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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August, 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 August 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'," August, 1987, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 38-40. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.
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Strictly confidential!

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


Operations by the US and NATO comparable to indicators for preparation of an attack were noted in the context of tensions in the Persian Gulf and the begin of extensive bloc exercises in Europe.

Due to the ongoing American troop relocations to Europe as part of the “Reforger” exercise, the activities of NATO bodies intensified. Emergency plans for the case of outbreak of a military conflict in the Gulf region are reviewed. Groups were commissioned to monitor the world's military-political situation. In the NATO situation room, the emergency duty regime went into effect. In the context of events in the Gulf region, political consultation activities between the Western states are notable which are unusual for this period. US embassies in the states of the Near and Middle East were instructed to prepare themselves for destruction of secret documents in case of an aggravation of the crisis.

The mechanism of crisis management became further improveed. In the US it is planned to increase by 20 percent the FEMA budget for the program to expand mobilization readiness of government agencies.

With unmitigated speed, the increase in combat value of strategic offensive forces of the US moves ahead. For instance, nuclear bombs B-53 (large detonation power, 9 megatons) were reactivated and included in the equipment of strategic bombers. Tested were the reliability of order transmission for nuclear weapons use to France's launching units for strategic missiles.

As before, there still exists a dangerous concentration of naval forces of the US, Great Britain, and France in the Gulf region. Furthermore, a part of American rapid reaction forces that had participated in the “Bright Star 87” maneuvers remained on Egyptian territory.

The strategic US forces exercise “Reforger” has begun. As far as the quantitative aspect of troops relocated to Europe is concerned (about 35,000 military, 4,000 units of battle technology), this is without precedent for the entire postwar period. The largest concentration of combat-ready NATO forces on FRG territory (more than 150,000 men) is to be expected during the course of the exercise in mid-September.

In light of the possibility of a stop of oil exports from the Gulf region to the US, a decision was made to increase the inventories of this source of energy. In the FRG the structure of government oil reserves is supposed to be modified by the end of the year. They are to be brought to a level which guarantees consumption for 80 days. In France, a large complex of oil bunkers is supposed to be established by the end of the year. In Spain, additional measures are undertaken for increased protection of oil refineries and oil bunkers.

In Washington a special inter-agency commission was established to coordinate the work to protect the population from disasters in nuclear installations and in the chemical industry. In the FRG, the task of government bodies and civil defense services to organize rescue and reconstruction operations in case of catastrophes was specified. Operations of government employees under changed conditions were regimented. In Italy, modernization of the alert system to warn before danger of radioactive and chemical contamination has begun.

The noted tightening of defense and security regimes in the US and other NATO stayed is mostly dictated by the situation around the Persian Gulf. In order to prevent terrorist acts by pro-Iranian groups, police patrols were increased in the major cities of the United States. Arab immigrants, who had entered the country illegally, are searched for and deported.

The US is continuing its active intelligence operations in crisis areas. In the Golf region and at the border to Nicaragua strategic surveillance aircraft are in use. Exploiting the exercise “Bright Star”, the Americans have installed on Egyptian territory a special signal center for intelligence and diversion and information.

NATO intelligence services are expressing interests for measures by the Warsaw Treaty states in case of an emergency. The Americans attempt to expand opportunities for signal intelligence against the socialist states by using the territory of Turkey.

In summary, the most important factors in August demanding caution were related to the ongoing explosive situation in the Persian Gulf area, and to the strong concentration of adversarial forces along borders of Warsaw Treaty states in the course of the large NATO fall maneuvers. Noted extraordinary preparations in other analyzed areas of activities by Western states are also comparable to indicators for preparations towards the use of military force in crisis spots.

Translated: Petzold, Captain
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