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General Staff Main Directorates [Glavnoe Upravlenie] - 2003

The General Staff consisted of main administrations, administrations and other structural subdivisions. The staff was organized by functions, with each directorate and operating agency overseeing a functional area, generally indicated by the organization's title. During the Soviet era the General Staff consisted of four staff directorates. These were the main directorates for operations; intelligence; communications; and organization and mobilization. By 1996 the General Staff included fifteen main directorates and an undetermined number of operating agencies. In the late 1990s the Directorate of the Commander in Chief of the Land Force was abolished and the Main Directorate of the Land Force and the Main Directorate of Combat Training of the Armed Forces were established. When the Ground Forces (Army) High Command was dissolved, all army units were directly subordinatedto the General Staff. In several years the measure was recognized as a serious mistake and the Army High Command was recreated.

The Main Operational Directorate was the core structure of the General Staff that was in direct on line command of the strategic nuclear deterrent and operationally controlled the entire Armed Forces of Russia. Working with the staffs of each of the services, the Main Operations Directorate drafted detailed plans for strategic operations for the Supreme High Command. Once the Headquarters of the Supreme High Command approves the plans, the General Staff issued them to operational commanders as Supreme High Command directives. Because of the uncertainties of combat, the General Staff continually reevaluated and refined these directives. Its Main Organization and Mobilization Directorate determines the assets the force needs to perform strategic operations. The "General Strategic Directorate" is attested only in a few profiles of the career of Army General Yury Baluevsky, later Chief of Russia Armed Forces General Staff.

Like the Ministry of Defense, the General Staff was dominated by the Ground Forces. In wartime the General Staff would become the executive agent of the Supreme High Command, supervising the execution of military strategy and operations by subordinate commands. The General Staff would exercise direct control over the combat arms of the armed forces that operate strategic nuclear weapons and would coordinate the activities and missions of the armed services.

The Rear Services supplied the armed forces with ammunition, fuel, spare parts, food, clothing, and other matriel. In 1989 the chief of the Rear Services had nine main and central directorates and four supporting services under his command. The deputy commanders in chief for rear services of the armed services, the deputy commanders for rear services of territorial commands, and nearly 1.5 million soldiers reported to him.

The Central Military Transportation Administration [VOSO] was the primary traffic management organization for the armed forces, coordinating and planning supply movements by all means of transport. The Central Food Supply Administration both procured food from civilian agricultural enterprises and operated a military state farm system to supply troops, particularly those serving in remote areas. Similarly, the Central Clothing Supply Administration had its own clothing factories to manufacture uniforms and specialized gear. The main and central directorates operated post exchange, health care, and recreational facilities for military personnel. The Rear Services also provided financial reports on armed forces activities.

The chief of the Rear Services commanded the Railroad Troops, Road Troops, Pipeline Troops, and Automotive Troops. The mission of these supporting service was to construct and maintain the Soviet Union's military transport infrastructure. The Automotive Troops, for example, provided the drivers and mechanics needed to maintain and drive cargo trucks loaded with supplies from railheads to operational units in the field. After the initial airlift of Soviet forces and equipment into Afghanistan in December 1979, these troops built permanent rail lines, roads, and pipelines between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan to resupply the Soviet forces in that country.

Organizational changes in 2004 subordinated some of these directorates to the Ministry of Defense, relegating the General Staff to responsibilities for specifically military matters, such as intelligence and operations. Subsequent to this re-organization, much of the description of the organization and function of the General Staff's directorates applied to those same directorates as they function under the Minister of Defense.

This organization chart is based information from Joint Publications Research Service, JPRS Report: Central Eurasia Military Affairs: Directory of Military Organizations and Personnel, Washington, 1994, 32-53, modified to reflect more recent FBIS information, and the more common and familiar names of some groupings. The current subordination of Rear Services [Tyl] and other Special Troops is unclear. The integration of the Ground Troops Headquarters into the General Staff [and subsequent re-establishment of the Ground Troops Headquarters as a separate entity], along with various re-shuffling of responsibilities between the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff, all have served to obscure current subordination.

Main Directorates [Glavnoe Upravlenie]
Directorate Function
Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Successor to Soviet Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU); collection of strategic, technical, and tactical information for armed forces
Main Operations Directorate (GOU) operationally controls the entire Armed Forces
Main Organization and Mobilization Directorate [GOMU] Conscription, development and dissemination of mobilization plans for national emergencies
Main Directorate of Armaments [GAU] Liaison with military industrial complex
Armor Staff supervision of maintenance and modernization of combat vehicles
Artillery Staff supervision of maintenance and modernization of weapons
Billeting and Maintenance Maintenance and operation of military real estate
Cadres Management of careers of professional military officers and warrant officers
Construction Supervision of funding and resources for new military construction
Construction Industry of Ministry of Defense Supervision of classified construction projects
Education Education and training of cadres and specialists
Foreign Relations Direction of foreign assistance programs and military attachés
Military Counterintelligence Oversight of military security matters
Motor Vehicles Supervision of maintenance and modernization of wheeled vehicles
Personnel Work Successor to Soviet political office, for management of enlisted personnel
Trade Management of foreign military sales
8th Directorate State Secret Protection Service
10th Directorate Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation
12th Main Directorate nuclear
15th Main Directorate BW
16th Directorate




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Page last modified: 08-11-2018 13:45:45 ZULU