Trends in Russia's Armed Forces: An Overview of Budgets and Capabilities By Keith Crane, Olga Oliker and Brian Nichiporuk RAND Corp.

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* Russia's armed forces are good and getting better is the conclusion of this nearly 100-page RAND Corp. report that takes a look at how far the nation's military has come since the government began boosting its funding and instituting reforms nearly a decade ago.

"The study team found that although Russian projections of its future capabilities are often optimistic, since 2008 the Russian military has become much more capable in general, not only of defending Russian territory but also of launching invasions against its neighbors, Georgia and Ukraine," the report said.

Regional conflicts have given the Russian military valuable experience. It can now project power in "its immediate vicinity," the authors wrote.

Its industry's strengths are armored personnel carriers, military aviation, missiles, and air-and-missile defense. "Russia has one of the largest and...

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