UK military scrambling to rehire retired Russian-language analysts

Russian troops in UkraineBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
The crisis in Ukraine is causing the British military to reach out to hundreds of retired Russian-language analysts who left the service at the end of the Cold War, according to media reports. British newspaper The Daily Telegraph said on Saturday that Russia’s actions in the Ukraine had exposed significant shortages of Russian-language analysts in the British Armed Forces. The paper said it had seen internal government documents that detailed efforts by military officials to contact associations of retired intelligence personnel in search of qualified Russia experts. The article referenced one recent memorandum from an unnamed senior officer in a military intelligence brigade, which asks retired military personnel to help by contacting retired Russian-language analysts, most of whom are now in their 60s. Other documents suggest that, in addition to analysts, the British military is in need of experts that can help monitor and translate information collected from open-source Russian information channels. The Telegraph places the blame for the shortage on budget cuts implemented by successive British governments on the nation’s Armed Forces. It also faults the defense and security agencies’ “recent focus on the Middle East and Asia”, which is said to have occurred at the expense of Russian linguistic and analytical expertise. The article quotes an unnamed “intelligence source” as saying that Britain’s Ministry of Defense used to offer “extremely good” Russian-language courses, but that “after 9/11” a focus on Arabic displaced Russian and other languages associated with the Cold War. There are also complaints by Russian experts in the British Army that they were “openly derided as being nothing more than a ‘language club’” in the years following 9/11. Analysis courses focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe were dropped from the curriculum of the government-run Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, say critics. Currently, according to The Telegraph, the British military is experiencing a notable shortfall, not only in Russian-language experts, but also in all kinds of intelligence collection and analysis capabilities, which amounts to around “700 intelligence vacancies in the military”.

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One Response to UK military scrambling to rehire retired Russian-language analysts

  1. “Analysis courses focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe were dropped from the curriculum of the government-run Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, say critics.”

    No – the Telegraph article was referring to the closure in 2010 of Conflict Studies Research Centre, a specialist centre predicting Russian hard security intentions – despite the fact that they had foreseen the Georgia war, correctly called the Putin-Medvedev presidency switches, etc. etc.

    See here – http://www.da.mod.uk/colleges/arag/advanced-research-and-assessment-group – and here for a publications archive – http://www.da.mod.uk/colleges/arag/document-listings/caucasus-publications

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