Russian Army to Expand Training Program for University Students

1The Russian military is set to expand a training program for university students to provide an alternative to the country’s mandatory draft for young men, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said Monday.

2According to Pankov, male students will be able to opt out of the draft by completing 450 classroom hours of military studies over two years during their degree, and by attending a three-month training course before entering the reserves as a soldier or sergeant.

A similar program has been in place at the country’s 72 state universities with military departments since 2008, but the vast majority of male university students attend institutes that do not allow them to fulfill their service obligation during their studies.

University students can delay service while actively enrolled, but after graduating more than 60,000 young men are called up annually to perform their year of mandatory service.

3The reform will allow students to attend military training at other universities or at official Defense Ministry training centers.

Pankov said Tuesday that the program would also be made available to students enrolled at private colleges and universities.

The country has struggled in recent years to fulfill its target quotas for incoming conscripts due to widespread draft dodging and the scarcity of young men coming of age who were born when the birth rate collapsed during the turbulent 1990s.

Russian soldiers dressed in Red Army World War II uniforms prepa“The Ministry of Defense is making a big step to accommodate young men. Most importantly we are creating favorable conditions for fulfilling military service. Though it is more difficult for us than simply tracking down the draft dodgers,” Pankov said Tuesday.

The development of the new form of military training will begin this year, with the first students expected to begin studies by fall 2015.

5Russia has made a concerted effort in recent years to improve the image of and conditions in its armed forces after years of widespread reports of brutal hazing and other abuses among conscripts.

More than 244,000 men eligible for the draft managed to avoid being conscripted last year, according to General Staff statistics.

According to Pankov , work will also be continued to establish scientific squads. Now there are four of them, two of which have been working for almost a year. “By the end of this year there will be about 10 scientific squads, including a medical one,” said Secretary of State, who was quoted by ITAR-TASS. He said that medical scientific squad will be formed this spring. It is also planned to create a scientific squad of liberal arts.

Earlier media reports indicated that whose who want to take part in scientific squads would pass a serious competition because up to 60 people are planned to be chosen. In addition to desire, recruits need to meet certain requirements: be a member of the scientific Olympiads, wright scientific papers and have specific knowledge and skills.

1Nikolai Pankov also touched upon the formation and functioning of sports squads. He noted that dozens of young people from such squads entered the Russian Olympic team and today represent the country at the Olympic Games in Sochi.

The national team includes 33 soldiers, 27 athletes are civilian personnel of the Defense Ministry. 28 soldiers are draftees in sports squads. Among them is the skater Dmitry Solovyov, biathlete Alexander Loginov, snowboarder Nicholai Olyunin and others.

Russian Defense Ministry to Complete Formation of Special Cyber Security Force

1By 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry is planning to complete the formation of a special cyber security force designed to protect the army from computer attacks. The move is part of a federal program to modernize the country’s information security.

4The need for a cyber defense shield has been prompted by the Armed Forces’ transition to new types of weapons with a high share of digital components.

Today we face the lack of the specialists of this type: the number of cyber attacks on computer systems, apps and personal networks has reached a record level for the last 13 years. Some 1,5 million specialists have to be trained in order to overcome this problem.

Cyber securityTwelve people become victims of cyber attacks every minute. The number is continually growing. The data was proclaimed by Alexei Moshkov, head of the special technical actions bureau at the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation. According to him, last year the employees of the Administration “K” (department at the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation) prevented the theft of one milliard rubles (30 million dollars) from bank accounts of Russian people.

It should be noted that despite a cyber terrorists’ ideology, their real intensions are the same in 90% of cases. If we exclude hooliganism and so-called “practice” of young hackers, we can definitely say that all attacks are done in order to gain money, Alexander Vlasov, “Groteck” business development director, says.

5“If you look at the photographs of latest exercises in the Russian army, you’ll see dust-resistant and mud-resistant shockproof laptop computers, you’ll see command-and-control systems based on advanced computer technologies. There are so-called smart systems making it possible to coordinate the actions of even individual servicemen on the battlefield. Naturally, attempts will be made to penetrate those systems. There was an incident when the Iranians intercepted an American drone merely by hacking into its controls,” Yevgeny Yushchuk, an expert in competitive intelligence, said.

2All details of the future cyber defense force are top secret, of course. No expert can say what it will look like. Viktor Litovkin, Managing Editor of the Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye (Independent Military Observer) newspaper attempted to envisage its potential structure.

“It will have several levels of technical, cryptographic and radioelectronic security and lots of other systems duplicating each other and protecting strategic defense facilities. What are those facilities? Those are command centers, control centers for various types of weapons, including the Strategic Rocket Forces, aircraft and missile defense systems, army headquarters, and so on,” he said.

Certain cyber security elements have long existed in the Russian army, Litovkin said. Not a single data transmission channel of the Defense Ministry is connected to the Internet, which essentially reduces the cyber attack capabilities of potential enemies.

What Military Education will Look Like?

1The Defence Ministry project on cyber troops  drew public attention to the problem of the quality of soldiers contingent in modern Russian Army . The question about who serves in the armed forces now and what skills and competencies soldier and officers have, has gone beyond the discussion of military professionals, it is discussed by different specialists.

1Today axiom the for everybody is that modern warfare is not so much a confrontation to steel, as a high-tech competition . Recognizing this , in 2006 , during the VIII Congress of the Union of Rectors began a consistent movement to restore ties between higher education and industry, implying that one of the important consumers of unique personnel and high technologies will be the sphere of defence and security.

4System agreements with the Russian Engineering Workers Guild and the partnership with the League of defence enterprises enabled to lead this work from the very beginning, clearly aware of the real needs and perspectives of our defence industry . The Russian Union of Rectors suggested to form direct relationships of university research teams with enterprises of Engineering Workers Guild, lobbied for engineering and technical component of school academic competitions, proposed to form the personnel reserve of the defence industry complex from the winners of such competitions, as well as with the help of vocational guidance programmes.

3College environment , being very responsive and dynamic, took it as one of its “basic settings”: the representatives of high-tech industry, which permitted the formation of a very productive two-way interaction model were almost full members of regional unions of rectors. Today, basic departments of the companies at universities, profile school academic competitions, working together in small innovative enterprises became a reality.

At the same time it is a local experience of productive ties between higher education and the army both in terms of content and in terms of geographical coverage . The task is much broader: we need to establish a system of training personnel by the high schools for the sphere of ​​defence and security, to create flexible mechanisms of bilateral scientific and technological cooperation. It is a systematic approach, where cyber troops  will be included as an important link, which will make this idea effective, and will attract an educated and ambitious young people in the armed forces .

1In terms of content it is obvious that the army is expecting from high school youth not only the skills of combat training , but also an intellectual capacity , aimed at the development of high-tech armed forces. This means that the most important task of the agenda is the issue of new military arts content.

Are Robotic Troops Our Future?

1The introduction of the robotic systems in the Armed Forces requires a systematic approach and a comprehensive military and feasibility study . The transition to a new technological system allows the introduction of technologies to increase efficiency, change the nature, forms and methods of warfare . Robotics can be definitely attributed to these tools.

1Under robotic systems for military purposes we mean remotely operated or autonomous models of weapons, military and special equipment, designed to replace people in the course of combat and support tasks. As in the major countries of the world, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are paying increased attention to robotics.

To streamline the robotics introduction process, ensure systematic decision-making and unity of the control under introduction of such equipment a number of coherent and verified concepts of creating robotic systems are developed in recent years.

1In developed countries of the world robotic is regarded as one of the most important ways to improve the quality and upgrade the weapons systems of tactical military units (units and parts), combat tasks, the task of technical and logistic support of which can effectively be carried out using remote-controlled semi-autonomous and autonomous robotic systems. According to the operational environment robotic systems are divided into land, air and sea (submarine).

Typically, when determining the need for robotic systems introduction their two major advantages are pointed out. The first one is the reduction of losses of personnel and equipment in combat and high-risk tasks, while the second advantage consists in improving the effectiveness of solutions for known problems and the possibility to meet new challenges which a man is not able to meet because of the physiological and intellectual limitations.

2Robots are not susceptible to the effects of stress which causes immediate danger to life, fatigue, insufficient training, lack of time on decision-making and execution of actions , etc. They are able to work dispassionately in the areas of radioactive and chemical contamination, disposal of mines and leaker munitions, fire fighting and etc.

3The appearance of robots makes it possible to solve a number of problems which were not available previously, for example conducting underwater operations at great depths. With regard to Russia robotic fortifications can particularly ensure the protection and defense of the border in the Far East, where the number of troops does not correspond to the scope and nature of possible military action.

It is assumed that the robots can provide a more efficient use of outdated models of military and special equipment which will acquire new qualities. However such use of robotic equipment requires careful evaluation.

New Russian Military Unit to Protect Country’s History

1Russia is building a new army, not one to fight wars or to defend the country but one to protect the country’s history. Russia’s Defence Ministry plans to create a special military unit to work with archives and monitor the “falsification of history,” a senior military official said.
2Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov told reporters that in addition to a pilot project to draft research units of science students, the ministry plans to create other units to work in fields such as “sociology, psychology and history.”
One of the units will be attached to the Defence Ministry’s central archive, studying “aspects of the falsification of history that is becoming widespread in Russia and abroad,” Pankov said. He added that the unit’s research would focus on World War II, and that the soldiers would have access to classified data needed for their projects.
Pankov said that the ministry plans at least four military research units of draft-age students by the yearend,1 two of which, made up of science students, took up their posts in July. The students must spend their time performing research, reviewing secret documents, uncover lies against Russia, adjusting records and ‘setting Russia’s history straight’.
The time spent by students on the military research projects will count toward their mandatory one-year military service, officials said earlier.
President Vladimir Putin stated earlier this year he wants to end the different ‘versions’ about Russia’s history that are being taught in schools across the country. Putin believes Russian schools must use only one single standard version to teach Russia’s history.
The idea of cyber troops establishment was first performed at the meeting of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu with heads of universities in March. Defence Minister liked the proposal of rectors community to attract students to carry out research papers by order of the Ministry of Defence instead of military service.
In terms of how the students’ service will be organized, officers are not going to make the troops entirely detached from the regular Army system. The recruits will learn how to fire a sub-machine gun and get a basic idea about combat tactics and how to act in defensive and offensive situations.
1As any other regular soldiers, the students will have to carry out duties, receive physical training and take part in morning and evening roll calls. Yet the main service mission and key function of those non-regular recruits will consist of scientific research.
“After conducting a half-year experiment, next year we will recruit students into science troops simultaneously with the placement of our R&D orders”, Shoigu told university rectors.
Russia will form a new military branch responsible for cyber security by the end of 2013. Among the main tasks of the cyber troops will be data monitoring and processing, as well as dealing with cyber threats.
The Federal Security Service (FSB), the post-Soviet successor to the KGB, is developing another similar project.
The Russian army is also interested in alternative energy sources, communications, robotics, and any other innovations that can be used for military purposes, Shoigu said in a meeting with university staff and the general public.

Russian Army in Search of Computer Programmers

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Russia will form a new military branch responsible for cyber security by the end of 2013. Among the main tasks of the cyber troops will be data monitoring and processing, as well as dealing with cyber threats.

Officers preparing to serve in this branch will require linguistic training; they will have to learn a foreign language, primarily English.

1President Vladimir Putin believes that the “firepower” of information attacks could be higher than that of conventional weapons. Putin stated, that it was necessary to counter cyber threats effectively. “We have to be prepared to counter threats in cyberspace effectively, to improve the level of protection of the relevant infrastructure—above all, information systems of strategic and mission-critical facilities,” the head of state told a Security Council meeting dedicated to improving Russia’s military organization through 2020.

Putin reminded his audience that “information attacks” were already being used to achieve military and political goals. He also noted that their “firepower” could be higher than that of conventional weapons.

A source at the Ministry of Defence said that a service branch responsible for the nation’s information security would be added to the Russian army as soon as this year.

The source confirmed that the new service’s key tasks would include monitoring and processing information coming from the outside, as well as countering cyber threats—“in other words, something along the lines of the United States Army Cyber Command.”

This matter was first brought up for broad discussion last spring, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu asked several General Staff divisions last February to complete the development of a cyber command.

During the meeting with the rectors of Russia’s leading universities Sergei Shoigu said that the Ministry of Defence was starting a ‘big hunt’ for computer programmers.

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Military commanders will need a great deal of software products over the next five years. The code will be written, among others, by soldiers serving in cyber troops.

According to the minister, they will have to translate sophisticated mathematical equations “into understandable and tangible volumes and numbers – both financial and informational or speed related”. In addition, the Armed Forces face a huge number of tasks that need to be accomplished on an ad-hoc basis.

“On the one hand, we need to overcome some inertia. On the other, we would like the newly established cyber troops to help raise a new generation that will develop our military science,” Shoigu said.

Sergei Shoigu asked his associates to locate the students of one St. Petersburg university, which had won a global computer programming championship for the fifth time. “I heard on the TV today that students at a St. Petersburg university won the global computer programming championship for the fifth time. We have to find them. We have to work with these guys somehow, because we need them badly,” the minister said in early July, during a meeting with university rectors and the public on the subject of science units in the army.

“The minister of defence has asked me to meet these guys personally and tell them about military-related software development projects that we are actively carrying out,” Deputy Minister Oleg Ostapenko told journalists.

Ostapenko said, the Ministry of Defence would be ready to offer them the required conditions, including project finance (at least at the market level) to create an environment for effective work.

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The minister said that the structure of cyber troops, staff schedules, commanders and supervisors of these troops had already been approved.

In May, the Defence Minister told the Duma that cyber troops in the armed forces will be formed of recruit students who will serve in the army during the summer holidays, during the period of three months.

First Cyber Troops Went To the Service

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First Russian cyber troops, consisting of students of the Moscow State Technical University named after Bauman, went to the service: one of them is located in Voronezh, the other – in the suburbs of Moscow. This was announced by the first pro-rector of the university Boris Padalkin.

According to him, now cyber troops consist of a few dozen of people, but the number of troops will be increased in future. Padalkin noticed that students of these cyber troops will be able to drive home on weekends. He did not specify service duration (previously 12 months was reported).

The contest for cyber troops was three contestants for one place. Among the contestants were students from universities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tula, Tambov, Kursk, Belgorod, Chelyabinsk, Ufa and Voronezh, and in the end young people from Moscow, the Moscow region, Bashkortostan, Belgorod, Voronezh, Tambov, Kaluga, Yaroslavl, Astrakhan and Chelyabinsk regions were selected. Names of the universities are not specified.

Cyber troops are created in Russia by the order of the Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu. Initially, a number of haeds of universities, including Bauman, offered the ministry to send military departments students in the army for the holidays, but then Shoigu offered them to serve without ceasing scientific activity. It is planned to create five cyber troops, each of them will consist of 80-100 students.

Russia will form a new military branch responsible for cybersecurity by the end of 2013. Among the main tasks of the cyber troops will be data monitoring and processing, as well as dealing with cyber threats.

The first steps in forming the cyber corps were made this past February, when Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu initiated the creation of an army “cyber command.”

1The Russian army is interested in alternative energy sources, communications, robotics, and any other innovations that can be used for military purposes, Shoigu said in a meeting with university staff and the general public.

Ministry of Defence to Create Cyber Troops

1The Ministry of Defence plans to form science cyber troops of the Naval Academy. According to the military management, experts in exact sciences can do military service in such squadrons, where they will be able to gain access to secret information. Experts believe that this idea is doomed to failure.

“We have plans to establish a cyber troop of the Naval Academy. This is a very important and serious direction. Moreover, this unit will deal with the widest range of Navy tasks- both underwater and above-water ones, ” said the Deputy Defence Minister, Colonel-General Oleg Ostapenko. According to him, solution of Navy tasks is often connected not only with the activities of specialized universities: to build a ship they also need programmers, and materials scientists, and other professionals. Therefore, cyber troops will include specialists from all technical universities of the country. They also will be able to take part in processing of secret information, added the Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov.

It became known that a number of cyber troops has already begun the military service. Until the end of the year several similar units will be created. It is assumed that they will be attached to the core defense companies and research institutes.

шойгуThe idea of cyber troops establishment was first performed at the meeting of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu with heads of universities in March. Defense Minister liked the proposal of rectors community to attract students to carry out research papers by order of the Ministry of Defence instead of military service. Practical implementation of the project “Cyber Troops” began in the Russian Army on July. 5. 0% of the time these military men will do a research work by order of the Russian Ministry of Defence. “They won’t just do what they want, they will have specific scientific tasks,” said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. As for the service, the minister added that “it is really a military service with all relevant attributes.” “Of course, they will receive military training – shoot, get up at 06.30 am, do physical exercises, study,” said Shoigu.

“There was a selection of military personnel to undergo military service in cyber troops, and today we have the required number of people willing to serve in cyber troops for the autumn draft. We will work with them constantly,” – said Pankov.

According to Deputy Minister of Defence Oleg Ostapenko first cyber troops of the Russian Army will be deployed in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Voronezh. The Russian Defence Ministry has not yet decided on the total number of established cyber troops.