294. Memorandum from Johnson to Bundy, June 211

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  • Answers to your Questions on Nuclear Expenditures

1. Current Military Expenditures of the United States on Strategic Nuclear Weapons Systems.

(in billions of dollars)
1962 1963 1964
Defense 9.0 8.5 7.4
AEC .5 .5 .4
Total 9.5 9.0 7.8

(The Defense figure appears on page 62 of the President’s budget; the AEC figure is Restricted Data.)

Secretary McNamara used the $15 billion figure in Athens. It was pulled out of the air, and has been causing trouble ever since. Hitch’s staff can build up to a $15 billion figure only by including approximately $3 billion for the tactical air force, on the theory that it is nuclear-capable, and $2 billion for carrier-based air. The figures I have given you are an over-all figure for all strategic retaliatory forces, including MINUTEMAN, POLARIS, all SAC forces, and all other emplaced strategic missiles.

The following is the comparison with NATO defense budgets—for Calendar 1962. NATO defense budgets total $18.950 billion, including Canada, whose budget is $1.650 billion. The comparable figure for total U.S. defense expenditures is $54 billion.

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2. Aggregate Expenditure of the United States on Weapons Research and Development from the Beginning in the Nuclear Field. The best figure the Bureau of the Budget can give me today is $30 billion, of which about $20 billion is DOD and $10 billion is AEC. This goes all the way back to the Manhattan District, and covers all the lab work, testing, contract, R&D, etc. The Bureau says use this figure with care, because the real figure might be plus or minus several billion. Shapley thinks the $30 billion is a little on the high side. A related figure that has been used is $100 billion for the development of our strategic forces. This would include all R&D and the actual procurement of weapons, training of personnel, SAC airfields, communications, etc.

Charles E. Johnson
  1. Provides information on expenditures for nuclear weapons systems. Secret. 2 pp. Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, CE Johnson 5/62–9/63.