Russia’s defense minister said earlier on Wednesday that together with new and improved jet fighters, tanks and state of the art missiles, the Russian military is also evolving into the 4th generation warfare paradigm by creating a new branch of its forces, i.e. information warfare specialists.
Sergei Shoigu’s declaration comes at a very interesting moment, amid wild speculations in the Western media of alleged Russian hacking of the US elections, and it also marks a premiere being the first time for a high ranking Russian official to acknowledge the existence of such units.
Sergei Shoigu gave a speech in front of the parliament and he said that the Russian military received a wide range of brand new weapons in 2016, including forty one ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles).
The sweeping array of military modernization of Russian forces is set to continue in 2017 with the air force scheduled to receive 170 new airplanes. The army will receive new armored vehicles and tanks to the tune of 905 units, while the navy will get 17 brand new ships.
Most importantly, 3 regiments of the country’s strategic nuclear forces will each receive up to ten new ICBM launchers.
Considering the new weapons and gear scheduled for 2017, the Russian military will have to start recruiting 1300 pilots by 2018.
Speaking of the new information warfare specialists, Shoigu said that propaganda needs to be clever, smart and efficient, yet he did not explain in detail what is the info-wars troops mission.
The head of defense air committee in the lower house of parliament, retired Gen. Vladimir Shamanov was also vague when asked about the information warfare troops, saying that their task is to, let me quote : “protect the national defense interests and engage in information warfare,” including the mitigation of enemy cyber-attacks.
The info-warriors will also protect Russia’s infrastructure (data systems) from hack attacks from abroad, yet they’ll not engage in attacking enemy infrastructure according to the head of the upper house’s defense and security committee Viktor Ozerov.
A number of US intelligence agencies and more recently EU officials voiced their concerns, accusing Russia’s government of meddling in the US elections, a claim vehemently denied by Moscow. Some EU members also implied that the Russians are trying to influence the 2017 elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko