Russia’s Rapid Reforms Bring Military Theory Into Practice
Putin’s reformist defense ministers have used Marshal Ogarkov’s theories to build a more agile military able to counter NATO air supremacy, showing that Russia is capable of pivots in grand strategy.
Europe today faces the unanticipated reality of a major Russian military force positioned around Ukraine’s borders. With modernized equipment, innovative doctrine, battle-hardened veterans, and nearly 150,000 total troops poised for an apparent invasion, Russia has once again turned its conventional military forces into an effective tool for exerting political dominance over the former Soviet republics, protecting its strategic interests beyond its own borders, and deterring the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Western politicians and defense planners have been largely caught by surprise. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the end of the Cold War, they have operated under the prevailing assumption that the era of large-scale conventional warfare between developed states was over. If the continuing threat of nuclear weapons did not supersede the deterrence value of conventional forces, no matter how large, then certainly the overwhelming airpower advantage of NATO, led by the U.S. Air Force, would preempt any plans to launch a major conventional war.