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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July, 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 July 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'," July, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 79-81. Translated by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119929
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119929

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Strictly confidential!

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

(1001/88)

In the context of events in the Persian Gulf, security was increased in early July for US diplomatic representations and NATO key institutions. Other indicators for potential aggravation of the situation in this region were not noted. In contrast to similar instances, no crisis group to monitor development of the situation in this region was established in the US Department of State.

In the second half of July, extraordinary meetings by highest NATO bodies, and intensive consultations by political and military leaders of Western countries, took place to discuss new arms control initiatives by the Warsaw Treaty states. In the FRG, a command staff training to practice operations by political and military leadership under conditions of a nuclear missile conflict took place. The practice was held at the government's wartimes command center (Bad Ahrweiler). Participating were Federal Chancellor [Helmut] Kohl, leading politicians and military of the country, as well as representatives from diplomatic and military circles of France and Austria.

The number of intercontinental ballistic MX missiles deployed on Warren Air Force Base (US State of Wyoming) was increased to 42 (out of 50 planned) units. 164 out of 240 strategic US B-52 bombers have been converted to cruise missile carriers. Conversion got finalized for the first 15 tactical fighter aircraft “Mirage 2000H” for cruise missiles, with a nuclear warhead of up to 300 kilotons each. The American military leadership continues to figure out flight routes for sudden relocation of aircraft from the Strategic Air Command to Europe in case a crisis situation emerges. On July 29 seven B-52 bomber aircraft flew to Great Britain during exercise “Might Warrior” held by the 8th Air Force of the US Strategic Air Command. The presence of American strategic air forces in Europe turns into a permanent element of the continent's operative situation.

Heightened combat readiness for NATO naval forces in the Persian Gulf, which was introduced on July 4, is continuing. The forces consist of 41 ships, 24 among them American. Since July 16 the intensity of relocation of US transport and intelligence aircraft to this region is increasing. A striking force of the US Navy led by aircraft carrier “Carl Vinson” heads from the South China Sea to the Persian Gulf.

Western business circles provide overall reserved assessments regarding the likelihood of an escalation of military conflict in the Persian Gulf. The situation on international financial and commodity markets remained relatively calm. Drastic price increases for oil and gold, as well as unusual moves of stock markets in leading capitalist countries, were not observed.

From July 13 to 15 an exercise was held under purview of the US Department of Transportation to improve command of civilian transportation in crisis situations. American shipbuilding companies placed an order with the FRG for construction of six container ships. They will be among the largest in the world and are designated for transportation of military freight and procurement of American forces in Europe with technology, medicine, and food in wartimes.

From July 7 to 9 an exercise was held under guidance of FEMA in the US State of Massachusetts concerning immediate evacuation of population from areas subject to simulated radioactive contamination. In Canada, the Netherlands, and in Austria functionality of communication devices linked to danger alert centers was tested. In the FRG, the network of radiation control posts was expanded and modernized. It is planned to install such posts in a 13 kilometer distance from each other on the entire territory of the country.

Improvement of options for intelligence services from the US and other NATO states is continuing. More than 300 million dollars are supposed to be provided for needs of American intelligence in fiscal year 1989. As it is believed in US Congress, this amount will significantly increase effectiveness of the country's intelligence services. In the FRG, implementation has begun of the plan to secure through intelligence the system of “early alert on preparation of a strategic or operative strike by forces of the Warsaw Treaty”. In the framework of this plan, a branched network of radio and signal intelligence is established with ground-, sea-, and air-based, and in the future also space-based, elements.

So, an actual aggravation of the military-political situation in the Persian Gulf region, which would threaten interests of the socialist community, did not materialize. However, operations by the US government to increase its fleet are still harboring the danger of a military confrontation in this region.
 

Translated: Petzold, Captain
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