Organization of the Main Intelligence Administration (GRU)
Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie (GRU)
The GRU, which is subordinate to the General Staff, is organized into Directorates, Directions, and Sections, which are responsible for the proccurement and processing of intelligence, as well as for supporting activities.
First Deputy Director
The First Deputy Director of the GRU, a post held by a Colonel General, is responsible for all intelligence procurement operations, other than those peformed by other main directorates. In addition to a number of subordinate Directorates, four Directions report to the First Deputy Director:
- First Direction is responsible for agent intelligence in the Moscow region
- Second Direction was responsible for agent intelligence in Berlin
- Third Direction is responsible for national liberation movements
- Fourth Direction carries out agent operations from Cuban territory
The First Directorate (agent intelligence) consisted, in the mid-1980's, of five Directions, each of which was responsible for collection in European countries. Each Direction included a separate Section covering an individual country.
The Second Directorate (front intelligence) includes a number of Directions responsible for operational intelligence collection and dissemination in the Western Hemisphere.
- First Direction controls tactical level reconnaissance.
- Second Direction manages agent recruitment and the development of agent networks in or adjacent to areas of wartime responsibility.
- Third Direction is responsible for spetsnaz operations within target countries.
- Fourth [Information] Direction is responsible for intelligence collection management and analysis.
- Fifth Direction is responsible for signals (SIGINT) and electronic [ELINT].
- Sixth Direction special purpose [osnazovtsi] signals troops are responsible for special signals
- Seventh Direction is responsible for ciphers and communications security.
The Third Directorate includes a number of Directions responsible for operational intelligence collection and dissemination in Asia.
The Fourth Directorate includes a number of Directions responsible for operational intelligence collection and dissemination in Africa and the Middle East.
The Fifth Directorate manages operational intelligence, and intelligence organizations within fronts, fleets, and military districts. In the army, all of the chiefs of the military district intelligence fall under the command of the Fifth Directorate head. And fleet intelligence officers (Naval Staff Second Directorate Chiefs) are under the control of naval intelligence, which in turn falls under the Fifth Directorate of the GRU.
The Sixth Directorate, headed by a Lieutenant General, is responsible for electronic intelligence. This includes clandestine collection from embassies in foreign states, as well as Electronic Intelligence Regiments which are directly subordinated to the Sixth Directorate, which also controls the activities of electronic intelligence assets which are organic to land, sea and air combatant forces.
Cosmic Intelligence Directorate
The Cosmic Intelligence Directorate is responsible for space-based intelligence collection. It includes activities at launch sites, a variety of research institutes, and a central coordinating facility.
The Chief of Fleet Intelligence, an office held by a Vice Admiral, is a Deputy of the GRU Director, although operational tasking and coordination is conducted through the Fifth Directorate. Fleet Intelligence consists of five Directorates:
- Northern Fleet Intelligence Directorate
- Pacific Fleet Intelligence Directorate
- Black Sea Fleet Intelligence Directorate
- Baltic Fleet Intelligence Directorate
- Fleet Cosmic Intelligence Directorate, responsible for space-based ocean surveillance
Chief of Information
The Chief of Information, a Colonel General, is responsible for the Information Service, responsible for intelligence processing.
- The Information Command Post tasks and receives agent reports, technical collection data from overhead systems, as well as from other GRU sources.
- The Institute of Information studies open source materials.
The Seventh Directorate is responsible for all aspects of NATO, and includes six Directions covering specific topical areas.
The Eighth Directorate conducts studies of individual countries, both in the NATO region and around the world.
The Ninth Directorate conducts studies of foreign military technology, in close coordination with the domestic armaments industry. It is concerned with both copying and countering potential adversary weapons systems, and engages in foreign materiel acquisition and exploitation.
The Tenth Directorate covers military economics, including foreign military production and sales, as well as economic security related issues.
The Eleventh Directorate is focused on strategic nuclear questions, including assessments of the readiness and alert levels of potential adversaries, as well as support to arms control negotiations.
The scope of activities of the Twelfth Directorate remain obscure.
Political Section Deputy Director
The Political Department is responsible for personnel security and reliability.
Deputy Director for Personnel
The Personnel Directorate is responsible for the recruitment, training and professional development of GRU staff.
The Administrative/Technical Directorate is responsible for financial management, including foreign currencies and other valuable items of use in international operations.
The Financial Directorate is responsible for domestic financial management, excluding foreign operations.
Operational Technical Directorate
The Operational Technical Directorate, headed by a Lieutenant General, is responsible for the development of intelligence collection systems. Work is conducted at several scientific institutes and enterprises.
First GRU Deparment
The First GRU Deparment is responsible for all aspects of replicating foreign identity documentation to support clandestine GRU operations, such as forging passsports.
Eight GRU Department
The Eight Department is responsible for the security of internal GRU communications.
The Archives Department maintains the records of the GRU, including files on personnel, as well as foreign assets and targets.
The staff of each military district, group of forces and fleet also includes an intelligence directorate [Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie RU], which is subordinated to the GRU. In turn, lower echelons, such as an Army or Flotilla are also supported by an Intelligence Department [RO]. Within ground forces armies, each division includes a reconnaissance battalion, which includes scout and electronic intelligence elements.
The GRU does not have any special-purpose large units, units, or subunits that are
directly under the jurisdiction of the GRU. They are all part of the military districts and the fleets, and in operational terms are subordinate to the relevant commanders. During the Soviet period, the basic operational spetsnaz unit was the brigada or brigade. Virtually every military district (MD) was assigned one spetsnaz brigade of 900 to 2,000 spetsnazovtsi. Each brigada includes a brigade headquarters, a signal battalion, support units and battalions (otriadi) of variable composition, ranging from fewer than 200 to over 200 soldiers.
As of mid-1992, GRU special-operations groups remained trained to operate in 3-7 man groups for intelligence-gathering and directaction missions in enemy rear areas. They likely are assigned missions in interethnic conflict areas, as well. Their prominent role in the new Russian mobile force components now being planned (comprising largely airborne, naval infantry, air assault and transport aviation) seems assured.
Sources and Resources
- Victor Suvurov Inside Soviet Military Intelligence [Macmillan, New York, 1984]. The former spetsnaz officer Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun [aka "Viktor Suvorov"] is responsible for most of the publicly available [factual and otherwise] information on the GRU.
- Spetsnaz Units of the GRU
Created by John Pike
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Updated Wednesday, November 26, 1997 5:56:23 PM