Numerical strength of Rrussia's armed forces

The numerical strength of Russia's armed forces as of January 1, 2003 was 1,162,000 servicemen and 860,000 civilian personnel, Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told journalists after meeting the Russian president.

Speaking of some results of the armed forces build-up in 2002, Ivanov emphasized that it was possible to enhance the efficiency of all fighting arms, especially strategic missile forces and space forces. An important element of the build-up, according to the minister, was forces' conversion to a contract basis.

This year, the minister said, there will be a switchover to a planned manning on a contract basis of army units, above all, stand-by units.

In the opinion of the defense minister, drawing up an appropriate special federal program will help this.