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August 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!



Summarizing report of results of intelligence activities to note indicators for a sudden nuclear missile attack (August 1988)




US and NATO leaderships continue with implementation of measures aimed at improving the strategy of “nuclear deterrence” under conditions of the currently ongoing process to eliminate medium-range and short-range missiles in Europe. In this context, NATO's military-political bodies have worked out new guidelines for the bloc's doctrine. Accordingly, they made modifications to the 1986 document by the Nuclear Planning Group about political directives for nuclear weapons use in order to defend NATO.


The French government reaffirmed its intention to strictly follow plans of stocking up its armed forces' nuclear potential, as it had been decided by the previous cabinet. It is planned on this basis to increase nuclear loads of strategic missiles from 212 to 263 by the year 2000.


In some leading NATO states and in Japan measures were implemented to improve the system of governance in crisis situations. In the US they have begun to install a globally secure system for the transfer of information between the US Department of State and its peripheral facilities. In Canada, a special depot gets built for the most important documents from ministries and agencies needed for functioning in emergency situations.


The Japanese cabinet has approved the timeline for modernizing telecommunications systems of the Prime Minister's apparatus in emergency situations.


The Supreme Command of the US Air Force has finalized and specified modalities for further deployment of MX missiles. This year deployment of the 8 remaining missiles (from the first 50 built) in launching silos is to be completed at Warren Missile Base (US State of Wyoming). Additional 50 missiles will be deployed from the beginning of the 1990s as the train version.


The most active training by any forces occurred in nuclear forces of the US and France. During exercise “Mighty Warrior” of the Strategic Air Command of the US Air Force (July 27 to August 14), up to 80 strategic bombers were airborne daily. On August 3, 9, 11, and 28 drills of the French nuclear forces were noted with simulated launches of ballistic medium-range missiles and alert starts of strategic “Mirage 1p” bombers.   


In the midst of the month and in the framework of exercise “Reforger 88” (August 18 to September 11), relocation began for a 17,000 men contingent of American reinforcement forces, as well as of combat technology, from the US to Europe in order to join the upcoming NATO maneuver “Autumn Forge”.


The US military leadership has implemented additional measures to further improve the production basis of the American military-industrial complex. For this purpose, a special department is to be created in the Defense Department to study the program for development of national industry and acceleration of moving militarily promising developments towards production.


In NATO states they continue to work on the issue of utilizing civilian seagoing vessels for needs of the armed forces. The US Navy's Supreme Command has signed agreements with three American shipping companies about temporary incorporation of their ships into forward deployments of the Pacific fleet. It is under discussion in the FRG Ministry of Defense to replace support naval forces in part by commercial ships with civilian crews.


In a couple of Western states there were measures taken to further improve plans to protect the population in emergency situations. In Portugal a new civil defense law is drafted. The US, Austria, and the Netherlands have introduced additional measures to control operations of nuclear power plants and to guarantee evacuation of the population in case of a disaster.


In the FRG, a program is in the works about use of reserve hospitals and increase of their mobilization readiness. Additional supplies of medicine and medical equipment are stocked up. Blood donations are increasingly collected since blood reserves have significantly dwindled.


Capabilities of US intelligence services became further improved. Representatives of the Pentagon had negotiations with the Turkish leadership about modernization of existing and construction of new American signal surveillance facilities in that country.


The fight against terrorism continues to remain an urgent problem in NATO states. In order to get informed about measures taken in this regard, a group of parliamentarians from NATO states traveled in August to several Western European states. Results of their trip are supposed to be summarized and submitted to respective bodies of the bloc.


Therefore, in August nuclear combat capabilities of US and NATO were further improved as planned. Combat readiness of strategic offensive forces from the US and NATO was further improved. Strategic relocations of forces and battle technology from the US to Europe took place in order to join NATO fall maneuvers “Autumn Forge”.



Translated: Petzold, Captain
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This report from the KGB contains results from intelligence activities conducted in August 1988 aimed at exposing indicators of a surprise nuclear missile attack on the USSR.

Document Information


BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 82-85. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.


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Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)