Issue Briefs

What Happened To Putin’s Little Green Men? (From RealClearDefense)

What Happened To Putin’s Little Green Men? (From RealClearDefense)

Daniel Goure

March 22nd, 2022

Moscow’s assault on Ukraine seems to contradict what we had anticipated about how a future high-end conflict with Russia would unfold. What happened to Putin’s Little Green Men, who were so effective in seizing Crimea in 2014?  Although information coming from Ukraine is often incomplete, it is clear that the Russian military began operations with a defective plan, poorly trained forces, abysmal logistics, limited cyber operations, inadequate air support, insufficient precision munitions, and bad intelligence. What are the implications of what we see in Ukraine for the U.S. military and its efforts to prepare for the possibility of high-end conflict? One is the need for more air and missile defenses, including counter-UAS capabilities. Another implication is the importance of logistics. Yet another is the need to re-equip European forces with heavy armor, and the sale of 250 M1 Abrams to Poland is a good start. Finally, it may be that Western cyber capabilities, both offensive and defensive, maybe much better than those wielded by Russia. I have written more on this subject here.

Daniel Gouré, Ph.D., is a vice president at the public-policy research think tank Lexington Institute. Goure has a background in the public sector and U.S. federal government, most recently serving as a member of the 2001 Department of Defense Transition Team.