The SS originally contained two other formations, the SS Verfügungstruppe, a force consisting of SS members who volunteered for four years' armed service in lieu of compulsory service with the Army, and the SS Totenkopf Verbände, special troops employed to guard concentration camps, which came under the control of the SS in 1934. The SS Verfügungstruppe was organized as an armed unit to be employed with the Army in the event of mobilization. In the summer of 1939, the Verfügungstruppe was equipped as a motorized division to form the nucleus of the forces which came to be known in 1940 as the Waffen SS. In that year the Waffen SS comprised 100,000 men, 56,000 coming from the Verfügungstruppe and the rest from the Allgemeine SS and the Totenkopf Verbände. At the end of the war it is estimated to have consisted of about 580,000 men and 40 divisions. The Waffen SS was under the tactical command of the Army, but was equipped and supplied through the administrative branches of the SS and under SS disciplinary control.

The SS Central Organization had 12 main offices. The most important of these were the RSHA, which has already been discussed, the WVHA or Economic Administration Main Office which administered concentration camps along with its other duties. a Race and Settlement Office together with auxiliary offices for repatriation of racial Germans (Volksdeutschemittelstelle). The SS Central Organization also had a legal office and the SS possessed its own legal system; and its personnel were under the jurisdiction of special courts. Also attached to the SS main offices was a research foundation known as the Experiments Ahnenerbe. The scientists attached to this organization are stated to have been mainly honorary members of the SS. During the war an institute for military scientific research became attached to the Ahnenerbe which conducted extensive experiments involving the use of living human beings. An employee of this institute was a certain Dr. Rascher, who conducted these experiments with the full knowledge of the Ahnenerbe, which were subsidized and under the patronage of the Reichsführer SS who was a trustee of the foundation.

Beginning in 1933 there was a gradual but thorough amalgamation of the police and SS. In 1936 Himmler, the Reichsführer SS, became Chief of the German Police with authority over the regular uniformed police as well as the Security Police. Himmler established a system under which Higher SS and Police Leaders, appointed for each Wehrkreis, served as his personal representatives in coordinating the activities of the Order Police, Security Police and SD and Allgemeine SS within their jurisdictions. In 1939 the SS and police systems were coordinated by taking into the SS all