107. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kaysen) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0

For your first look at McNamara’s defense budget memoranda1 I pass on my own first reactions. In general, I think this is a very polished job indeed. The discussions of the RS-70 and the ballistic missile defense [Page 384] problems are particularly excellent.2 By way of sharper comment I would call your attention to two items—strategic retaliatory forces and the naval component of general purpose forces.3
On strategic retaliatory forces, I think McNamara has now come around to buying the arguments that some of us were making last year. These arguments, however, are like the different arguments he himself made last year, justifying no particular numbers, and I still think it is true that he is buying more in the way of missiles than we need. The real purpose of his paper is more a defense against service demands for a bigger force than justification of the forces he has requested. I have only one suggestion as to how this observation can be translated into practical terms. This goes to the buildup of Minutemen in relation to the buildup of improved Minutemen (Table, p. 2). If possible, it seems to me there would be some virtue in delaying the buildup from 600 to 800 Minutemen, adding 150 improved Minutemen to the 600-level force in 1966, and building up improved Minutemen more rapidly thereafter, if this then appears appropriate. I am looking into the question of how much would be saved by this change in scheduling now, and what difference it would make to the outcomes of the net evaluation calculations presented in the Appendix.
The naval portion of the cost of general purpose forces is substantial, yet there is no justification in logical terms for the naval forces similar to that offered for ground and air forces. There is no analysis of the relation between the kind of navy we want and the kind of wars we wish to be prepared to fight. I find it hard to resist the conclusion that we are maintaining 15 attack carriers by an expensive replacement schedule, and that we are building 6-8 attack submarines per year to maintain that force at its present size for reasons that have more to do with the continuance of past programs than they had to do with a sharp analysis of needs. As a horseback judgment I would think that a billion dollars taken from naval general purpose forces by cutting down the size of the fleet somewhat [Page 385] and put into increasing army and air force logistic support would add to the kind of fighting capability which McNamara is looking for. Or alternatively, it might be a way to save a billion dollars.

P.S. I have not read the Continental Air Defense portion which just came in.4

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Departments and Agencies Series, Defense Budget FY 1964, Miscellaneous Volume I. Top Secret.
  2. In 1962 McNamara sent to the President seven draft Presidential memoranda (DPMs) on strategy, procurement, and the defense budget. A version of the draft memorandum of “Proposed Major Changes in Military Compensation,” dated October 15, is ibid., Volume I. Another DPM, labeled “Preliminary Draft,” deals with “The Naval Shipbuilding Program” and is dated October 31. (Ibid.) The others are cited below.
  3. Kaysen apparently saw copies of early versions of DPMs on “The B- 70 Program” and “Ballistic Missile Defense,” sent by McNamara to the JCS on September 28 and October 6, respectively. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, JMF 7000 (28 Sep 62) Sec 1 and ibid., JMF 4740 (6 Oct 62), respectively) The final version of the missile paper is Document 111. In the B-70 paper as sent to Kennedy on November 20, McNamara recommended addition of $50 million to B-70 funds, but opposed continuing the RS-70, whose primary mission was to locate residual targets after a missile exchange, on the ground that in such a situation, “the value of a mop-up capability [was] not likely to be great.” (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Departments and Agencies Series, DOD Budget Vol I)
  4. McNamara circulated initial versions of the DPMs on “Recommended General Purpose Forces” and “Recommended Strategic Retaliatory Forces” to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 31 and November 5, respectively. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, JCS 2285/85, JMF 7000 (17 Feb 62) Sec 3 and ibid., JCS 1800/636, JMF 7000 (5 Nov 62), respectively) For the final versions, see Documents 115 and 112.
  5. Reference is to a draft memorandum to the President, “Continental Air Defense,” dated November 11. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Departments and Agencies Series, Defense Budget FY 1964, Vol I)