Skip to main content

Video Above: Russia Decimating Public Institutions in Ukraine

Kris Osborn - President, Center for Military Modernization

Russia’s announcement that it is calling up as many as 300,000 reservists to support ongoing military operations does not appear to be causing grave concern or surprise among military leaders at the Pentagon and may not be greatly impacting Ukrainian forces either.

While the numbers may sound alarming, the prospect of a larger scale Russian mobilization raises as many questions as it does offer solutions, in large measure because it is not clear if these incoming soldiers are trained, equipped, ready to fight and in any more of a position to willingly fight Ukrainians.

Russian Troops during 2015 Exercise

Russian Troops during 2015 Exercise

“My understanding is these would primarily be reservists or members of the -- the Russian military that had retired and were in an individual ready-reserve type of status. All of that to say, it's our assessment that it would take time for Russia to train and prepare and equip these forces,” Pentagon spokesman Big. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters, according to a transcript.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

The other observable and quite significant point is simply that adding more people or soldiers does not address or in anyway mitigate the many morale, sustainment, logistical and tactical problems the Russian forces continue to experience.

“I think it's important also to point out here that while in many ways this may address a manpower issue for Russia, what's not clear is whether or not it could significantly address the command and control, the logistics, the sustainment, and importantly, the morale issues that we've seen Russian forces in Ukraine experience,” Ryder said.

“Certainly if you are already having significant challenges and haven't addressed some of those systemic, strategic issues that make any large military force capable, there is nothing to indicate that it's going to get any easier by adding more variables to the equation.”

In some respects, adding more numbers could actually worsen supply and logistics problems as large amounts of incoming soldiers will need food, supplies, shelter, weapons and an ability to integrate with or join units. All of this involves a level of complexity and experience which the Russian military has not demonstrated during this attack on Ukraine. Ryder also added that, given Russia’s performance thus far, Putin’s announcement that hundreds of thousands of new soldiers are joining the fight does not seem particularly intimidating to the Pentagon, NATO or Ukrainian forces.

Video Above: Army 3 Star Details Innovation for Future War

“Making threats about attacking territory, it doesn't change the facts -- operational facts on the ground, which are that the Ukrainians will continue to fight for their country, the Russian military is dealing with some significant challenges on the ground, and the international community will stand behind Ukraine as they fight to defend their country from an invasion,” Ryder explained. 

Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.