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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June, 1988

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 1988 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, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 76-78. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119928
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119928

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Strictly confidential!

About results of intelligence activities to note indicators for a sudden nuclear missile attack (June 1988)

(940/88)

In June high intensity of political consultations between leaders of the Western states was registered. In early June, President Reagan informed at the meeting in London the NATO allies about results of the Soviet-American summit. Questions of correcting the West's political strategy towards the East were also discussed at the NATO Council meeting in Madrid, at the summit of leading Western states in Toronto, and on state and government leader level during the meeting of the European Council of the EC in Hannover.  

Improvement of governance systems under emergency conditions continued as planned. In the US the plan for construction of the first secure command center for government agencies of an US state got approved. The British government submitted a draft to parliament to create a national system for operations under emergency conditions.

A special feature in June concerning operative and combat training in US and NATO forces was the, so far largest, inclusion this year of troop parts and units from nuclear forces in exercise and training activities. The entire personnel of the strategic offensive and defensive forces, as well as tactical nuclear weapons, participated in exercise “Global Shield 88” of the US Air Force's Strategic Air Command. They practiced several versions of their transition to full combat readiness, a massive strike against the Soviet Union, and conduct of a protracted nuclear war. In contrast to previous years, “Global Shield” essentially was run in command staff mode – without massive takeoffs by strategic bombers, without taking offensive positions, and without launches of ballistic intercontinental missiles.

The exercise scenario for strategic US forces was coordinated in date and content with maneuvers by American and NATO forces in Europe, in the Atlantic, and in the Pacific. Most comprehensive of all was exercise “Central Enterprise 88”, which took place in Central Europe between June 6 and 10. During the “Central Enterprise” exercise, tasks were simulated related to massive airstrikes against the Warsaw Treaty states. It was accompanied on June 8 and 9 by the move of launching pads for American “Pershing 2” and cruise missiles, as well as for West German “Pershing 1A”, into areas of operation on territories of Western European states.

In several Western states measures were implemented to improve means of protection for industrial sites in case of chemical weapons use or other grave technical disasters. In individual nuclear energy objects in Canada, the personnel practiced conduct under conditions of contamination with toxic gases. Mobilization plans were simulated and alert systems tested.

The British Ministry of Defense plans the establishment of a strategic reserve with large merchant ships run by British crews in order to increase mobilization readiness of the national merchant fleet.

In the US, preparations are underway to prepare for the country's fuels and resources to work under emergency conditions. The National Association of Governors has made proposals for increasing efficiency in administering the strategic oil reserves. It is planned to grant authority to the US President to dispose of fuel stocks from the strategic reserves without prior declaration of a state of emergency.

In France, a command staff exercise took place by the country's leading civil defense agencies with representatives from the other EC states participating. It was timed with exercises “Datura” by the French nuclear forces, “Global Shield” of US nuclear forces, and “Central Enterprise” of NATO forces.

From June 6 to 9, a planned drill took place in the US State of New York. Commanded by FEMA, it encompassed government institutions, local administrations, and the population (participation of 2,500 people). It trained operations in case of a “threat” and of the use of nuclear weapons. It was also held simultaneously with exercise “Global Shield”.

Notable were efforts by military intelligence services of NATO states to gain information about Warsaw Treaty forces' level of readiness in case of a sudden begin of military operations.

So, in June of this year the most worrisome aspect in adversary's activities was timed coincidence (end of the first decade of the month) of planned exercises by the US strategic offensive forces, the NATO nuclear forces on alert in Europe, the French nuclear weapons' carriers, as well as by civil defense services of the US and Western European states.

Translated: Petzold, Captain
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