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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February, 1987

COMMITTEE FOR STATE SECURITY (KGB), 'ABOUT RESULTS OF INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES TO NOTE INDICATORS FOR A SURPRISE NUCLEAR MISSILE ATTACK'

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    This report from the KGB contains results from intelligence activities conducted in February 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'," February, 1987, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 24-28. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119914
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Strictly confidential!

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

(384/87)

Political Area

The Spanish government has informed the NATO leadership of its willingness to participate in NATO's nuclear planning group. NATO experts were involved in drafting a doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons, which will be made available to the Spaniards “when necessary”.

During the course of the month, increased activities by leaderships of the US and its allies were observed, in particular in the context of acute aggravation of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean caused by the Americans. In the White House, an inter-agency group “to fight terrorism” repeatedly held consultations. In Italy, Greece, Spain, and Turkey special government meetings took place where potential actions in case of a US military operation in the Middle East were discussed.

In US embassies in the Middle East countries a crisis mode was introduced. Evacuation of Western European and American citizens from the region is continuing. In a couple of Western European countries the security for government institutions increased.

As during the run-up to the invasion of Grenada, following an order by the White House, in February a group of specially selected journalists was embedded under cover in the 82nd Airborne Division. In mid-February those representatives of American mass media were relocated to Honduras together with the units of the division.

Military Area

In February extremely dangerous operations by US forces and their allies occurred in the Middle East and in Central America. In many respects those resembled an actual preparation for the use of military force.

In the Eastern Mediterranean up to 30 ships of US naval forces were concentrated, lead by aircraft carriers “Nimitz” and “Kennedy”. On board they have 180 aircraft, about 4,000 Marines and also combat units from the “Delta” force. At the same time, American bomber aircraft were relocated to Turkey and Cyprus from airbases in Great Britain, the FRG, and in Spain.

Basically along the entire border of Nicaragua maneuvers are conducted by the US and its allies: from the North - “Big Pine 87”, from the South - “Kindle Liberty/Candela”, along the Caribbean coast - “Fleetex I-87”.

In the United States the long-term planned improvement and increase of strategic forces continued. At the missile base Warren (State of Wyoming) the number of combat-ready MX intercontinental missiles was increased to 14 units. Construction has started for the second nuclear-powered “Trident 2” submarine with ballistic missiles. Also, construction is ongoing to increase alert units of cruise missiles mounted on strategic B-52 bombers from 12 to 20. Equipment has begun of the French Air Force's aircraft carriers “Mirage 2000” and “Mirage 4R” with cruise missiles with nuclear warheads of a range of up to 300 kilometers.

According to plans for combat training of US strategic offensive forces, the global reviws “Giant Walk” and “Polo Hat” of commands of the nuclear “Triad” were executed with realistic uses of relocated command centers. On February 16, 17, and 19 combat readiness of alert “Pershing 2” units deployed in the FRG was reviewed.

In February NATO forces implemented planned exercises, which did not exceed in scope troop drills at the brigade level. The most important NATO staffs were busy with preparation for the strategic command staff exercise “Wintex/Cimex 87”.

Economic Area

In the US Department of Defense the program “Civil Affairs” was prepared. It aimed at increasing the effectiveness of actions by those American trade companies commissioned with supplying troops during combat in various regions of the world, among else in the European theater of war.

In the context of growing cases of polluted drinking water reserves, urgent measures have been undertaken in NATO to improve clearing systems and to expand drinking water reserves in military objects. There are also plans for a more extensive use of groundwater.

The Supreme Command of the US Navy has begun to implement the program to increase the reserve transportation fleet by an equipment of this fleet with new ships, and by a reduction of its period of activation to 5 to 10 days. Currently the reserve fleet of the US Navy consists of about 83 ships with different tonnage.

In some Western European states, especially in Norway and Sweden, they have moved towards the utilization of ships from fishing fleets for tasks to control the situation in territorial waters. For this purpose, more than 100 Swedish fishing boats were equipped with special devices for visual and acoustic control of the situation at sea.   

Civil Defense Area

In NATO a comprehensive program was approved to improve medical care for the population in wartimes and to increase mobilization readiness of medical institutions. For instance, in the FRG the establishment of about 100 medical centers with 250,000 spaces is planned for the 1990s. They are supposed to be in operation only during emergencies. In Great Britain there are plans to register for mobilization purposes those family members of military employees who have medical training.

Planned checks of the functioning of communication systems in emergency situations were conducted. The effectiveness of transmission of the alert signal in communication networks was reviewed on February 2, 11, and 19 in Washington, on February 2 in The Hague, and on February 2 in all towns in Switzerland.

In the context of electricity outages in certain areas of Washington due to heavy snow, FEMA offices participated on February 23 in supporting the population.

Intelligence Activities Area

In early February an increase in intelligence activities was related to the aggravation of tensions in the Middle East. On the military communication network, including the Middle East line, the “minimize” mode was introduced. It requires limitation of official traffic and a complete ban of any other kind of correspondence. Representatives from the CIA, the intelligence services of the US Department of Defense, and of Turkish intelligence services held meetings about the subject of cooperation in case of American military actions in the region.

In all objects of US forces abroad, security units are in a heightened state of readiness to prevent potential terrorist acts. On Ino-Irlik Airbase (Turkey) the highest threat level “Delta” was issued during the period between February 10 and 18.

Overall, in February there was an increase in activities by the supreme leaderships of US and NATO forces. Mostly this was due to preparations for the strategic command staff exercise “Wintex/Cimex 87”. In the course of this exercise they will run through, with participation of government institutions from NATO states, a complex plan of conducting a global nuclear war (“Wintex/Cimex 87” between March 4 and 17).

The greatest danger for the outbreak of an armed conflict continues to exist in the Eastern Mediterranean and in Central America.

Translated: Petzold, Captain
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