October 2022 Online Exclusive Article

Military Learning and Instruction on Leadership Qualities as Taught at the Academy of the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan

Murod M. Ibragimov

Translated by Dr. Robert F. Baumann

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Uzbek soldiers

The modern commander must possess a blend great professional competence, personal discipline, initiative, creativity, and a combination of social, spiritual, and educational skills and experience to relate with sensitivity to soldiers and their needs. Moreover, the challenge of elevating the combat readiness of small units and large formations, along with mastery of the latest weapons and equipment, demands appreciation of combined arms combat principles and qualitative improvements in preparation of rank-and-file personnel. Equally important are officers, especially unified commanders, who demonstrate high spiritual, moral, and organizational competencies. The commander must serve as an example to all, both on the job and in everyday life.

Originally established in 1995 on the campus of the Tashkent Higher Combined Arms Command School, just a few years after national independence, the current Academy of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan (AFA) was reconfigured in April 2017 and is the premier higher military educational institution in the country. Academy programs cover all levels of officer education and training, from tactical to strategic and from lieutenant to general. The academy has four separate faculties: (1) for the preparation of cadets to receive commissions as lieutenants (also leading to a bachelor’s degree with four years of study; (2) for advanced officers at the platoon, battalion, and brigade levels up to command and staff study at the operational-tactical and operational-strategic levels (master’s level); (3) programs for foreign cadets (four years) and postgraduate students (two years); and (4) advanced postgraduate education, enabling officers to write and defend a dissertation over a period of three years to obtain a PhD in military sciences.

The academy considers the academic discipline of “military psychology,” which focuses extensively on what is termed leadership instruction in the West, to be a core component of its instruction at all levels. As taught to AFA cadets and advanced students, this subject reveals the essential leadership qualities of an officer-commander. Much of the educational content of the discipline is based on foundational writings by prominent psychologists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as subsequent Soviet writers and current Uzbek contributors to the field such as R. S. Samarov and G. B. Shoumarov.1

Beyond psychology, a large share of the educational content within the field of leadership comes from historical analysis of great commanders and military theorists of the past, including influential figures from the Central Asian experience. Examination of the essential traits of successful commanders constitutes a focal point for this study.

In addition, since 2013, enrichment and modification of the military psychology curriculum embraced elements of American leadership concepts, thanks in part to support from the Defense Educational Enhancement Program (better known as DEEP) involving cooperation between the AFA and military educational and research centers of the United States. These include the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Between 2016 and the present, based on a bilateral agreement, the AFA also hosted full-time American education advisors under the auspices of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

I was able to visit CGSC’s Command and General Staff School as part of the U.S.-Uzbek cooperative relationship in 2015 to study the structure, programs, and other distinctive features of a Leavenworth education. The work of the leadership department was particularly interesting. In fall of 2015, leadership instruction included in the common core embraced two blocks related to theory and principles, C100 and L100, followed in spring 2016 by the L200 block on the application of leadership attributes during the Advanced Operations Course.

Since then, the AFA has unquestionably utilized approaches observed at CGSC. For example, in the bachelor’s-level program for cadets, military psychology serves as the fundamental discipline for the development of leadership qualities. In addition to this, the basic supporting disciplines include tactics, the management of everyday administration, fire control in battle, fire preparation, and driving military vehicles, as well as one additional discipline: the basics of management.

At the command and staff level, entailing master’s-level study at the academy, the methodological approach is similar but focuses on operational-tactical studies including fundamentals of strategy; military administration; operational art; general tactics; control of forces; combat application of aviation, artillery, and air defense; and comprehensive approaches to security. The purpose is to develop further the leadership traits of the officers. That is to say that the instructors are required to develop the leadership skills of the officers within the framework of the above-mentioned topic areas. The specific command attributes forming the core of study follow.

Understanding the Responsibilities of Leadership

The most important duty of a commander in wartime is to maintain stable, continuous, operational command and control and operational security. The commander of a subunit or larger formation must clearly understand that the management of subordinates is based on many factors: unity of command; centralization of management with appropriate delegation of initiative to subordinates in determining ways to perform assigned tasks; situational analyses, drawing the right conclusions and anticipating the course of events; knowledge of personnel and their moral and combat qualities; the confidence to rely on subordinate commanders; high levels of organizational efficiency and creativity in execution of tasks; firmness and perseverance in carrying out decisions and plans; acceptance of personal responsibility for decisions; skillful use of subordinate units; and mission accomplishment. In a combat situation, command and control must ensure the effective use of combat capabilities and the successful completion of assigned tasks within the established time frame and under any conditions.

In peacetime, the commander establishes managerial priorities aimed at preparing subunits to repel possible aggression, ensuring high combat readiness, and maintaining firm discipline, order, and organization. The combat capability of the Republic of Uzbekistan depends on high-tech equipment, advanced military skills, and unbreakable morale. The commander is responsible for maintaining high standards of combat capability in small subunits and larger tactical and operational formations, as well as successfully fulfilling all essential tasks of the force under his command. To accomplish this fundamental mission, he exercises broad authority in all areas of activity—organizational, combat training, spiritual, educational, administrative, economic, and so on.

The commander’s decisions determine the ability of the formation to fulfill its mission and subordinate tasks. Successful resolution of these tasks serves as the basis for command and control both in combat situations and in peacetime. The solution provides answers to the questions of “what, when, where, how, and by whom?” to complete the mission while minimizing the expenditure of effort, money, and time.

The complex art of decision-making requires the commander to exercise creative thinking while utilizing various approaches, including logical and mathematical modes of analysis, to process a large amount of information. Of course, the commander does not do this alone. He relies on deputies, as well as staff officers at headquarters, administrative, and subunit levels. As a leader, the commander takes responsibility for the selection of key personnel based on his familiarity with their capabilities.

Notably, Uzbekistan’s illustrious forefather Amir Temur paid great attention to considering and selecting key subordinates. As recorded in one statement attributed to Temur, “I learned from experience that in order to be a worthy amir [commander] and ruler, it is necessary to comprehend the principles of fighting a battle, know the methods of disrupting enemy forces, maintain presence of mind during combat, and direct units into battle without fear or hesitation.” If his own forces are in disorder, he quickly restores cohesion.2

Background on Amir Temur and His Historical Importance

Born on 9 April 1336 in a village not far from the city of Shakhrisabz in Uzbekistan, Amir Temur’s father was Taragaia, an influential amir in the nomadic Barlas tribe of the Chagadai ulus (khanate).3 Temur received training in military skills and athletics from the age of ten. Not long after, he began his military service under local commanders. In the mid-fourteenth century, the tribes belonging to the Chagadai ulus (territory formerly ruled by Chinggis Khan’s son, Chagadai) divided into two self-governing factions, one in the western territory known as Maverennakh, and the other in the east subsequently known as Mogulistan, both headed by descendants of Chinggis Khan.

Face bust

In 1360–61, Temur entered the service of the East Chagadai Khan. After the khan’s death, Temur ascended quickly, proving himself to be adept at both political and military maneuver. By 1367, Temur gained full control of Maverennakhr. In 1370, a council (kuraltai) of tuman commanders formalized his position by selecting Temur as the senior commander of Turan.4 In subsequent years, he became the master of all Central Asia and more. He established his capital in Samarkand, located in modern Uzbekistan, where he gathered talented figures from across the empire to advance the arts and sciences of his age. During his many state-building campaigns, he subjugated territories in south and Central Asia, Persia, the Caucasus, India, and Turkey. Remembered as one of history’s greatest military leaders, Temur’s historical significance rests on ways his conquests shaped the modern world.5

Impact #1. The unification of the territory of Central Asia under a single, centralized government. Although Central Asia would not remain politically united, the cultural memory of Temur became one of its defining influences.

Impact #2. The defeat of the Golden Horde, the remnant of the Mongol Empire in the West, thereby eliminating any threat to the Temur’s control of the Eurasian steppe. This also reduced the power of the Golden Horde over the emerging Russian state and accelerated its emergence as a Moscow-centered power.

Impact #3. By virtue of his victory over the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I in 1402 at Angora, Temur broke the empire into fractions that would not reunite for half a century. This, in turn, provided a breathing space for kingdoms in central and eastern Europe to consolidate, and delayed the westward expansion of the Ottomans to Constantinople (modern Istanbul).

The Republic of Uzbekistan established the Order of Amir Temur to recognize citizens who contributed in critical ways to the strengthening of the state in the fields of architecture, science, literature, and the arts, including military art.

The Art of Command

The commander is personally accountable for decisions and their execution, as well as for the fate of the soldiers under his control. Decision-making, above all the decision of when to fight, like any other human process, has both an objective and subjective aspect. On the objective side are the elements of the situation and the mission assigned to the unit. The subjective side consists of the knowledge, experience, intellectual ability, and character traits of the commander. In his mind, he takes account of the objective factors at hand. To achieve success, the commander must realistically assess all factors. Correct decision-making demands decisiveness, perseverance, mental resilience, self-discipline, courage, clear purpose, and professional skill. He must be grounded in theoretical and educational mastery, and be able to adjust quickly to complex and swiftly evolving situations.

The days are long past when decisions can be made by virtue of intuition alone. Today, science, specifically the study of military phenomena based on precise calculations and evidence-based conclusions, provides the foundation for military art.

A sound decision follows from a commander’s meticulous mental examination of conditions, deep grasp of military affairs, and a refined ability to put principles of military science into practice. This does not exclude intuition and foresight from the process. Theorist Carl von Clausewitz was right when he wrote, “In the supreme position of commander-in-chief, mental activity is of the most demanding sort that can confront the human mind.”6

The commander himself must not only be able to reach the most effective decisions, but also instruct his subordinate commanders on sound methodology for decision-making, entailing clear and concise definition of tasks, transparent assignment of responsibility, and creative approaches to mission fulfillment. Therefore, the skill to organize and manage units is among the most essential responsibilities of a commander. Modern conditions make the methodological skills of commanders a matter of paramount significance.

Recently, the Academy has stressed an integrated solutions approach to managerial and organizational tasks. Accordingly, a military commander must develop the ability to manage the broad scope of his multifaceted duties, both in peacetime and in war. He must be able to apply the most effective methods of command and control over subordinate units. Efficient and timely performance of duties reflects the level of officer training and education, in addition to organizational abilities, employment of advanced training techniques, discipline, integrity, and hard work.

Under the Charter for the Internal Service of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the commander possesses extraordinary authority and responsibilities. Unity of command is a cardinal organizational principle of the armed forces and governs the relationships between military personnel. A commander exercises full administrative power over his subordinates, which makes him personally accountable for all aspects of life for units and servicemen alike.7

This regulation reflects the principles of unity of command and centralized authority, which are confirmed by the experience of Uzbekistan’s national military history. As recorded in the Code of Amir Temur, the first of twelve principles states, “The words and deeds of the commander must be his own. In short, his soldiers and subjects should know that the ruler’s words and deeds reflect his own volition and not the undue influence of others.”8 This is essential for the commander to ensure unity of command.

To successfully lead troops both in peacetime and in war, and to gain authority among soldiers and senior subordinate commanders, the senior commander must possess certain command attributes. These encompass spiritual and moral, military professional, and personal traits. Commanders must be interconnected and complement one another as part of a team. Though commanders are unique as individuals, they must constantly engage their peers in mutual development and improvement.

Spiritual and moral attributes influence the potential of an officer and shape a worldview that reflects Uzbekistan’s rich culture, historical values, and traditions. It is vital that each officer has a sense of devotion to the people as well as a personal commitment to the duty to defend the motherland. The officer should take pride in the national army and accept responsibility for defending state security.

In the words of one historian-theorist, “A relatively unskilled regimental commander, who is completely devoted to his job and connects his fate with the final outcome of victory or defeat, is far more valuable than more capable individuals who see war as an episode in their career service, who are indifferent to good or evil, and skate along the surface of events in an effort just to get along.”9

The military-professional attributes of a commander embrace solid practical knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for commanding troops. Organizational skills—the ability to plan and execute an event efficiently within a short time using minimal resources—are invaluable. Organizational “flair” shows itself in practice. A good organizer knows his people and their capabilities, appreciates their psychology, and can determine a suitable role for all his subordinates within the common activity.

Creativity, foresight, intuition, and military ingenuity are necessary qualities when a commander decides to fight. Creativity entails activity that produces something qualitatively distinguished by originality and social-historical uniqueness. Of course, military history is rich in examples of battles or operations in which commanders exhibited the force of the creative imagination, inventive tactical combinations, and techniques.

One among many historical examples is the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, when the Greek (Theban) Epaminondas demonstrated a tactical principle that has often determined the outcome of combat: the uneven distribution of troops along the front in order to mass forces for a decisive attack at a single point.10 Similarly, by means of skillful maneuver, Alexander the Great in 333 BC at the Battle of Issa lured his enemy into a disastrous attack. Still another case is that of Jalal ad-Din Manguberdy at Parvan (Afghanistan) in 1221. Choosing favorable ground, he introduced an innovative combination of mounted and dismounted cavalry actions to defeat a Mongol army.11

A particularly famous Central Asian case study features Amir Temur in his 1391 battle against Toktamysh and the Golden Horde on the banks of the Kondurcha River. Timely use of a reserve and a strong flank attack brought victory.12 Another important example is the victory of Temur’s descendent Zahir ad-Din Muhammad Babur at Panipat in 1526. Facing far superior forces of the Delhi Sultan Ibrahim, Babur employed firearms and artillery, and skillfully deployed various types of troops to critical points across the front.13

Modern history has also presented valuable examples. In his famous Ulm campaign of 1805, Napoleon executed a deep maneuver to bypass the Austrian right flank and sever enemy lines of communications.14

And, near the end of the Second World War in 1945, Uzbek Maj. Gen. Sabir Rakhimov, commander of the 37th Guards Division of the 65th Army, skillfully timed a devastating assault to break the defenses of the fortress city of Graudenz in East Prussia.15

In military affairs, in contrast to theoretical scientific research, thought must be concrete to achieve results. Genuine military genius is reflected both in the whole and in the details. Amir Temur demonstrated such genius on numerous occasions. During his campaign against India in 1398 and 1399, while besieging remote powerful fortresses at Multan, Batnir, and elsewhere, Temur applied advanced methods learned on previous campaigns to force rapid capitulation. His approach was remarkable for its simultaneous mastery of military planning and organizational detail. Temur expected no less from his subordinate commanders. Though a point of emphasis in the Amir Temur school of warfare, this concern for matters big and small is characteristic of great commanders in general.

Foresight is another vital command attribute in modern conditions, which requires the agile employment of troops in an age of high-speed and long-range weapons, shortened decision cycles, and tense, quickly evolving circumstances. Further, the risk of accidents and the insufficiency of information combined with the widespread dissemination of misinformation calls for heightened awareness.

painting by Wilhelm von Kaulbach

As a rule, all great generals in history possessed the gift of foresight to one degree or another, but for some, it reached such heights that it was the main, most distinguishing aspect of their military talent. Examples from antiquity include the Athenian commander and politician Themistocles, and later in the fourteenth century, the ruler and commander Amir Temur.

According to the Greek historian Thucydides, “Themistocles, after the briefest reflection, was the most insightful judge of the existing state of affairs and best anticipated distant future events. In the defeat of the Persians at Marathon, other Athenians clearly saw the end of the war. Themistocles anticipated the beginning of an even more intense struggle. Foreseeing future events even long before they occurred, he constantly prepared to save all of Hellas and skillfully pressured the state to ready its military.”16 The greatest act of foresight by Themistocles was the realization that the outcome of the war with the Persians would be decided at sea. Though not immediately understood by his fellow citizens, Themistocles’ insight into the future was brilliant.

Likewise possessing the gift of foresight, Amir Temur proved to be a catalyst for historical advancements in the art of war. Though lacking any formal education, military or otherwise, Temur founded and successfully administered a vast and powerful Eurasian polity. In so doing, he transcended the perceived limits of his time and contributed to the formation of innovative systems of governance and combat. Integrating lessons from his Turkish, Mongolian, Arab, and Persian adversaries, he established a model for eastern rulers who would succeed him.

A brief review of history suggests two paths to the development of foresight. One depends on the accumulation of vast knowledge and the ability to distinguish the decisive factor on which to base subsequent calculations. This entails knowing what to count as well as the ability to count. Second, it is necessary to sense the viewpoint of the enemy, to follow the path of his reasoning and decision-making. Napoleon particularly prized this latter talent in a commander.

The Russian tsarist-era theorist M. I. Dragomirov observed, “Extraordinary accuracy in calculation and a demonic ability to peek into the soul of his enemy, to read his spiritual mindset and intentions” formed the foundation of Napoleon’s foresight, though these are not the only bases of foresight.17 The most striking and far-reaching instances cannot be explained in full by these means. Throughout his career, the French emperor was almost always more farsighted than his adversaries.

The ability of foresight requires comprehensive situational analysis, a grasp of unfolding events, the detection of trends, and the anticipation of outcomes. Skillful re-creation of the general scenario reveals specific, apparently unimportant elements in a situation that might be the basis for optimal decisions.

When it comes to assessing the enemy, foresight and creativity are closely aligned in the mind of the commander. When a commander must decide without possessing all necessary information about the enemy, foresight enables the commander to overcome uncertainty and develop a creative battle plan.

Left Quote

Such was the case at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, where Miltiades’ choice of the moment for his attack has long stirred the utmost admiration.

Right Quote

In turn, military intuition manifests in a commander’s ability to quickly analyze a confusing situation and discover the only correct solution. Soviet-era psychologist S. L. Rubenstein wrote, “Generally, decision comes not from the affairs of the moment, or from that moment when it appears in the mind; rather decision is the cumulative result of long previous thought and study. The happy moment when a solution arises represents the harvest of the fruits of all previous work on the subject.”18

Intuition implies a visual component that is evident in the Russian use of expressions such as “military eye” or “military glance” as synonyms. The psychological origin of intuition emerges from the fact that the correctness of a decision stems less from calculation (for which there may not be time) than from perception.

Clausewitz wrote that intuition reflects “not only natural talent, but is above all the result of practiced judgement, familiarity with phenomena and turning the discovery of truth into a mental habit.”19 The visual dimension of intuition relates to the role that special and temporal factors play in a commander’s thought process.

The art of command depends heavily on spatial representation as well. On one hand, the commander must be able to clearly visualize the outline of a plan, but on the other hand, he must have a detailed sense of the area of operations. The commander must master both approaches to the spatial representation of terrain.

Historian E. V. Tarle wrote, “Napoleon understood maps and how to use them like no other; in this he was superior to his chief of staff and cartographer Marshal Berthier. In this he surpassed all previous commanders.”20 Working with a map and compass was integral to Napoleon’s routine when on campaign.

A commander’s highly developed aptitude for linking spatial representation and concept of maneuver reveal a close association with psychology. The instantaneous act of intuition in the process of understanding and decision presupposes visualization. In military affairs, visualization first indicates a sense of spatial relations on an imaginary map within the mind’s eye, a scheme, and the outline of a plan involving possible combinations of actions in the context of essential terrain features.

A sense of time plays an equally important role in commander’s intuition. According to Dragomirov, “In practice, the allotted time plays an enormous part: the loss of a minute can mean disaster for the best action. War can be measured in minutes; often the loss of a minute equates to the loss of a detachment.”21

Time is always a paramount factor in war. Sometimes its role is particularly significant, even to the extent that the choice of a particular moment becomes central and, in every way, decisive. Such was the case at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, where Miltiades’ choice of the moment for his attack has long stirred the utmost admiration. As Hans Delbruck wrote, “Everything depended on this moment: not a minute sooner—in which case the Athenians would have met the enemy in disorder and gasping from fatigue; not a minute later or too many warriors would have fallen to enemy arrows, and a great number of downed and shaken men would have depleted the momentum of the attack, which had to hit the enemy with the force of an avalanche to gain victory.”22

In summary, intuition makes possible a prompt decision based on long preparation. It facilitates a quick, nearly instantaneous grasp of a tricky situation and prompts the right solution. Only long, complex, meticulous preparatory thought and effort by a commander yields this level of intuition. As proven by results, the complementary impact of intuition and foresight yields timely, creative decisions.

A related command attribute is military cunning, entailing the use of deception to achieve success. Military cunning enabled many historic victories, often against adversaries with equal or superior forces. Common elements of cunning include surprise based on striking an enemy at an unexpected time or place, the use of ambush to draw an enemy into a fire sack or zone of destruction, or a well-timed breakthrough into the depth of a defense with a simultaneous strike against the rear or an exposed flank.

Once again, the campaigns of Amir Temur are instructive. During his third campaign against Toktamysh in 1395, Temur’s army advanced along the southern (right) bank of the Terek River in the Caucasus to confront Toktamysh on the opposing side. On the third day, in a famous ruse, Temur directed all the women accompanying the army to don helmets and armor and simulate the actions of an army preparing for battle. Meanwhile, his soldiers made a forced march out of sight to reach a ford where they crossed without opposition or losses.23

Under modern conditions, in the light of the expanded spatial dimensions of combined arms combat and the use of airborne assault forces, potential applications of military cunning increase.

The many roles required of a commander necessitate exceptional willpower. Whether in a combat situation or in peacetime, the commander operates under pressure and must cope with complexity. Spiritual and physical strength, supplemented by psychological resilience and a sense of self-sacrifice, are indispensable to victory. Commanders at all levels are leaders of a team, and the exercise of leadership demands a high level of personal authority.

In the scientific literature, will is an essential ingredient of a person’s psychological makeup, which manifests as conscious actions directed toward the achievement of a goal. According to R. S. Samarov, an Uzbek professor and doctor of psychology at the AFA, will is not some faceless abstract agent that affects actions but is a dynamic and integral part of reason and moral feeling.24

Military psychology describes the command attributes that compose will— self-control, tenacity, audacity, and courage— as enabling the commander to consciously control his behavior, see an action through to conclusion, mobilize his full abilities to accomplish a predetermined goal, and execute a mission under any circumstances that might arise. Volitional strength forms the basis of personal attributes. In battle, a strong-willed commander not only defeats his adversary but also overcomes his own emotions, correctly addresses the given situation, and displays willingness to assume reasonable risks. The personal qualities of the commander complement the aspects of will and constitute their foundation. Working with subordinate officers, sergeants, and soldiers within the framework of unified teams is fundamental. The commander’s sense of the collective mind enables him to inspire and mobilize those around him to execute their designated tasks.


It is important to observe that at the AFA, the training and education of cadets and officer-students, encompasses all academic disciplines, both in practical and theoretical courses as well as in the daily routine.25 The goal is not only to elevate knowledge, skills, and abilities but to instill high spiritual, moral, organizational, and professional qualities of an officer-commander. The people of Uzbekistan, as well as the supreme commander in chief, are doing their part to strengthen the armed forces and have the right to expect that no challenges or threats to international security will take us by surprise. In the current military-political situation, officers must act in the most responsible manner, resolutely elevate the standards of constant combat readiness and discipline of all personnel, manage forces with skill, and guarantee the capability to overcome any encroachment on Uzbekistan’s sovereignty.

The officer-commander must always be mindful that to justify the public trust, the people expect selfless fulfillment of one’s assigned mission; exemplary execution of duties; preservation of discipline, organization, and order; and achievement of outstanding results. As an arm of the state, the armed forces reflect all the transformations now taking place in Uzbekistan. Therefore, the commander must ensure and orchestrate all efforts to implement the orders of the senior leadership of the armed forces. The commander must be oriented to all that is new and advanced in unit training, measure his thoughts and deeds according to the tasks set forth by the national leadership, and vigorously take part in their successful execution. This is the guarantee of successful professional development and the continuous improvement of the commander’s manner and methodology in training and educating subordinates.



  1. Among works by Samarov relating to leadership are Garviylik Sharafli kasb [The military as an honorable profession] (Tashkent: FAN, 2006); Jamiyat va Kurolli Kuchlar [Society and armed forces] (Tashkent: FAN, 2008); Havfsizlikning methodologies asoslari [Fundamentals of security methodologies] (Tashkent: Akademiya, 2010). Another contribution of Academy faculty is G. B. Shoumarov, and Z. Rasulova, Encyckopediasi Tarihiy ananalari, madaniyati, ruhiyati va ma’lumot [Historical traditions, culture, psyche and formation] (Tashkent: 2016).
  2. Amir Timour Institutes, International Center of Spiritual Culture, accessed 24 May 2019, www/centre/smr.ru/win/links. The name Amir Temur (literally commander Timur, as he was known) is rendered in different spellings in different works. The modern convention in Uzbekistan is Temur, but most often in English works it is spelled as Timur or even Timour, particularly in older texts. I employ Temur except where directly quoting from English passages in works that use a different spelling. Meanwhile, amir is sometimes spelled emir in English texts. Again, I defer to the Uzbek standard.
  3. Amir Temur’s birthdate has long been subject to conjecture by historians. The standard English-language biography of Temur, also known as Tamerlane, is Beatrice Forbes Manz’s work, The Rise and Fall of Tamerlane (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Manz places Temur’s birth in the 1320s or 1330s. The government of Uzbekistan officially recognizes the date stated here and marks anniversaries accordingly. Each year the Armed Forces Academy hosts a historical conference to mark his birthday.
  4. A tuman was a territorial-military unit, in theory at a strength of about ten thousand mounted warriors. Turan is an old Persian term referring to a historical region in Central Asia bounded by the Amur River to the West and the Syr River in the south. It roughly coincides with the modern concept of Central Asia, and its predominantly Turkic areas and includes most of Uzbekistan. Subsequently, it also became commonly known as Maverannakhr around the eighth century.
  5. The standard English-language biography of Temur, also known as Tamerlane, is Manz’s The Rise and Fall of Tamerlane.
  6. Carl von Clausewitz, O voine [On war], Book I, 5th ed. (Moscow: Voenizdat’, 1941), 118.
  7. For discussion of the code as a reference, see Gergely Csiky, “The Tuzūkāt-i Tīmūrī as a Source for Military History,” Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 59, no. 4 (2006): 439–91, https://doi.org/10.1556/aorient.59.2006.4.3; Ron Sela, The Legendary Biographies of Tamerlane: Islam and the Heroic Apocrypha in Central Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). Although the authenticity of authorship by Temur himself of the so-called institutes or code is generally accepted in Uzbekistan, some Western scholars remain skeptical and consider its origins a matter of conjecture. Nevertheless, the code does seem to reflect much of the conventional wisdom of the era; Amir Timour Institutes, International Center of Spiritual Culture.
  8. I. Karimov, Ustav vnutrennei sluzhby Booruzhennykh Sil Respublika Uzbekistana utverzhden ukazom Prezidenta Uzbekistana ot 9 oktiabria 1996 g. stat’ia 30 [Statute on internal service of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan, decree of the President of October 9, 1996], 15.
  9. Alexander Svechin, Iskusstvo vozhdeniia polka [The art of regimental command] (Moscow: Gosizdat’, 1930), accessed 15 February 2021, Lib.ru.svechin3a/01/html.
  10. Hans Delbruck, Istoriia voennogo iskusstva v ramkakh politicheskoi istorii [The history of military art in the framework of political history] (Moscow: Voenizdat’, 1936), 436.
  11. X. Kharlatov, ed. Zhalaliddin Manguberdy (Tashkent: Schark, 1999), 272–76.
  12. Ibn Arobshakh, Amir Timur tarikkhi [History of Amir Temur], kn. I (Tashkent: 1992), 328.
  13. Delbruck, Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, T. III (1938), 515.
  14. Delbruck, Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, T. IV (1938), 422.
  15. See P. Batov, Dostoinyi syn uzbekskogo naroda [Distinguished son of the Uzbek people] (Gosizdat’, 1947), 147.
  16. As cited in Delbruck, Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, T. I, 436.
  17. M. I. Dragomirov, Odinadsat’ let: sbornik original’nykh i peredovykh stat’ei [Eleven years: a collection of original and translated articles], T. II (Saint Petersburg: 1909), 328.
  18. S. Rubenstein, Osnovy obshchei psikhologii [Foundations of general psychology] (Moscow: 1989), 115.
  19. Clausewitz, O voine, 458.
  20. E. Tarle, Nashestvie Napoleona na Rossiiu (Direct Media: 2010), 383.
  21. Dragomirov, Odinadsat’ let, II, 445–46.
  22. Debruck, Istoriia voennogo iskusstva, T. 1, 436.
  23. M. Kurganbekov, Istoriia voin i voennogo iskusstva [The history of war and military art] (Talgin: 2005), 168.
  24. Samarov, Xarbiilik sharafli,11.
  25. In Russian, the author uses the terms “obuchenie” and “vospitanie.” As understood in combination at the Academy of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan, these can encompass both intellectual development, including the accumulation of knowledge, and cultivation of the habits and attitude of the military profession. In the United States, we might refer to education, training, and indoctrination.


Murod M. Ibragimov is chairman of the Leadership Department at the Armed Forces Academy of Uzbekistan. He received a BA from the Leningrad Military School and an MA from the Armed Forces Academy of Uzbekistan. He has taught at the Academy for twelve years. His overall service including his years in the Soviet army is thirty-seven and counting.


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