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April 1989

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 detection of indicators for a sudden nuclear missile attack (April 1989)



Political Area


At the meeting of NATO's Nuclear Planning Group on April 19 and 20, proposals were discussed forwarded by the Supreme Command of the Allied Forces and the “High-Level Group” pertaining to modernization of NATO nuclear forces in Europe. Among else, the following options were discussed to compensate for reductions in nuclear “deterrence potential” as a result of the elimination of medium-range and short-range missiles: development and deployment of a new operative-tactical missile with a range of shortly below 500 kilometers, equipment of NATO air forces with F-15E aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons; installation of missiles with nuclear warheads on American fighter aircraft F-111, and increase in numbers of those aircraft in Great Britain; suspension of production and purchase restrictions for grenades with nuclear loads for the US nuclear artillery in Europe. Given the reservations by the FRG and several other countries towards operative-tactical missiles, US and British representatives, as well as NATO leadership, emphasized during discussions in particular the question of expanding nuclear capabilities of the aerial forces. The White House is thinking a compromise was reached, allowing to provide a practical dimension to improvement of nuclear forces in Europe on a qualitatively new level.


The new American administration continues implementation of previously approved programs to prepare government agencies for operability under crisis conditions. Following a FEMA directive, the US Internal Revenue Service has worked out an instruction on basic obligations of agency personnel concerning an emergency declaration in the country, in particular in the area of financial control over operations of the most important military and civilian branches of production.



Military Area


A specific characteristic of operative and combat training of the US Air Force consisted in reviewing a couple of components that are supposed to be modernized according to NATO plans. For instance, in the context of testing combat readiness of tactical US aerial forces stationed in Europe, reinforcement of forward offensive forces was trained through relocation of additional dual-use F-111 fighter bombers from the US to Great Britain. Simulated was accelerated spreading out of aircraft from forward FRG airbases. In the framework of strategic command staff exercise “Dedex”, a mechanism was tested for communicating instructions on use of nuclear weapons. It was unusual that, simultaneously with tactical aerial forces in European air space, overall 7 strategic US B-52 bombers conducted flights. They had participated in exercise “Open Gate 89” held by NATO's Allied Naval Forces in the Atlantic.


The US Department of Defense has undertaken several measures to improve offensive options for its naval forces. An agreement was signed stipulating to equip missile-carrying ships with communication to receive navigation information from satellites of the global “Navstar” system. The latter is supposed to adjust flying paths of ballistic and cruise missiles. Despite test failures of the submarine-based ballistic “Trident 2” missile, production of this newest nuclear weapons system was commissioned.


No changes were noted in operative and combat training of NATO's Allied Forces. In all potential theaters of war exercises were conducted as planned by staffs, units, and divisions of the Allied Forces. In those contexts reviews of combat readiness continued and specific issues of planning, as well as organization of collaboration and guidance of forces, got tested. From April 10 to 20, 1989 the NATO forces' exercise “Tactical Fighter Meet 89” took place in the Northern European Theater of War. Twelve F-4 aircraft of the US Air Force's tactical forces from the 106th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and the 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing participated.


From April 3 to 4, 1989 in the Central European Theater of War in FRG airspace an exercise by Great Britain's Air Force was held, where relocation of reinforcements from the motherland was trained. From April 11 to 13, 1989 exercises were held by NATO's Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force to practice methods of signal electronic combat.


In the Southern European Theater of War on April 20 the exercise “Dragon Hammer 89” began. Objective of this exercise is to train collaboration between aerial, naval, and ground forces under crisis conditions. During the course of the exercise, aircraft from the Strategic Air Command of the US Air Force from the 42nd Bomb Wing (Loring Air Force Base, US) are supposed to conduct operations.



Economic Area


According to assessments of NATO experts, integration of Western European NATO states concerning armament industries will further progress in coming years. Collaboration will become most active in areas where high-tech will be applied: in military electronics, in creating means of communication, as well as in aircraft and space industry. International cooperation will be accompanied by further expansion of armament production within individual NATO countries. In the opinion of Western experts, the concentration of arms production in the FRG enjoys the full support of the Federal Government. The latter is determined to counter any attempts to apply existing anti-trust legislation to armament manufacturers.


At exercise “Estareja 89” in Portugal mobilization plans pertaining to chemical plants were implemented for the case of technical disasters.



Civil Defense Area


In early April, a complex exercise directed by FEMA was held in the US State of Arizona. It practiced collaboration in emergency situations between civil defense agencies, local agencies, police, army units, as well as by fire brigades and medical services. They controlled the state of life support systems for the population and the functioning of systems to alert people on danger. Analogous tasks were solved by Norwegian civil defense services during exercise “Collaboration 89” (April 14 to 16).


The Turkish Foreign Ministry has sent an instruction to its embassies in NATO states. It requires Turkish diplomats to arrange continuous consultations with representatives of their host countries on issues of civil defense.    




Intelligence Activities Area


In the FRG measures were noted to guarantee operations of West German intelligence service in case of emergency situations. For instance, the FRG government confirmed a plan to regulate collaboration of police organs of federal states with border protection and army units in case of emergence of a “crisis situation” or an armed conflict in the country.


A plan to restructure military intelligence was approved by the Japanese government. Among else, it is planned to merge foreign intelligence units of the three services of the “Self-Defense Forces” into one agency, the “Directorate of Foreign Intelligence”.


It can be assumed that the process of preparation for the NATO summit planned for end of May will have substantial impact on developments of the military-political situation in that the month.


Translated: Salewski[?], Lieutenant Colonel
2 Copies


This report from the KGB contains results from intelligence activities conducted in April 1989 aimed at exposing indicators of a surprise nuclear missile attack on the USSR.

Document Information


BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 6755, S. 86-90. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.


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Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)