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Main Intelligence Administration (GRU)

With the dissolution of the USSR at the start of 1992, the GRU became for a time the principal intelligence body of the Main Command of the Commonwealth of Independent States Armed Forces. Following the April 1992 creation of a Russian Ministry of Defense, however, the GRU became Russia's military-intelligence arm. Structurally, the GRU remains largely unchanged from the Soviet era and reportedly has greater resources for collecting foreign intelligence than the SVR. The GRU today is a cohesive, highly efficient, and professional military intelligence agency despite widespread budgetary and organizational difficulties facing the rest of the Russian military

Organisation for Legislative Authority Main Intelligence Administration (GRU) Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie (GRU)

The GRU is the foreign intelligence organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense, and it carries out the functions of the central organ of military intelligence within the General Staff. GRU operations are regulated by Federal Laws "On Foreign Intelligence," "On Defense," and "On Security." The 1996 Law on Foreign Intelligence tasked the GRU with gathering "military, military-politico, military-technical, military-economic, and ecological information." Although the Law "On Foreign Intelligence" does not provide for the GRU to operate inside Russia, GRU "territorial intelligence" is conducted by the intelligence organs of the military districts and fleets, and by other military units and large units under GRU jurisdiction. The GRU performed a fundamentally new role in resolving the Chechnya conflict -- organizing and conducting intelligence activity to support the operation to disarm the Chechnyan armed formations. From the legal standpoint, this was made possible following the relevant presidential edict and a directive from the defense minister. Though sometimes compared to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, its activities encompass those performed by nearly all joint US military intelligence agencies as well as other national US organizations. The GRU gathers HUMINT through military attaches and foreign agents. It also maintains significant signals intelligence (SIGINT) and imagery reconnaissance and satellite imagery (IMINT) capabilities.

The GRU is increasingly focused on target areas, in which civil and military interests intersect. In an interview one of the main priorities of the organization is to prevent Russia from sinking "to the status of a third world country."

The GRU, which is subordinate to the General Staff, is organized into Directorates, Directions, and Sections, which are responsible for the procurement and processing of intelligence, as well as for supporting activities.

The First Deputy Director of the GRU, a post held by a Colonel General, is responsible for all intelligence procurement operations, other than those performed 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 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.

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

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.

The Political Department is responsible for personnel security and reliability.

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.

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.

The First GRU Department is responsible for all aspects of replicating foreign identity documentation to support clandestine GRU operations, such as forging passports.

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 troops. Each brigada includes a brigade headquarters, a signal battalion, support units and battalions 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 direct action 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.

State Technical Commission [GosTekhKomissiya] Gosudarstvennii Tekhnologiam Komissiya

The State Technical Commission, with its 20-year experience of protecting state secrets from foreign intelligence services, has been charged with implementing the functions of an Inter-Agency Commission for the Protection of State Secrets as required by the law On State Secrets. The State Technical Commission is not an intelligence service in the customarily accepted sense of the word. It was created as a permanent body responsible for the protection of state secret and official information, for preventing its loss through technical channels, and for counteracting foreign technical intelligence services on operations in Russia.

The 23-member commission, which unites 19 principal agencies concerned with state secrets, is composed of ministers, chairmen of state committees, and first deputies (deputies) of these leaders. The Commission is directly subordinated to the Russian Federation President to ensure the independence of the from regional, departmental, and corporate influences. The Commission's decisions are obligatory for execution by all government agencies, enterprises, organizations, and institutions which have information that is a state or official secret.

The structural subdivisions of the federal and many regional organs of state rule, enterprises, institutions, and organizations operate as part of this state system for the protection of information from technical intelligence services. One major accomplishment since the creation of the Commission has been the creation of a specialist training system for the protection of state secrets and information. The Commission has also established standards for licensing enterprises and organizations for providing sphere of information protection services, as well as standards for the certification of technical information protection systems.

Systematic monitoring of information protection in ministries and departments, at enterprises, institutions and organizations permits the analysis of the effectiveness of the adopted protection measures and determination of ways to improve information protection systems. The most recent instance involved the widespread use of inexpensive imported mini-ATS [automatic telephone exchanges]. Russian Federation federal and regional agencies, and enterprises and organizations that accomplish defense orders and carry out state deliveries were purchasing imported automatic telephone exchanges. Analysis conducted by Russian State Technical Commission experts indicated the possibility exists of their remote control ("police modes") either for bugging rooms or blocking their operations. Following notification from the State Commission, managers began to assess not only the monetary benefit of low cost but also the operation hazards of these systems.

Criminal and commercial structures are carrying out extensive communications monitoring, using modern equipment which is sometimes better than that of state agencies. There is widespread tapping of cellular telephones of all standards and of pagers, and there is a brisk business in intercepting reports and passing them on to well-heeled companies. The punishment for tapping under existing law is laughable is a relatively trivial fine.

The Commission is concerned with the implementation of the State Program for Guaranteeing the Protection of State Secrets in the Russian Federation. It is also currently focused on draft legislation clarifying the goals, tasks, and organizational basis of information protection counteracting technical intelligence services. The Russian Federation draft law "On Information Protection from Loss through Technical Channels and Counteracting Technical Intelligence Services" was prepared at the request of the Federation Assembly State Duma Committee on Security and has been submitted to the committee.

The Russian Draft Information Security Act aims at covering almost all fields, including:

Administrative and Physical Protection,

Protection against unauthorized access to information in single systems (somehow comparable to COMPSEC),

Protection of information and availability in networks (comparable to COMSEC),

Protection of Electronic Document Interchange, including regulation of digital signatures,

Protection from compromising secrecy by detection of signals and electromagnetic radiation (TEMPEST-like),

Protection from malicious software (viruses etc), and

Protection against threats to Intellectual Property, illegal copying etc.

The legislation will legally protect a variety of secrets, including the operations of state and military, commerce, banks, as well as personal data, microcircuits and digital signatures. Appropriate criminal, civil and labour laws are being developed.

Russia has cooperated with the CIS countries in information protection, with intergovernmental agreements with Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The preparation of a similar agreement with Belarus is being completed. The further development of cooperation with the CIS countries is focused on the coordination of national laws in the information protection sphere based on the "Recommended Legislative Act On the Principles of Lawful Regulation of Information Relations in the Interparliamentary Assembly Member-States."

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