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Russian military intelligence head to keep post, focus on reform

RIA Novosti

19/03/2009 14:09 MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - The head of Russia's military intelligence (GRU) is to retain his post for two more years and will focus on internal reform, an unidentified intelligence official said on Thursday.

Media reports have claimed that Gen. Valentin Korabelnikov, 63, who has led GRU since May 1997, had recently tendered his resignation over objections to a proposed reform of the body.

"He has not tendered his resignation. His service has been extended for another two years until the maximum age limit," the official said.

He also dismissed reports that GRU would be subordinate to the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and said the reform would mainly deal with "streamlining the numerical strength of military intelligence units and raising the level of professionalism among intelligence officers."

The source added that space intelligence and signals intelligence would remain part of GRU's remit.

"All measures under the reform will be aimed at increasing the effectiveness of work," the source said.

GRU is Russia's largest intelligence agency. It gathers human intelligence through military attaches and foreign agents. According to some sources, GRU has six times as many agents in foreign countries as the SVR, which is the KGB's foreign intelligence successor.

It also maintains significant signals intelligence and imagery reconnaissance and satellite imagery capabilities.

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