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    Russia to keep conscription until 2030 - draft military doctrine

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    MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will maintain its military draft until 2030, while gradually increasing the number of contract personnel, a draft military doctrine says.

    The doctrine, called "The new face of the Russian Armed Forces until 2030," is still being developed by the General Staff and will be ready, according to some military sources, by this fall.

    The current military doctrine was adopted in 2000. It outlines the role of the Russian military authorities in ensuring the defense of the country and, if necessary, preparing for and waging war, although it stresses that the Russian military doctrine is strictly defensive.

    The new doctrine says in order to transform the Russian armed forces into a mobile and effective military force their structures must be 'optimized' through the use of combined arms units performing similar tasks.

    The Russian armed forces will be slimmed down to 1 million personnel by 2013 but the transition to a fully professional army will not happen at least until 2030 mainly due to the shortage of financing.

    Russia's defense budget is believed to be around 25 times less that that of the United States, but the country's military expenditure has been steadily growing in the past few years.

    Russia's Defense Ministry said it will spend around one trillion rubles ($40 bln) of federal budget funds in 2008, 20% more than in 2007, and in 2008-10 military spending would account for 15.5-16% of aggregate federal budget expenditure.

    At present, the Armed Forces have been reduced to 1,134,000 personnel and the term of military conscription has been shortened from two years to one as of January 1, 2008.

    Russia is also planning to reduce the number of officers and introduce a professional non-commissioned officers (NCO) corps in a move that has been welcomed by the military.

    Meanwhile, the Ground Forces will see an increased share of 'permanent readiness' and 'rapid response' units manned with contract soldiers.

    The draft document also outlines plans to move the Black Sea Fleet's main base from Sevastopol in Ukraine to the Russian port of Novorossiysk in anticipation that the attempts by Russian politicians to keep it in the Crimea after 2017 will almost certainly fail.

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