Leadership: Putin's Ploy to Procure Professional NCOs.


August 23, 2006: Some Russian military leaders have convinced president Vladimir Putin that closer ties to NATO would be very useful in helping professionalize the Russian army. Such ties would include sending more observers to NATO maneuvers, and seeking more NATO participation in Russian maneuvers. But the real agenda has to do with working with NATO observers who might serve as officially unofficial advisors in helping the Russian Army build a professional NCO corps. Russia has long had a major problem with its lack of professional NCOs. This began after World War II, when the Russians adopted a system that had officers doing most of the supervision performed by NCOs in the West. Problem was, the NCOs were closer to the troops, and what was going on in the barracks, than officers. This lack of NCOs caused numerous problems with discipline, morale and training. Now the Russians want Western style NCOs, and are having a difficult time making it happen.
Because some extreme nationalists, and the remaining communists, are very opposed to any ties with NATO, Putin can't just cut a deal with NATO, to hire current, or retired NCOs as training and development advisors. So more indirect methods are being used, and even these have to be done with the greatest delicacy.




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