April 28, 2003
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov wants compulsory military service cut in half, to only one year. The 1.16 million Russian youths currently enlisted in the armed forces serve two years in the army and three in the navy. However, draftees with only six months of basic training and six months of OJT (On-The-Job) practical experience doesn't equate to highly-trained troops.
The government has been pondering how to reform the nation's overstaffed Cold War era armed services into a professional volunteer force, without spending the sort of money they just don't have. A future Russian force might have female troops, as well as volunteers from former Soviet Republics. Kyrgyz servicemen - particularly pilots - have expressed an interest in contract service with the Russian Armed Forces. - Adam Geibel