The ideas presented in the vision were later included in the Government's five-year action plan, as well as in the corrections to the five-year plan for the development of the Armed Forces. Thus, the previous vision played the role of a conceptual bridge between the Government's annual program and planning of the five-year actions for the development of the defence sector.
I think two years is enough time to record visible results, summarize the achievements, analyze the shortcomings and redefine the priorities for the development of the defence sector. This is an ongoing process and the relevant structures of the Ministry of Defence are constantly engaged in summarizing the results, analyzing the lessons learned and new problems, preparing relevant decisions, while the Government and leadership of the Ministry of Defence make decisions with the necessary frequency that provide system solutions for these problems. However, I am deeply convinced that the Armenian army with its unique internal regulations, legal procedures for separation from civil society and unique traditions is in the center of attention, interest and concern of the Armenian society, citizen of the Republic of Armenia and every Armenian in general. Therefore, for the obvious reasons, the limited awareness of the developments in the defence sector, complex, technical and mostly mysterious decisions for the existing problems, non-public nature of the daily activities of the army, moreover, non-public nature of the further development do not give a complete picture of the current state of the Armed Forces and upcoming plans to our citizens. That is why I have found it important to publish this new vision on the current and future priorities of the Ministry of Defence.
The aim of the vision is neither to be accountable for the activities done in certain indicators, nor to present a program with specific goals, objectives and deadlines for the fulfillment. All this is carried out within the framework of the Government's activities in various formats and frequency. The aim of the vision is to convey my approaches and assessments regarding the present and future of the defence system to our society, my colleagues from the Government and the Ministry of Defence, team members and all the personnel of the Armed Forces. Over the past two years, both the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and my colleagues from the government, as well as the personnel of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces have worked and, I am sure, will continue to work together as a team showing a special attitude to the problems of the defence sector and ways to solve them. It is more gratifying that these problems have always been under the critical eye of the civil society.
Of course, on the one hand, the imperative of having a large army with mixed recruitment, on the other hand, the imperative of keeping it efficient, armed with the modern weapons, comprehensively provided, with high combat skills and victorious spirit requires not only disproportionately large human, financial-economical, material and technical, scientific-educational resources, but also the knowledge, skills, will and integrity that reach the maximum limit of our collective capabilities to effectively plan, apply, manage and be accountable for those resources. That is why we have enshrined the imperative of replacing the sense of duty with the sense of mission in the Government's program and over the last two years we have adopted the slogan "Do more than ...".
This approach has already given us the opportunity to break down many stereotypes that have been formed for decades and are ingrained in the Armenian army: from the organization of the servicemen’s living conditions and nutrition to the selection of the weapons, from the organization of combat duty to the military-diplomatic steps, from the tactical problems to making strategic decisions. We can state that a complex but irreversible process has begun to change the military culture and eliminate the long-standing traditions. At the same time, we have not yet been able to eliminate such phenomena as the rejected mores existing in the interpersonal relations, non-systemic, but still existing corruption manifestations in the some areas, fully entrench the professional culture of the perception of mission and implementation of leadership, accountability, planning and fulfillment and so on. The phenomena that need to be overcome by the thought, step, effort and contribution of all of us and each of us, the ability not to be overwhelmed by failures but move forward persistently.
It should also be noted that the external security environment of the Republic of Armenia has not undergone positive changes. On the contrary, the conflict is increasing day by day in our region and its environs, moreover, the global pandemic has temporarily limited the opportunities for the cooperation and the immediate threats of a military nature remain very likely. Therefore, the reliable defence system, first of all, the modern and efficient army, continues to be the main key for ensuring external security necessary for the stable development of Armenia and Artsakh, speaking from the position of dictating the will of the people of the Republic of Artsakh and all Armenians in the negotiation process for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and forming long-term security guarantees in the Republic of Armenia.
The problems of the army have not changed over the past period: our servicemen continue to be deployed along the entire length of the state border of Armenia and line of contact with Artsakh actively applying new technical assets, improved forms and methods of combat duty. Our subdivisions continue to refine and improve their combat tasks during the military exercises assimilating armament and offensive tactics of a new generation. Our intelligence continues to monitor the enemy with a deeper and greater coverage, our anti-aircraft warfare system continues its daily duty targeting more and more likely targets at all altitudes, our aviation continues the supersonic course of achieving complete superiority in the air assimilating multi-functional aircrafts of a new generation, our engineering and radio-electronic systems every day increase the ability to pressure the actions of a likely enemy on the ground and in the air...
In accordance with the problems of the army, the main goals of the development of the defence sector and the Armed Forces do not change, but the tasks, primacies and priorities for allocating resources aimed at achieving them change, since the development of the army is a continuous, constantly adaptable process, moreover, it is an interactive and competitive process. Accordingly, having achieved a specific goal, we must set ourselves the task of achieving new heights, moreover, failing in the process of fulfilling the task, we must multiply our efforts and find more effective alternative solutions.
Over the past period another imperative of the Government's program has been implemented: the constitutional requirement of the Armed Forces to maintain neutrality in the political matters was fulfilled. We have managed to keep the whole defence system, especially the army, free from the influence on the internal political and electoral processes. This is a joint achievement of the army, authorities, political forces and the whole society and we must continue to root that approach until it becomes a taboo not only for today's but also for all the future authorities and political forces, as this is the only way to have democratic military-political relations and have a real professional military, strengthened by the apolitical professional experience, social responsibility and corporate loyalty.
In this regard, I must emphasize the need to establish full democratic military-civil relations in our state. By saying military-civil relations many people understand only the democratic and civil control of the Armed Forces. However, as the experience of the developed countries shows, the strong military-civil relations also guarantee the growth of the professionalism and efficiency of the Armed Forces. The combination of the military and civilian knowledge and right balance in the defence sector ensure the introduction of the modern new ideas, solutions and mechanisms in the military sector. The new ideas are localized and refined by the people with systemic thinking and doctrinal discipline and there are many such people in the ranks of the military. In other words, in all the issues related to the army, our goal is to ensure the full cooperation of the military and civilian specialists.
We should not forget that while the mandatory military service is a legal requirement the Armenian youth receive the baptism of their second life in the Armed Forces living and working in a difficult and demanding environment for at least two years and facing the enemy with their own eyes realizing what would have happened if they were not standing on the border. We must all help our young people to maintain the belief that these two years are not a wasted period for them, but a preparation to overcome the obstacles of further life for which in the near future we will fill the daily lives of the servicemen with new educational and sports events, encouraging both the individual self-training and mutual assistance without wasting time on the meaningless interpersonal conflicts and nonsense.
We are also focusing on the trends in the development of the worldwide military art, the factors that, in accordance with the new and modern requirements, reconsider the classic approaches to the military science. We see and study how the military-political "smart" tools for waging war are being developed and tested in the conflict zones not very far from us: with the use of the new, technologically equipped, deadly and non-lethal weapons, new approaches to the management and tactics, non-state military organizations, as well as military, economic, political, information and other technologies that have not been perceived as military until recently. We are increasingly moving away from the tactics of waging classical war and operative art.
In particular, we see that.
- As a result of the use of high-tech, long-range and ultra-precise weapons, the military operations are becoming non-contact, while the loss of manpower is becoming critical. The society reacts very painfully to the human losses even in the case of victory,
- In all the circles, it is crucial to make a quick and proactive decision at the right time and perform the actions that require sufficient mobility and flexible guidance from the subdivisions. In the presence of the modern technologies, the large and static subdivisions are easily targeted, while at the same time, the small subdivisions, having full operational information at the right moment and in real time, are able to solve the complex tasks successfully,
-The so-called combat arms, systems and weapons, which hit and neutralize the enemy through the "direct action", have become multifunctional, mobile and smart as a result of the decades of competition. In order to fulfill the combat task of the combat arms and assets not only the manpower and control system, but also the weapons must be sufficiently viable: not to be hit, be multifunctional and perform various tasks and mobility at the same time for the operations of the subdivision involved in the direct combat mission,
-The military technologies are becoming more accessible and the key to victory is not only to surpass the enemy having more military technologies, but, first of all, to have an ability to use them fully, intelligently and purposefully. In the military affairs, the military "force" is equated with the military "mindset",
-The modern technologies make the communication and various types of supply interruptions, control of roads and charges almost unavoidable or at least very likely during the military operations both in terms of time and vulnerability, the video surveillance and other intelligence capabilities almost eliminate the factors of surprise and secrecy during the military operations. In these conditions, the ability of the subdivisions to complete a military task independently becomes decisive.
-The modern wars are not limited to the conduct of the military operations and do not end with the victory on the battlefield. The non-military tools of waging war are so diverse that the battlefield has shifted equally to the political, diplomatic, economic, information-technological, preaching, public and moral-psychological spheres.
Ensuring the development of the Armed Forces in accordance with these trends and meeting the changing requirements for conducting a war are much more difficult than following the global trends in the development of the military art. No matter how easy it may seem to change and adapt to the modern conditions ensuring continuous changes in the military sphere is quite difficult, as it requires not only the appropriate scientific and educational potential, but also great resources, and most importantly, smart implementation procedures, flexible and cautious military personnel. In this regard, there is one important circumstance that we cannot ignore: if in some armies it is permissible, even encouraging, then we have no right to go to such experiments and innovations that will contain even temporary disruptive risks for our defence capability and combat readiness of the army. On the other hand, in order to neutralize the threats of a military nature, we have no right to rely on their inappropriate and decades-old knowledge, experience, strategies, management procedures, charters and weapons. They are clearly obsolete and may soon become more dangerous for our defence capability. In a rapidly changing environment of security and warfare, we must have the advanced capabilities that are consonant with this environment to predict, evaluate, prevent, suppress and ultimately neutralize the existing and potential threats of a military nature. Therefore, it is important for us not only to acquire up-to-date military knowledge that will become obsolete over time, but also to introduce flexible procedures for the "continuous learning" and adaptation to the changing security environment.
To solve this problem it is essential to establish an initiative culture in the army. In order to solve the military-political, military-economic, military-technical and military problems of our country, we do not have the right to be only a respondent, whether in the cases of the constant violations of the ceasefire, constant preparation for defence or continuous response to this or that belligerent statement: this is a path to defeat. We must be proactive and we have already done a lot of activities in this direction: with the introduction of the appropriate technical means and new tactics we have changed the logic of organizing combat duty, imposing and controlling the ceasefire regime, simply preventing the main part of the violations of the regime. Our combat readiness focuses not only on the organization of defence: with the creation of the offensive and attack subdivisions the tactic of carrying out of preventive actions is refined. Our military-diplomatic language is intolerant of threats against us.
However, the establishment of an initiative in the military culture is quite a difficult process, since it cannot be encouraged by itself, as in the civilian life. This is because of the procedures in the army, such as the command vertical, principle of sole leadership, clear requirement for discipline and unconditional fulfillment of orders and ultimately the education and service experience received by the personnel on those principles. Therefore, the initiative in the Armed Forces can be best manifested through the flexible decree and strengthening of the principles of leadership, respectively, through the implementation of the provisions of the combat charters, decision-making and refinement of the report mechanisms, review of the requirements of combat readiness, moral-psychological support and military education, as well as through the review of the rearmament, tactics and operational art.
In order to give the best application to the progress recorded in the various spheres of the defence system, I consider it important to strengthen their connecting links. We always have the conviction that defence is a system and the lack of one link has a negative impact on the other links. At the same time, the development of one link has a multiplier effect on all the other links. According to this logic, in the near future, our approach will be to give impetus to the other links based on the established links, "sterilize" the failed links, rebuilt from scratch and subject them to radical changes.
As for the scientific and technical progress, the new technological challenges related to the military sphere are first of all discussed by the officers. They set innovation tasks for our scientists and industrialists. The technological solutions to the requirements that have arisen in the combat conditions have a great potential to be competitive at the global level and in this regard we expect a unique domestic military product in the future.
We are on the threshold of the most important stage of defence planning: the next strategic review process of defence. It is an interdepartmental process which should make it possible to ensure the long-term development of the defence system, including the military capabilities, forces and resources of the Armed Forces and the concept of their use.
During the strategic review of defence:
-The threats to the security, primarily to the military security, will be identified, comprehensively assessed and classified according to the priority,
-The scenarios for the development of the security environment will be developed based on them, which will provide an opportunity to consider alternative options for the development of the situation and formulate strategic planning considerations,
-The military objectives and capabilities that are necessary to neutralize the military threats in the case of the above-mentioned scenarios will be defined based on the strategic planning considerations,
-Defining military objectives and capabilities will provide an opportunity to identify the quantitative and qualitative discrepancies between the available and necessary forces, resources and capabilities to supplement or correct them and in case of impossibility to find alternative solutions,
-The analysis of the existing (available) and necessary forces and capabilities (the structure of the RA Armed Forces, management and application, combat readiness and preparedness, armament, military educational systems, infrastructures, personnel, its health and moral-psychological state, military-industrial, scientific/technological potential and so on) will reveal the need for changes and their volume, on the basis of which the priorities for creating new opportunities will be analyzed (since the requirements always exceed the resources), their value effectiveness, compromise options for optimizing existing opportunities, the risks will be assessed,
-As a result, the strategic planning documents regulating the development of the RA Armed Forces will be developed, the implementation of which, in case of various scenarios, will ensure the neutralization of the threats to the national security planning the necessary resources corresponding to the national potential of the Republic of Armenia.
The strategic review of defence will provide reasonable answers to the questions that in order to ensure the military security of Armenia in the foreseeable future, what kind of:
- planning and management system,
- composition and structure: the subdivisions, their deployment and so on,
- capacities: forces and means,
- strategy of application: types and methods of warfare
- military-educational and training system,
- and the most important: the required resources-human, material-technical and so on the Armed Forces should have.
The strategic review of defence is a closed and lengthy process and its full results are not subject to the publication. However, approximately two years after the completion of the process, we will publish them as a public awareness document in a generalized form and within the limits of the total allowance.
However, before developing the results of the strategic review of defence, that is, for the next two years, we must have certain guidelines for the development of the defence sector, taking into account the path we have passed and our priorities for the future.
Thus, in order to strengthen our defence capability and develop the army for the next two years at least in several directions, we can identify the following factors related to the individual fighting capacity of the serviceman and following collective efforts of the defence policy for each of us and all of us:
- In the direction of management
The factor of the individual fighting capacity: when receiving and fulfilling an order in each unit, the serviceman must be sure that it is fully evaluated and calculated, that he receives it at the right moment and time and it corresponds to his combat capabilities.
The collective efforts: through the military exercises, we have tested and launched the effective procedures for the management of the Prime Minister - Government - Minister of Defence - Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces during the peaceful and military situation. Reviewing the structure and charters of the Ministry of Defence, the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the Armed Forces, we have sufficiently refined the strategic management system of the Armed Forces to make it more responsive and clear. At the same time, we are implementing electronic management systems of the troops that are technologically equipped, viable and recoverable to meet the modern requirements.
Our ultimate goal in management should be to achieve the introduction of a fully automated digital management system. At the same time, on the one hand, we must adapt our management system to the rapid development of the digital technologies and on the other ensure a reliable level of their cyber defence. We must take into account the fact that today, in the everyday civilian life, as well as in all the technologically advanced armies, all the tools of the electronic management have become "smart", moreover, due to the use of the artificial intelligence, they acquire the ability to "learn on their own." I do not exclude that there will come a time when the need for the management posts and digital communication channels will disappear in the management of the military operations. The algorithms built on the joint idea of the command will independently give the most optimal solutions based on the complete analysis of the situation to the subdivisions acting at the different stages of the combat operations and in the different situations, excluding this or that possible omission depending on the human factor. Therefore, the introduction of an automated digital management system has no alternative whether in the fields of troops’ management, rear or readiness.
This system should be able to provide the "controlled decentralization" of the management and consequently the mobility and distribution of the management posts. The model will make it possible to have subdivisions that can conduct independent combat operations within the framework of the self-sufficient and unified plan. I think it would not be superfluous to mention that in order to manage such subdivisions, it is necessary to have a complete picture of the situation and its dynamic development and most importantly, the fast and progressive solutions should be based on the real-time data. Therefore, the efficient management system must be provided with the same efficient intelligence system.
2. In the direction of rearmament
The factor of the individual fighting capacity: Every serviceman must be sure that he is better armed and prepared than his opponent, his weapon is more accurate and long-range, his armament is enough to solve the combat tasks and he will receive the necessary combat support at any moment.
The collective efforts: The process of the large-scale rearmament of the Armed Forces has already begun ranging from small arms to long-range missile systems and multi-functional combat aircraft. However, we are at the beginning of the road. The rearmament of the Armed Forces has several goals. The first is the creation of a military potential that will not only restrain the enemy's revanchist aspirations and prevent the temptation to launch large-scale military operations, but also in the case of such temptation will quickly deprive him of the possibility of waging war. Second, the rearmament is aimed at recruiting the subdivisions of the Armed Forces with such mobile, modern and high-precision weapons that will operate in the field of the automatic control and will ensure the decentralized independent actions of the subdivisions. Emphasizing the qualitative rather than the quantitative indicators, the types of armament and military equipment obtained as a result of the rearmament should exceed the existing and replacing types of the armament and military equipment with their capabilities of firepower and accuracy, mobility, security and rapid response. Third, the rearmament aims to achieve longer-term and easier operation, maintenance and use that require less human resources and have minimal dependence on the human factor resulting in the efficient use of the resources. And fourth, the rearmament aims to achieve the obvious superiority over the potential opponent in the various areas of conducting combat operations with the most effective use of the available resources and neutralize the existing risks in the other directions.
3. In the direction of comprehensive support for servicemen
The factor of the individual fighting capacity: Every serviceman should feel more than safe both on the battlefield and in everyday life. He must be completely satisfied with the quality of his equipment and food and be sure that he is more resistant than the opponent and when entering battle he must be sure that in case of injury he will not remain on the battlefield, but will be immediately evacuated and will receive high-quality medical care and he will fully recover.
The collective efforts: Today, the comprehensive qualified assurance of the servicemen is one of our primary tasks. The Ministry of Defence has adopted a policy of outsourcing a number of support services, with the aim of sharply improving the quality of services and eliminating corruption. One of the successful results of this policy is the privatization of food services, which should be in effect by the end of 2020 in all the places of the permanent deployment of the troops. The qualitative standards for material supplies (uniforms, underwear, hygiene items) have also been raised. However, this is only the beginning. We must focus not only on the living and hygienic conditions of the places of the permanent deployment, but also of combat duty, as well as on the drastic improvement of the quality of food supply. The programs have already been launched to provide all the combat bases with water and electricity and a number of innovations are being discussed for food supply.
The most important direction is the issue of medical and hygienic support. In parallel with providing first aid on the battlefield to forming sufficient medical capabilities to receive efficient treatment in the hospital setting, we should focus on reviewing procedures of the servicemen’s public health and prevention of the pandemics during the military service. This is a more complicated process because, unlike the civilian life, the military service requires the introduction of special sanitary hygienic procedures. In general, the hospital setting needs optimization of management in terms of providing medical care, replenishment of appropriate equipment, creation of alternative opportunities for re-training and medical services, including even the construction of a modern military hospital with the new principles.
The modernization of the social security system should be in the center of our attention in the near future. We already have quite tangible achievements: the amount of monetary satisfaction of the servicemen, various types of premiums and compensations (compensations for vacations, travel expenses, premiums for various types of service, etc.) have been increased, there is a serious progress in housing, the mortgage lending program has been launched. The Military Insurance Fund already provides compensations to the families of the servicemen killed since 2008 or to the disabled servicemen and these processes will continue. However, the creation of the conditions for the proper social security for the servicemen will require new systemic solutions in the near future, from the introduction of a "single window" for social services to the development of the programs for the adaptation to the civilian life. We should also take into account the objective fact that no matter how much the social security programs of the servicemen are improved, the effectiveness of their implementation depends on the rates of economic growth and financial and economic opportunities of the state.
4. In the direction of personnel management
The factor of the individual fighting capacity: Every serviceman should be convinced of the fair and competitive opportunities to move forward, continuous opportunities for quality education in the course of the military service, as well as of the decent assessment in any position, he must possess and protect his rights in any situation and does not worry about his and his family's social security.
The collective efforts: the management of the personnel needs serious systemic changes and the activities done in the previous years has created necessary but not sufficient grounds for recording qualitative systemic results. In particular, along with the fair, transparent and holistic implementation of the conscription in the direction of the personnel recruitment we have the problem of involving qualified professional resources on a contractual basis (we are not talking about the professional personnel who have received a professional military education).
Unfortunately, despite the high public rating of the army, the attractiveness of the military service remains at an insufficient level which has a negative impact on the recruitment process of the professional military personnel. The reduction in the number of the applicants to the higher military educational institutions, besides the objective circumstances of making strict the admission and election procedure, as well as the reduction in the number of the applicants, is the result of the insufficient level of the attractiveness of the military service. To address this problem, we need to develop and implement the comprehensive programs that generalize the new image of the serviceman, which will include transparent procedures for improving the conditions of the military service, ensuring the possibility of obtaining proper social security for the servicemen, efficient and continuous education, as well as career promotion based on the merits and educational criteria.
One of our main tasks in the field of personnel management is to strengthen the level of moral-psychological readiness and discipline. Despite the significant efforts to reduce the non-statutory relations in the officer-private interaction, mainly in the interpersonal relations of the private servicemen, unfortunately, we have not yet been able to achieve the complete elimination of the criminal morals, resulting in the suspension of the cases of damage to the dignity of the servicemen and attempts to the self-harm and suicide. Taking into account the deep causal link and urgency of this issue, the study of the grounds for the formation of the non-statutory relations among the servicemen, cases arising after their manifestation and development of the comprehensive solutions to increase the effectiveness of combating them were included in the agenda of the interdepartmental cooperation. In parallel, we must continue to develop the military police system as a unique and irreplaceable type of the military service, expanding its technical, professional and operational capabilities.
The next important direction of the personnel management field is the provision of human rights in the Armed Forces. Thanks to the joint work of the hotline of the Ministry of Defence, Human Rights and Integrity Building Center, various educational and awareness programs implemented jointly with the international partners, Office of the Human Rights Defender and non-government organizations, we have made significant progress in this direction. The achievements in protecting the rights of women and national minorities in the Armed Forces are also obvious. The most important achievement is that as a result of the established procedures we have got rid of the vicious phenomenon of hiding cases of human rights violations or not giving them importance. However, the servicemen’s legal awareness is not yet at a sufficient level, which requires continuous and joint work from us.
5. In the direction of international integration
The factor of the individual fighting capacity: every serviceman while fulfilling his combat task, whether in Armenia or Artsakh or in other geographical areas of our strategic interests, should fully recognize his allies and opponents, clearly realize the harmonious connection of his combat task with our national interests and fully understand the ideological side of his mission.
The collective efforts: our security is interconnected with the regional and international security and directly carries both negative and positive effects of it. Therefore, in the matter of ensuring security our view is much more comprehensive than the borders of our state. When building our foreign security policy we see our natural allies and artificial opponents due to our "political senses." When creating a circle of our military-political interests we realize our geographical position, so all our political steps are aimed not only at strengthening but also expanding our military-political geography. Moreover, the expansion of our military-political geography and consistent strengthening of our national security potential, including international alliances, provide new opportunities not only for the firm promotion of our national interests, but also for the establishment of the non alternative friendship in the region.
Therefore, we will continue to develop military-political alliances and partnerships with the aim of establishing effective mechanisms for collective defence, expanding the content of the military and military-technical cooperation and geography, exchanging comprehensive experience and creating additional security guarantees. In the field of the international cooperation and integration we will be guided by our national gains and military-political interests, we will take into account our allies’ interests and we will promote them.
By strengthening the level of interaction of the Armed Forces with our allies and partners, we will be consistent in the mutual fulfillment of the allied responsibilities and will follow our international partner obligations contributing to the strengthening of peace and stability in our region and in various geographic areas of strategic interests.
To this end, we must continue to be a staunch partner contributing to the international security, expand the participation of our subdivisions in the international missions and actively take part in the military exercises with our allies and partners that expand the collective combat capabilities.
At the same time we must continue to study, analyze and, if necessary, exchange our views on the military-political developments, advanced experience, consulting and expert assistance, as well as military-educational opportunities establishing the institute of the “lessons learned” in the Armed Forces.