The Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), which control Russia’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), began a snap drill on January 20, the reports said, citing a press release from the RVSN. The drills, which are taking place in Western Siberia, will include 1,200 RVSN troops who will perform over 20 different tasks. Emergencies Ministry’s troops, as well as Internal Ministry and Federal Security Service forces, were expected to participate in aspects of the drills.
RVSN said that “no less” than four such drills will be held in 2015. Earlier this month, Egorov had announced that in 2015, the Strategic Missile Forces “will conduct over 100 command and staff, tactical and specialized drills. The drills will be conducted in complex and tense conditions.” In December, RVSN Commander Colonel General Sergei Karakayev had told reporters that “A total of 14 launches are planned for 2015 – for the flight tests of advanced weapons samples and controlling technical readiness of missile systems adopted for service.” As of last summer, Russia had planned on conducting 16 ICBM test launches in 2014.
This focus on strengthening Russia’s strategic deterrent seems to still to continue unabated. Last month, Russia’s Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, said that Russia’s nuclear forces would be the Defense Ministry’s top priority this year. Part of this will include becoming better equipped at using new and modernized platforms, including the 38 new ICBMs that Russia acquired in 2014. It will also include incorporating new personnel into the RVSN. In August of last year, the RVSN announced that it will add an additional 8,500 troops to its force through 2020. According to Newsweek, the RVSN currently boasts about 18,000 troops.
Russia’s modernization efforts come at a time when its nuclear relationship with the U.S. is fraying. The Boston Globe reported earlier this week that Russia severed nuclear security ties with the United States last month.
Full article: Russia’s Nuclear Forces Conduct Surprise Drill (The National Interest)