Kazakstan Table of Contents
In 1992 Kazakstan adopted a three-stage defense doctrine, calling for creation of administrative, command, and support organizations in 1992, restructuring of field forces between 1993 and 1996, and a modernization process leading to establishment of a fully professional military force by 2000. In 1992 Minister of Defense Sagadat Nurmagambetov abandoned the last goal as impractical, calling rather for a combination of conscripts and contract service personnel. In the summer of 1994, Kazakstan's Institute for Strategic Studies called for the complete abandonment of the official defense doctrine. The existing doctrine was criticized for being based on outmoded Soviet precepts that combined fear of hostile military encirclement with a commitment to peace that approached pacificism.
The institute argued that Kazakstan should instead base its defense policies on the assumption that the republic likely would find itself amid border confrontations involving CIS nations, an expansionist China, and Islamic neighbors with enhanced power and ambition. To prepare for such events, the institute recommended de-emphasizing military development and instead pursuing multinational defense agreements along the lines of Nazarbayev's proposed Euro-Asian Union or, absent that, a military alliance with Russia and active pursuit of NATO membership. Kazakstan became a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace in 1994.
Following the appearance of the institute's evaluation, the Ministry of Defense has acknowledged that the second of its original goals--restructuring of field forces by 1996--likely could not be achieved. This admission meant that Kazakstan's dependence upon Russia likely would become even greater. In January 1995, the two countries signed agreements committing them to creation of "unified armed forces." To deflect criticism that such an agreement was inimical to national sovereignty, Nazarbayev likened the new arrangement to the Warsaw Pact and NATO, as distinct from the formation of a single armed force. At the same time, Russia formally took up shared responsibility for patrol of Kazakstan's international borders (under a nominally joint command), which in practice meant the border with China.
Data as of March 1996