Editor’s Note: The following piece was submitted by SOFREP reader and Former United States Marine Julian McBride. A million thanks to Julian for his contribution. 

A Western Military Tradition

The Non-Commissioned Officer Corps has been a Western military standard in maintaining unit cohesion and professionalism. Training enlisted members to have effective small-unit leadership has had great effects in conventional warfare and in peacetime settings.

One of the core aspects of small unit leadership in the US military has been the NCOs, who have learned critical decision-making abilities to save lives and continue to run the operational tempo in battalions smoothly. In Russia, the complete opposite has taken place.

With NCOs being non-existent in the Russian Armed Forces, their organization has incorporated undisciplined junior officers who are forced to recognize heavy top-down orders from senior officers with ties to the oligarchy system of government Putin’s federation has implemented.

During their ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Russian officers have made head-scratching decisions that can be correlated to the forced directives of their Ministry of Defense (MOD). World War One and Two tactics of frontal assaults have been seen on the battlefield, particularly in battles such as Soledar, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and others.

The unnecessary amount of casualties Russian Forces have taken in the past year has severely hampered their offensive capabilities. Even with the capture of strategically important cities such as Mariupol and Severodonetsk, the victories have been pyrrhic due to the need to rush timelines to capture territory at the behest of MOD.

Moscow rarely conducts large-scale offensives, as seen in the first months of the war, and now relies heavily on localized offensives, often conducted by the Wagner Group, as RF (Russian Federation) forces have become extremely weakened. With localized offensives seen in cities such as Bakhmut, Soledar, and Kremmina, NCOs could’ve played a major role in organizational conduct. Lacking them has led to officers making inane decisions and mistakes often repeated continuously.

Russian Officers have orders to push their men to certain death and often do not challenge their orders. With non-commissioned officers, their small unit leadership and their critical thinking abilities allow them to suggest different methods of approach with their platoon leaders—led by a company grade officer such as a First and Second Lieutenant.