Russian State Duma approved a proposal to establish an organization responsible for research and development in military technology – Foundation for Advanced Research (FAR). Institution that will meet the dual-purpose: research, the project initiation and implementation of research results can be considered a namesake/counterpart of the famous U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – (DARPA) or like a Military Skolkovo with research in cybernetics and information technology, finding new materials and working techniques, equipment, weapons and military technology, energy, bio-medicine, nano-technology, nuclear technique.
New institution, even if has an uncertain time-line to materialize, will be designed to stimulate the development of weapons field and helps to streamline the procurement process of arms from Russia. The proposal came from the Russian Foundation for research in Advanced Defense Industry and was exposed to officials of Duma by the Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, known as responsible for the supervise running of the Russian military-industrial complex. “The main aim of this foundation is to eliminate a gap in our advanced research beside Western partners, after 20 years of stagnation in the whole Russian military science and defense industry” said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in his speach in front of the Russian parliament, quoted by RIA Novosti.
Rogozin added that the new agency will initially employ 100-150 of experts to monitor on medium and long term “high risk” on research and development projects of Russian defense firms and scientific institutions.
We note that the Russian government plans to spend over 20 billion rubles (614 billion dollars) for procurement of advanced military equipment by 2020. Even before his investiture as Prime Minister in May, Dmitry Medvedev gave assurances that there is money to be invested exclusively for research and acquisition of technology and advanced equipment and to rebuild infrastructure that in turn should to ensure the modernization of Russia’s military-industrial complex. Recently, faced with the heated debate on the adoption of the new budget, the Russian Prime Minister became more reserved. However, I cannot note that the new “Predator science and technology” – as it was called by the Vice PM Rogozin, still lacks a clearly allocated budget (it knows only that will be financed by the Russian state) and its establishment proposal comes amid the controversies existing on the need to reduce military spending. Moreover, it remains unclear of which ministry will subordinate this institution (which will bring together researchers from various fields, inventors from top, military experts, qualified technical staff) – aspects that makes a good project into a nightmare because of bureaucracy of Russian state institutions. All it known at this point is the General Manager of the FAR will be appointed by the president and board of directors will have an equal number of delegates from the presidency and government. Dmitry Rogozin said that the funding for research and implementation of over 150 projects that already are in the FAR portfolio will come from the National Defense Program budget. But experts point out that that program will end in 2020, which means that security of financing for projects with far-reaching is almost nonexistent. Many voices have praised the existence of a institution similar to DARPA, but noted that DARPA reports directly to the Pentagon’s US and is limited to research, while the FAR seems to be just an institution designed to reduce the duties and powers of the Ministry of Defence and expanded research and implementation status of research results made it look at least at this time a type of ostrich-camel with little chance to function effectively and quickly adapt to existing requirements and technological advances of Western partners. However, it is good to remember that since coming to the helm of the military-industrial complex of Russia, Dmitry Rogozin said he would uses all his experience gained from Western partners to reform Russia’s defense industry. In a visit (in May 2012) in the Sverdlovsk region, Rogozin also said bluntly that Russia will not proceeds like China and do not blindly copying Western models, but will have to develop by the ideas and technologies developed by itself. If it will succeed, only the future can tell us.
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