Military science bodies in Russia trace their origins back to the foundation of the General Staff of the Russian Army on the 30th of January, 1763. In fact it was Catherine the Great who created a military body capable of united centralized direction of the state Armed Forces.
Under the General Staff appeared the first military libraries and archives where such historical documents as descriptions of battles, schemes and maps with dispositions were kept. These documents constituted the basis for training instructions and articles concerning manoeuvres on the battlefield.
Later a great impact on the creation of military science bodies had the foundation of the War Ministry of Russia on the 8th of September, 1802. A mere 10 years later on the 27th of January, 1812 under this body for the first time in the military history of this country a Military Scientific Committee (MSC) was established. It was composed of six permanent members (two – for quartermaster department, two – for artillery department and two – for engineering department) as well as honourable members and corresponding members from Russia and other countries.
Under the Regulations document the first MSC performed the following tasks:
— collected “all the best newly-published theses on military art and different branches concerned”, assigned “the best and the most useful for the translation into the Russian language”;
— considered “projects and proposals concerning academic military unit and submitted opinions on them to the Minister of War”;
— published the Military magazine, examined all the officials who entered the academic corps of the Department of War;
— supervised “all the quartermaster, artillery and engineering departments”.
The goal of the establishment of the MSC was to improve the academic aspect of the military art and to spread military academic knowledge in the Army”. We can say that it is topical nowadays. The name and the structure of the Committee was/were changed many times through the history but its academic profile remained the same.
In the second half of the 19th century the Military Science Committee founded by Catherine the Great ceased to exist. It was replaced by the Advisory Committee which was then renamed as the Military Science Committee of the General Headquarters. It was responsible for scientific research of the General Staff, the corps of military map-makers as well as military education and archives.
Besides that the Committee carried out the distribution of monetary grants for publication of military and historical works. For instance, such great pieces of work as “Great Northern War. Documents 1705-1708”, “Letters and official papers by A.V. Suvorov, G.A. Potemkin and G.A. Rumyantsev 1787-1789” were published by the Military Science Committee. The military heritage of Peter the Great, the wars with Sweden, the Patriotic War of 1812 were the objects of deep research. In 1878 in order to describe the events of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 a military and historical commission was created under the Military Science Committee.
In 1900 the MSC was dissolved. In the beginning of the 20th century its functions were carried out by the General Headquarters Committee, the Committee of military education and General Staff Committee. These bodies had wide powers and were able to direct the development of the fundamental works on military strategy, tactics and military history. Eminent Russian military scientists who worked in the Committees created many papers and on military history and theory which remain actual nowadays .
When the Bolsheviks took power during the October Revolution of 1917 they attached great importance to military science. On the 10th of February 1925 under the order of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army the Bureau of analysis and utilization of military experience was formed. Work on military history and science was carried out under its direction.
After the Victory research in the historical experience and development of military theory under the General Staff was carried out by the Bureau of utilization of military experience, the Department of military history, the Archive of the General Staff and the Archive of t he Red Army.
Just these very bodies constituted the basis for the establishment of the Military Science Bureau of the General Staff. After its existence for a quarter of a century it was closed down and the recreated in 1985. Military science bodies have suffered about 40 changes for their 70-year existence (1925-1995).
Military Science Committee of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed forces was established on the 25th of October, 1999. This day 10 yeas later on its basis the Military Science Committee of the Russian Federation Armed forces was created under the directive of the Russian Federation Minister of Defence of the 8th September, 2009.
Now the Military Science Committee of the Russian Federation Armed forces is a governing body of the military science which obeys the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed forces who is the First Deputy Minister of Defence.