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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June, 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 June 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'," June, 1987, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 33-36. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119917
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Strictly confidential!

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

(1119/87)

Political Area

During the course of the month consultations by NATO state governments occurred. During discussion of military-political issues, major attention was given to Soviet-American negotiations about the intermediate nuclear missiles. They also discussed potential steps by the Western Europeans about improvement of the bloc's nuclear potential. At meetings between government representatives from France, Great Britain, and the FRG the question was raised whether to create a “collective deterrence potential” in Europa possibly based on weapons of mass destruction from French and British production.

In June an increase of the level of mobilization readiness was noticed in US foreign representations. In Western Europe a new system was introduced to alert and evacuate employees of American foreign representations and their family members. The central link in this chain is an alert unit working around the clock and created especially for this purpose at the staff of the NATO Supreme Commander. A first test of the new alarm plan for crisis situations was conducted in the US embassies in Belgium and in the Netherlands.

Military Area

In June planned operative training of US and NATO forces featured intense, scheduled major troop exercises. They allowed for keeping a significant number of units and divisions in heightened combat readiness.

In the time between June 10 and 19, the transition of the country and the nuclear triad from peace to wartime mode was practiced during “Global Shield 87” exercise by the strategic US forces. It applied a reserve system for guidance of forces from mobile airborne command centers. After activation of the alarm, about half of combat-ready B-1B, B-52, and F-111 bombers took off. In order to imitate a nuclear strike against states of the Warsaw Treaty, real launches of ballistic missiles took place against targets in the Pacific and in the central Atlantic.

During the period mentioned, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) solved tasks in the context of defense against nuclear missile and aircraft attacks on the United States. Ships from the 2nd fleet in the Atlantic operated under conditions of a “state of emergency”.

During maneuvers of the NATO forces (“Central Enterprise 87”), which took place in Central Europe between June 1 and 5, assumed nuclear strikes against the territory of the socialist states were rehearsed. West German missiles “Pershing 1A”, American “Pershing 2”, cruise missiles, and units for the supply with nuclear ammunition were deployed in their real positions. During the exercise, American B-52 aircraft flew near the borders of the GDR and Czechoslovakia. They conducted joint operations with French strategic “Mirage IV” bombers.

Economic Area

At the meeting in Venice, President Reagan again raised the question whether to increase strategic and commercial oil reserves of the Western states to a level that guarantees functioning of their economic systems over the period of 90 days. In Washington the decision was made to accelerate the speed of replenishing the strategic oil reserves of the US from 75,000 to 100,000 barrel per day.

Preparation of civilian means of transportation for utilization by the military forces in emergency situations continued. In June, 9 additional merchant ships were incorporated in the US reserve fleet designated only for transportation in crisis situations. In peace times, the reserve ships are anchored in ports of the US and the European NATO states. The period for reactivation of those ships amounts to 5 to 10 days.

Civil Defense Area

In individual Western states, measures were undertaken to increase effectiveness of guidance of the civilian sector under war conditions, as well as in the case of industrial or natural disasters. In the US, FEMA has begun to draft a new concept for the organization of civil defense. Among else, there exist plans to increase the number of training centers for “crisis management”, to speed up construction of bunkers, and to finalize evacuation plans for the population of major cities.

In a couple of NATO states, as well as in Switzerland, tests of the emergency alert systems were noted. Acoustic signals for test alarms were sent in The Hague on June 1, in Oslo and Basel on June 10, in Washington on June 10 and 17, in Ottawa between June 17 and 19, and in Copenhagen on June 23.

Intelligence Activities Area

NATO leadership has introduced measures to increase intelligence options for the bloc. In the FRG, Great Britain, and in the Netherlands new units of American military signal intelligence were established. Their work aims at gathering information about the operative and combat training of the Warsaw Treaty forces.

Special defensive measures were undertaken related to the meeting of the leaders from Western states in Venice, and due to the threat of possible terror acts against institutions and objects of the United States abroad.

Close collaboration occurred between Italian special forces and the American diversion and intelligence unit “Delta”, which was relocated to Italy especially for the security of President Reagan. In the FRG, Greece, and France protection for representatives of political, military, and economic circles was strengthened. In airports, seaports, train station, and on border checkpoints, passport controls were tightened and a more thorough check of luggage and vehicles initiated.

Intelligence information obtained in June testifies that the political and military leadership of the US and NATO continues its planned activities to improve combat readiness of the armed forces and the civilian sector in cases of crisis situations and a nuclear missile war.

Like before, the military-political situation in the Mediterranean and in regions of the Persian Gulf displays a heightened level of tensions.

Translated: Petzold, Captain
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