Created: 9/1/1977

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The Soviet armed forces today, accord ins lo our estimates, totalullion men. more lhan double ihe number in ihe US armed forces. The level of military manpower haa been increasing liner Ihe early sialics and has grownalf million men

illion men presentlyin ihe USSR's Ground Forces. Air Forces. Air Defense Forces. Strategic Rocket Forces. Navy, and rsalional command and support structure Soviet mililary Construel-on and Transpor Ulion Troops, which have no direct equivalent in the US armed foices. currently includeniformed troops. Anen are assigned lo Ihe militarized sccunly forces subordinale to ihe Committee for State Secumy and Ihe Ministry of Internal Affairs. In addition to uniformed mililary personnel, anivilians currently work for the Sosiel Ministry of Defense and the milnan/ed security forces.

Theo.iet mdilary manpower over the pastears has been driven in large pari by the continuing expansion and modernisation of the Cround Forces. Additions of men to the Ground Forces have accounted for aboulcrceni of ihe total mdiury manpower growth8onetheless, each cf ihe major forcehe military, cscepl the Strategic Rocket Forces, has expanded to tome extern and ihe distribution of manpower among the services has remained relatively constant during Ihe period

On Ihe basis of current manning practices and anticipated weapons deployment programs, wc expeel the (olal number ol uniformed men in the Soviet armed forces lo glow only slightly toillionhis change will be ledontinued expansion of the Soviet Cround Fortes, bul offset somewhal by declines in the Air Defense Forces, the Strategic Rocket Forces, and ih< Navy.

I on conunpiion to provide about

fhcilitary system

loercent of in total militaryographicowever, will won require some adjustment* in current manpower policiei andrderaintain mililary force* it projected level* Beginninghe number nf men reaching eon*cnption eligibility eachroup that also provides Ihe major portion of new labor rcsourcc*-will bi'iunecline. At the same lime. the manpower needs of both (lie armed forces and ihe civilian economy will continue to prow.

The resulting competition between the two sectors for labor resource* nuy be intensified by qualitative tonwdcrationv Future population growth isec led tohe Central Asian. Kazakh, and Traricaucanan Republics- These republics are popelaled by ethnic minorities who al present

are Jl equipped to deal with ihc lechnolopcal compleaiise* of ihe armed


Wc do not believe lhat major adjustment* in current military manpower Policies would be required lo maintain anlscipaicd manningoviet milnary manpower requircmcnti probably can be met by pursuing some combination of optiom. including knvenng Ihe number of conscription deferntcnis. retaining greater numbers of military career service personnel, extending Ihc term of conscnpled service, and supplementing full-time soldiers with rcservuti recalled lo aciivc duty for short penods. Recenl changes to ihc military service law. mcludingextension of obligatoiy service (or conscripts with higher education, suggest thai Ihe Soviets have already begun lo faceup to the problem.

Whik- some combination of these options probably would enable the Soviets to meei their mililary needs, any of them would result in Ihe military'sreater proportion of Ihe USSR's new labor resources than it currently does There will be resistance lo ihrs from managers of the civilian economy as ihe compeiilion for Labor resource*ertainly, pressures wilt cant within the Soviet hierarchy to reduce ihc sere of Ihe armed force* In deciding how to alleviate ithc cisiban economy, however, ihe Soviets arc unlikely to forgo whal ihey pcKcuc lo be an adequate defensive capability.


Thii report traces the growth of Soviet military manpower levels over the panean and examine, >ariai)Oni in Ihe allocation of manpower among ihe USSR's armed services and mdilary support elements. The allocaiwn ofhm (he defense ctlablishmcnt provides an .nd,calor of the sire, priorities, and rale of change cf the loial military cfforl of ihe USSR. Additionally, the repori disc urns demographic problemsSoviet military manpower planners will face in Ihe future.

The poim of departure for this reportoint study on the subjectplelcd by CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency in' That study was the fini deladed reassessment of Sovsct mdilary manpower since the late luties.

During the next two yean. CIA conducted an intensive reseaich effort lo xnprovc5 estimate and loime sciies. Thn effort focused on irnproving our undemanding of the organization of the Soviet armed forces: and deriving more accurate manning factors. These manning factors were applied to organ national units of ihe armed forces andrder of battle infomuiion. The CIA work dealt pnmanly with data from human souice reports, and wilh supporting information from unclassified Soviel

writings and ^Because most of these sources

provided only low-level or extremely fragmented informalion. estimates ufrganonal units for which manpower data are incomplete (ellect extrapolation based on analytical judgments.

Despite tne uncertainties stemming from Iim.ied information and definitional antbiguttiej. we believe thai our estimates of aggregate imhiary personnel levels accurately portray the growth pattern of Ihe pastears and that thts estimate for Ihes withinercent of ihe actual figure. This assessment, however, ri based on subjective judgment raider thansgorous mimical analysis of uncertainty. Estimates of manning levels foe some units, especially frontline combat units, are thought to be relatively more accurate, while others, such as those for many support clemenis. are less so. Wc generally have leu confidence in the accuracy of oui estimates of civilians working for the Ministry of Defense, because these are based on less data and analysis lhan our estimates for mililary personnel.

A brief discussion of the method used by the CIA to denve itt manpower estimates can be found in the Annex, beainnin* on1

Trends in Soviet Military Manpower



The Sovirt military nunpower si rue lureseven major functional groups-five armed services, ihc national command and support organizations and ihe militarizedforces' (vrcach of thcte functional group* include* uniformed personnel and civduns.

Ihc Tne services arc the Ground Forces. Air Defense Fones. Airavy, and the Strategic Rockcljch ba* iu own command authority with combat and diteel support elements subordinate lo It The national command and support category includesfilling command and staff positions In the Minairy of Defenic, General Staff, and Main Political Administration, and troop* assigned ientral support function* These functionsihe construction of military facilities and the transportation of mililary men ind matencl. The tniUtamed secunly force* consist of the Border Guards and Ihc Signal Troops of ihe Comimliee for Slale Secunly (KGB) and ihe Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD)

Overview ol Manpower Trends

Published Soviet data indicate that at the end of World War II. Ihc armed force* of the USSR loialed justillion men. Rapid demobi-

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Illation broughi the total dnwn to Jessilhonhe sire of the armed forces Increased sharply during the early fiftiesesult of ihe Korean conflict but declined steadily thereafter lo slighily moreillion men in

The last major cutback began0 when Pnmier Khrushchev announced plans lo reduce

the number of armed force* personnel byillion between0 and the end of

his cutback resulted from Khrushchev* dewrc lo change the composition snd ilruciure of the armed forces. He wanted lo deemphasiae traditional manpowcr-inlcnuve mihtatyn favor of smaller forces equipped with ad-vanced weapons systems.

Inhrushchev indicated publicly thai ihc demobilization had been halted lempo-ranly. Some Soviet wnler* have suggested lhat Ihc planned reductions were later resumed and eventually completed. Information from other sources tends to confirm that demobilization did occur during the period, but il is not firm enough to verify that reduction* of thedescribed by ihc Soviet* wen; made.

1 the size of Ihc armed forces began to grow in response to several events:

Following 'he ouster of Premierand whai many observers interpreted as Soviet backdown* in both the Berlin and Cuban crises, the Soviets began lo revitalize Ihevr general purpose military forces.

Increased tensions with China throughout the mxldle sialics created larger demands for iroops along ibe Smo Soviet border

An earlier Sovicl belief lhat any major confrontation with NATO would quickly

escalate to the level of nuclear exchange began lo give way Io (he view that awar of some Juration was

Wc estimate thatoviet uniformed military manpower stood at jusidliondlion of these wen: assigned lo the live armed services;. incLdiiigonstruction and Transportation Troops were categorized as national command and support personnel, andere militarizes, security forces of the KGB and MVD

Today we estimate that the USSR hasillion men in ihe military. The five armed services accountillson. nationaland support elements, includingand Transportation Troops, make up an. and militarized secunly forcessee

The growth of military manpower over the pastears has resulted pnmanly fromexpansion and modernization of Ihe Cround Forces. Additions lo Ihe Ground Foice* have accounted for aboutercent of the total mililary manpower growth during the penod. reflecting the long-standing Soviel com-mitmcni lotrong army Because each of the major force elements in the military, except for the Strategic Rocket Forces, also expanded to some extent8he allocation of men among the services has not chanted significantly. Tnis utuaiion contrasts wills that tn the, when the Strategic Rocket Forces expanded rapidly al tbe expense of conventional forces.

In addilion to uniformed military personnel, the Ministry of Defense and the militarized tecuniy forcesarge number of civij. ians. We estimate thativilians currently are employed in support positions among all seven of ihe major functional groups, up

Growth Pattern of




noui't 3



I t I

, Ail Defense Forcesuo Njry

Smicgx Rocket Force* NiiHinal 1 nd Suppoit Subdual CunUiuciHNi and Tijmpwuiion Troops Subtotal Mllilsii>ed Security Kuicei To lal

Fore* Elements*

Ground forces

The main combat clement of the Soviet Groundhe division, of which there are three types-motorized rifle, tank, and aii-borae. These divisions are controlled by corps, army, and military district headquarters and by an extensive command andhe Ground Forcesine divisions.obilization3 cotps und army headquarters, and miscellaneous command and support elements.

Over the pailears the ground forces have grown by neatlyerccnt-from )usl3 mdlion men to6 million (sec figure

his growthontinuing desire to mjdemue and expand the capabilities ofround Forces, as well as an ad hoc response to international events.

Plans to modernize the Cround Forceswere formulated in theensions along the border with China, however, delayed implementation of these plans. Instead, the Soviets began to establish new combat divisions and to move cxbting i'rmlons to the border areas. Most of tins buildup was completed by the endhe invasion of Czechoslovakia8 prompted the Soviets to flesh out some of theirength divisions, further increasingrces manpower totals.

Expansion and modernization of the Ground Forces probably began6 and continued thereafter, despite dbruptions fromhe Smo Seme! border dispute. Theremerous changes dunng the next sever, yearv the estimated table of organization for motor


Ucd rifle divisions increased byen, while thai for lank divisions rose by. These changes, some of which arereflected in part an increase in the number of tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery pieces al Ihc regimental level. Ground Forces support personnel strengths also grew as training regiments were added at the army level and the lotjistrcs stiu;lure was

Air Detenu? Forces

Air Defense Forces (PVO) are composed of surface-to-air missile (SAM) units, annballistic missile (ABM) and antisaUllite units, interceptor aircraft regiments, radio-technical troops, and several other command and support elements. Their primary task, of course, is to defend the homeland against air and missile attack. The Soviets' emphasis on these tasks is reflected in the large commitment of imlitary manpower to air defense. The PVO is the second largest branch of service.

Over the pastears, activeduty PVO manpower has grown by0 loseehese men operate and maintainAMaircraft, andarly warning and ground-controlled intercept (EW/GCI) sites.

The numbers of SAM sites and theirmanpower rose through the late sixties 3nd early seventies as the deployment of new SAM systems more lhan offset reductions tn ihc number of deployedites.owever, ihc overall numbers of SAM sites and men have remained relatively stable, asite deactivations have compcnsalcd for Ihc con-linuing deployment of the more modemndissile systems.

Interceptor aircrafi inventories assigned to .lie PVO declined through the early seventies as ihc Soviets retired large numbers of obsolescent aircrafi and replaced them with fewer but more capable ones.he number ofsubordinate to the PVO has remained relatively constant, although the composition of Ihc force has continuedhange. Manpower associated with these systems also declined through the cariy seventies bul has gradually begun to increase. The grawih in manpower,airlyumber of aircrafi.from the replacement of older aircraft with new interceptors with more complex sub-


Air Defense


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systems which require greater numbers people lo ensure adequate maintenance.

8 ihe number of men as-agned toVGCI silcs has increased by more lhanercent- Tim growth reflects an effort to ensure more clfectrve command and control of operating forces. Additionally, the initial


deployment of operational ABM units, which began in addedew category manpower t0 the PVO.

AM forces

The Soviet Air Forces art composed of central command and support elements and thice major aviation ele men Is Frontal Aviation. Military Transport Aviation, and Long Range Aviation. Each of these elements has its own command and support apparatus

The manpower strength of the Air Forces has grown from08 tohe increases result primarilyuildup of tactical aviation units and from an increase in tlie airlift capabilities of Military Transport Aviation (see

Frontal Aviation. Frontal Aviation provides tactical air support to the Cround Forces To accomplish this, military manpower in Frontal Avialion-whicfi hasircraft, an increase ofercent overas increased fromo. The growth in the number of men and the introductionew generation of more capable aircraft have enabled the force to shift from an almosl exclusively defensive orientationore balanced mix of offensive and defensive capabilities

Mililary Transport Artatton Hie aircraftto Military Transport Aviation provide the logistic air support required by the rest of the amed forces. Personnel assatned to this element have increased from08 tooday.

The major part of this growthwofold inciease in the number of gcncial purpose helicopters assigned to TransportThe remaining increases reflect the steady procurement of additional medium- and long-range transport aircraP by this air force

Lont Rant* Atiatiom. The medium- and long-range bombers of Soviet Long Rangearc tasked with carrying out air strikes against enemy tan-els in kuiope. Asia, and


Nocfh America- Tbe number erf personnel as-sained io il declined steadily throughs land-ased strategicforceian increasing portion o' Ihe USSR'seterrence mimon.

Over the pas! decade, the number ul men assigned lo Long Range Aviation has declined

Air Forces



slightly lo jusl07 This dc crease parjllrlshe number of an--rill. pailKwiatly medium-rangehe force.


The Soviet Navyide range ofand requires different types of forces to accomplish them. These forces include surface ships and submarines, naval aviation, naval infantry, coastal defense units, and Iheirspecific command and support elements, including fleet and flotilla staffs and rearorgan liaisons. In* addition, the Navyommand and support structure consisting of personnel assigned to positions in the national

Naval Military







navaljpparatu* and in jrjlfut*function!

(Her the past IU years, the numberpersonnel assigned io Ihr NavyItVO.OOO to almosi

en Ite* figure At Thi. relativelyrate. however, doe* not reltcdrapidaval .apabuilir* and through iheSince the middlehe Navy hat heen Iran-formedOrVX on-enled toward defense of Soviet coastal waters tome capable ol carryinganety ofurv distant teat

St/sifc Rocktt foicm

The Strategic Rocket Force* (SHFl areoi operational unili (equipped with me-diumrangc. iniermcdwte-range. and(ange ballistic missiles) and miscellaneous rommand and tuppori element* Createdeparate branch of serv-ce in ihe. the SRF grew rapsdly throughnd peaked atenestining unce thenurrent level of juttsec

Therowih in estimated SRFcaused by two separateIn ihe rail, watm abuildup in Ihe number* of MRBM* and IRBM*or-icsponding buildup in force manpower. In Ihe middle sialics the Sovietsapidu( ICBM iyi(cmt. tho continued ihe growlh pallern and more thanlighthe number* of MRBM and IRBM units5

The main factor in Ihe manpower2 has been the dismantling uf some of Ihe older launch fauJilics-cspecially iheintensive version of theCBMthat was launched from soft sites iowith the term* of the SirategK Arm* Lun.ia-lion Agreement.

Ntlional Co-nmanO and Support

fcrtonnel grouped in ihe national command and support category are those assigned lo the offices and staffs uf Ihe Ministry of Defense, the Main PutiiK-a! Directoralc. and the General Staff

Strategic Pocket Force.


mc 7



as well as Construction and Transportation Troops. Construction and Ti.insportanon Troops, whkh have no direct equivalent in theed forces, account for just over half ofen in thrt category In the aggregate, the number of uniformed men assagned lo national :ommand and support elements grew from87 (see

Four elements account for aboutercent of ihis increase- The number of Ministry of Defense Signal Trorp* rose markedly. leiVciing Soviel efforts to strengthen the command and




control network. Anolhcr area of growth was in Ihe number of Soviet military admen iiaiioncd abroad-an indication of the USSR'sactive military assistance program, rhc military political schools subordinate to ihc Main Political Directorate also expanded through Ihe late as the Soviets sought lo improve the mining of officers whose task it was to ensure polilical conformity within the armed forces. Somewhat smaller gains werein Ihe number of personnel assigned to sensitive operations complexes subordinate toh Chief Directorate, as the Sovietsto construct such faciliuc* through

Militarized Security Foreet

Militariied security forces include the KGB Border Guards and the MVD Internal Troops. The Border Guards are responsible for patrolling the0 kilometers of land and water borders. The MVD Internal Troops arefor maintaining public order and for guarding government installations andfaculties.

en are assigned to these forces. The nature of (heir is relatively static, and we estimate that these security forces have noi changed in siteduring the pastears.


The Ministry of Defense and the mdiurired security forcesarge number of civil-ians. who work in all branches of ihe armed forces and in national-level support positions (seever the pastears, the number of civilians working for the Ministry of Defense has grownoen. while the number employed by the militamed security forces has remained relatively constant al

Our esiimaics of civilians working for ihe armed forces generally are based on lessthan ihose of uniformed mililarySeveral lypcs of institutions subordinate to the Ministry of Defense-special researchand military farms, for example-report-

Ch-UUnf it* Minklry of Drfeecurity Forces. HT7

(iniund Forces Air Defense Forces Ail Fiircts Navy


orcei NjiL.nui Command ind Suppoii Subtotal

Cviisiruciion and Transportation Tic


Mditamei) Seeuitly Forces Total


most lof

The use of conscription to supply most their military manpower has advantages and disadvantages for ihe Soviets. Conscnptionlarge numbers of able*odied young men to the armed forces ai low monetary cost. It alsoarge pool of experiencedreservists who are available for mobiluation in times of crisis. Moreover, the Soviets believe ihis almost universal conscnptionood vehicle for the political indoctrinationarge number of its alliens.

On ihe other hand, ihe reliance on short-term draftees to supply the bulk of defensecontributes to the armed forces'shortage of drilledhiswhich is discussedoviet writings, could impair the ability of the armed forces. The effects of these shortages may become worse as the Soviets continue toiheir armed forces by introducing more complex weapons systems,

Demographic Pressures

The armed forces compete wilh civilianfor young men entering the labor force. Demographic pressures may increase theof ihis competition In. While the manpower needs or both the armed forces and civilian industry are expected to grow, the supply of new labor resources is expected to fall.

The Soviets have faced Ihb situation before. During ihc late fifties and early lixtics, Soviet planners dealtabor shortage resulting from the low Woild War II birthrateseries of institutional adjustments. These includedhousewives to return to work,one grade in (he public school system, and permitting pensioners to work withoul loss of annuity.

The Soviets' treatment of labor problems in Iheemoved so much slack from lite

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labol pool thai the only significant remaining source of new taboroung people niil entering (he work force.ha source of labor lhat will decline in Ihe yean ahead.

Competition between en-hart and military uses of manpower not new to the Soviets The consequences of manpower losses and the low birthrateorld WJf II were lint felt during ihe tale fifties. The annual supplyyearold males <lhc draft age at lhat time) dropped by aboutillion* lo lessillionhe impact ofdecline was softened, however, by concurrent reductions in the sue of the aimed forces. Moreover, during thai time the daft lawmost conscripts to -erre three years. The. meant that shortages of personnel in one year could be cased by spreading them over two others.

By the, the yearly conscript pools, orose loillion for the first lime inean. The cchorl size has continued to rise slowly lo iu cunent level ofillion. Thtt Heady rise in the number of IS-year-oldi gave the Soviets the flexrbdily lo modify their draft7 and haa allowhem to interpret more liberally the provbioni in lhat Uw permilting deferments from consciiptcd service for contmuation of education, famdy harChip. or mo. cal unsuit-abttity. We estimate that over the pastears, the Soviets have drafted betweenndercent of each cohort in order lo nuinUin the armed forces at these manning levels.

In Ihe coming decade (he numbersyesr-olds available each year will fall7 leveu. The cohortxpected to dropigh ofillion8 loillion. and lo remain near that level through the remainder cisee

The USSR's manpower problem seven more senous when qualitative considerations are

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taken into account. The only areas expected to show significant population growth in Ihe future are the Central Asian. Kaiakh. and Transcauca-sian Re publics-arras wherend urbanization have been relatively slow and whereot the native language.of these peoples into the mainstream of modern society-and the armeda poblically acceptableroblem that Soviet planners are being forced lo confront.


Estimates of Soviet mdilary manpowerthrough Iheeflect our belief that existing programs will continue and that new and more complex conventional and strategic weapon syiieras will be deployed. Estimates of the manpower required to operate these weapon systems are derived using cxjsiing manning factors for currently deployrck uniis



predicted manninii estimates for future weapons.

On this basis, we expect Ihe number of men asugncd to Ihe armed forces to continue to grow only slightly5evd ofillionet increase of less.

Manpower requirements for some of the individual force elementsi! in irie luiurc. Specifically:

The Ground and Air Forces, are expecied to continue lo grow through the nextears as additional units arc added.

The number of men assigned to the Air Defense Forces is expected to grow through the remainder ofs new aircraft are added Air Defense manpower should decline Ihercafter. however, as less manpower-inSAM systems replace older ones.

The growth in the preceding areas will more lhan offset the following projected declines in individual force manpower requirements:

The SRF is expected lo continue to lose manpower through Ihe. If newer manic sterns-particularly mobile types-entei ihc force in larger numbers. SRFwill agam grow.

Naval manpower is expected to decline throughnd lo remain relatively stable0he number of men in shipboard billets is expected to decline throughout the period as older units an replaced by fewer, more capable ships.0n expectedin tbe number of men assigned to naval aviation andval infantry should offsel Ihis decline.

Maintenance of these projected military force levels will require adjustments in Sovietpractices because of Ihc declining supply of young men. From ihe military point ofshortfalls of consenpts through.even beyond are not so great, however,adjustments would have to be major.could tighten up on deferments,numbers of career service personnelattempts in the past lo do thisxtend ihe termicment

tne number of full-time soldiers by recalling reservists to active duty for short periods (sec.

Recent changes in7 Universal Military Service Law appear lo be limed at strengthening ihe armed forces. These changes include the extension of required service for conscripts with college-level education and the premilitary train-ins of youth during, rilher than after, working hours. Both of these moves lend to rob the civilian manpower pool in otdet to help meet mililary requirements.

Although the Soviets could meet theirmanpower needs by using someof the options mentioned above, any of these choices would require the military toreater proportion of the USSR's new labor resources. Tha will surely beby the managers of the ctvdian economy as tbe competition for scarce labor resources grows. Certainly, pressures wdl exist within the Soviet hierarchy to reduce Ihe size of the military. While the Soviets are unlikely to forgo what they perceive to be an adequate defense capability, they will face increasingly difficult choices in their attempts to alleviate strains in the civilian economy.


The CIA Method of Estimating Soviet Miliary Manpower

The ClA uses an organizational model-patterned after whal we believe lo be the organization of the Soviet Ministry oferive its estimates of Soviet military manpower. The model has seven major subeiewnts-national command and support, five subordinate military services, and the militarized security forces. Detailed estimates are made of the numbers (order of battle) and rrunning levels of each ofomponents identified in the model.

Manpower levels associated with each component arc calculated by multiplying order or battle data by theantling factors. The totals thus derived arc summed to arrive at the estimated size of the entire defense establishment.

The accuracy or order of battleependent on how well organizational units can be identified and counted. The order of battle for major surfice ships, for example, is accurate because these units arc visible. In the case of air uniis, however, the order of battle is less obvious and estimated aircraft inventories are less certain. The order of battle estimates for many support and national command elements areore tenuous, because there is little information on the size or structure of these units.

The quality of the manning factors estimated for the components of the model varies greatly according to the data available to support them. The evidence on which these factors are based is often fragmentary and sometimes contradictory. Moreover, calculation of manning factors is complicated in cases where unitsiven type are manned at different levels. In these cases, average manning raetors are used

The level of confidence in manpower estimates of individualgenerally is highest for front-line combat units such as ground force divisions. Enough information on most of these units is available to support accurate eslimates of order of battle and manning factors. Confidence levels of manpower estimates for command and support components often are lower, however, because their organizaUonal structures are harder to determine and relatively little information is avadablc on the manpowcr-both military and civilian-assigned lo them.


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