The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Rus­sian mil­i­tary forces car­ried out a dou­ble flight test of a new sub­ma­rine-launched bal­lis­tic mis­sile (SLBM), days af­ter the Navy con­ducted two test launches of Tri­dent II nu­clear mis­siles.

On Tues­day, Moscow con­ducted a third mis­sile flight test, this time an SS-25 road-mo­bile long-range mis­sile.

Moscow pro­vided ad­vance no­ti­fi­ca­tion for the test of the Bulava mis­siles, called the SS-N-32. The New START arms treaty re­quires ad­vance no­ti­fi­ca­tion of all SLBM and in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests in or­der to re­duce the dan­ger that the tests would be mis­read as a nu­clear mis­sile at­tack. “Rus­sia ex­changed no­ti­fi­ca­tions, as re­quired by the New START Treaty, on two SLBM flight tests,” said Lau­ren Gil­lis, a State Depart­ment spokes­woman.

The Bulava salvo came a week af­ter the Navy flight test of a Tri­dent II SLBM off the coast of Southern Cal­i­for­nia, fol­lowed two days later by a sec­ond Tri­dent II test. The tests were part of se­cret U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand war games.

Rus­sian state-run news out­lets, quot­ing a De­fense Min­istry state­ment, re­ported that the Borey-class sub­ma­rine Vladimir Mono­makh launched the two mis­siles from the White Sea to the Kura mis­sile im­pact range in the Kam­chatka Penin­sula in the Far East.

“The pa­ram­e­ters of the two Bulava ICBMs’ tra­jec­tory were worked through nor­mally,” the state­ment said. “As con­firmed by ob­jec­tive mon­i­tor­ing data, the mis­siles’ war­heads suc­cess­fully reached the Kura test site in Kam­chatka.”

The Tri­dent II mis­sile launches were part of the an­nual U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand mil­i­tary ex­er­cise known as Global Thun­der.

The com­mand re­fused to make pub­lic any de­tails of the ex­er­cise and the mis­sile launches off the Cal­i­for­nia coast, which trig­gered wide­spread spec­u­la­tion of UFO sight­ings. at re­duc­ing its large ground troopori­ented mil­i­tary and shift­ing to more high-tech forces.

Ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese news out­let Bowen Press, an af­fil­i­ate of the web­site, for­mal PLA mil­i­tary re­forms will be­gin in De­cem­ber and in Jan­uary the four gen­eral mil­i­tary de­part­ments will be reshuf­fled, fol­lowed by the re­form of China’s seven mil­i­tary re­gions in Fe­bru­ary.

Fac­ing op­po­si­tion from mid­dle- and high-rank­ing PLA of­fi­cers, the re­form plans were scaled back by keep­ing sec­ond-level mil­i­tary re­gion de­part­ments, the Mon­day re­port stated.

PLA op­po­si­tion to the plan prompted the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion Lead­ing Group on Deep­en­ing Re­forms to post­pone the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the force cuts and re­struc­tur­ing un­til De­cem­ber. How­ever, the plan to re­duce the seven mil­i­tary re­gions to four mil­i­tary the­aters will be kept, al­though the com­po­si­tion of the forces in the the­aters will be al­tered from orig­i­nal plans, the re­port said.

The PLA’s four main de­part­ments — the Gen­eral Staff Head­quar­ters, the Gen­eral Po­lit­i­cal Depart­ment, the Gen­eral Lo­gis­tics Depart­ment and the Gen­eral Ar­ma­ments Depart­ment — will be reshuf­fled.

The Army, Air Force and Navy head­quar­ters will be com­bined into a tri-ser­vice head­quar­ters, and the Gen­eral Lo­gis­tics Depart­ment and the Gen­eral Ar­ma­ment Depart­ment will be merged to cre­ate a lo­gis­tics sup­port depart­ment.

Fol­low­ing the Pen­tagon’s model of a Joint Chiefs of Staff, the PLA will set up a sim­i­lar body with the head of the three ser­vices and rel­e­vant lead­ers to ad­vise the Com­mu­nist Party’s Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, the ul­ti­mate power or­gan in China.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, “de­ci­sion-making will be con­ducted by the chair­man and the gen­eral staff.” The role of the deputy chair­man of the CMC will be greatly weak­ened, ac­cord­ing to Bowen.

The re­port said the planned purge will hap­pen at the end of Novem­ber and the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber.

Com­mu­nist au­thor­i­ties will an­nounce that a group of more than 400 “small tigers” — lower-rank­ing se­nior of­fi­cials — will be de­moted. The of­fi­cers in­clude field and com­pa­ny­grade of­fi­cers who were im­pli­cated in cor­rup­tion.

The de­mo­tions are the log­i­cal re­sult of the on­go­ing scan­dal in­volv­ing se­nior PLA of­fi­cers. In July, China ousted Gen. Guo Box­iong, for­mer vice chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion, who was ac­cused of tak­ing pay­offs in ex­change for pro­mot­ing PLA of­fi­cers.

Con­tact Bill Gertz on Twit­ter at @Bil­lGertz.

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