207. National Security Council Directive1
Washington, February 14, 1955.NSC 5511
DIRECTIVE ON A NET EVALUATION SUBCOMMITTEE
- Pursuant to the recommendations of the National Security Council in NSC Action No. 1260–b (November 4, 1954) and my subsequent approval thereof,2 I hereby establish a permanent procedure to provide integrated evaluations of the net capabilities of the USSR, in the event of general war, to inflict direct injury upon the continental U.S. and key U.S. installations overseas, and to provide a continual watch for changes which would significantly alter those net capabilities.
- Each integrated evaluation should:
- Cover all types of attack, overt or clandestine;
- Include consideration of the several courses of action which the USSR is capable of executing; and
- Take into account the estimated future status of approved military and non-military U.S. defense programs.
- Each integrated evaluation report should estimate from the
practical standpoint the extent and effect of direct injury,
including radioactive fall-out, upon the continental U.S. and key
U.S. installations overseas, resulting from the most probable types
and weights of attacks which the USSR is capable of delivering during approximately [Page 600]the first thirty days of
general war, taking into account the effect of U.S. counterattacks
during this period. A separate evaluation will be made, assuming
each of the following types of initial attack:
- An initial surprise attack, based on a USSR decision to give first priority to damage to the continental U.S., with no strategic warning but with tactical warning intervals appropriate to target location and type of attack.
- An initial attack, based on a USSR decision to balance all factors involved in initiating general war; preceded by the amount of strategic warning estimated to be most likely under those circumstances.
- An initial attack preceded by sufficient strategic warning to place U.S. military and non-military defenses in a condition of full alert and to initiate U.S. retaliatory action.
- Integrated evaluations should be submitted to the Council on or before October 1 of each year, and relate to the situation on a critical date normally about three years in the future. In addition to these annual integrated evaluations, an integrated evaluation should be submitted to the Council at such times as the Subcommittee feels that a change has become apparent that would significantly alter the net capabilities of the USSR to inflict direct injury upon the continental U.S. and key U.S. installations overseas. The first integrated evaluation should be submitted to the Council on or before October 1, 1955.
- In order to prepare these integrated evaluations I hereby establish a Net Evaluation Subcommittee of the National Security Council, composed of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who will serve as Chairman, the Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization, the Federal Civil Defense Administrator, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Chairman of the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference, and the Chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee on Internal Security. Each Subcommittee member shall be consulted regarding and given ample opportunity to review the following prior to adoption by the Subcommittee: (a) subsidiary terms of reference, (b) the assumptions to be used as a basis for each evaluation report, (c) the complete evaluation report (less background material, which shall be made available only on a “need to know” basis), and (d) any recommendations which the Subcommittee may choose to submit. The Chairman of the Subcommittee, in consultation with the Director, will prepare regulations and establish procedures for the handling of highly sensitive information3 required in the preparation of an evaluation report so as to safeguard its security on a strict “need to know” basis and to [Page 601]preclude the assembly of an unwarranted amount of sensitive information in one document.
- In all matters relating to AEC activities, it is expected that the Subcommittee shall consult with and obtain the advice and assistance of the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.
- Subcommittee members are designated to act as individuals, but each shall have the right to consult, at his discretion and under appropriate security safeguards, with his agency or committee prior to Subcommittee action on matters normally within the cognizance of his committee or agency. In subscribing to the reports and recommendations of the Subcommittee the individual members shall not be expected to assume responsibility for technical matters or conclusions not normally within the cognizance of his own parent committee or agency. Reports as submitted to the Council should show, so far as possible by textual footnotes, any dissents by Subcommittee members.
- The Subcommittee will have a staff, composed of individuals assigned by member agencies, as required by the Director, and under the direction of a Director whom I shall designate. The Director may be compensated through the National Security Council from contributions by the member agencies.
- The Net Evaluation Subcommittee hereby established is empowered under the terms of this Directive to call on any agency of the Government for relevant information, evaluations, and estimates, subject only to establishment of appropriate security regulations and procedures for the handling of highly sensitive information as provided under paragraph 5, above.
- Distribution of each completed Subcommittee report will be determined at the time by me.
Dwight D. Eisenhower4
- Source: National Archives, RG 273, NSC 5511. Top Secret. This directive was circulated by Acting Executive Secretary Gleason to the National Security Council. Copies were sent to the Secretary of the Treasury, Attorney General, Director of the Bureau of the Budget, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Federal Civil Defense Administrator, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of Central Intelligence, Chairman of the Interdepartmental Intelligence Conference, and Chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee on Internal Security, with a note stating that the directive had been approved by the President on the same date. See also Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XIX, pp. 56–57; and for the subcommittee’s presentations to the National Security Council in 1955, 1956, and 1957, see ibid., pp. 126–130 and 672–676.↩
- This NSC action reads: “Adopted the recommendation of the Net Capabilities Evaluation Subcommittee that there be established a permanent procedure to insure a continuous evaluation of the general nature of the one made by this Subcommittee, and a continual watch for significant changes; such procedure to provide for a report to the National Security Council at least once a year and, in any event, at whatever time changes become apparent that would significantly alter the net capabilities of the USSR to inflict direct injury upon the continental U.S. and key U.S. installations overseas.” President Eisenhower subsequently approved this recommendation “with the understanding that the nature of the permanent procedures, including appropriate staffing, would be subject to future determination by the President.” (National Archives, RG 59, S/S–NSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council, Box 102)↩
- Information such as that relating to war plans, new weapons and equipment, techniques and tactics for their employment, the vulnerability of U.S. defenses, and domestic and foreign intelligence sources and methods. [Footnote in the original.]↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩