Soviet Union Table of Contents
The general organization of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Ground Forces, Air Forces, Air Defense Forces, and Naval Forces at the command level paralleled the organization of the Ministry of Defense. The commander in chief of an armed service was an administrative rather than an operational commander. He equipped, trained, and supplied the forces of the service, but operational control rested with the Supreme High Command and was exercised through the General Staff.
Each armed service had two first deputy commanders in chief, one of whom was chief of the main staff for the service (see fig. 29). The other had unspecified duties. The deputy commanders in chief were numerous. They commanded the combat arms and other branches of the service. Some deputy commanders in chief were responsible for premilitary and combat training, military education institutions, rear services, or armaments for the service as a whole. The armed services also had deputy commanders in chief with specialized duties. For example, the Strategic Rocket Forces had a deputy commander in chief for rocket engineering. Other deputy commanders in chief had responsibilities that were unknown to Western observers. The commander in chief, first deputy commanders in chief, and deputy commanders in chief, together with the chief of the service's political directorate, represented the military council or top leadership of the service.
The main staff of each service planned the operational employment of its service in coordination with the General Staff in the Ministry of Defense. In peacetime the main staff controlled the territorial commands or components of a service.
Data as of May 1989