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Security challenges in the 1990s.

A CBS/New York Times poll conducted in 1989 revealed that two out of three Americans no longer consider the Soviets an "immediate threat" to the United States and three out of four believe nuclear war with the Soviets is unlikely. The Soviet Union and its former client states are no longer perceived as the threat they once were to US security and future stability. Reality differs somewhat from this perception, however.

Georgi Arbatov, director of the Soviet Institute for the Study of the United States and Canada, described Soviet intentions this way: "We would deprive America of the enemy. And then how would you justify your military expenditures?" That statement has serious repercussions.

Relaxing East-West tensions has, in effect, increased the opportunity for espionage by hostile intelligence-gathering services. During recent testimony to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights, FBI Director William Sessions told Congress that Soviet intelligence operations in the United States are on the rise, despite warming US ties with Moscow.

Sessions stated that "while current US/Soviet relations present an unprecedented climate of cooperation, the FBI has documented that the Soviet intelligence operations have increased in sophisticated scope and number. " All information to date supports the conclusion that the Soviets as well as the Chinese will continue to target both classified and unclassified technological information.

Warming East-West relations will provide additional opportunities for hostile recruitment of American citizens employed by the approximately 12,000 facilities the Defense Investigative Service (DIS) oversees. Such opportunities will arise in a number of ways.

First and foremost is the significant presence of Soviet nationals in the United States as a result of liberalized emigration policies and arms control agreements and increased cultural and educational exchanges. According to Department of Justice statistics, a total of 1,000 Soviet emigres established residence in the United States in 1986. In 1989, over 2,000 new Soviet emigres arrived in this country each month.

Absorbing these individuals into the work force will present unique challenges to cleared contractors involved in sensitive US government procurement efforts. Expanded business opportunities in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union will also create unlimited opportunities to target and recruit Americans with access to critical technological information, much of which is proprietary to American industry.

One positive by-product of the peace process is the anticipation of future arms agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union. Conditions of these treaties, however, will allow the Soviets direct and continued access to areas and individuals previously off-limits. US defense contractors that store, manufacture, or could manufacture strategic missiles and military bases that deploy such weapons have now been identified for the proposed Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) verification inspections.

Treaty provisions will allow the Soviets unprecedented access to cleared personnel. In coming months, DIS will help prepare facilities for intrusive, on-site inspections by the Soviets. The security vulnerabilities associated with such interaction concern both DIS and industry and require close cooperation by both.

History has demonstrated that during times of openness and reduced tensions, hostile intelligence activities escalate. Major General Oleg D. Kalugin, a retired intelligence chief of the KGB, summed up Moscow's position thus: "The backbone of the KGB activities remains as it was 10 and 20 years ago. It is observation of political enemies, using agents for political purposes."

As the threat imposed by conventional and nuclear weapons diminishes, experts agree, the battleground will shift to technological and economic fronts. The clandestine acquisition of sensitive data is far more cost-effective than spending millions of dollars and unlimited staff hours on research to develop competitive technology.

The Cold War may be over in a literal sense, but the threat imposed by governments seeking technological and economic parity with the United States will continue unabated. We anticipate aggressive attempts by friend and foe alike to acquire sophisticated technology from US government facilities and American corporations. In this vein, industry would be well-advised to remain cautious yet optimistic about worldwide changes. We cannot afford to let down our guard in response to conditions that remain fluid and unpredictable.

As the agency responsible for overseeing the protection of the majority of classified information entrusted to industry, DIS will be faced with unprecedented challenges as world conditions alter East-West relations. Industry can help meet these challenges by ensuring that its employees are aware of the ever-changing threat and know their responsibilities for protecting the nation's vital secrets.

John F. Donnelly is director of the Defense investigative Service.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Donnelly, John F.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Nov 1, 1990
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