The Academy of the General Staff is located in Moscow, on 14 Kholzunova Lane, not far from the Frunze Military Academy. The "best and the brightest" officers of all the Soviet Armed Forces were selected to attend this senior and most prestigious of all the Soviet academies. Students were, and probably still are, admitted to the Academy in the ranks of lieutenant colonel, colonel, and General-Major (one star). Most were colonels or newly promoted generals. Officers enter in their late 30s, as a general rule.
Officers selected for this academy would have first attended the appropriate service or branch academy (see Military academies in Russia). Graduates who were not already generals or admirals usually were promoted to this rank a short time after completing the course. Length of the academy was only two years, in contrast to the three years for the branch and service academies.
Faculty and students of the General Staff Academy were involved in debates over Soviet military restructuring in the last years of the USSR. They became associated with the military reform efforts of Major Vladimir Lopatin and made specific suggestions for deep force reductions.
The Commandant, as of 2006, is Army General Ivan Yefremov, former commander of the Moscow Military District. He replaced General-Colonel Viktor Chechevatov in 2005.