The Committee for State Security (KGB) had wide ranging responsibilities, not just in the intelligence gathering role, including spying abroad for which the KGB have become famed in the West, but also as the Soviet Union's main internal security force. The KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti) infiltrated all echelons of Soviet life-Even the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union).It had a security element in every establishment (factory or university) that was involved in military work-This being known as the 'First Department'.
Although it was in no way subordinate to the Ministry of Defence, in the armed forces the KGB provided a counter-intelligence cell in every formation (during the 1941-1945 war this had been known as 'Smersh'). Covertly, within the armed forces and defence establishment, the KGB recruited officers as collaborators who 'kept an eye' on the loyalty of the armed forces. Normal military intelligence duties however were carried out by the Red Army's main intelligence directorate-the GRU (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravlenie). The GRU would also run its own spy network abroad, rivalling that of the KGB, but it was a much less powerful organisation and it too would be infiltrated by the KGB. The KGB's Rank and File were largely drawn from conscripts selected from those youths with the staunchest political minds, with Regular Officers and SNCOs.
Other sections of the KGB within the Soviet armed forces were the 200,000 strong Border Guard troops and the Security troops. The Border Guards, as their title suggests, provided strong guards along the whole Soviet border and at every entry point. All Customs and Immigration were their responsibility, and like the MVD (Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del), of the Ministry of the Interior, which controlled the Internal troops, they were run on army lines, with uniforms identical, except for the colour of epaulettes and piping (maroon for internal troops, green for Border Guards, and Blue for the security troops). The KGB Border Guards had a complete range of AFVs, and also aircraft and artillery. Border clashes with the Chinese on the Ussuri river and in central Asia involved these KGB troops, not MoD troops. A Coastguard element too was well equipped with fast missile-armed patrol boats.
In wartime the Border Guards would, like the MVD, have security responsibilities in the rear of field armies. During the 1941-1945 war, the function of the MVD and KGB had been united into the NKVD (Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del). Every field army had an NKVD regiment in its rear to ensure security for both the front line troops and the civilian population. When the Red Army had crossed into Eastern Europe in 1944 this number was increased to two or even three regiments per Army. Sometimes these NKVD regiments were committed to battle as army units, but unlike the German's Waffen SS they were not considered to be an elite combat force.
The Security troops of the KGB had responsibility for guarding key Governmental installations throughout the USSR. In Moscow they guarded the Kremlin. They had units close to all of the large army barracks, and provided security personnel at all nuclear plants and strategic rocket forces installations. Even on the battlefield these Security troops had the responsibility for handling any nuclear warheads in the armed forces. In addition they also provided a secure high-level communications net for the military, and a bodyguard for high ranking officials in the Government and Communist Party.