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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

NCOs in Russian Armed Forces to number 250,000 in future

RIA Novosti

21/01/2009 13:42 MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans to have 250,000 non-commissioned officers in its Armed Forces in the future, a deputy defense minister said on Wednesday.

"In line with the reform of the army and the navy, the corps of professional NCOs will total 250,000, who will be trained within a military education system under a special program designed to last for two years and 10 months," General of the Army Nikolai Pankov said.

"Fifteen thousand contract NCOs will study at higher education establishments annually. From February 1, six universities will start courses for NCOs, and another 48 from September 1," the general said.

The current military reform in Russia foresees the reduction of the personnel from 1.34 million to 1 mln by 2012.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov earlier said staffing levels at central headquarters and high-level command structures would be slashed by 60% from 22,000 personnel to 8,500 by 2012.

Serdyukov announced the cuts to Russia's Armed Forces in October and said some 150,000 officer posts are expected to go by 2012. The minister said that, according to global standards, officers should comprise 7% to 20% of staffing levels, and that at 32% the officer level in Russia's Armed Force was far too high.

Serdyukov also said that there were currently more than 1,100 generals in the Russian military and around 200 of those posts needed to be abolished, while the number of junior officers should be increased.

In addition, he said more than 100,000 serving warrant officers were due to be discharged or absorbed into other ranks by the end of 2009.

The military believe that the professional NCO corps must become the core of the Russian Armed Forces and greatly improve their combat readiness.

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