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    Russia to downsize Armed Forces to 1 mln by 2012

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    The Russian Armed Forces will total 1 million servicemen, including 150,000 officers by 2012, the defense minister said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Armed Forces will total 1 million servicemen, including 150,000 officers by 2012, the defense minister said on Tuesday.

    Russia has already downsized its Armed Forces from 4.5 million in the Soviet era to about 1.2 million personnel, including 310,000 officers, at present.

    "By 2012, we will have a 1 million strong army with 150,000 officers, or 15% of the total numbers," Anatoly Serdyukov told a news conference in Moscow.

    "By global standards, officers should make up from 7% to 20% of personnel, but the current ratio in the Russian Armed Forces is 32%," Serdyukov said.

    The minister said there were currently more than 1,100 generals in the Russian military and around 200 generals' posts would be abolished during the same period, with the number of junior officers increasing.

    "Their number [generals] will be about 900 by 2012," he said.

    Serdyukov added that the Defense Ministry would also reduce the number of personnel at central headquarters and high-level command structures by 60% from 22,000 to 8,500 by 2012.

    In the near future the strategic- and operational-level command-and-control structures of the Russian Armed Forces, which currently comprises military districts, armies, divisions and regiments will undergo drastic changes, the minister said.

    "We are planning to have military districts, operational command units, and brigades to improve the effectiveness of all operational-level command structures in the Armed Forces," Serdyukov said.

    In addition, each military district will have an airborne brigade as a quick-reaction operational-level unit.

    Based on the experience of a recent 5-day military conflict with Georgia, these units will be used to accomplish operational-level tasks with high precision and in a matter of several hours.

    Russia is currently divided into six military districts.

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