Junior Officers on the Battlefields of Ukraine
Center for European Policy Analysis CEPA
Both armies in the coming offensive have strengths, but only one encourages young officers to think for themselves. The sheer weight of metal and manpower make a difference to major military operations. But just as important are the young men and women on the battlefield whose tactics implement the bigger strategy. Their leadership is critical. The coming Ukrainian offensive will pit the two sides’ tactical leaders against each other. Differences in education, doctrine, grit, and morale will make a difference that determines victory or defeat. There are identifiable Russian weaknesses, but the Ukrainians also have their fair share of disadvantages. INSIGHTS & ANALYSIS ARTICLE EUROPE'S EDGE Junior Officers on the Battlefields of Ukraine By Jan Kallberg May 26, 2023 Russian officers are specialists. You can spend your whole career on a single weapons system or a single set of tasks. This produces highly knowledgeable officers with little adaptability or interchangeability in duties. Russian officers follow a career path in a single or closely related branch from beginning to end. An armor officer might lead mechanized infantry, and a paratrooper might lead reconnaissance, but significant shifts in career — say going from air defense to mechanized infantry — are extremely rare. Either you are in a maneuver or support unit, and you remain in that realm. Russian losses of junior officers, killed, wounded, and medically unfit for continued service since February 24, 2022 have been very significant.
International and area studies
Kallberg, Jan. 2023c. “Junior Officers on the Battlefields of Ukraine.” CEPA, May. https://cepa.org/article/junior-officers-on-the-battlefields-of-ukraine/.