have still not settled all such problems in our own country. Of course, we also need to keep our powder dry so as to be ready for other tasks of a global nature, and we must never lose sight of this, either. Following this logic, we need to clearly identify the development priorities for our Armed Forces and other security and law enforcement agencies.
Re-equipping the Armed Forces and creating a modern system of rear serevices, material-technical support, intelligence and liaison are all tasks of vital importance. How many times have we talked about the need to develop a unified support system in the rear? I noted that we have had some genuine success, in training, for example, in holding regular, large-scale exercises. But many of the issues we identified together have still, unfortunately, not been settled, including the issue of the rear services. It has been said on many occasions that every agency, every ministry, sets up overlapping structures that operate in parallel and function ineffectively. We do not have such a lot of money and resources at our disposal, and what we do have we are not spending effectively. It would be better to buy some more apartments for servicemen than to maintain an institution that is not in fact needed.
Finally, we need qualitatively new systems of military training and provision of social guarantees for servicemen and civilian personnel.
The second point I wanted to make is that our plans will remain just plans if they do not correspond to the country’s real possibilities and the pace of economic development. This means that our military development policy should be tightly bound to our social and economic development programmes. In this respect I would like to address the Prime Minister, the chairmen of both houses of parliament and the officials in charge of economic matters in the government. We take a lot of decisions regarding our country’s military organisation and then start adjusting and amending them all, partly because the government’s economic officials and the government in general do not present us with sufficiently clear development forecasts. I realise that given the current economic situation in our country and in the world, this is not an easy task, but we will not be able to effectively settle questions of state and military development without clearer forecasts to work with.
My third point is that implementation of the plans we have drawn up requires a process of continual monitoring to ensure that the decisions approved are duly enforced. Continual monitoring is precisely what we need and I have already discussed this matter with many of our colleagues. We will definitely note in our decisions for today and formulate an instruction to the Security Council to present a quarterly progress report on the decisions resulting from today’s meeting.