JCS Records, CCS 381 US (1–31–50)1

Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense ( Marshall )

top secret

Subject: Review of the Policies and Programs in NSC 68/4.

Reference is made to your memorandum of 13 July 1951, on the above subject, with its attachments.2
The Joint Chiefs of Staff have reviewed the broad policies and objectives outlined in NSC 68 and the basic tasks and assumptions with reference to the United States Military Program in NSC 68/4. They consider that, with one exception, the policies, objectives, tasks and assumptions contained in the two papers remain valid.
This exception is the assumption that hostilities in Korea would terminate in Fiscal Year 1951, whereas the Korean conflict is still [Page 105] going on. It now appears possible that there may be an armistice in Korea, but it is neither possible nor prudent to assume definitely that an armistice and, later peace settlement will soon take place, so that the current Korean situation cannot correctly be regarded as a basis for lessening of our over-all effort toward strengthening our armed forces.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are in agreement with the statement in NSC 68/4 that, if the general world situation continues to worsen, our currently approved force levels, under NSC 68/4, will have to be increased. Since the date of approval of NSC 68/4, the general world situation has unquestionably worsened. If it were not for the continuously increasing Communist world-wide threat, continuation of the Korean conflict would not require significant increases in force levels. This world-wide threat, however, makes necessary some augmentation in the currently approved force levels.
In this connection, the Army and the Navy have proposed for Fiscal Year 1952 certain modest increases to current authorizations with a leveling off during Fiscal Years 1953 and 1954. The Air Force has indicated a need for material increases during Fiscal Years 1953 and 1954. These separate proposals have been forwarded by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense and are currently under study.
It now appears that certain munitions objectives implicit in the approved force levels for United States armed forces of NSC 68/4, cannot be attained by the target date of 1 July 1952. Most of these delayed requirements will be met during the latter half of calendar year 1952, but some of them will not be met until calendar year 1953. The delayed items consist of long-lead-time equipment such as tanks, anti-aircraft equipment, tactical radios, motorized equipment, heavy construction equipment, electronics equipment, certain types of ammunition and spare aircraft engines. It also appears that there will be delay, until the last half of calendar year 1954, in fully meeting long-lead-time munitions requirements for the Mutual Defense Assistance Program.
In connection with the foregoing indications, it is recommended that the report of the Chairman of the Munitions Board on the matériel program be referred to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in order that they may give further consideration to equipment capabilities and shortages in future planning.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider it vital to our national security that maximum effort be exerted to achieve the objectives of NSC 68/4 at the earliest practicable date. They, therefore, recommend that there be no change in the target date of 1 July 1952, even though [Page 106] it is realized that, due to budgetary and production limitations, and the expenditures that have been made in the Korean conflict, this target date for readiness of United States forces will not be met. The Joint Chiefs of Staff also desire to stress the importance of accelerating the Mutual Defense Assistance Program (MDAP) in order that the target date of 1 July 1954 may more closely approximate the target date for United States forces.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Omar N. Bradley

  1. National Archives Record Group 218, Records of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  2. Not printed.