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Russia's Navy commander Vladimir Visotskiy: "Navy reforms are overdue"

Russia, based on its geographical location, its economic, political and military interests in world oceans is a world naval power. It is an objective reality that the world community would have to take into account from now on. This is dictated by the history of Russia’s tasks: keep the navy in such a state as to always have, as Peter the Great said, two hands on land and at sea.

The current century is referred to in many quarters as the century of the battle for raw materials, but many scientists also consider it the century of the world ocean, the biggest portion of the planet where huge untapped and unexplored reserves of energy resources and minerals are concentrated.

We consider and are convinced that the interests of our country and its economic potential should be defended in seas. That is why, in accordance with the naval doctrine of the Russian Federation, naval-military activity includes studying, conquering and using the world ocean in the interest of the country’s defense and security, with the inclusion of the military component of its potential.

Therefore, the Navy is the main component and basis of Russia’s naval potential, one of its foreign policy tools allowing to protect the interests of the Russian Federation and those of its allies in world oceans using the military, to support military-political stability in the oceans close to its shores and military security in the naval and oceanic directions.

To defend Russia’s interests in the World ocean, to retain its status as a naval power, to develop and effectively use the military-naval potential of the Russian Federation, the adoption of the doctrine of the Russian Navy approved by the defense ministry in January 2007 provides for the use of the Navy in three directions: in peacetime, during crises, and during times of great threats, and in wartime.

The main goal pursued by the Russian Navy is to provide strategic deterrence and exclude the use of force against Russia and its allies. The main form of usage of the Russian Navy is through a presence in crucial regions to carry out military-naval activities.

The rationale behind a military-naval presence is for Russia to create and maintain a favorable atmosphere for the pursuit of its foreign policy, military and economic activities in world oceans and areas surrounding them, as well as ensure the security of naval activities.

In crises, the role of the Russian Navy as a means to ensure stability and effectively protect the country’s economic, foreign policy and military interests in world oceans and regions abutting them remains topical.

In wartime, the Russian Navy’s role is to take part in military operations of the armed forces and those of allies, including with the use of nonstrategic and strategic nuclear weapons.

Therefore, given its geographical location, a modern navy with adequate size and able to face the threats the country has to confront is an imperative.

Today we need to concentrate on continuing building new-generation strategic submarines, repairing and upgrading the ships already in our possession and equipping them with new weapon systems. The construction of multipurpose subs and surface ships with high military potential is also in order, as well as the creation of effective defense systems and precision weapons, effective aviation systems of different purposes, and universal assault ships. We also need to create multipurpose flying apparatus (aircraft, helicopters, and UAVs) that can be based on ships and on land, universal recon and attack complexes, we need to repair, modernize and maintain our systems, complexes and means and create the R&D basis we need to explore promising areas in naval science and armament. We need to equip our constantly ready armed divisions with modern weapons and weapon systems.

We need to increase the readiness of the divisions of our Navy through the improvement of first-strike, information, and other means of the Navy allowing to retain Scientific-technical parity with foreign analogues. We have to increase the reliability and confidentiality of our communication and management system, prepare and equip ourselves to be able to operate in world oceans as a potential theater of armed confrontation through the creation (and maintenance) of deployment of a unified system of information gathering on the situation in world oceans, the global navigation systems, the communication and management systems, reconnaissance and target location, the provision of hydrometric, topographic, and cartographic information, and the development of a basis experiments.

In supporting and developing naval military technology for the Russian Navy, the emphasis is on strategic missile submarines, multipurpose submarines, universal surface battleships, target-location and identification systems, battle management and navigation.

Based on the mandate of the Russian Navy, I would like to note that in peacetime the Russian Navy focuses on being combat ready, on monitoring, and on carrying out specific tasks.

For the further development of its Navy, Russia still has a lot on its plate. Understanding the importance of the goals set forth by the leadership off the country and the defense ministry will define the actions of the commander of the Navy in future, in the name of improving the naval arm of the national security system.

Therefore for sailors the year 2009 will be no easier than 2008, when the crews of Russian warships carried out missions in various sectors of world oceans, went on official and nonofficial visits to various countries, including Venezuela, Cuba, Panama, Nicaragua, Syria, Portugal, Norway, Turkey, Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea. The Russian Navy will take part in international maneuvers, undertake missions to distant seas, and perform naval exercises. In addition the Navy will engage in the optimization of its size to allow itself to move toward a level of combat readiness for its units.

Today’s sailors of the Russian Navy continue to undertake a variety of tasks. Those of the Pacific Fleet are involved in the protection of waterways in the area of the African Horn. I would like to note that the fist Russian Navy ship to engage in the fight against pirates off the Somali coast was the escort boat Neustrashimy of the Baltic Fleet. Despite the fact that the Neustrashimy has left the region and been replace by the antisubmarine ship Admiral Vinogradov of the Pacific Fleet, the command of the Baltic Fleet continues to receive letters from ship owners from many country with recognition of the role the Russian navy has played, the professional attitude of the crew of the Neustrashimy when ensuring safe navigation in a pirates-infested region for some 60 civilian ships.

The sailors of the Northern Fleet also continue to carry out their tasks. The heavy nuclear missile cruiser Piotr Veliky of the Northern fleet visited the Indian port of Marmagao. The ship sailed the Indian Ocean form the shores of South Africa. Before entering the port of Marmagao, the Piotr Viliky conducted exercises with the Indian warship Deli.

Russian Navy aircraft flew missions form the deck of the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in the Mediterranean. The pilots and sailors fully completed their missions. At the moment ships of the aircraft carrier group of the Northern Fleet comprising the Admiral Kuznetsov, the antisubmarine Admiral Chabanenko, and the accompanying ships Nikolai Chiker and Sergei Osipov have crossed the Gulf of Gibraltar and has begun performing a task in the Atlantic.

The sailors of the Black Sea Fleet are also in faraway places. The assault ships Azov and Yamal were at the Syrian port of Tartus not long ago. And the guard missile cruiser Moskva of the Black Sea Fleet took part in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the earthquake that devastated the cities of Messina and Regio-di-Calabria in 1908. Russian sailors were then among the first to offer help. They saved more than 2,400 lives.

After leaving the Italian port of Messina the Russian warship conducted exercises with the Italian ship Andrea Doria.

Since the beginning of 2009, Black Sea Fleet ships have continued to patrol Russian territorial waters and the Black Sea within according to the plan of the international operation Black Sea Harmony. The crew of the antisubmarine ship Eisk of the Novorossiysk brigade was ordered to control navigation in the indicated area, which presumes the actions to fight terrorism, stopping trafficking and piracy, and ensuring the protection of the environment. In addition, the sailors also drill elements of maneuverability, they carry out training exercises, and will conduct exercises on ships. Within the framework of the Black Sea Harmony, joint work with Turkey and the provision of navigational security in the Black Sea have been underway since 2006.

As already mentioned, the new contours of the Russian Navy are being drawn today. This transformation was dictated by a thorough analysis of the situation in the Word Ocean and the necessity to react on time and precisely to the changes. In relation to that, a great deal of work has been done to shift to a new organizational structure for all military command structures of the Russian Navy.

The necessity of changes at the Russian Navy is justified by the changing character of threats in the world, expressed in the aptitude of other government to use military force to advance their economic and political interests. Today international terrorism has morphed into piracy and illegal poaching, and into the transportation by sea of weapons of mass destruction.

The shifting of world economic activity to world oceans and the resulting division of not only the abutting areas but also the seabed of the World Ocean results in the emergence of a wide array of conflicting interests and disputes whore character and possible solution in large part determine the real naval potential of countries. The essence of the national policy of leading naval powers in the nearest future will reside in independent actions and cooperation in the exploitation of the World Ocean and will result in rivalry.

Work on the overhauling and restructuring off the Russian Navy is justified by the presence of a wide range of national interests in the military, economic, internal-political, social, international, informational, border, environmental, and other fronts. To protect those interests we must be ready to use the military power of the Russian Navy in the World Ocean. The relates first and foremost to ensuring Russia’s access to the resources of the World Ocean, which are of crucial importance in the realization of our national interests, especially in nearby regions.

It is obvious that our military-naval activity must be enough to ensure our security and stable economic development, especially in the long-term perspective. Therefore, any static attitude or slowing down in that regard could have negative effects in that perspective. The structure of the new Navy must be based on criteria of perspective effectiveness, with due account of such tasks as strategic deterrence, the suppression of local conflicts and liquidation of spots of international terrorism through international bodies under the aegis of the UN, as well as participation in international operations to deal with the aftermath of environmental catastrophes and the rescue of the crews of ships and boats in distress at sea.

The Navy will also have to have a well-trained personnel, and we will need to change our military-education system. The need to improve and increase the quality of our naval military-educational system is also long overdue. We must learn to rationally use our intellectual and information resources to prepare specialists and conduct research in the priority areas of military technology.

The past ten years have left a deep footprint on the history of the world. Its main result is the cardinal change in the situation in the world, the end of military confrontation between blocks, the departure by the vast majority of countries from the resolution of conflicts through the use of force, and the change in the character and nature of threats and priorities. The 21st century will bring no less radical changes. On the one hand they will be a continuation of the processes convergence of countries in their approach to national security, and on the other hand they will be the result of the constant increase in the economic importance of the World Ocean in the development of our civilization.

Source: Krasnaya Zvezda Translation: RusNavy.com