represented the Central Committee and, in particular, its Department of Defense Industry.
The titular head of the Department of Defense Industries, Ivan Serbin, did not participate in the meetings of the Five. Sometimes, however, Ustinov invited him to the sessions of the Big Five as an observer. Moreover, when documents were channeled through the Central Committee Defense Industry Department, Serbin saw the papers before they got to Ustinov's desk and--ultimately--to the Politburo.
In retrospect, it is clear that the Soviet arms control process ensured that there were no decisions made in the field of arms control that were not been staffed in detail with regard to the Soviet Side's relevant calculations. More importantly, no major decisions were taken that had not been agreed to within the Five. In practice what this meant was that all arms control decisions were discussed and unanimously agreed by the five most influential branches of Soviet government: the Central Committee of the Communist Party, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Military Industrial Commission (VPK), and the KGB. The central role in the decision-making process was played by the Defense Ministry. The military, however, listened carefully to the views of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and tried to find common ground with the latter. It was this interaction that permitted the development of a Soviet position which met the interests of all the agencies involved.