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May 6, 1986

Ministry of State Security (Stasi), 'Report on Development and Achieved State of Work Regarding Early Recognition of Adversarial Attack and Surprise Intentions (Complex RYAN)'

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

Main Directorate A [HV A]
Deputy Head
Berlin, 6 May 1986





Head of Working Group of the Minister
Comrade Lieutenant General Geisler


Attached I send for your information a report on development and achieved state of work regarding early recognition of adversarial attack and surprise intentions.


One copy each of the report went to Comrade Minister as well as to Lieutenant General Shumilov to forward it to the KGB.


Major General   


Report (11 pages)




Ministry for State Security
Main Directorate A

Berlin, 23 April 1986







on development and achieved state of work regarding early recognition of adversarial attack and surprise intentions (Complex RYAN)



In the Ministry for State Security, in particular within its foreign intelligence units, activities concerning early uncovering of acute hostile intentions of aggression and military surprise planning have always been priority tasks. Authoritative orientation was contained in Order No. 40/68 of the Minister for State Security. At the beginning of the 1980s, the danger of imperialist aggression against the socialist community was growing as a consequence of the US government's strategy of direct confrontation, and in particular due to the increasing threat of an imperialist surprise nuclear missile attack. The necessity arose to conduct this work on a higher level, and more comprehensively.

Recommendations developed at a meeting of heads of socialist intelligence organs between May 17 and 21, 1982 were the basis for preparation of an according complex of operative, operative-technological, and analytical-organizational measures. In close cooperation with the 1st Main Directorate of the KGB guidelines were developed regarding activities in the area of early recognition, and according official instructions were prepared. On February 15, 1985 the Minister for State Security issued Order No. 1/85: “Tasks of MfS units concerning early uncovering of acute intentions of aggression and surprising military activities by imperialist states and alliances, in particular in order to prevent a surprise nuclear missile attack against states of the socialist community”. Order No. 40 from 1968 was withdrawn.


At the enlarged meeting of the MfS collegium on June 7, 1985 the Minister for State Security explained to the heads in charge of the entire Ministry the assignment of early recognition, in the context of explaining the Ministry's priority tasks for preparation of the XI SED Party Congress.


On June 5, 1985 the Minister confirmed the 1st Implementing Provision of Order No. 1/85, which had been issued by the Deputy of the Minister and head of Main Directorate A [HV A] for the entire MfS according to an order. For foreign intelligence specifically, on August 1, 1985 official instruction 3/85 was issued by the head of HV A.


The following main thoughts were basis for the Minister's order:


- Activities towards early gathering of intelligence about an acute decision for war by the adversary is part of the work for all operative and operative-technological units of the MfS. The main method for solving these tasks continues to be penetration of the adversary's decision-making centers with agents. Necessary activities in this direction are to be intensified and expanded. Furthermore, it is required to systematically open up all potential options – in order to fulfill this decisive demand for information and prevent any possible surprise, through gathering external indicators of tensions in all areas of society, primarily in political decision-making centers, the armed forces, the civil defense, the intelligence services, and the economy.


- All relevant insights are to be continuously, and centrally, collected and analyzed. Of extraordinary importance is the speed of the information transfer, from the sources through mediating instances and the center all the way to the recipient of information.

Within the MfS structure, centralized analysis and information has to be organized by the HV A.


- Inclusion of the operative network in this process has to be conducted largely by concealing the actual issue. As a rule, only reliable and validated IM are to be used. Heads of [MfS] units have to keep according operations under their personal control.


- Leading responsibilities are with the Deputy of the Minister and head of the HV A. They pertain to coordinated and targeted planning and implementation of required operative and other measures, to central orientation for the units in context of the entire Ministry, to support for recruiting and guiding IM, and to be in charge of central tasks regarding leadership, analysis, information, and coordination.


- There needs to be close cooperation and division of labor with the military's foreign intelligence.


- Collaboration with the KGB of the USSR has to be perfected, in particular with regard to a fast and covert information flow, and to further development of the system of gathering indicators.


In accordance with all this, the Deputy of the Minister and head of the HV A has issued the following instructions:


When fulfilling their duties resulting from Order No. 1/85, lines and units of the MfS have to focus on important areas of concentration as spelled out in the 1st Implementing Provision. The tasks for solving them are to be coordinated with HV A through deputy heads and heads of staff.


In district directorates, heads of foreign intelligence departments have to guarantee coordination with other departments of district directorates and the county offices. Furthermore, detailed instructions were issued regarding information flow.


Effectively April 1, 1985, an additional deputy level (VII/C) was created within the structure of the HV A department of information (Department VII). It is conducting the former military-political, military, and armament-economic evaluation of information, and the handling of the early recognition complex.  


The following tasks were transferred to this deputy level:


- Registration and processing of incoming reports and information;


- Continuous monitoring of the military-political situation;


- Preparation of specific information;


- Further development of the system of indicators;


- Support of HV A leadership in explaining and implementing official instructions on early recognition;


- Being in charge of information and report exchange pertaining to Order No. 1/85 with the Army's foreign intelligence and the KGB of the USSR;


- Preparation of additional official instructions on early recognition.


The decision to establish a unitary situation room of the HV A was based on experiences gained through continuous monitoring of the situation (in particular the proven axiom that evaluation of unusual, tension-related phenomena is possible only before the background of a continuously monitored situation/normal situation), demands by the Minister for State Security regarding a situation desk of HV A on permanent alert for providing information, and the existence of related units within the information department.   


Until the end of January 1986, all MfS units (counterintelligence and foreign intelligence) tasked with relevant assignments on early recognition according to central instructions have been integrated in respective work, monitoring, and reporting processes.


Regarding orientations for counterintelligence the following maxim is in place: Existing sources within the area of operation [FRG] are to tapped for early recognition; though in particular a definition and activation of reverse conclusions is needed, which result from the actual area of responsibility within the GDR (timely recognition of relevant changes of the character of enemy activity).


HV A departments in charge of guiding legalized resident agents abroad did, in collaboration with unit VII/C, specify the tasks of legal residents in the area of early recognition. They continuously issued binding instructions and organized the reporting system. During the course of 1986 the regular reporting of selected residents gets tested.


Commitments have been made for HV A units in charge to evaluate information in order to exclude loss of information on early recognition. They are supposed to guarantee that data on new indicators, on the system of crisis management, and on mobilization and alarm planning by the adversary, get forwarded to unit VII/C.


Detailed consultations were held with signal intelligence and border intelligence. Decisions made in this regard have turned out to be appropriate.


On behalf of the head of the HV A, the deputy of the head and head of the staff of the HV A did have basic consultations with heads of all units listed in the implementing provision. Subsequently, the head of unit VII/C held substantiating meetings with heads of evaluation units of the [MfS] lines. He provided explanations to heads in charge of selected counterintelligence units and district directorates.


As of currently, it can be assessed that intentions of Minister Order No. 1/85 were understood in the units and appropriate measures were taken towards its implementation.

Of the 292 indicators from the catalogue of signs of tensions currently 226 (77 percent) are covered, though to varying degree. Targeting temporally or spatially limited foci, MfS signal intelligence is covering in addition a couple of indicator areas. Further efforts are needed especially with regard to the complexes “political leadership” and “military leadership” in order to guarantee required operative, respectively operative-technological, monitoring. Currently there exist no reliable control mechanisms with regard to the adversary's strategic nuclear forces.


Collaboration with the leadership of the Foreign Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of National Defense includes continuous exchange of messages and conclusions concerning the situation between the situation rooms of both services, as well as consultations on indicator problems and organization of early recognition.


Collaboration with the KGB of the USSR occurs according to previous decisions in the area of report exchanges between the HV A situation room and the Moscow center via the KGB representation in the GDR. Constantly, internal information is handed over to the KGB that supports further qualification of the process of early recognition. The KGB has provided individual clues on crisis phenomena and summarized information about indicators gathered in January and February 1986, as well as an information about the US emergency agency [FEMA].

In the context of a consultation about the RYAN complex, during the current year decisions should be made how to organize an efficient exchange of messages, what kind of periodical reports, overviews, and analyses are appropriate, and in what form the system of indicators can be updated in standardized fashion.


Agreement was made with [the] foreign intelligence [service] of the CSSR [Czechoslovakia] to exchange relevant insights and further inquiries via the liaison of CSSR foreign intelligence in Berlin. So far there have been no agreements made on specific collaboration with other socialist foreign intelligence organs.


Official instructions emphasize the priority of an immediate report flow from the source to the recipient of information. According to Order No. 1/85 the most important reporting form is the “instant message” to the HV A situation room. Only this type of message is supposed to receive the reference “Message on 1/85”. Advance notification by phone is to preferred. (As directed, the reference IPN/UBH in Russian – Information Surprise Attack -, recommended by the Soviet side, is used only in communication between the center of the HV A and the KGB of the USSR).

Facts, events, and hostile activities of lesser urgency are reported via usual information channels.


The department VII/C (situation room) of the HV A keeps the overview of covered areas of indicators and documentation of incoming messages and information on the situation. The situation room's reporting activities are regulated through official instruction by the head of the HV A.


It is an important working project in the current planning year to determine such indicators that have an especially high degree of plausibility (so-called key indicators), and which allow the units to better define those areas of concentration to be monitored with priority. So far work with indicators collects a number of indicators as high as possible. At the same time, it is highlighting those that have a high degree of plausibility (unambiguousness). No further indicators were gathered during practical work (see appendix).


It is proposed to expand the existing catalogue through an annual supplement. It would be expedient to list, in addition to the catalogue of indicators, major objects to monitor, and an overview of how they get covered.


In the future, the following problems should be examined and measures initiated:


- Planning and implementation of operative, operative-technological, and if necessary combined measures, to cover especially important objects, areas, and fields, where according to determined concentration areas of foreign intelligence the MfS bears particular responsibility;


- Determining which central overviews are to be listed in what standardized fashion (for instance, covered indicators, covered objects and areas);


- Technological improvement of instruments to monitor and present the situation;


- Identifying subjects and topical complexes to be researched scientifically;


- New definitions of qualitative requirements for cadres to be deployed in central structural units for early recognition;


- Working out a concept to utilize computing [EDV, electronic data processing] for the process of early recognition.




April 1986




The following indicators of tensions have been identified to expand the catalogue of characteristics:



In the area of the ECONOMY:


- Changes in stable connections to Western European institutions in the area of nuclear research


- Production changes towards increased armament production in corporations and companies


- Special activities regarding the build-up of protective shelters, bunkers, pre-chamber shafts, et cetera, as well as their check and maintenance


- Increased production of vaccines/pharmaceuticals that does not correspond to actual needs of the current epidemiological situation and of export commitments (increase of vaccine reserves)


- Holding back deliveries of strategically relevant raw materials, intermediate products, and finished goods to the GDR and other socialist states





- Intensification of efforts by heads and specific employees of FRG services to gather information about political and military decisions by allied states


- Intensification of all kinds of foreign intelligence against the states of the Warsaw Treaty (among else: increased meetings with agents, increased recruiting and countermen recruiting activities, change of assignment instructions in military direction, increase of foreign intelligence gathering against socialist states out of neutral areas)


- Efforts to maintain the usual activity routine in contrast to an expected intensification due to other changes in the situation


- Preparatory measures for direct relocation of official units, records, employees, and facilities of military and non-military intelligence services from the likely Forward Combat Zone to rearward areas of the theater of war (simultaneously intensified preparations for relocation to avoidance areas and shelter objects)


- Delegation of liaison officers and experts of strategic-political intelligence services to central units of military foreign intelligence and to selected military and militarily-subversive units


- Increased counterintelligence activities against legal [agent] residents of socialist states in NATO states and third countries


- Measures of object security and object defense against forces of undercover struggle


- Changes in assignment directions, for instance reorientation of agents towards so-called indicator areas


- Delegation of liaison officers from the BND [Bundesnachrichtendienst, West German foreign intelligence service] to the state governments of the FRG


- Intensification of information exchange among intelligence services of NATO states, as well as of the latter with other Western states


- Reinforcement of selected legal resident agents abroad


- Cessation or reduction of activities of legal resident agents



(classification with complexes of the catalogue not yet determined)




- Limitations or increase of transit travel between the FRG and West Berlin


- Changes in transit travel movement of prominent public figures and their family members


- Reduction respectively halt of travel and transit into third states by citizens from the FRG, West Berlin, and the other NATO states


- Interruption or significant intensification of transit travel by members of the armed forces of the United States, Great Britain, and France


- Interruption or significant increase of entries into the capital of the GDR by members of the armed forces of the United States, Great Britain, and France


- Significant deviations in travel by diplomats and other privileged persons from NATO states


- Massive rejections of entries for citizens of the GDR or other socialist states, respectively their non-return from visits, official travel in the FRG, to West Berlin, and to other NATO states





- Interruption of cross-border travel and freight traffic


- Significantly increased foreign intelligence activities (militarily and in cross-border traffic)


- Relocation of material and equipment, evacuation of objects at border checkpoints or border monitoring sites, as well as of residential buildings of employees in the adversary's organs


- Change in armament and equipment, respectively withdrawal or increase of forces of BGS/GSE [federal West German border security forces], of the Bavarian border police, of customs, and of the West Berlin police


- Increase in control intensity for relevant categories of people


- Increase in movement of military forces, takeover of functions in railroad traffic by military personnel


- Frequent appearances by high-ranking military of the NATO states





- Transmission of important information and hints to passport control units by [GDR] travel cadres or people in cross-border traffic, which invite conclusions about an upcoming attack


- Provocations and other significant violent acts at border crossing checkpoints, whose kind of conduct and implementation can serve to the adversary as a pretext for military conflict, including attempts of such





- Plans and measures noted by [GDR] customs control that invite conclusions about an upcoming conflict


- Information that can be gathered from [GDR] customs clearance of moving items:
- moves out of West Berlin by leading people from politics and society
- liquidation, respectively move, of political and economic institutions, relocation of strategically important industrial objects (foreign missions, representations, banks, companies, et cetera)


- Insights which can be gained from movement of goods:
- equipment for construction projects to protect civilians
- stocking up of vital supplies
- concerted withdrawal of transportation capacities (trucks, freight cars)


- Analogous insights from customs control of mail traffic






- No-shows for booked travel by several prominent people from the FRG, non-socialist foreign countries, and West Berlin


- Interruption of stay and early exit from the GDR by several prominent people


- No-shows for booked travel, respectively early exit, by important tourist groups


- Incidents, respectively prevented incidents, in touristic objects clearly aimed at stirring up panic, unrest, and insecurity among the population


- Interruption of business activities and early exit from socialist countries by representatives of Western travel companies


- Extensive cancellations of touristic stays by travel groups and individuals from non-socialist foreign countries and West Berlin, as well as concerted departures from touristic hubs of the socialist countries


- General cancellations of travel to the FRG and other non-socialist foreign countries for GDR travel groups by Western travel agencies


This report by Ministry of State Security describes developments and achievements toward early recognition of a surprise nuclear missile attack on the USSR (Complex RYAN).

Document Information


BStU, MfS, AGM, Nr. 1021, S. 32-44. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.


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