This CSIS report asks two main questions. How is the Russian military thinking about the future of warfare? How is the Russian military thinking about force design over the next five years? The report has several findings. First, Russian military thinking is dominated by a view that the United States is—and will remain—Moscow’s main enemy (главный враг) for the foreseeable future. This sentiment will likely drive Moscow’s desire to reconstitute its military as rapidly as possible, as well as strengthen nuclear and conventional deterrence. Second, Russian analyses generally conclude that while the nature of warfare is unchanging, the character of future warfare will rapidly evolve. Adapting will require Russia’s cooperation with other countries, such as China, in areas like long-range, high-precision weapons; unmanned systems; emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence; and the utility of hybrid and irregular warfare. Third, Russian political and military leaders are committed to a major reconstitution of the Russian military—including the army—over the next several years.
Seth G. Jones is senior vice president, Harold Brown Chair, and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.