Military-Industrial Commission meeting summary

The Military-Industrial Commission (MIC) of the Russian Federation held its first meeting this year in Novo-Ogarevo, on the 20th of January.

Considering that the military-security and economic block of Russia's government has failed to develop a balanced version of resources' provision of another state armament program for 2016–2025 assigned to it by President Putin at the previous MIC meeting , it appears that the meeting focused on discussing the same problem.

Once again, however, no final decision on the problem was made at that meeting due to the "floating" macroeconomic projection, said Deputy Chairman for Defense Industries Dmitry Rogozin after the meeting. Indeed, a long-term projection cannot be made under the current situation, as was the case five years ago when the currently existing state armament program was under construction – none of the official forecasts in 2010 anticipated a serious contraction in economy by 2014, which was evident even before the economic sanctions were imposed on Russia and crude oil prices went down.

This is a reason why the feasibility of our plans and their ability in principal "to consider in full measure the financial and economic capabilities of the state" shouldn't be overestimated . Their equilibrium is maintained through bureaucratic games rather than the quality of the plans as such.

This became clearly apparent five years ago, when the Defense Ministry easily biased the equilibrium from the Rb 13 trillion towards Rb 20 trillion limit on financing through rosy promises to modernize and rearm the national Armed Forces at the cost of "as little as" Rb 36 trillion. Indeed, the practice has shown that, on the one hand, the military's plans overestimated the abilities of the domestic military-industrial complex, and, on the other hand, left the latter without orders after 2020. But there was nothing that could be changed.

The developers of the state armament program for 2016–2025 will have to meet President Putin's requirement to take into consideration the provisions of the new version of Military Doctrine which the President approved on December 26, 2014. On the one hand, it will be a harder task than it used to be, because it contains an extended list of threats (from 11 до 14) which Russia might face. On the other hand, it will be an easier task, because new threats are not of military nature and only indirectly relevant to the Armed Forces. Additionally, it is probably for the reason of making the task even more easier that the developers of the state armament program removed from the Military Doctrine the sacramental passage in paragraph IV.39б of the previous version, which requires streamlining of the defense spending, efficient planning and distribution of "financial and material resources earmarked for the military establishment procurement".

Given the recently developed economic conditions, the existing format of the state armament program is entirely unviable: the lack of forecasting for a period beyond 1–2 years requires the introduction of a mechanism designed to officially revise this program once in two years (as for example they do in developed countries). Otherwise, our military plans may jeopardize the Russian economy.

Vasily Zatsepin, Ph.D. in Military Science, Head of Economics of the Military-Industrial Sector Department.