Monday, April 6, 2015

Russia Creates Special Operations (Spetsnaz) Command

Perhaps seeing the effectiveness and the large degree that the U.S. relies on Special Operations Forces, Russia plans for the establishment of a new Special Operations Forces (SOF) training facility near the city of Gudermes in Russia’s Chechen Republic. Interest in Russian SOF has risen recently due to Russian operations in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

In addition, Russia announced in 2013 that the Russian Defense Ministry has begun the creation of a special operations command.  Although details have been few and far between about this new command, it appears that it will have two major functions. The first is to serve as a branch proponent for Russia’s elite SOF in Russia’s various ministries, services, and agencies with military forces, in order to develop a common baseline of SOF proficiency.  The second is to directly control the Ministry of Defense’s new SOF unit, which numbers approximately 1000 personnel (support forces included).

To this end, a Spetsnaz training center, unique in terms of its equipment and unparalleled in Russia at the moment, is being built in Gudermes.  According to Ramzan Kadyrov,  head of Chechnya, the complex should be completed within a year. It is proposed that the center will train Spetsnaz subunits of all Russia’s branches of service and combat arms and special services. Other countries will also be able to use the new site for the training of their own special services. 

According to the plan, the highlight of the center will be the unique tactical installation -- a whole complex where it is possible to practice skills in the freeing of hostages from a residential tower block, a school, a hospital, a kindergarten, and a movie theatre. In addition, parachute, mountaineering, forest, aquatic, and other types of training will be able to be held at the center.

The plans also include the construction of a wind tunnel for Military Free Fall parachuting training, and likely for practicing operations in various physical-environmental conditions.

The center will occupy a considerable territory -- 35 hectares have been allocated for the shooting ranges alone and the main building will be 55,000 square meters in area.  Around 500 people will be able to live and train in the center at the same time and over 1000 fighting men will be able to train at the same time. 

The project will be implemented using private investments and does not require the allocation of resources from either the local or federal budget. The Spetsnaz training must be carried out on a paying basis with the conclusion of official contracts. In the specialists’ opinion, the main partners could be countries of the Arab world and Latin America and also CIS countries. Preliminary talks are already being held with representatives of Belarus and Kazakhstan currently.

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