Charles Bartles
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Sixth-generation war and Russia’s global theatres of military activity
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Soviet military planners divided the world into continental and oceanic “theatres of military action” (teatri voennykh deistvii (TVDs)). These TVDs allowed the Soviet General Staff to take a regional approach to the consideration of the military geography, or the political, military, economic, physical-geographical, and cultural variables essential for military planning. Due to technological advances first observed in the 1991 Desert Storm operation and its aftermath, Russian military thinkers began developing theories about what impact these technological advances would have on regional TVDs, and even the possibility of global TVDs. Although the Russian military was in dire straits after the collapse of the Soviet Union, its fortunes have significantly improved under the reign of Vladimir Putin, as the Russian military now has the capabilities to begin implementing these theories. The Russian military is now thinking and planning in terms of globally integrated operations and uses terminology such as “aerospace TVD” and “informational TVD”. These new global TVDs have not displaced the regional TVD concept, but rather these systems appear to complement one another. This chapter outlines the TVD concept in the Soviet era, discusses the implications of Vladimir Slipchenko’s view of the changing character of war on the TVD concept, and argues that technological developments and thinking about global TVDs are driving changes in Russian force design and capability development.

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