From Concept to Capability’: the Russian Approach to Capability Development by Carl Scott

The Russian approach to the development of military capability has evolved significantly since 2008, when a major review process was initiated across Defence. Many years of attempted reform had been stifled by the objections of the Armed Forces and precepts of Marxist-Leninism, which held on to the notion of mass conscription. Significant failings exposed by the conflict in Georgia in August 2008 precipitated a crisis which allowed President Putin to appoint an outsider to defence, Anatoly Serdyukov, to oversee significant and unpopular change. The subsequent transformation programme sought to redress the loss of competitive edge during the years of stagnation that had marked the closing years of the Soviet Union and the chaos of political transition following its collapse.  Widespread conceptual, material and organisational changes were introduced, with particular focus on seeking opportunities to respond to the evolving capability of competitors through emerging technologies.