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#36 - JRL 2007-8 - JRL Home
Excerpt
Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States
Lieutenant General Michael D. Maples, U.S. Army
Director, Defense Intelligence Agency

Statement for the Record
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee
11 January 2007

Russia. Presidential succession politics will preoccupy Russia over the next two years. A s the end of President Putins second term draw s near in 2008, the battle for power and property will take increasing precedence over policymaking. We judge defense policy will not be a significant issue in the campaign and, whichever candidate is elected, it will not likely result in significant changes in Russian defense policy the first year in office.

Russian leaders view a strong military as a necessary component to return their country to great power status. They believe Russian strategic and non-strategic nuclear capabilities are key factors in deterring aggression. To meet future mission requirements, modernization initiatives are ongoing, with primary emphasis on the SS-27 ICBM and Bulava SLBM strategic systems. In the general purpose forces, training activity within units of the Permanently Ready Force (PRF), which form the backbone of Russias conventional capability, is at their highest post-Soviet level. In 2006, Russian military participation in exercises with foreign militaries increased by over 50 percent over the 2005 level. No 2006 exercise rose to the significance of the 2005 Russo-Chinese exercise, although additional Russian naval exercises in the Black Sea and an increased number of air/ground exercises with Central Asian and European countries were notable. Modernizing the countrys outdated equipm ent and planning conversion to all-contract manning remain significant challenges despite increased defense spending. Converting the PRF to an all-volunteer force is likely to take longer than planned, since Russia is having significant problems in both attracting new and retaining already-signed contractees. Dissatisfaction comes primarily from perceived low pay, hostile service conditions, inadequate housing, poor family support, and other unfulfilled government promises.

Russia has made progress in suppressing North Caucasus separatists by employing more effective counterinsurgency operations and co-opting insurgents to fight former compatriots. Although weakened, small insurgent groups continue attacks on Russian targets in the region.

Russia opposes closer integration of former Soviet countries with the West. It has been especially adamant that Georgia abandon its western-leanings and has condemned the Georgian government for its "anti-Russian" policies. Russia remains steadfast in its peacekeeping commitments in the Georgian separatist area of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, although its presence there is a source of contention between Russia and Georgia.

Russia opposes comprehensive sanctions on Iran, in part to protect its own economic interests with Iran. Russia continues to press Iran to cease uranium enrichment activities, if only temporarily, and tone down its inflammatory rhetoric.

Russias primary focus on the North Korean nuclear issue is to prevent an escalation to war. It stresses the necessity of the Six-Party Talks to resolve the conflict in a peaceful way. Russia viewed N orth K oreas October 2006 nuclear test as a blow to the nonproliferation regime.