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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January, 1987


This document was made possible with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

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    This report from the KGB contains results from intelligence activities conducted in January 1987 aimed at exposing indicators of a surprise nuclear missile attack on the USSR.
    "Committee for State Security (KGB), 'About Results of Intelligence Activities to Note Indicators for a Surprise Nuclear Missile Attack'," January, 1987, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 20-23. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.
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Strictly confidential!

About results of intelligence activities to note indicators for a surprise nuclear missile attack
(January 1987)


Political Area

During Reagan's stay in the hospital (January 4 to 9) his authority was not transferred to another member of the administration. A government communication link was installed in the hospital.

In the Western states, the improvement of government mechanisms for emergency situations continued. In the US a plan was worked out to evacuate part of the population abroad to Canada and Mexico in case of the threat of an outbreak of nuclear war. The plan also addresses procedures for evacuating American citizens from crisis regions. This plan is currently in the state of getting confirmed.

In Spain a decision was passed to transfer  government authority in an “international crisis” to an especially created government commission headed by the Prime Minister. In Japan construction began for a new residence of the Prime Minister where a “crisis control center” is also supposed to be installed (modeled after the “situation room” in the White House in Washington).

Military Area

The US Strategic Air Force received the 132nd B-52 bomber with air-based cruise missiles. Equipment of another such aircraft is currently finalized. The strategic bombers B-1B are equipped with a special device for electronic interference to make it easier to evade anti-aircraft systems.

According to the plans for combat training of US forces, on January 6 a command staff training (“Joint Walk”) for the strategic offensive forces was held. In its course, a system was applied to guide nuclear offensive forces through air-based command centers.

In preparation for the strategic command staff exercise “Wintex-Cimex-87”, NATO staffs intensively discussed issues of how to use cruise missiles in combat. Procedures of transmitting orders for the use of nuclear weapons got specified further.

A significant reinforcement of American forces occurred in Central America and in the Mediterranean.

Economic Area

The system of energy supply for US forces in case of war became improveed further. The decision was made to expand fuel and lubricant warehouses of the Pentagon, and to increase capacities of the pump and distribution system for crude oil products.

During exercises in a couple of NATO states the degree of preparation by industry and transportation for functioning under conditions of emergency situations was reviewed. In the Manchester area (Great Britain) the immediate closure of industrial sites was simulated. During an exercise evacuation of family members of American military in the FRG, aircraft from commercial US airlines based on Frankfurt Rhein-Main Airport were placed under US military authority.

Participation by Western European companies in the American SDI program increases further. About 60 FRG companies and research institutions held talks with the US on subjects of participation in order to realize individual projects. The “Messerschmitt Bölkow Blohm” company has begun to develop infrared sensors to identify warheads from strategic missiles and decoys.

Civil Defense Area

Comprehensive deployment of civil defense units from NATO states occurred to deal with the removal of damage caused by natural disasters. Between January 1 and 3, the regional FEMA office in the state of New York worked around the clock. At the New York city administration, a task force was established to coordinate operations of civil defense services. On January 14, drills held by Great Britain's civil defense units in the Manchester area were cancelled due to severe worsening of weather conditions. The full force of personnel and technology was deployed for maintaining accessibility of major transportation routes.

The FRG Ministry of the Interior has begun to draft new instructions to regulate operations of rescue units in case of natural catastrophes and major technological disasters.

We noted that in Washington, The Hague, Ottawa, and Oslo regular checks of attack alert systems took place.

Intelligence Activities Area

At the December meeting of the NATO Council the decision was made to activate collection of intelligence information about the situation in the Mediterranean.

The Supreme Command of US Forces in Europe conducts, in collaboration with the NATO allies, secret exercises to “defend against terrorist threats to nuclear weapons”. A joint exercise was held by border control units from Austria and the FRG to close border checkpoints in cases of emergency.

Overall, those activities of concern from the side of US and NATO, which were subject to our intelligence, remained within parameters common in winter time. Increased activities of civil defense units is mainly a result of their comprehensive deployment to deal with fallout from the ongoing cold in some Western states. Difficult weather conditions in January led in part to a certain downgrade of the NATO states' overall war readiness.

Translated: Petzold, Captain
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