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Soviet Union


Although the party formulated doctrine and policy, military science--the study and practice of armed conflict--was the preserve of military professionals. According to Soviet military theorists, military science was a system of knowledge dealing directly with the nature and laws of armed conflict, the preparation of the armed forces and the country for war, and the methods of waging war. It comprised both the theory of military affairs and its practical applications in combat. Military scientists studied and defined the laws of armed conflict, which were said to be objective, i.e., independent of human consciousness. They also formulated subjective interpretations of these laws, known as principles of military art. Unlike doctrine, military science permitted differing views and even debates among military professionals concerning the nature and methods of armed combat.

The principal components of military science are military art, subdivided into military strategy, operational art, and tactics; the command and control of troops; the structuring (or development) of the armed forces; training and indoctrination; military economics; military geography and history; and the increasingly important military-technical sciences, such as artillery science, naval science, cybernetics, topography, and geodesy. A main component of military science is military art, which focuses on the theory and practice of conducting military actions on land, at sea, and in the air.

Reputedly, scientific forecasting is one of the most important functions of military science. Computer modeling and operations research are used to predict the military-technical nature of future wars and the evolution of military technology and of military affairs in general. Forecasting provides valuable input into military doctrine and can cause modification of doctrinal pronouncements on the type of war the Soviet Union may have to fight in years to come. Another key function of military science is long-term planning for development and deployment of the most effective weapons for future conflicts.

Like doctrine and policy, Soviet military science traced its origins to Lenin's teachings on the defense of the socialist motherland. Soviet military theorists credited Lenin not only with laying the foundation of Soviet military doctrine and policy but also with founding Soviet military science. Lenin also has played a prominent role in developing Soviet military strategy. Lenin's belief that political solutions would promote the spread of communism better than would military ones and that armed conflict was merely a continuation of politics by forcible means has relegated military science to a subordinate role. Thus Soviet military science was not autonomous but was, in fact, a handmaiden of the party's military doctrine and policy.

Data as of May 1989