Military-technical cooperation and military-industrial complex in conceptual documents of post-Soviet states

Olesya Zagorskaya

The breakup of the Soviet Union placed new independent states in a position forcing them to develop their own approaches to military construction. However, even the fact of such a necessity was not apparent in the first years of their independence, not to mention that it was not a primary goal either. For this reason it was typical for the former Soviet republics not to have clear-cut goals and objectives of the military construction in the first years of their independence, with its conceptual basics being mostly borrowed from the experience of the Soviet forces.


The first Military Doctrine of Kazakhstan was adopted in 1993, being a classified document. The next Doctrine revision was published in 2000.

Addressing the national defense, the document provided “improvement of science and technology as well as manufacturing capabilities to enable production, repair and upgrade of armaments, military and special-purpose equipment”, revision of the defense management by the state, structure re-arrangement of the industry, especially in the area of R&D management and implementation.

But, conceptually, the military-technical cooperation (MTC) was already of significant importance. Special emphasis was put on placement of mutual orders with military-industrial complex (MIC) companies, as well as on commercialization of military products (MP) manufactured by joint efforts through its sale on foreign markets. Concurrently, the high dependence on other states in terms of armaments, military and special-purpose equipment (AMSPE) was seen as a threat due to weakness of the own MIC.

The Military Doctrine 2007 announces the need of shaping the “modern general and coordinated military-technical policy of the state” that would combine activities to develop the national MIC and balance supplies of AMSPE within the cooperative framework including foreign partners. The MIC expansion on the multilateral and bilateral basis is encouraged to strengthen the collective and regional safety. Here the cooperation with foreign leaders in manufacturing of AMSPE within national MIC companies is meant.

The defense industry faces the tasks of increasing its competitive ability, among others through release of dual-use products, as well as of establishing repair, upgrade and technical support center. Special emphasis is placed on development of export capabilities – by expanding the list and amounts of exported MP and sales markets.

Also, the document mentions the funds gained “through selling the military equipment that has been released and out of use”, which is likely to mean the sales of surplus obsolete AMSPE left on Kazakhstan territories after the USSR breakdown.

Speaking about MTC, the Military Doctrine 2011 of Kazakhstan repeats the highlights of the previous documents: MTC can be implemented as AMSPE supplies by foreign partners, establishment of joint companies producing, repairing and upgrading the AMSPE on the territory of Kazakhstan. The role of MTC in implementation of the defense-related export potential is noted.

Among long-term objectives there are upgrading and accelerated development of MIC companies, attraction of investments for “qualitative renewal of science and technology (S&T) and production base”, as well as “finalizing the legal base regulating the military and technical cooperation”.

The Kazakhstan Military Doctrine 2017 concerning the MTC and MIC can be called a revision in a sense. Here the measures for design of new military standards governing the MP production and supervisory measures of AMSPE purchase are mentioned. The Doctrine states the broad range of MIC development measures while the “improvement of the military-technical policy of the state” is referred to as one of the most promising objectives.

Alongside this, the intention to expand sales markets, to enlarge lists of exported MPs and to build up scopes of supply is still marked as MTC goals. A new supplement to this wording was the requirement of increasing production quality. A high emphasis is placed on management of mutually profitable supplies of finished products, establishment of joint manufacturing facilities producing advanced AMSPE on the territory of Kazakhstan, as well as on adapting “weapon and military equipment OEM standards along with transfer of technologies” to the conditions of own defense industry.

The common feature of all these documents was a highly detailed definition of promising areas of defense industry development with a view to the needs of national military forces. Thus, in 2000 the top-priority goals were development and retooling of communication, intelligence, electronic warfare, air defense, transport aviation units. In 2007 to these priorities replacement of “analogue communication capabilities with modern digital systems, creation of a communication network adapted to the national in-orbit force, large-scale introduction of precision weapons” were added, as well as introduction of modern electronic warfare, control and communication systems, and even “employing the space components”. In 2011, special focus was on design, production, repair of automotive, air and armored vehicles, communication capabilities, automatic control systems, missile artillery weapons, munitions, among others ways – through expanding cooperation with foreign companies. Recently stake was placed on generation of AMSPE “adding to intelligence, attack, firing and transport capabilities” of forces.

Primary areas of international MTC were detailed as well. Thus, Doctrines 2000, 2007 and 2011 refer to China as one of strategic partners. Interesting enough is that the Doctrine 2017 does not offer this prospect whereas later revisions distinguish cooperative possibilities involving international organizations, among which SCO is mentioned in Doctrines 2011 and 2017.


The Uzbekistan military doctrine was adopted in 1995. The Doctrine states that defensive power of Uzbekistan can be maintained among others through development of economic, military-technical and science capabilities, without calling specific measures, though.

The material support of conversion is encouraged – by either concessional lending or grant aid. At the same time, generation of production facilities for release or repair of AMSPE is offered as economics preparedness activity.

The provision stating the need of generating “agreed measures for efficient monitoring of weapon supplies and sales in the region” has indirect relation to MTC but one should add that these measures are required to prevent illegal forces from possessing weapons.

As early as by the mid 2000s, the provisions of the Doctrine 1995 were no longer relevant. The new Defense Doctrine was adopted not earlier than in 2018.

The international MTC in the Doctrine is shown as a tool for “equipping forces with the novelty and advanced AMSPE items”, “allowing their upgrade, repair and disposal”, “enabling cooperative projects”, “attraction of foreign investments and technologies to the MIC”.

The necessity of stepwise MIC development was announced. Integration of military and civil economics sectors, establishment of defense enterprises involving foreign investments and building military cooperation relations with foreign partners were the primary goals.

But at this stage the objectives set for the MIC were limited: ensuring repair and upgrade of MP while only technologies in the highest demand were to be developed and commissioned in production. Intelligence and warning systems, training automated control systems, force management automated system, electronic warfare systems, and precision weapons are amount the priority areas. Today’s warfare is distinguished for the use of UAVs, network automated control systems, robotic centers.

Since, according to the Doctrine, the own MIC is hardly able to master production of these MPs, they are likely to be a subject of the MTC with foreign partners.


The first Military Doctrine of Turkmenistan was adopted in 1994 – before 1994 the Republic forces were under the joint Russian and Turkmen command. The basic concept of the Doctrine was a principle of “benevolent neutrality” envisaged a bit later at the international level by the Resolution of the UN General Assembly No. 50/80 “Permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan”. The Doctrine defined the primary directions of the force development in accordance with singled-out Caspian, Afghan and Uzbek areas of enhancing the military security.

The new revision of the document – “Military Doctrine of the independent, permanently neutral Turkmenistan” – was adopted in 2009.

The Doctrine sees the MTC as a tool satisfying the needs of forces. The underlying principles of the MTC are equal rights, mutual benefit and good-neighborly relations, adherence to international stability and national security interests.

The need for improving the infrastructure “for enabling efficient operation and repair of weapons and military equipment, enhancing its technology intensiveness” was emphasized, as well as the need for generating and developing the industrial base for release, disposal and repair of AMSPE. For this purpose, the research of military technologies is planned. Since nobody’s speaking about generating own industrial and S&T base for MP production, the MTC of Turkmenistan is most likely to be import-oriented.

The most recent revision of the Military Doctrine (to this date) was adopted by the President’s Decree in 2016. According to the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, the new Doctrine was revised “to enhance the defensive power”. As the State Council Secretary, the Defense ex-Secretary of Turkmenistan Yaylym Berdiyev says, in line with the Military Doctrine actual steps are taken towards the stronger defense capabilities, including “upgraded material and technical base of all arms of forces”.


The first document of Kirghizia to lay the policy foundations contributing to the military security was the Military and Defense Concept of Kirghizia adopted in 1994. The Concept generated during the transition period after the “Cold War” was adopted in a hurry as an attribute of a sovereign state, for which reason its content was too generalized without hardly any certain proposals for empowering the forces and forces development priorities.

In 2002, the “Military Doctrine of the Kyrgyz Republic for the transition period till 2010” was adopted. The following is worth noting: first, the Batken events of 1999–2000 of holding attacks of armed Uzbekistan Islamic activists determined the highway direction of the force development, i.e. creation of small mobile mountain troops equipped with the state-of-art AMSPE. Second, in spite of sparse supplies of new AMSPE from abroad, the dependence of the Republic forces on these supplies was acknowledged to be one of the security threats.

The Military Doctrine adopted in 2013 considered the MTC to be beneficial for maintaining military security and in general the way of the national defense industry development. The basic principles of implementing such a cooperation were placement of mutual orders with defense companies and promotion of the national MP production. Strengthening of bilateral and multilateral relations with CIS, CSTO, and SCO was referred as the goal of priority.

In addition to MTC, the military security was to be maintained through stepwise generation and development of the national economics industries involved in MP production. This envisages the networking of repair facilities for maintenance of weapons, armed and automotive vehicles, as well as management of replenishment and replacement of explosives and munitions. Considering these circumstances, the MTC of Kirghizia will be primarily of the import-oriented nature.


The Tadjikistan military doctrine was adopted in 2005. The Doctrine emphasizes that it should be applied to the transition period. The military-technical aspect of the internal cooperation is not largely covered in the Doctrine, which is saying only that improving mutually beneficial MTC is among the objectives of the force military-economic support.

The importance of enhancing military cooperation “with friendly states within CIS, CSTO, SCO, and other organizations” is mentioned in the document not once, however without specifying the exact directions of such cooperation implementation.

Among other issues, defense industries are said to be in need for improvement through development of economic, technical and science capabilities as well. Enhancing the base for AMSPE production, repair and upgrade is also stated, without any details either.


The first Military Doctrine of the Republic of Belarus was approved in 1992 and was classified. Its introduction published in the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic is open to the public. It can be derived therefrom that the size of armed forces will be reduced due to the ratification of Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) by Belorussia and based on the “principle of reasonable adequacy for defense”. Reduction in the size of forces caused “release” of AMSPE that were no longer in demand and were to be disposed of by the Belorussia government.

The new Military Doctrine was adopted 10 years later, in 2002. The document mentions the import-oriented MTC as supplies of finished MPs. However, it is noted that the purchasing policy has to combine both purchase of new commercial weapons and capabilities of repair, upgrade and guaranteed life prolongation of existing AMSPE items available in the inventory. Besides, the Doctrine says about the “use of mutually beneficial MTC opportunities”, “including export supplies of military products”.

In this regard the Doctrine aims at development of the national defense industry, necessitating the accelerated import substitution of primary and double-use technologies.

The new and the last (as of this day) Military Doctrine was approved in 2016. Although it repeats the main statements concerning MTC and MIC of the previous document, these statements were expanded and added. Thus, a series of defense industry activities are said to be urgent, namely “rational use, further development and state support of S&T and production capabilities”, and development of science “having direct or indirect relation to work-out of military topic and elaboration of military technologies”. The most promising areas include development of multi-purpose AMSPE items and those allowing numerous upgrading opportunities and employing “as many home-made component items and hardware as possible”. Interestingly, this is the first time when the notion of “defense economics sector” appears in the terminological section of the document.

Another interesting novelty is a statement saying that political and economic sanctions and embargoes imposed on supplies of AMSPE to Belorussia as a tactics of putting the defense economy sector under pressure is deemed to be an external military threat, in line with risks and explosions.

Therefore, conceptually the MTC plays a significant role. The importance of this tool is growing, the export-oriented trends of Minsk involvement in the MTC is becoming more distinct.


The first Military Doctrine of Ukraine was adopted in 1993 though discussions had started two years earlier. The Doctrine 1993 mentions the MTC for the purpose of force equipment with necessary AMSPE: through purchasing from foreign suppliers as well as through development and production by joint efforts with other states. The AMSPE types adding to the fire power and mobility of forces and “successful”, competitive weapon systems at the international market are referred to as being a top priority.

The national military-industrial policy is in focus too, with its objectives of maintaining the high combat effectiveness at limited costs and creating weapon systems based on preserved and elaborated modern highly efficient technologies: dual-use ones and those of which Ukraine could be a world leading provider. Among the promising force development areas there are high-precision weapons, intelligence, electronic warfare and aerospace defense capabilities, as well as advanced submarines and surface ships.

The second revision of the Military Doctrine was adopted in 2004. As compared to the previous version, the new one expanded the range of the MTC tasks and their implementation principles, stating the need for balanced export and import of the MP and dual-use goods and for lesser dependence on foreign supplies, among others due to production of basic competitive AMSPE. According to the document, accumulating surplus of obsolete AMSPE was assumed to be a security threat. Their selling in foreign markets would attenuate this threat.

The national MIC was acknowledged to experience slow conversion and poor financing. A task was set to ensure the technology and S&T, resource and information capabilities. The force development was noted to be in need for closer interoperability with forces of the NATO and UN countries, in terms of weapons as well.

Despite of the declarative nature of the Doctrine in many aspects, one can track a trend towards weaker dependence on the import-oriented MTC and an intention to manage the export-oriented MTC.

The Ukraine Military Doctrine 2012 states the necessity for maintaining the “rational balance between the international cooperation, export of weapons and State defense order” in creation of high-tech science-intensive products of military and dual purpose. Establishment of facilities manufacturing licensed and commercial AMSPE on the territory of Ukraine is a new proposed area of international cooperation. A task was set to develop the national legal base regulating the AMSPE interoperable with the relevant bases and systems of leading states. Creation of legal and institutional landscape for the MTC is an indirect indication of its growing role in the international cooperation.

The requirement for MIC reforming was emphasized once again. The state support of MIC enhancement programs and “development of the test base and firing ranges” were said to be of high importance. Among top-priority areas of AMSPE development and production the document distinguishes automatic control systems and digital communication systems, high-tech munitions, aviation equipment, air-defense capabilities, guided missile systems, and combat ships.

The most recent revision of the Ukraine Military Doctrine 2015 revises the statements of the previous versions. This revision had been largely contributed from the Ukraine crisis of 2014 and subsequent events.

An individual sector of the MIC was singled out to describe the main challenges of the industry. The major challenges include low efficiency of state policy and lack of regulation and adequate support, destruction of traditional cooperative relations, lack of closed technology chains in production of most AMSPE types, slow diversification of purchased MP and dual-use goods, critical wear of production assets and critical economic and financial condition of enterprises.

These challenges are to be solved through: “introduction of the MIC development tactic planning system”; shaping a balanced structure of MIC; maximum capacity utilization; direct purchase of MPs to satisfy needs of the State defense order; empowering the S&T capabilities; support of defense-related innovations; “introduction of emerging military technologies, generation of as closed as possible loops for design and production of the most critical AMSPE items”; as well as “extending the range and volumes of released science-intensive competitive products in the defense economics sector”.

Despite the necessity of decreasing the Ukraine dependence on MP import, according to the Doctrine, the AMSPE import cannot be avoided since design and production on the territory of Ukraine are economically inadvisable or technologically infeasible. The document envisages establishment of licensed AMSPE production facilities on the territory of Ukraine and cooperative design and production in collaboration with foreign partners – the document emphasizes that the non-nuclear status of Ukraine allows claiming for international support of conventional weapons development.

The NATO and UN states are referred to as partners of top interest. The document calls for reforming the “national security system to match the level of membership in the UN and NATO”, as well development of the Ukraine forces in line with Western standards and a tendency towards the interoperability with armed forces of the NATO states.

It’s worth noting that in 2014 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine took a vote to decide on its non-aligned status determined by the Ukraine Law “About principles of foreign and domestic policies” dated July, 01, 2010. The decision was made to cancel this status.

A new revision of the Ukraine Military Doctrine is about to be adopted as soon as by summer of 2020. According to Ivan Aparshin (the Head of the Directorate of National Security and Defense in the President of Ukraine Office), it will establish the tendency of Ukraine accession to NATO membership. Last February, the preamble to the Constitution of Ukraine already rooted the “inconvertibility of the European and Euro-Atlantic course”. The time will show changes in the MTC role in the new Military Doctrine revision.


The Military Doctrine of the Republic of Moldova was adopted in 1995. Considering the materiel and technical support of the forces, the document stated that the AMSPE were to be produced within Moldova in economically justified cases but mostly purchased abroad.

The military-technical issues are given significant discussion in the Military Reform Concept 2002. The document says that the MTC for the purpose of AMSPE purchase is one of the measures for financial and economic support of the forces. Leasing deals are acceptable.

Considering the national MIC, it allows production of some AMSPE types, component items, spare parts that are “economically beneficial and affordable for the national economics” and organization of repair base. The establishment of this production shall be based on the national defense capabilities resulting from productive MTC and utilization of the dual-use technologies.

The “Provision on the procedure of selling military equipment, weapons and other military-technical assets managed by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Moldova” (hereinafter referred to as the Provision) as revised in 2012 is also of certain interest. The Provision regulates the procedure of selling the forces’ property “for the purpose of timely release of surplus, waste and non-used assets” selected on the basis of some specified criteria. The criteria include non-repairability, unprofitable operation, expensive maintenance, excess in assets. It should be noted that these assets are able to become a subject of international MTC. So, the MTC for Moldova is not only the tool for technical support of the forces, but also the way of making money from selling its excessive AMSPE.

But the changes are coming in this country too. In 2018, the Parliament approved the new National Defense Strategy that was drafted under the guidance of the NATO experts. The NATO Communication Office opened in Kishinyov a year before played a significant part. The main goal of the NATO Office in Moldova is to implement the Defense and Related Security Capacity Building (DCB) project. The project aims at design of the National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy and Military Doctrine for Moldova with the subsequent implementation. This will engage transformation and upgrade of the armed forces, and alongside this – correction of the MTC system and goals of the Republic.


In 2002, experts were brought together in Azerbaijan to develop the Defense Doctrine by the President’s instruction. However, the draft document was not elaborated in more details in spite of being multiply included in the agenda.

Changing external situation called for drawing on new approaches, and in 2010 the Military Doctrine of the Azerbaijani Republic was adopted by the Decree of the Milli Majlis. According to the document the MTC development is among the top principles of the Azerbaijan defense policy. In addition, the “improvement of interoperability and ability to cooperate with the partners’ forces in line with the multi- and bilateral cooperation” was referred to as one of the major objectives of the force in peace-time.

Establishing and expanding military technical relations aiming at purchase of advanced novelty technologies with subsequent generation of manufacturing industries on the territory of Azerbaijan is shown as the essential aid in defensive power strengthening. Such MTC will contribute to development of the national defense industry – first, for maintaining the necessary and sufficient level of defense and combat capabilities, and, second, for “ensuring the competitiveness of manufactured defense products in domestic and world markets”. Also, the possibility of rendering services of MP selling and technical upgrade is under consideration. Besides, “to meet demands permanently and independently”, the document announces the intention to develop local S&T, technological and production base, among others by involving business and private investments in defense industries.

It is an interesting fact that the official web-site of the Ministry of Defense of the Azerbaijani Republic has a section “Bi- and multilateral military cooperation” which lists the partner states in military, political-military and military-technical areas. China is within the first lines of the list.


The Military Doctrine of the Republic of Armenia was approved in 2007. According to the document, the MTC allows strengthening military and political positions on the world stage, retaining relative parity in military and political-military alliances, and in the overall military power of the forces in the region, implementing transfer of the world advanced practices in upgrading armed forces.

In addition to the MTC, development of the domestic MIC through upgrading and “attraction of financial, materiel and intellectual potential” is also of significance. Apart from AMSPE repair and upgrading, conditions are supposed to be developed to favor design and production of MPs, with some kinds of those presented in foreign markets. The top-priority areas of the defense production include communication and intelligence aids, electronic warfare capabilities, automated control systems and response and warning systems. Besides, the Doctrine does not put it straight but the MTC is implied as a part of membership in international organizations which plays a significant role in implementation of the Armenia’s defense policy.

The Doctrine was adopted for an approximate period till 2015, but a new revision of the document has not been approved so far. In July, 2018 the mass media published some information about the so-called Tonoyan Doctrine (David Tonoyan is the Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia) – as understanding of forces’ development and upgrading. According to these messages, Armenia would equip its forces with innovation weapons to achieve the force balance with Azerbaijan.

Despite the fact that Armenia will rely on military and technical capabilities of strategic allies, the focus will be placed on the MIC development to cut down military expenses and minimize the dependence on the AMSPE import.


According to mass media publications, in 2005 the Ministry of Defense of Georgia made available the text of the National Defense Doctrine that is considered to be the Georgia’s first ever document of the kind. The core statement of the Doctrine was the intention of accession to NATO membership, and the list of measures aimed at transformation of Georgian forces according to the Alliance samples and standards, which comprised the re-equipment program.

In 2014, the new National Military Strategy was adopted and proved to be the updated version of the 2005 document. The Doctrine reflects demands of the forces and key areas of their rearrangement. In particular, it implies development of the self-propelled artillery through the fire control system improvement, and development of air-defense, anti-tank, intelligence and data collection systems. At the management level, the document declares the need of expanding analytical capabilities of data processing and interdepartmental data exchange mechanisms.

The White Book 2013 puts special emphasis on the MIC enhancement for the purpose of satisfying demands of the forces. It mentions that the State Research and Development Center DELTA is involved not only in upgrading and technical support of already existing systems but also in searching for possibilities of producing new MPs – first of all, military aircraft, armored vehicles, fire weapons.

The White Book 2014 pays attention to development of Georgia’s domestic defense industry capacity. The need of increasing its functional interoperability with the NATO is emphasized. Among others, it states that as of 2014 Georgia implements bilateral cooperation with 22 states, however the exact areas of cooperation are not disclosed in the document.

The White Book 2017–2020 mainly elaborates the provisions of the previous documents, concluding (concerning the MIC development prospects) that limited financing conditions force to select the directions of higher priority.

The strategic review of the defense for the period of 2017–2020 contains the extended list of AMSPE enhancement directions. It reflects intentions to deplete obsolete samples, to upgrade some remaining samples – the air-defense system, intelligence, artillery, and the weapons suitable for fighting armored vehicles. The depleted obsolete samples are planned to be substituted with systems interoperable with NATO ones. The priority list of the force support areas is enhanced with an item concerning the design of UAV capacity development concepts.

The official web-site of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia, in the International cooperation section, contains the list of states the Ministry develops bilateral relations with.

To sum up, the conceptual documents reduce the MTC role in terms of military security to mainly materiel support of the forces. This area is differently referred to by different states – “economic support of military security” (Belorussia), “technical fitting-out of forces” (Kazakhstan), “resource for military and economic support of force demands” (Turkmenistan), “satisfying material needs of forces” (Ukraine), etc. But still the same phenomenon is implied meaning that the WP import is caused by the need of the country’s forces of this or that certain AMSPE kind that cannot be obtained by any other way than by purchasing.

Besides, the MTC role is to develop capacity and capabilities of the national MIC – mainly, through transfer of technologies. It is noteworthy that Turkmenistan does not accentuate it specifically while poorer countries lacking considerable defense industry capacity, such as Kirghizia and Tadjikistan, acknowledge the MTC to be exactly an opportunity for that, at the conceptual level.

The MTC largely contributes to implementation of the export capacity of national MICs. Traditionally, it is Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine who mark this function of the MTC. It is interesting that Armenia considers this function as well. Other countries either ignore the need for developing the export capacity or distinguish the necessity for developing their national MIC oriented at satisfying domestic needs.

Apart from these three major objectives of the MTC, some others are noted. Thus, MTC is beneficial for enhancing defensive capacity (Uzbekistan), guiding the defense policy at the international level (Uzbekistan), assurance of the military security (Kirghizia), empowering the military and political stand on the world stage (Armenia), maintaining the parity of alliances (Armenia), transformation of forces in accordance with NATO standards (Georgia).

Some statements of the conceptual documents – mainly those concerning national MICs – allow making conclusions on MTC orientation: whether it is export- or import-oriented or attempts will be taken to harmonize the purchase policy. Today, the most distinct export-oriented intentions are declared by Belorussia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine (except for the last revision of the Doctrine where the top-priority goal is to satisfy needs of the national forces, however it does not diminish the role of the MP export). Some other states announce export capacity development too, but these announcements largely remain declarative. The import orientation may be indirectly perceived as a threat in case of overdependence on supplies.

Doctrines of not all states and for not all periods reflect existing actual situations and match it. Some documents only declare; this has to be taken into account and correlated with actual military and technical reality.

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