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February 1988

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 (February 1988)




During intense consultations between leaders of the Western states, and within the framework of NATO, coordination continued concerning most important foreign policy and military-strategic guidelines for the new international situation. In extraordinary NATO council meetings the course of the bloc got revised with regard to the issue of East-West relations. Different versions of “compensation” were discussed for those medium-range and short-range missiles designated for elimination.


Due to high workloads of NATO leadership bodies, the large strategic command staff exercise “Hilex” was canceled. In its course, usually the general readiness of the military and civilian sector of bloc states is reviewed for the case of crisis. Simultaneously, NATO leadership mandated its member states to simulate on national level tasks within a framework of organizing governance under conditions of an armed conflict.


In the context of ongoing tensions in the Gulf region, the center for monitoring the situation in this region, established in late 1987 within the WEU [Western European Union] apparatus, continued its operations.


In the US Defense Department versions were worked out for combat operations during an initial stage featuring individual components of the missile defense system with space-based elements (SDI program). In light of this perspective, the option gets discussed to revise the joint integrated operative plan to conduct nuclear war. In addition to the earlier agreed program of target revisions for parts of US strategic forces, the Pentagon decided on a new allocation of targets designated for destruction by sea-based “Tomahawk” cruise missiles on Warsaw Treaty states' territory.


Since mid-February combat training of US forces and their allies was noticeably intensified. The traditional winter maneuver series covered basically all of Western Europe and wide areas of the Far East with adjacent waters.


Activities by US and NATO forces at the Southern Flank of the bloc were of most brazen character. On February 12, two ships of the US Navy imitated operations during the early stage of an armed conflict. In the course of this, they deliberately intruded into Soviet territorial waters. On this operative background, an exercise of NATO ships and aircraft began to block Black Sea access. Large maneuvers of Turkish ground forces took place near borders of the USSR and Bulgaria.


In the US and Canada, readiness of industrial corporations for drastic increase in output of military-related products was reviewed. In the US it was noted that the supply of forces with modern optical equipment can be met by only 60 percent under war conditions. Canadian companies are able to achieve required increase in production to meet needs of the armed forces only by including production capacities of the civilian sector.


In Western member states of the International Energy Agency, the mechanism to utilize strategic reserves of energy sources in crisis situations was tested. They simulated implementation of strictly restricted consumption of oil products.


In some Western states, campaigns were conducted to activate blood donations in order to replenish reserves for an emergency.


In the context of a “Day of the Blood Donor”, in Turkey staff from the President's personal office and members of parliament were drafted to donate blood for propagandistic purposes. Increasing the accumulation of blood supplies from donor blood was noticeable in Great Britain and France.


According to an instruction by the FRG Defense Minister for the 1990s, the FRG army's intelligence was tasked with securing early alerts on preparations of an “adversarial” strategic and operative surprise [missile] strike.


NATO intelligence services undertake intensive preparations to apply intelligence methods in order to control compliance with the IMF Treaty. The FRG leadership considers uncovering of “violations” of the treaty as the primary task of the country's intelligence agencies. It instructed maximum utilization of all operative opportunities, including agents in journalistic and business circles, to “note attempts to undermine provisions of the treaty”.


At special exercises in Canada, collaboration of units from police, the army, and civilian leadership agencies was trained “under conditions of an incursion into the country's territory by intelligence and diversion groups of the adversary”.


In sum, in February regular checks of combat readiness took place concerning armed forces and civilian sectors in the US and NATO pertaining to the case of armed conflict; in addition to intensive political consultations between Western governments about fundamental problems of the international situation. Worrisome aspects were on display during a couple of the bloc's military exercises near the borders of Warsaw Treaty member states.


Translated: Petzold, Captain
2 Copies


This report from the KGB contains results from intelligence activities conducted in February 1988 aimed at exposing indicators of a surprise nuclear missile attack on the USSR.

Document Information


BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 65-67. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.


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Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)