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December 1987

Committee for State Security (KGB), 'About Results of Intelligence Activities to Note Indicators for a Surprise Nuclear Missile Attack'

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

Translation from Russian


Strictly confidential!



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




Main activities by leaderships of the U.S. and NATO consisted in measures related to the Soviet-American summit, as well as in consultations about potential consequences for the West from the treaty on elimination of medium- and short-range missiles. The December meeting of the NATO Council affirmed the dedication of the alliance to the principles of “nuclear deterrence”. At the same time, it conceded the need of adaptation to new conditions and it referred to the importance of guaranteeing

timely recognition of an attack threat towards the countries of the alliance.


NATO states' governments implemented measures to improve the mechanism assisting in monitoring gestation and development of international crises situations. In the Western European alliance a permanent “crisis group” was established to assess the military-political situation in the world, and to work out a common political line for the case of the latter's aggravation.


Modernization of government communication systems for extraordinary events continued. The mobile airborne command center of the U.S. President had new equipments installed to expand options for his coordination of ground-based command centers of the country's armed forces. In France, communication and command systems of civilian sectors for times of tensions are tested.


A special exercise was held in Canada from December 7 to 9. There the collaboration between government and agencies in charge of warning before a nuclear attack was trained under conditions of a “massive nuclear attack against the country's territory”. For the first time. the government center for wartimes was included in the exercise.


The number of intercontinental ballistic missiles deployed at Warren Air Force Base (Wyoming) was increased to 31 units. The 70th out of of 100 planned missiles carrying B-1B aircraft joined the armaments of the Strategic Air Force.


In December, operative and combat activity of nuclear and conventional U.S. forces showed higher intensity than during the same period last year. Training of massive strikes by strategic and tactical air forces against the territory of the “adversary” was the centerpiece of American and NATO exercises. Dates and objectives of these exercises were streamlined by standardized assignments. During the course of the month, six combat readiness checks of those Pershing-2 units took place which are part of the alert system.


On December 1 the command staff exercise “Polo Hat” was held, where the reserve system of the U.S. forces strategic command in wartimes was operated from mobile air-based command centers. From November 30 to December 2 the exercise “Active Edge” was held within NATO forces. It was about the sudden transition of staff and troops to full combat readiness.


In order to increase mobilization readiness of the military-industrial complex, in Canada an inter-agency consultative committee for development of the defense industry was established. In leading Western countries, the issue gets examined whether to create a special mechanism for urgent consultations between banks and corporations to overcome crisis phenomena in the global economy.


The EC Commission has drafted a plan to include and distribute strategic oil reserves among the EC states, in order to secure their running demand in case of a halt in exports from the Persian Gulf region. Oil supplies in NATO reserve tanks on the territories of France and the FRG are replenished.


A secret British-French agreement was signed about utilization of the tunnel under construction under the Channel for the relocation of British troops to France in periods of tensions.


In Portugal government measures were worked out to secure the viability of cities in a crisis situation.


Readiness of civil defense forces was reviewed during planned exercises in Great Britain, the FRG, and Belgium. In some NATO countries campaigns were conducted to increase blood donations. Massive blood donations to replenish reserves took place in the FRG, in Turkey, and in Belgium.


Preparations of intelligence services for operation in periods of tensions occurred.


In plants of the U.S. arms industry subject to inspections according to provisions of the IMF Treaty, measures were conducted to prepare them for checks by the Soviet side.


The government of Spain has decided to increase protection of secret information about negotiations with NATO allies.


Therefore, during the first half of December quite high activity of U.S. and NATO forces was notable. Individual actions, for instance the alert for staffs and troop contingents including units with Pershing-2 and cruise missiles, were cause for heightened attention.


During the second half of the month a reduction of activities was noted. Such was due especially to the end of the annual cycle of troop training.  


Translated: Petzold, Captain
2 Copies


This report from the KGB contains results from intelligence activities conducted in December 1987 aimed at exposing indicators of a surprise nuclear missile attack on the USSR.

Document Information


BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 58-61. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.


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Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)