Intelligence and Security
Each branch of the NVA had an integral component that collected
and analyzed military intelligence. For the country as a whole, intelligence
and surveillance activities were under the control of the Ministry for State
Security/Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, or MfS. Known as the "Stasi," this
sophisticated secret police combined the techniques of the Nazi Gestapo and
Soviet KGB to become an inescapable part of every aspect of East German life.
Mission: to protect East Germany from penetration by foreign intelligence
services, to root out domestic traitors of the DDR (very broadly defined), to
provide security for government buildings and personnel, to execute special
military operations including overseas, and to provide the Stasi with a combat
arm similar to that of a Motor Rifles regiment.
Organization: 100,000 staff officers. These officers supervised or "ran"
approximately 150,000 civilian informants. Equipment included surveillance tools
such as listening devices, letter opening machines, and small arms for covert
operations such as silencer pistols and the small Czechoslovakian submachine
gun called the "Skorpion."
Special units of the Stasi:
- "Wach Regiment F. Dzierzynski." Mission: to provide the Stasi with a reliable combat force under its own command.
Organization: Expanded regiment numbering around 10,000 elite (Guard) troops.
The unit had at its disposal the same type weapons as a Motor Rifles regiment:
assault rifles, artillery, anti-aircraft guns, armored personnel carriers,
and helicopters. Uniform: Standard white-piped NVA stone-grey tunics with
unit cuff title "Wach-Rgt. F. Dzierzynski," white letters on a grey base.
Earlier tunics and trousers stamped "MfS"; later stamped "NVA."
- Headquarters (or Administrative) Stasi: All
Stasi officials were entitled to wear a military-style uniform. Unlike the
Dzierzynski combat unit, the tunics worn by the great majority of Stasi
personnel had no cuff title on the sleeve. From the mid-1970s to 1989, the
tunics worn by non-combat Stasi personnel were standard white-piped NVA
stone-grey tunics with white-piped collar tabs and Stasi (reddish maroon)
- Central Intelligence Administration (HVA).
Agency charged with overall coordination of intelligence and counter-intelligence
activities of the DDR. Mission included operating an extensive and highly
successful spy network in West Germany and its NATO allies. The HVA had
4,128 case officers who ran an undisclosed number of spies infiltrating
Western governments, technologically advanced companies, military organizations,
and financial sectors.