With the collapse of the original CIS in 1992, Russia established a separate Ministry of Defense and military establishment upon the wreckage of the Soviet armed forces. Still formidable in terms of weapons and equipment, the Russian armed forces reached a low state of morale and effectiveness in 1993, "hollowed" by lowmanning, the failure of draft calls, diversion to survival tasks rather than training, and lack of discipline. In the following years, military reforms were undertaken. The first phase, completed by the end of 1998, involved reorganization of the military command structure, redistricting, and troop reductions. The second phase, slated for completion in 2001, focused on equipment modernization and operational readiness. Readiness was also improved by 1999 military exercises in response to the NATO bombing of Serbia following hostilities in Kosovo.
In 2002 active Russian armed forces numbered 988,100 personnel including 100,000 women. The reservists numbered some 20,000,000. Strategic deterrent forces have approximately 149,000 personnel, including the strategic missile force troops. The army of 321,000 has a formidable weapons inventory: over 21,000 main battle tanks, 25,975 armored infantry vehicles, 20,746 towed and self-propelled artillery pieces, and 1,700 attack and transport helicopters. Russia has assumed the responsibility of the Soviet Union to reduce by treaty its strategic arsenal and conventional forces in Europe but remains the world's second most formidable nuclear nation. Russia's nuclear arsenal is estimated at 12,000–19,000 strategic and non-strategic weapons.
The Russian navy has surrendered little of its strength to the break-away republics. The navy numbers 171,500 personnel. It controls 53 attack and other types of submarines, 32 principal surface combatants (including 1 carrier and 7 cruisers), 88 patrol and coastal combatants, 60 mine warfare ships and craft, and more than 436 support vessels. The naval air arm of 35,000 has 217 combat aircraft and 102 armed helicopters. Naval infantry and coastal defense forces (designed for naval base defense) deploy 9,500 troops with ground combat artillery and missile weapons.
Russia's air force consists of a long-range aviation command, a tactical aviation command, military transport aviation command, training schools and operational combat units. As of 2002, personnel numbered 184,600. The principal weapons systems remain MiG and Su fighters and fighter-attack aircraft and armed helicopters.
There are 409,100 paramilitary forces assigned to specialized security functions for border protection, river patrols, customs duties, installation and plant protection, transportation security, riot duty, and internal security. Border guards number around 140,000 and interior troops number 151,1000.
Although Russia has scaled back the Soviet Union's defense forces, the Russian armed forces still maintain a global presence. In addition to troops remaining in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Tajikistan, Russia maintains military missions or units in the Ukraine, Syria, and Africa. Russian units participated in five peacekeeping operations in the region and supported the UN in ten separate missions. Defense spending in 1998 was an estimated $55 billion, or 5% of GDP.