Soviet strategic air defense: the struggle for competence

by James T. Quinlivan

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The Rust incident of 1987 highlighted training deficiencies of the Soviet Air Defense Force and produced a new Air Defense Force commander, General of the Army Ivan Tret'yak. General Tret'yak has introduced a new realism into training and a new openness in admitting failure and difficulties. At the same time, the long-term competence of the organization can only be guaranteed by acquiring high-quality conscripts and officer cadets and training them to high standards. The greatest problem may be the acquisition of these personnel as competition grows for Russian-speaking Slavs with acceptable educational backgrounds--the same people sought by newly emerging sectors of the Soviet economy. Flaws in the current training and personnel assignment systems further inhibit effective education of the officer and support personnel, compounding the difficulties of achieving and sustaining competence.

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