Two thirds of officers must go
Russia’s Northern Fleet will be more or less commanded from Saint-Petersburg when 130 of today’s 200 commanding staff officers are made redundant from January 1 2013.
The Northern Fleet is up for a major reorganization. Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov has ordered that the fleet’s command staff should be cut from 200 to 70 officers by the end of the year. The reason for this is the military leadership’s ambitions to ‘optimize the commanding staff numbers’ and to transfer several functions from the regional fleet level up to the military district.
From January 1 2013 the Northern Fleet’s commanding departments responsible for operations, communications and other areas will be significantly reduced and corresponding departments will be established at the Western Military District’s headquarters in Saint-Petersburg, a source in the Navy says to Izvestiya.
When Serdyukov’s orders are put into life, most of the Northern Fleet’s daily life in Severomorsk will be managed from Saint-Petersburg, more than 1000 kilometers away. Officers fear that this organization will be time-consuming and make things difficult:
“The command in Saint-Petersburg will be planning and managing not only common, global questions, but also questions that concern the everyday life”, the navy source says. “Even the smallest thing will have to be clarified with Saint-Petersburg”.
If the experiment in the Northern Fleet is successful, the command staff in Russia’s three other fleets – the Pacific Fleet, the Baltic Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet, will also be reduced.
Also when it comes to the Northern Fleet’s order of battle there will be changes from January 1.
Several smaller vessel brigades will be united into divisions and redundant officers will be laid off. Brigade commanders today hold the rank as captain 1st rank, while the future division commanders will be ranked captains 2nd rank, meaning lower status and lower income.
Experts fear that the reorganization will lead to personnel shortages in the Northern Fleet. A lowering of the status will probably lead people to seek positions at the district command rather than the fleet command.