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The General Staff of the Imperial Military Service is the military staff of the Imperial Service of the Barrayaran Imperium. It is the central organ of the Service administration and oversees operational management of the forces under the High Command. The Imperial Military Service has both a General Staff and and a separate staff for each formation.
The staff is organized by functions, with each directorate and operating agency overseeing an area. Working with the staffs of each of the services, the Operations Command drafts plans for strategic operations for the High Command. When the headquarters of the High Command approves the plans, the General Staff issues them to operational commanders as High Command directives. The General Staff Academy is responsible for training officers for the General Staff. The Chief of the General Staff is appointed by the Emperor, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The current Chief of the General Staff is General Lord Nikolai Pierre Vordarian. The General Staff is always a relatively small, but elite body. Only few officers are permanently assigned to the General Staff, described in official returns as "of the General Staff" at any time; most were attached to the General Staff from their parent units, although usually for several years at a time, and are listed as "on the General Staff.
When the General Staff is required to take the field during major campaigns, it remains a small but effective body: in such occasions, the General Staff is divided between the central General Staff and the general staff reinforcements to formations staffs. The Chief of the General Staff and is also the technical superior of all general staff officers.
General Staff is located in Vorbarr Sultana on Pobeda Avenue in the Military District, at the Imperial Service Headquarters.

Chief of the General Staff Edit

General Lord Nikolai Pierre Vordarian

The incumbent Chief of the General Staff, General Vordarian. Although he is a full General, he does not wear the orange collar tabs, but the functional insignia: red and gold collar tabs and shoulder boards.

The Chief of the General Staff (CGS) is the most senior member of the Imperial Service, and performs secretary functions at the High Command meetings, having primary responsibility for command, control, and administration of the forces, as well as military strategy, plans, and requirements. The position is held by a senior active duty officer of the Imperial Service.
The Chief of the General Staff follows in rank only the Emperor as Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Military Service, who appoints the CGS and is the person from whom the CGS receives his orders. The CGS is charged with four main priorities, each having multiple sub-priorities: the first is to conduct operations; secondly, the CGS is expected to expand the regular and reserve forces to meet requirements. The third task is to implement the national defence strategy as outlined by the Emperor. Lastly, the CGS must enhance the Service's programme delivery while optimising the use of resources. These requirements are dealt with in different ways, according to the three fields: the internal military field, the external military field and the technical military field.

Internal powers Edit

Internally, the Chief of the General Staff exerts a role of guidance and management of the Imperial Service; his own responsibilities are mainly related to the planning of the general matters, general management of the financial instruments and enforcing of military intelligence research and military security. Matters related to only one Planet are dealt with by the Regional Commands, which are directly subordinated to him, while matters related to only one corps or arm of service are dealt with the relevant commander, although always within the guidelines which the Chief of the General Staff himself has set.
The Chief of the General Staff implements the guidelines on the preparation of the Imperial Service, proposing to the Minister of War the general lines of the organization of the Imperial Service; he defines the basic programmatic long-term criteria to maintain the Imperial Service always responsive to operational needs and issues related directives.
In order to pursue the responsiveness, the Chief of Staff issues directives to the members of the High Command for the implementation of the programs approved by the Minister of War, and for this purpose exercises direct operational control of the funds for investment to the sector and prioritizes operational needs. However, he exercises only indirect operational control over funding for the area of operation and defines the criteria for the use of financial resources in the budget. In an emergency, the Chief of the General Staff may divert funds from ordinary operation to increase the efficiency of the Imperial Service and its Special Forces. In a yearly formal audit before the Council of Ministers, the Chief of the General Staff formally describes to the Minister the strategic and operational situations and the predictable evolution, as well as the operational condition of the Imperial Service.
The general financial and operational planning fall within his remit. Therefore, he sets the operational targets of the Imperial Service and deals with information search and study of the issues related to the recruitment and mobilization. The Chief of the General Staff, together with the military intelligence research, directs the activities of the protection of the military secret and of military police, through the appropriate services and corps, and prepares the operational plans of general emergencies. In this regard, he also exudes general orders concerning the deployment and operational planning and readiness of the Imperial Service. A subordinate level, the Regional Command and the commanders of the major commands detailing further.
In the process of appointment and assignment of tasks, the Chief of the General Staff provides support and non-binding advice to the Minister of War for the appointment of General (Lieutenant General/Vice Admiral and General/Admiral) and for the most important tasks.

External powers Edit

External powers are related essentially to the need to provide a military counterpart of the foreign power. Being the Barrayaran foreign policy strictly hostile to any military lasting alliance where Barrayar itself is not the leading partner (although some equal political alliances participated by Barrayar have military consequences), external roles, functions and powers of the Chief of the General Staff are mainly those of technical advisor and channel for the implementation of commonly-agreed military standards and procedures. Generally speaking, the Chief of the General Staff maintains, in accordance with the directives issued by the Minister of War, with the corresponding military authorities of other countries, reports relating to military problems of the common defence. He is also the national address at the high international military fora.
In case of participation in military alliances, the Chief of the General Staff takes part, in accordance with directions from the Secretary of War, to the formulation of rules for the common defence planning, employment and training multinational, and establishes the sale media and military material in favour of countries with which there are agreements. Finally, the Chief of the General Staff expresses technical evaluations relating to trafficking in high-tech weaponry.

Technical powers Edit

As part of the directives issued by the Minister, the Chief of the General Staff sets objectives, guidelines and priorities of the studies and technical-scientific experiments of interest of the Imperial Service and provides guidance for the development and use of the results.

Internal organization Edit

The General Staff is organized in order to support primarily the Chief of the General Staff in its coordinating duty. Formally all major command staffs are sections of General Staff, although they ordinarily enjoy a full operational autonomy.

  • Chief of the General Staff Office
    • Operations Command Liaison Office at Chief of the General Staff Office
    • Imperial Security Liaison Office at Chief of the General Staff Office
    • General Affairs
    • Legal Affairs
  • 1st Directorate (Armaments): Liaison with defence industry/military-industrial complex
  • 2nd Directorate (Motor Vehicles): Supervision of maintenance and modernization of non-combat vehicles
  • 3rd Directorate (Armour): supervision of maintenance and modernization of combat vehicles
  • 4th Directorate (Artillery): supervision of maintenance and modernization of weapons
  • 5th Directorate (Billeting and Maintenance): Maintenance and operation of military facilities and barracks; supervision of funding and resources for new military construction
  • 6th Directorate (Personnel): Management of careers and regulations.
    • Cadres: Management of careers of professional military officers and warrant officers
    • Personnel Division: Management of enlisted personnel
  • 7th Directorate (Construction Industry): Supervision of classified construction projects.
  • 8th Directorate (Education): Education and training of cadres and specialists
  • 9th Directorate (Foreign Relations): Direction of military aid programs and military attachés
  • 10th Directorate (Foreign Trade): Foreign military sales and acquisitions
  • 11th Directorate (Military Counter-intelligence): Directorate of Military Intelligence Service
    • Information security: protecting information and information systems from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording or destruction.
    • Service Command
    • Intelligence Operations Centre
    • Service Command
    • Defence Counter intelligence and HUMINT Directorate
    • Directorate for Information Management
    • Directorate for MASINT and Technical Collection
    • Directorate of Analysis
    • Directorate for Intelligence, General Staff
    • Training Centre
  • 12th Directorate - Operations: Development and dissemination of mobilization plans for national emergencies and war
  • 13th Directorate: Nuclear weapons
  • 14th Directorate: Biological weapons
  • 15th Directorate: Military Administration

Directorate of Military Administration Edit

The Directorate of Military Administration ensures funding entities employees, through the availability of funds credited to, and the day of reckoning and related performs the functions of legal and administrative nature in relation to the plan of the Imperial Service. The Directorate is also responsible for the administrative control of action against employees of entities, either through inspections, both in the review of acts of management. In addition, it performs operations for the closing balance of the special accounts, in respect of each financial year.

Central Logistics Regiment Edit

The Central Logistics Regiment is the body to act as logistical support to the organization's central Imperial Service. The responsibilities on infrastructure and logistic complexes located in the capital and the management of the vehicle fleet dedicated to the central organs are entrusted to the Regiment, which acts in the employ of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff - General Affairs. The Regiment consists of a Command Company, a Security and Services Battalion and of four Logistics Battalions.

Operations command Edit

The Operations command (GS-OPCOM) is the General Staff branch, distinct from the 12th Directorate but closely linked to it, which applies the planning the operations for the projected manoeuvring forces' provisions, services, training, and administrative functions—to allow them to commence, insert, then egress from combat. The Operations command plays a major role in the projection of military forces, planning and coordinating operations, and all things necessary to enable the formation to operate and accomplish its mission. Its major function is to be responsible in the allocating of resources and determining time requirements. It is combined with other General Staff sections to achieve its primary principles in employment of the military forces and matériels to meet specific missions.
Operations Command second main function is following and supporting live, real time military activities carrying out military missions, by real-time engaging in activities carrying out military missions. The command also is the entry point for all requests for operational contributions provided by Imperial Service to other institutional authority throughout the country, in cases of extraordinary need and urgency. For these operations is responsible for the direction, coordination and control of activities.
The Operations Command in Vorbarr Sultana involves operations at the uppermost level of command. This involves training, inspecting and planning for the entire Barrayaran military, including the space, air and ground forces. The GS-OPCOM is the main military command concerned with troops movements, and the Chief of Operations is the highest officer in charge of actual coordination and command, although he is strictly under the authority of the Chief of the General Staff. His immediate subordinate commands, being the Imperial Service an integrated force, are the regional commanders, who in turn are responsible for military operations within their jurisdictions. The fact that the Operations Command is part of the General Staff also ensures the policy uniformity.

Chief of Operations of the Imperial Service Edit

The Chief of Operations (COO) of the Imperial Service is one of the highest-ranking officers in the Imperial Service. The COO is responsible for the daily operation of the Service, and routinely reports to the Chief of the General Staff.
The primary role of the COO is routinely one of operations management: the COO is responsible for ensuring that military operations are efficient and effective and that the proper management of resources, distribution of goods and services and analysis of queue systems is conducted. At the direction of the Chief of the General Staff, the Chief of Operations marshals limited resources to the most essential uses with the aim of creating maximum efficiency, develops and cascades the planned strategy to the lower-ranking staff and implements appropriate recognition and corrective practices to align personnel with decided goals.
The Chief of Operations of the Imperial Service is the head of the Operations Command, and is assisted by the standard high-officers staff. The COO is always a full General or an Admiral.

Strategic Operational Command Edit

The Strategic Operational Command (GS-OPCOM-SOC) is the Operations Command branch through which the Imperial Service prepares plans and directs the operations as well as exercises and related activities. The command develops methodologies for the simulation of strategic and operational scenarios, analyses the activities drawing from teachings and develops corrective measures. The Command contributes to the overall planning military operational doctrine develops, maintains and manages the operational planning joint operations and exercises.
The SOC is headed by a Lieutenant General or a Vice Admiral, includes a Deputy Commander and is articulated on a staff, headed by a Major General or a Rear Admiral, and on three Departments each headed by a Brigadier General or Commodore.

Operations Coordination Division Edit

The Operations Coordination Division (GS-OPCOM-COD) is responsible for the conduct of military operations, in order to allow the Chief of Operations the performance of the command, control and coordination. The Operations Coordination Division contributes to the overall planning in coordination with the 12th Directorate (Operations) of the General Staff; in particular, it elaborates the operational planning of contingency and emergency assistance.
Within the Division, commanded by a Major General/Rear Admiral, there is also the the Operations Support Department, which is responsible for coordinating the design, implementation and maintenance of all infrastructure in the operating theatre. It manages the personnel assigned to the various operating theatres, the health facilities and operations and financial assets of troop contingents. The O.S.D. also coordinates, monitors and identifies priorities for the movement and transport of the forces operating discipline and operational issues associated with telecommunications and information systems.

Special Operations Bureau Edit

The Special Operations Bureau (GS-OPCOM-SOB) is the Operations Command subdivision charged with overseeing the various Special Forces. The Special Operations Bureau conducts several covert and clandestine missions, such as direct action, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defence, unconventional warfare, psychological warfare and civil affairs operations.
SOB main branch is the Analysis Section, which is charged to study special operations requirements and techniques to ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop tactics.
From an organizational point of view, the command of Bureau is a second-level general/flag officer post, but it is often entrusted to a Lieutenant General or to a Vice Admiral.

Staffs and Operations offices Edit

In most units, the operations office is the largest of the staff sections and considered the most important. All aspects of sustaining the unit's operations, planning future operations, and additionally planning and executing all unit training, fall under the responsibility of operations. The operations office is also tasked with keeping track of the weekly training schedules. In military units the operations officer, carries the same rank as the executive officer (XO), but would obviously rank third in the unit's chain of command.
The chief of staff of a formation in the field has the right to disagree, in writing, with the plans or orders of the commander of the formation, and appeal to the commander of the next highest formation, which might ultimately be the Emperor, who is guided by the Chief of the General Staff. This serves as a check on incompetence and also serves for the objecting officer to officially disassociate himself with a flawed plan. Only the most stubborn commanders do not give way after this warning. Often the commander of a large formation is himself a member of the General Staff.

Secretariat General of Armaments Edit

The Secretariat General of Armaments (GS-SGA) is the highest military administrative body of the Ministry of War. At its summit there is the Secretary General of Armaments as responsible for the organization and operation of the industrial military and the administrative military. The functions of the General Secretariat are exercised by six Departments and divided into three main areas: functions of high administration regarding personnel, general management, services and infrastructure, acquisition of weapon systems and equipment for the Imperial Service, based on the requirements dictated by the Chief of the General Staff, valuing, in these acquisitions, the ability of the domestic industry and support for research and technological military protection of the technological capabilities of the strategic Barrayaran-Komarran military industries. It is worth to note that, while the Secretariat is a fully military body, it is part of the General Staff, but functionally it depends directly on the Ministry of War.
The Secretary General of Armaments uses two General Offices: the General Office of the Secretary General and the General Office of Administration. He also is assisted by

  • An Administration Deputy Secretary-General (GS-SGA-ADN), who directs the I Department "Personnel", the II Department "Administrative Coordination", the Department III "Litigation and Legal Affairs";
  • An Industry Deputy Secretary General (GS-SGA-IND), under whom operate the IV Department "Industrial Policy and International Relations", V Department "Coordination of Armament Programs" and the VI Department "Technological Innovation".

Procurement Directorates are related to military materiel acquisition and depend directly on the Secretary General, while the other General Staff Directorates are under the direct say of the Chief of the General Staff. These are:

  • 1st Directorate (Armaments): Liaison with defence industry/military-industrial complex
    • Informatics Division;
    • Advanced Technology Division;
    • Ground Armaments Division;
    • Maritime Armaments Division;
    • Orbital and Air Armaments Division;
  • Works and State Properties Division.
  • 2nd Directorate (Motor Vehicles): Supervision of maintenance and modernization of non-combat vehicles
  • 3rd Directorate (Armour): supervision of maintenance and modernization of combat vehicles
  • 4th Directorate (Artillery): supervision of maintenance and modernization of heavy weapons
    • Space Armaments Division
  • 10th Directorate (Foreign Trade): Foreign military sales and acquisitions
  • 15th Directorate: Military Administration

Secretary General of Armaments Edit

The Secretary General of Armaments (GS-SGA-SG) is the general officer who is responsible for the military acquisition system and implementation of armaments policy and, therefore, address the military industry, as well as he has the task of preparing the financial and operational planning of the Imperial Service. On a general view, the Secretary General is considered being the "third-in-command" among professional figures of the Imperial Service, after the Chief of the General Staff and the Chief of Operations. Therefore, he, in accordance with the directives of the Chief of the General Staff, elaborates the proposals for annual and multi-annual general financial planning related to the industrial area of military interest. As part of the overall planning of the military, he is responsible for the organization and operation of the military industry and administration, and he is also responsible for research and development, production and procurement of weapons systems.
In turn, the Secretary General of Armaments has numerous management tasks, and all the departments of the Ministry of War depend on him. The Secretary issues the implementing provisions regarding the areas industrial and military administration, for legal affairs, economic, social and disciplinary, and handles relations with civilian trade unions.
Basing on the directives of the Chief of the General Staff, is responsible for the use of operating funds for investment and ensure the use of funds allocated to the military industry and administrative sectors. The Secretary General also directs the military areas of research, production and supply, and directs the development programs and activities relating to the supply, sale and transfer of military goods. He also supports the promotional activities of the military industry. Finally, the Secretary General shall issue, on the basis of the provisions of the Chief of the General Staff, the directives on the civilian militarization and mobilization.
The Secretary General of Armaments is a General/Fleet Admiral. Customarily, but not legally required, the post of Secretary General of Armaments (established in its current form in 2958) is a pre-requisite for the appointment to the position of Chief of the General Staff.

Social and political implications Edit

From a broader point of view, the General Staff (and its central subordinate bodies, i.e. including the Operations Command and the Directorate General of the Armaments) it is the bastion of Barrayaran militarism and its officers form a unique military fraternity: their exhaustive training was designed not only to weed out the less motivated or less able candidates, but also to produce a body of professional military experts with common methods and outlook, and an almost monastic dedication to their profession. General Staff–qualified officers alternate between line and staff duties but would remain lifelong members of the central organization. The General Staff itself had a powerful effect on Barrayaran politics, which in turn determines military planning in general, and mobilization in particular (see above).
The main doctrinal tenet of the Barrayaran military strategy about upper level commands, is that leadership had to be both "integral" and "integrated": it could not be wholly entrusted to any single individual, because every man is limited. Therefore, giving full power to a chosen military leader is viewed as an obsolete formula which does not reflect the reality. According the Barrayaran doctrine, the cardinal virtue of a chief of general staff is that he let a real teamwork among the General Staff. A good strategic-level commander encourages his subordinates to show initiative, and does not have reluctance in delegating authority.

Related voices Edit

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