Military reform is perhaps the most pressing issue for Russia today, because of the army’s pitiful state, the fact that the nation is at war (although it has never been declared legally) and financial constraints which make their imprint on every attempt to recreate a powerful and effective military force.

This issue of OZ is an attempt to give a broad picture of opinions on how the nation and its leaders are or should be coping with the problem.

Sergei Ivanov, the first civilian to head the Russian Ministry of Defense, is talking to OZ about new challenges the nation faces and the latest plans for military reform.

Colonel (retired) Vitaly Shlykov compares American experience in army transformation to recent efforts in Russia. He offers criticism of politicized approach to military reform. Acknowledging what has to be done by Russian leadership to build an adequate defense system, Col. Shlykov points to the crucial differences between the Russian military and western armies, specifically the lack of professional sergeants’ corps, outdated exterritorial principles of recruitment etc. He calls upon the Russian reformers to take the world experience of military transformation fully into account.

We publish a chapter from Soldier and the State by Samuel P. Huntington called “Officership as a Profession.” The eminent American scholar’s view of the purposes and specifics of a modern officer corps is equally interesting to those who belong to the military and those who study it.

General (ret.) Mahmud Gareev, President of the Russian Military Academy, defines fundamentals for improving the whole system of military organization and military service. What kind of armed forces does Russia need? To answer this question, Gen. Gareev analyzes military threats to Russia’s security, defense measures necessary to repulse them, new means of warfare, political situation, and state economic capacity.

Is the army as an institution fit to fight a war on terror? Yegor Holmogorov argues that the nature of the terrorist threat requires a complete review of military knowledge.

Ruslan Hestanov looks at the recently published National security Strategy of the United States. In the author’s view, the new American doctrine promises a dangerous new world both for the US and for other countries. 

Alexei Arbatov, a Russian parliamentarian from the liberal “Yabloko” faction, calls on Russia’s political leadership to decide on its priorities in his “The Devil is in the Details.” He articulates his opinions regarding reforming the country’s defense and military system.

General Igor Sergeev, Kremlin’s military advisor, presents his theses on transforming army and military organization of state. He outlines measures that have to be taken for the defense and military reform to succeed. Russia’s national interest does not match that of the Soviet Union, he notes.

Alexander Khramchikhin argues that no military reform has actually taken place in Russia. The existing army cannot be reformed and the only option for a breakthrough in his view is to create a “parallel” army.

For Russia, nuclear deterrents remain an effective shield for the country’s security. Viktor Esin, consultant to the Commander of Strategic Rocket Forces, asserts that maintaining a two-level system of nuclear deterring will allow Russia to react flexibly and adequately to the changes and challenges in the military strategic situation. The author also outlines priorities for reforming military force in Russia.

Military reform concerns not just the military but also the whole society, including the civil society, Oleg Belkov writes. We need to define the reform purposes and plan it thoroughly. Certain legislative steps have to be taken to achieve that. The author argues that the idea of civil control over the military is being misinterpreted by reformists who in his view attempt to isolate the military elite from the decision-making process.

Mikhail Khodarenok observes that the lessons Russia may have learned in its numerous local conflicts of the 20-th century have been lost on the General Staff. Almost every new war starts from a blank sheet for Russian officers. The author analyzes the reasons which have led him to this sad conclusion. 

Historian Irina Volkova explores the role military elites have played in transforming society in Turkey, Japan and Latin America. In certain circumstances the army elite can become a spearhead for modernization, she argues.

An article by Valeriy Volkov and David Betz begins with a statement that the field of studies of civil-military relations has still been suffering from insufficient theoretical background, where such a basic element as terminology remains a subject of controversy. There is still no coherent literature presenting a systematic guide for the technical implementation of democratic civil-military relations. So, within its limited space, the essay presents a sketch of modern notional and conceptual trends in civ-mil studies; and thereon it reflects on the rationale of the Ministry of Defense in a democratic state, reviews its functions as a bureaucratic institution and its role in the civil-military arena. 

Not just quantitative but fundamental qualitative change is required of the new-century military in order to neutralize new challenges such as organized terrorism. The U. S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld presents his view of the future of the American military defense system in the article originally published in the Foreign Affairs magazine.

Being carried away by political rhetoric rather than creating prerequisites for the modernization of the national security system seems to be the not merely the Russian problem. Thomas Owens Mackubin, professor of strategy and force planning at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., in his overview of the American Department of Defense debate over the ‘transformation’ of US military forces criticizes those in Pentagon who claim that investment in new technologies is capable of solving all the problems.

Academician Vladimir Slipchenko in his “What Kind of War Should Military Prepare to?” argues that it is going to be primarily a non-contact one. The principles of soldiership will have to be adjusted to the new warfare which is forecasted to become real as early as in 2010–2015.

Yaroslav Dobroliubov warns against putting too much emphasis on non-contact warfare, arguing that bloodshed will continue to be part of modern war.

Alexander Malinkin presents a part of his empirical research on the sociology of award, which continues a topic that was long forgotten ever since Pitirim Sorokin’s “Crime and Retribution…” (1914). As a social phenomenon, award is understood as embodied phenomenological entity of social emotions, will, notions, and ideas. The author points at existence of the cult of the heroic in the Soviet award system while examining empirical data on the use of awards in the USSR. The author examines a role of the cult in history from the cultural perspective.

First Russian regiment museum was created in 1886 in the His Majesty 65-th Moscow Infantry Regiment. Alexander Afanasiev tells a story of these museums and the role they played in military education.

We continue discussion on education. Kirill Kobrin in his essay about provincial universities points out that while federal authorities argue about the ways of reforming higher education, concrete local schools de facto started a new life by some new standards. Sadly, these standards are appallingly low. What is yet sadder, this new system characterized by ignorance, moral degeneration, and shallow pragmatism is used to educate new regional elites. We publish a lecture by Richard F. Gombrich where he criticizes the British experience in reforming education. He blames the Thatcherite policies for downgrading top standards of education in the UK by blindly copying the American model.

Sergei Maiorov describes the first attempt on land reform made by the Saratov regional government and explores opinions of emerging farmers there.