This material was first published by courtesy of the administration of the project of Belarusian expert community “Our opinion”.
Working within the framework of “Belarus Security Blog” project on issues of formation of territorial defense system in Belarus, we have come to a number of interesting conclusions. It’s necessary to note, that in 2011 Belarus officially announced (by the way, once again) the creation of territorial defense in Belarus, which, in the view of Belarusian leaders, should be a cheap alternative to the regular army. Even having sympathy for the concept of an armed nation it is necessary to understand that no territorial defence can replace regular army. But not even talking about it, let’s just see whether the capabilities of the state are equal to the defensive concept.
So, it is planned to create territorial troops of 120 thousand people. According to the national defense plans, announced by Alexander Lukashenko, in case of war Belarus can supposedly have army of 500,000 people.
Modern military doctrine of Belarus is the Belarusian only in form, remaining Soviet one in its nature. Contrary to the ideological “fake clicks” in the West, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw bloc as a whole were preparing to fight the world imperialism on their own lands, eliminating the possibility of even a pre-emptive strike. Belarusian authorities are also preparing to fight on their own territory. Forgetting that Belarus is not the Soviet Union and has neither the such size of territory nor the relevant scale of the economic potential that could cover some losses. Strictly speaking, even a temporary loss of any part of the Belarusian land is completely unacceptable.
It is also believed, that the beginning of the armed conflict will be preceded by a period of exacerbation, which may last several months. During this period, the military and political leaders of the country hope to deploy the Armed Forces to wartime. The military organizations of the country will be mobilized, hundreds of thousands of reservists will be called and will start training. And during these weeks and months, the soldiers should be fed, transported, heated, treated and so on. Taking into consideration the size of the army in wartime, claimed by Belarusian authorities, it would cost about $ 30 million a day!
Taking into consideration the Soviet standards of support for the troops (there are no other available sources of data in the field) and the present value of military equipment and weapons it turns out that, based on the above stated size, upkeeping only regional forces and their participation in hostilities will cost at least $ 2.4 billion per month. Extrapolating this figure to all the armed forces deployed for wartime, we get the amount of about $ 9.6 billion a month. This figure is likely to be understated because it does not include the involvement of heavy equipment and aircraft, which is simple absent in territorial defence troops. Real monthly spending in the time of full-scale war will be at least 10 billion. It is enough to look at the national budget and the reserves in order to understand one simple thing: for Belarus the war will be over in 3-4 months, regardless of success at the front. The country will simply go broke and won’t be able to support the army.
Obviously, plans of Belarusian authorities, to put it mildly, don’t consider the financial capacity of the country. Of course, the official Minsk counts on Moscow. But Milosevic, Gaddafi and Assad also did. As a result, the latter will soon meet with the other two.
In this regard, four obvious conclusion are to be made.
Firstly, always and everywhere it is necessary to count only on your own. Belarus should accept the Scandinavian principle of reliance in defense only on their own. While the reality of a major war between European countries is low as never before: it’s too expensive, the few can afford this. But people are irrational beings, so it’s better to be a pessimist in this situation.
Secondly, just look at the structure of all European armies, especially of our neighboring countries, in order to understand the possible nature of the war: the conflict of the third generation. Of course, if the U.S. does not intervene — but it will be a different story. Based on the nature of the possible conflict in Europe, we should pay attention to the experience of the period of “Cold War”. Thus, the Federal Republic of Germany in the 70-80’s planned to mobilize land army of 1.2 million, or 2% of the population. Thrifty Germans came to the conclusion that it is such a part of their population, they are able to prepare, equip for military action and keep in case of war. Given the fact that it was the territory of Germany was to be the main arena of conflict of NATO and the Warsaw Pact states, it means one thing: it’s impossible to mobilize more people, otherwise the Germans would have planned it. Thus, we should abandon the gigantomania and act in accordance with the real ability of our economy to ensure proper training, consuming weapons and other measures necessary for the deployment of troops in wartime. Analysis of the conflicts of the second half of the 20th century shows that the average ratio of war time to peace is about 2.4-2.7. Modern ground forces in Belarus do not exceed 30 thousand. If we add to the border guards and Interior Ministry troops then get a little over 50 thousand. Obviously, the number of 200,000 people is likely to be the limit for our country.
Thirdly, given the fact that the keeping of mobilized the army is extremely wasteful, the period from the beginning of the mobilization and to achieving full combat readiness of the units should be as short as possible. In general, Israel once faced the same problems. And the following solution was found: a massive and continuing training of reservists of ground units provides high mobilization readiness, allowing to apply a pre-emptive strike against the enemy in case of a threat as soon as possible. I.e. to fight in the enemy territory, preserving the own one untouched.
Finally, the fourth conclusion is that we need to change our military doctrine. We, the Belarusians, should stop to prepare to be a victim. Following the example of Israel we must be prepared to beat first and using our whole force. Always and everywhere, not only in defence.
Head of Analytical Project “Belarus Security Blog”.