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Soviet Union

General Staff

The General Staff has been the center of professional military thought in the Soviet Union. Like the Ministry of Defense, the General Staff has been dominated by the Ground Forces. In 1989 the chief, two first deputy chiefs, and three deputy chiefs of the General Staff were all Ground Forces officers. The General Staff had five main directorates and four directorates. They performed strategic and operational research and planning, provided strategic military intelligence and analysis to the Defense Council, dealt with foreign military attachés, and gave occasional press briefings on political-military issues.

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 three combat arms of the armed forces that operate strategic nuclear weapons and would coordinate the activities and missions of the five armed services.

Data as of May 1989