Created: 10/1/1972

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Intelligence Report

Trends in Soviet Military Manpower


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CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence2


Trends in Soviet Military Manpower

Introduction 1-

This report traces tho growth in Soviet military manpower over the past decade and examines changes that have occurred in the allocations of manpowor to the various military missions--strategic attack, strategic defense, general purpose forces, command and general support, and militarized security forces. While the study focuses on the, the manpowe'r implications of ongoing Soviet military pro-grama arc also examined briefly to chart expected trends over the next few years.

Manpower and money aro two common denominators available that can be used to examine magnitudes and trends in the total Soviet defense effort. Manpower estimates, like estimates of military spending, do notasis for firm judgments aboutcapabilities, but do provide insights into the sizo and development of tha overall Soviet military effort as well as the changing emphasis over time on the various parts of that effort.

The Soviets do not normally release explicit information on military manpoweristate secret. Theestimates in this report are derived from the

Not*: This report vas prepared by the Office of Strategic Research and coordinated tiithin CIA.

order-of -band manning information on Soviet forces that is available to the intelligence The estimates, however, are checked for consistency with published Soviet demographic and labor force statistics.

This report alsoomparison of Soviet and US force levels and expenditures for military personnel for the.




Summary . 5

Total Soviet Military

Changes in Force Structure.. 11

General Purpose11


Strategic Defense17

Command and General Support

Militarized Security Forces 19

Manpower Prospects for the Early Seventies. . . 20

Military Requirements

Manpower Availability. 20

US and Soviet Manpower

Size and Composition of



Tab 1


Soviet Military Manpower

bywith 8

Soviet General Purpose

Forces (with chart) . 12

Soviet Strategic Attack

with chart).. 14

Soviet Strategic Defense


Soviet Command and General

Support and Militarized Security

Forces Manpower, 19

Pay for Various Military Ranks

ercent of General's Pay in the

US and 27


Estimated Soviet Military 9

US and Soviet Military Manpower, . . 23

Comparison of US and Soviet Military Manpower by Major. 25

US and Soviet Military Personnel Expendituresercent of Total

Defense Outlays, 28

Sununa ry

Total Soviet military manpower increasedillion men1illion1 as Soviet concern over growing Sino-Soviet tensions and US strategic capabilities increased.* During the period, Soviet general purpose forces grew byen, the largest increase of any Strategic attack forces have addeden andave augmented strategic defense forces. Command and generalmanpower has increased by.

Within the general purpose forces, the ground troops element accounted for most ofen. Frontal (tactical) aviation, naval submarine and air forces, and military transport (VTA) accounted for theman

The factor having the greatest influence on the general purpose forces manpower increase was the Sino-Soviet split. Starting inhe Soviets movedosture of increased border surveillance to onearge-scale troop buildup.

Another factor in the ground troops increasehange in the Soviet concept of war with NATO. This doctrine changed in the Sixties to include the possibilityeriod of conventional warfareconsiderable combat and logistical support prior to nuclear hostilities.

1 strategic attack manpower has nearlyfastest rate of growth of any of the Soviet forces. At the start of tho Sixties, it numbered

* This report covers uniformed military personnel only. It does not include civilians employed in the Soviet defense establishment.


en, nearly all of whom were associated with the bomber, MRBM, and IRBM forces. ew men were assigned to the token ICBM force existing at the time. en supported the ballistic missile submarine force. trategic attack personnel numbered, of whichercent of theassigned to operate and maintainCBM launchers then in the inventory. Manpower associated with medium bombers had declined by about one-third, while manpower associated with heavy bombers remained about the same. The peripheral missile force was0rop of0 men from the peak size of this force Personnel associated with ballistic missile submarines1 numberedittle over twice1 number.

Strategic defense manpower increased from1 to Within this mission, the emphasis changed from aircraft to surface-to-air missiles as the prime defensive weapon, although interceptor aircraft remained an important element. SAM personnel rose from1 tohile aircraft personnel declined by0 to0 ABM deployment begannd10 men wereto this program. Control and warning personnel are believed to have remained00 throughout the period.

Command and general support manpower increased by aboutercent during theromo. Thisesult of the Soviet effort to upgrade the logistical capabilities of the forces. During the same period, militarized security forces, of whichercent are border guards, are believed to have remained unchanged aten.

Soviet active military manpower is expectod toby less0 The filling out of units along the Sino-Soviet border will account for most of this increase. Through the mid-Seventies, total Soviet active military manpower is expected to remain relatively unchanged, but some structural shifts may Lake place if manpower-intensive strategic systems are replaced by more modern systems andadditional ground force personnel arc stationed along the China border.


During the early Seventies, the Soviets shouldufficient pool of draft-age males forservice. The problem of most immediate concern to the Soviets is the acquisition and retention of skilled technicians necessary to train newand operate and maintain the complex military hardware currently in use. The Universal Military Service Law7 restricts the length of time duringcientist or technician is required to serve in the military. Premilitary training, designed toecruit to take his placenitualified apprentice, has not produced the desired results owing to lack of adequate training facilities and qualified instructors. The latest attempt to keep qualified personnel in the service has taken the form of monetary and status inducements.

While Soviet military manpower grow steadily over the, US military manpower owillionS military manpower roseeakillion during the height of the Vietnam conflict. At the end1 it was down toillion men.

Both the US and the USSRizable portion of their total defense outlays on military personnel.otal military personnel expenditures by eachin its ownaboutercent. While Soviet personnel outlaysthroughout the period at about theercent level, US personnel outlays started at aboutercentluctuatednd thon rose steadilyeak ofercent1 as the US moved towards an all-volunteer army.

The differential pay rates for officers in both the US and Soviet armed forces are surprisingly similar. Colonels get about half as much as generals in both countries and lioutenants aboutercent as much. For enlisted men, however, the Soviet soldier is far below his US counterpart. S recruit's base pay is aboutercent of lhateneral, whereas his Soviet counterpart getsercent. Into his potential civilian earnings, the US recruit makeshird of the average us wage. The Soviet conscript's base pay is loss than r, percent of the average wage in the USSR.

Estimated Soviet Military Manpower by

Tabl* 1

Thouund men


Thojtanrj rr-w

t 4S3

447 BOB

226 ?5 n5


n oSrjtcif max jtV I* tout* thorns.


General purpose forces

Command and general support

Militarized security forces

-Slralegic defense



Total Soviet Military Manpowei

stimated total active Soviet military manpower stood atillion belowillion men under arms at the height of the Korean War he trend has been generally upward with estimated manpowerillion. This increaso ofen occurredecade during which both US and Soviet strategic capabilities grow rapidly.

The largest Soviet military manpower increase occurred in the general purpose forces whore an esti-

Estimated Soviet Mililary


9 1 'j 5 / It


This report covers uniformed military personnel only. it does not include civilians employed in tha Soviet defense ustabiishment.

- 9 -


ercent of tho totalincrease--were addedace Tableage B) . Because of rapidly expanding Sovietforces during this period, however, the general purpose forces' share of total manpower declined from aboutercent to aboutercent.

The second largest manpower increase occurred ln the strategic attack mission. It is estimated that the manpower for these forces almost tripled fromen1 toentructural changes in the missionide range of relative rates of change. The Strategic Rocket Troops, established, had nearly five times as many troops1 as Ballistic missile submarine manpower doubled, whereas total manpower assigned to the bomber force declined slightly.

The strategic defense forces and the command and general support* mission each increased byen, while militarized security forces remained constant.

* Command and general support includes those Military personnel actively engaged in research, development,

testing, and evaluation (UDTSS) as veil as thosewho cannot clearly be associatedingle major force component.


Changes in Force Structure

General Purpose Forces

The reduction in manpower assigned to the general purpose forces that occurred during the Fiftieswith thein the ground troopsthe Sixties. Of the increaseen, ground troops accounted forsee Table. Theman increase was spread among units of frontal (tactical) aviation, general purpose naval forces, and military transport aviation. The most important factor influencing the Soviet decision to expand general purpose forces during the Sixties was the deteriorating relations with China.

For the first few years following the Sino-Soviet splithe Soviets addedew troops to their garrisons along the Chinese border. When the buildup began5 the Soviets had someow-strength divisions opposite China. By the end8 there wore at leastivisions (most of which were under strength) along the Chinese border and in Mongolia. All told, the Soviets have addeden to their forces in the ground mission opposite China.

Another factor which influenced the buildup of Soviet ground troopshange in the Soviet concept ofar with NATO might be fought. In the Sixties, Soviet strategists began to discuss the possibility that conventional warfare could precede general nuclear war in central Europe. This revision of war doctrine called for modifications to the ground forces. The Soviets, therefore, began to strengthen their ground force supporting units, particularly artillery units which would be needed to break through NATO defenses during the nonnuclear phase of war.

Frontal aviation manpower grew relatively slowly1ut as the buildup on the Sino-Soviet border continued, this force expanded rapidly The total number of combat air-

- 11 -


Estimated Soviet General Purpose Forces





JCG tfllpl


j via Ikin








Thousand mon


7 Mtdyear

- 12 -SECrfET


craft grew from5 tohile the number on the China border increased byircraft. otal of0 men has been added to frontal aviation

General purpose naval forces showed an increase of0 mens the force was strengthened by additional guided missile cruisers and destroyers, cruise missile submarines, bombers, and reconnaissance aircraft. The largest sharo oflace in naval aviation whereircraft were added. The total number of minor surface combatants in the Soviet navy declined during the period, but tho number of major surface combatants with their larger crewsso that no significant change occurred in the total manpower level for surface ships.

The number of Soviot general purpose submarines declined1 Because of the larger crows in the more modern submarines, however, manpower associated with the generalsubmarine fleet increased during the period0

1he number of personnel assigned to naval infantry brigades increased by anen. This brought the force to some

During the, military transport aviation (VTA) manpower increased bys the force changed from one composed almost entirely of light and extra-light transport aircraft capable oforoops to oneubstantial number of medium transports with an average capacityen. VTA is just beginning to buildorce of heavy transports. These aircraft are able toen each. The size of theopter fleet hashe Sovietselicopters in the VTA and1 the number was up.


Estimated Soviel Strategic Attack



Mediumvy bombcn


In'wcontinPiUI mluiWt* 3


ol rottrwjtng. fomoonrnnot aOd ro toiaU lhorm.

na command and support pc> aonflef



Strategic Attack

1 the number of men in the Sovietattack forces has grown rapidly. umber of major changes in force organization and mission have accompanied the increase in manning. oviet strategic attack forces were concentrated onstrike missions and accounted forercent of total military manpower. he force had an intercontinental attack capability comparable to that of the OS and accounted forercent of total Soviet military manpower.

The strategic attack mission includeden0 of whom were associated withRBM and IRBM launchers deployed and0 with theedium bombers in operation (see Table 3, at left). 0 men were assigned to the Soviet heavy bomberconsistingombers. The token forceCBM launchers requireden to operate and maintain. Finally, the small ballistic missile submarine fleet includeden.

During the Sixties the Soviets greatly expanded their strategic attack forces. Byheir land-based peripheral missile forces numbered0 men as the number of launchers (including the SS-lls in the western USSR MRBM and IRBM belt). Tho medium bomber force had declinedircraft,eduction of associated manpower tond the long-range bomber force remained at about the same level. ICBM manpower, however, grew toroops to operateand-based launchers then in the inventory. The ballistic missile submarine fleet expanded during the period byubmarines,orce0 men.

Although tho number of mon in the Soviet ICBM force increased substantially, the ratio of men per launcher dropped as more modern missiles were added to the force. It tooken1 to support eachauncher. This figure includes men both at the launch site and at command and support complexes. In the mid-Sixties, with the



Estimated Soviel Strategic Defense


? Mkivdur










, ote: Onttui* oltoorrting. coovooiot, nwner *Wio IOtrtl, ,hown

- 16



addition ofndCBMs, the ratio declined

toen per launcher. ith the

ndissiles in the force, .the

ratio had declineden per launcher. This

reduction in personnel was made possiblo by the switch

from cryogenic to storable liquid fuels and by the

more easily serviced components in the later generation missiles.

The Soviet peripheral missile force was larger1 than it waeut the peak size of this force was reached At that time, the force0 men andRBMRBM launchers. he force had been reduced0 men andS-4s,S-5b,S-lls.

In recent years, SS-lls have been deployed at MRBM and IRBM locations in the western USSR. en manned theaunchers at these locations.1 thereaunchers anden in this role. Those figures resultatio ofen per launcher, and if additionalndilos are'" deactivated and replaced with SS-lls, the ratio of men per launcher for the total peripheral missile force will fall further.

Tho Soviets did not add any now types of aircraft to their long-range bomber force, and the number of men in the force remained in directto the number of aircraft. If the Soviets replace some of their current bombers with more sophis-ticutod ones requiring more personnel per aircraft for operations and maintenance, total aircraft manpower will go up even if the number of aircraft remainsconstant.

Strategic Defense

For Soviet strategic defense forces,eriod was one of overall growth in manpower as the composition of the force gradually shifted from manned interceptors to missiles (see Tmblot left). At the beginning of the period the Soviets had almost



nterceptor aircraft in operation andurfacR-to-air missile sites. 1 thetotal had fallen to justircraft and the SAM force increasedites. he Soviets had begun deployment of an antiballistic missile system.

The decline ofperational interceptors duringeriod enabled associated manpower to be reduced. The inventory ofagots andrescos was reducedircrafta supporting force of0 monircraft0 men At the same time new aircraft such as the Firebar and Fiddler and later the advanced Flagon and Foxbat interceptors required0 additional personnelet decrease in interceptor-related manpower of0 men. Because these newer aircraftmore sophisticated electronics and armaments, the average number of men required to operate and maintain an aircraft has increased.

Although the Soviets have been involved in the research and development phase of an antiballistic missile force since the mid-Fifties, it was not7 that the first major item of equipment was deployed. In thaten were assigned to two Hen House missile detection radar sites. BM-associated manpower had grown tover half of which was assigned to thealosh launch sites around Moscow.

Little is known of the Soviet antisatelliteood deal of testing of antisatellite systems has taken place, but the extent of operational deployment is presently conjectural. Operational deployment began7 with two large satellite-tracking radars manned byen. he force had grown to an estimated six radarsen. Because the antisatellite missile launchers for the force have not yet been identified, this estimate does not include any manning for such launchers.


Command and General Support

The personnel in the command and general support mission are those who have not been identified with any sinqle force component. Soviet command and qen-eral support manpower is estimated at 1 the force had grown toercenttraining establishments and central signal, supply, medical, transport, and construction services for the military were expanded (see Tableelow).

Taw* 5

Estimated Soviet Command and General Support and Militarized Security Forces

Co*Trm*od *nrf

gemti wpport* iccuriiy



* tntfudci tnttitwr pwvtrvwt sKttwfy tvrgwjTft/ in rc&ttfcft. dtvti&pfncnt, rciTi/w,n

worse j.

Militarized Security Forces

In addition to the personnel in Soviet ground, naval, and air units, there arc somesecurity troops, most of whom are border guards. Theseborder security and perform special guard functions. The size of the force has apparently remainedstable


Manpower Prospects for tlie Early Seventies

Military Requirements

Analysis of ongoing Soviet military programs indicates that this year's total Soviet activemanpower has increased by less0 Nearly all of this increase will be in the general purpose ground forces as the filling out of units in the areas adjacent to China Manpower for strategic attack anddefense forces is expected to showlight increaseesult of some additionalmissile systems activated during the year and the continuing deployment of the SA-5.

The number of people on active military duty in the USSR will probably remain relativelythrough the mid-Seventiesumber of structural changes within the armed forces are expected. If deployment of forces to the Sino-Soviet border continues at the expected rate over the next few years, it could adden to Soviet forces in the ground mission. The deactivation of the relatively manpower-intensive SS-4s, SS-7s, andhrough the mid-Seventies, on the othor hand, could reduce strategic attack manpower Also, phaseout of older model aircraft and surface-to-air missiles could reduce strategic defense manpower by about0 in the same period.

Manpower Availability

An adequate supply of draft-age males will most likely fill most of the needs of the militaryin the early Seventies. During the, total Soviet population increased by aboutercent while the populationyear-old males more than doubled. 1 there wereear-old males subject to conscription under the terms of the Soviet Universal Military Service Law of his figure is expected to heillion.


Despite this pool of eligible manpower, the law has made it more difficult for the military services to get and retain skilled technicians." One provision of the law restricts the length ofcientist or technician is required to serve to two to three years if called up as an officer and to one year if inducted as an enlisted man. Under the old law, the time of service was indefinite.

Another provision of7 law reduces- the time of obligatory service by one year. This has reduced the training time available for conscripts to learn to operate and maintain the increasingly complex inventory of military equipment in the Soviet armed forces. The new terms of service are two years for all forces except personnel in naval seagoing and combat support units and seagoing border guards, who must serve three years.


One of the provisions of the Universal Military Service Law calls for premilitary training in basic military skills. Training usually begins at agernd may be conducted at school or at the place of employment if the trainee is not enrolledecondary school. egistrant may be selected to attend specialist training courses conducted by the Voluntary Society for Assistance to the Army, Air Force, and Navy (DOSAAF} and by the vocational school system. The number of specialists to be trained is determined by tho Council of Ministers on the basis of estimated requirements. The Soviets established the premilitary training program toa recruit to take his placenit as aapprentice, speed up the recruit trainingand permit the developmentadre of qualified junior officers and technicians. ack of adequate training facilities and qualified instructors plus

* See SR7 Soviet Regulations on Compulsory service in the Armed Forces,Z

- 21 -



mismanagement and graft within DOSAAF alless than successful program.

There aro indications that the Soviet military has been unable to attract an adequate number of re-enlistees. These men are an essential ingredient in the Soviet military system. They provide instruction to the hundreds of thousands of conscripts who onter the military each year and they maintain the continuity of the system. Both the number and the quality of reenlisted personnel in recent years have been below those which the military feels are needed.

The Soviets haveumber of steps tothis shortage of reenlisted personnel. Recently they have replaced the old extended-service system with one designed toilitary career moreto potential reonlistees through increased privileges and prestige. They also may have increased reenlistment pay in an effort to attract and retain the required specialists.


Terms of the Universal Military Training Law7 require that all citizens eligible for military service, whether having served on active duty or not, be held on tho reserve rolls until There are two reserveI for those who have served on active duty for moreear, and Category XX for all others. Each category consists of three classes based on age. Reservists remain in the first class until theyt which time they enter the second class. At agehey nova to the third class and at agohey are released from the rolls. Persons in each category and class are subject to recall for refresher training courses for specified periods of time. For example, first-class enlisted reservists inay be recalled to active duty up to four times for three months' duty each time. It ia estimated, however, that few reservists have bnen given refroshor training toaximum time Jimiis provided for by law. One former officer staled that he knew of no one in his area who had ever been recalled for summer training. Ih* had heard, however. Lhat technically trained officers in other areas were recalled for retraining inand rocket units.



US and Soviet Manpower Comparisons

Size and Composition of Forces

At the height of the Korean war in2 when US military manpower was at its highest level since World War II, Soviet military forces outnumbered those of the US byo 1 chart below) . Although both forces were reduced during the nextears, the much more rapid Soviet decline left both countries with close to the same number of men in their armed forces inmillion for the Sovietsillion for the US.

The pattern of change in the two forces, however, has been quite different As pointed out earlier, Soviet military manpower has grown relatively

US and Soviet-Military



steadily1 with the exception of the increased callup of forces during the intervention in In contrast, US military manpower levels1 havoincrease2 during the Cubanlight decline5 as international tensions lessened,uildup as the Vietnam situationand US forcesillion, and finally the decline in the. At the endoviet military forces numbered anillion men, whereas US military manpowerillion.

Because of the differences in how the military forces are structured in the US and USSR, detailed comparisons of changes are difficult. Nevertheless, within broad mission categories some comparisons may bo made (see chart at right). Forces related to the strategic attack mission in the USSR nearly tripleds the Soviets expanded their ICBM force. On the US side, strategic attack manpowerprimarily because of the reduction in the long-range bomber force.

While the Soviets continued to expand theirdefense forces, the US reduced both the number of SAMs and aircraft in the air defense role.

Soviet ground troops increased steadily2eclined somewhat9 and increased again US ground troop strengtheaknd has been decreasing steadily since then.

Within tho general purpose mission, manpower levels of tactical air units, naval forces, and transport aviation in both countries were about the same 1 and remained so throughout tho nextears. Both countries have enlarged the forces associated with the broad category of command and general support. The growth has been somewhat higher in the US, mainly because of the logistics requirements of the Vietnam War.



Personnel Expenditures

Both the USSR nnd the USizable portion of their total defense outlays on military personnel in the form of pay and allowances and food.

The differential pay rates for officers in both the US and Soviet armed forces arc remarkably similar Csse Tablet right). For enlisted men, however, the percentages are substantially different. In theaster sergeant receives more base payecondfact, his base pay is almost as muchaptain's and probably more whenpay is added. The Soviet enlisted soldier is less well-off than his US counterpart. He not only gets little pay relative to his officers, but does not do well compared with his civilian counterparts.

The base payS recruit is more than one-third tho average wage in the US. Fringefood, housing, clothing, medical care, recreationthe US recruit's "real" pay much closer to the average civilian wage.

The Soviet conscript's pay of less thanubles per year isercent of the average yearly wageoviet worker. The fow fringe benefitsto the Soviet conscript which are not available to the industrial worker do not reduce the gap by much. Even though the USSR encourages reenlistment by offering special pay and allowances, Soviet military services are made up ofercent conscripts (draftees) compared with onlyercent for the US.

Throughouteriod, estimated annual Soviet military personnel expenditures averaged aboutercent of total ruble outlays for defense. USfor military personnel alsoelatively stable sharo of total dollar defense outlays for the, averaging aboutercent. he share of total US defense spending allocated to military personnel expenditures has rison--standing atercent incuts in total defense spending have taken place, primarily in weapons procurement. (See chart, )




Table 6

Pay for Various Military Rankserceni of General's Pay in the US and USSR







Second Lieu tenant (USSR: Jr. Lieutenant)


Master Sergeant

Corporal (USSR: Jr. Sergeant)

Recruit (USSR: Conscript)



* OS data are as2 and do nol reflect pay for longevity or oiltcr allowances.

" Soviet data arc typical rates for rank and position that have existed for many years. Although pay raises may have taken place, available information indicates that relative scales have probably not been significantly altered.




Although the US is currently spendingmore on military personnel than is the USSR, it does notsome Western analysts havethe USSR is consequently able to purchase more military hardware to support its personnel than can the US. Labor is cheaper relative to equipment in the USSR than is the case in the US, but the converse is alsoin the USSR is relatively more expensive than in the US. In fact, the USSR must spend proportionately more than does the US out of total defense expenditures to buy the same amount ofequipment. For example, one ruble equates toollars in personnel costs. In the procurement of hardware, however, one ruble equates to only aboutollars for armored vehicles,ollars for electronic equipment.

US and Soviet Military Personnel Expendituresercent of Total Defense Outlays

'o(He e'/ecfa ol price changes. USalculated ui.'ng com'amBiotodfuiei Sovfal daia are rtaied on cciilent ruVe etoeneWgrei




US military personnel expenditures have risen steadily In that year, personnel expendi tures were aboutillion dollars in0 prices. 1 US military personnel expenditures in0 prices were overillion dollars. The same upward trend has occurred in the USSR. ilitary personnel expenditures totaledillion rubles (the equivalent ofillion 1 this figure had risen toillion rublesillion dollars).


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