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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September, 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 September 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'," September, 1987, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 47-50. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119920
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Strictly confidential!

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

(1583/87)

Increased activities by NATO leadership bodies stood in context of discussions about potential consequences for the West from the elimination of intermediate nuclear missiles and operative-tactical missiles. The Special Consultative Group of NATO discussed in Brussels additional measures to secure a “reliable nuclear deterrence”. It was reiterated that deployment of American nuclear cruise missiles in Western Europe will continue until the signing of an agreement between USSR and US about their destruction. On September 24 the US Congress approved production of binary chemical ammunition.

The tendency of closer military collaboration between France and the FRG is increasing. Leaders from both states agreed to establish a joint organ, a “Defense Council”, to coordinate military plans and measures, including the area of nuclear weapons use. In NATO, new rules are worked out to supply government bodies with means of communication in emergency situations. It was agreed to establish a high-security communication center of NATO at Lakenheath Air Force Base (Great Britain). The situation in the Persian Gulf remains contentious. Following an instruction by the US Department of State, all US diplomatic missions were placed on high alert in case of terrorist actions by the Iranians.

Combat readiness of US and French nuclear forces continues to remain at a high level. “Pershing 2” units deployed in the FRG have practiced in detail all stages of putting missiles to full launching readiness. The strategic air command of the French air force conducted for the fourth time this year an exercise of its 1st ballistic intermediate and “Mirage” bomber division under the codename “Poker”. In its course, capabilities to launch a massive nuclear strike were tested.

In the framework of NATO maneuver series “Autumn Forge”, intensity of the bloc forces' combat training dramatically increased. The largest concentration of troops was noted in the FRG, where during the period between September 7 and 24 more than 150,000 military and over 1,500 tanks were on high combat readiness. To join in the maneuvers, about 100 nuclear-armed aircraft were relocated from the US to Europe. This year participation by French forces in NATO exercises has increased significantly. For the first time Spain joined the naval war exercises. In early September, the troop exercise “Thrakia” of the Turkish forces actually merged with the large mobilization exercise “Blitz”. As a result, near the borders of Bulgaria there existed temporarily a large forces contingent (over 20,000 men) in heightened readiness.

As before, there still exists a large concentration of forces from Western countries in the Persian Gulf region. The naval forces from the US and other NATO countries in the Arabian Sea and in the Indian Ocean amounted in September to about 70 battleships.

The US held negotiations with member countries of the International Energy Agency (IEA) about a centralized system for the distribution of existing oil reserves in case of a real danger through reductions of oil deliveries from the Persian Gulf area. It also is planned to move temporarily to purchase of oil from states in other regions (for instance, Mexico and Indonesia). According to recommendations by the IEA, the FRG Ministry of Economy has drafted and implemented measures to regulate consumption of oil products in a crisis situation.

In NATO states, measures are taken to improve supply of the population with food in wartimes. At an extraordinary committee meeting of the bloc, the subject to create centralized food supplies and their mode of distribution was discussed.

The Pentagon has come out with an instruction about evacuation of American citizens from West Germany in case of an armed conflict. In case of a dangerous situation, about 80 percent of Americans temporarily staying in the FRG are supposed to be evacuated to other bloc [NATO] states still before the beginning of combat.

The readiness of forces and means of civil defense for operations under extreme conditions was reviewed. During the NATO exercises, a large staff drill named “Köln” took place at the FRG Civil Defense Academy. In the Western states, planned functionality checks of alarm systems for emergency situations were conducted. Efficiency of alert signal communications was checked in Washington, Brussels, The Hague, and Geneva.

New aspects were noted in operations of NATO special formations. At the “Captain Strike” exercises, for the first time diversion and intelligence information from the FRG and other bloc states was applied to major extent during the first phases of deployment of reinforcement forces. Their collaboration with combat troops of the USA was trained under maximum possible combat-realistic conditions. Noted was a broad participation in the NATO maneuvers by FRG army units for psychological warfare.

To sum it up, in September the danger of a use of military force by the US persisted in the Persian Gulf region. An influence of destabilization on the military-political situation in Europe existed through major concentrations of combat-ready NATO forces during the course of large bloc exercises, and through accompanying measures in the areas of economy, civil defense, and intelligence activities near the borders of the Warsaw Treaty states.

Translated: Petzold, Captain
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