Since the summer of 1999, 421 special agents of the Chief Intelligence Department (CID) of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff have been killed during special operations in the Northern Caucasus. These detailes were disclosed on Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with the military intelligence command. Talking to journalists, the Russian President noted the important role of the CID in the Northern Caucuses. He stressed that the CID's commandos effectively recommended themselves in Chechnya. According to him, the performance of all MID's units is constantly improving, which was proved by recent special operations. The Russian leader called intelligence "an important instrument in foreign policies." "We are talking about military intelligence, which could be considered an important military element within the process of strengthening the country's security," the Russian President stated. According to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, the Russian President has set a precise mission targeted at increasing the efficiency of all intelligence's activities, including technical, specialist and conventional domains.