92. Editorial Note

On June 20, 1962, Secretary of Defense McNamara was briefed on SIOP-63 at the Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska. Materials from this briefing have not been found. In a memorandum dated June 19 to McNamara, Fred A. Payne, Deputy Director of Defense Engineering for Strategic and Defensive Systems, and Alain Enthoven, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Analysis, stated that “since the SIOP-63 guidance had been responsively followed, there will be no need for disapproval.” Desired directions of change could be included “in the periodic updatings which have to be made anyway to take account of changes in our force structure and in the target system.” Potential problem areas were: [text not declassified]. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 66 B 3542, 684 SIOP 63)

In a July 13 memorandum to Lemnitzer, McNamara confirmed oral requests made of General Power during the Offutt briefing. They included tables showing for each option the weapons and megatonnage programmed, the damage expectancy, the survivability of Soviet delivery forces, and the casualty rates. McNamara called for wargaming to develop these estimates by October 1 and stated that Enthoven would “represent me in the development of this data.” (Ibid.)

In telegram JCS 5481, sent to SAC and theater commanders on July 28, the JCS relayed some of McNamara’s instructions and stated that “SIOP-63 with its flexible features will be effective 1 August 1962.” (Office of the Secretary of Defense, Historical Office, Secretary of Defense Cable Files)

A memorandum from Captain Tazewell Shepard, Jr., Naval Aide to the President, August 1, states that Lemnitzer told the President “at the SIOP briefing last spring that the President could not implement the SIOP without consultation with Defense” and that therefore his emergency briefcase or “satchel” contained no information [text not declassified]. (National Defense University, Taylor Papers, WYS Chron File Jul-Sep 62 (4)) No other record has been found of a SIOP briefing given the President in the spring of 1962. Concerning the briefing given the President on September 13, 1961, see Document 42.

On September 14, a team from the Joint Staff briefed the President on SIOP-63. In a September 22 memorandum to the President, Lemnitzer enclosed the briefing materials, stating that due “to the changeable nature of this current operational plan and the extreme sensitivity of the concepts and information contained therein, it is suggested that it be retained, when not in use by you, in the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint War Room. Utilizing this procedure the data can be revised and kept current as required. The book can be made available for your use at any time [Page 309] since only a few minutes are required to deliver it to the White House.” The attachment to Lemnitzer’s memorandum has not been found. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 218, JCS Records, JMF 3105 (8 Mar 61) (3) Sec 4) A proposed outline for the briefing is attached to the memorandum from Vice Admiral Herbert D. Riley, Director of the Joint Staff, to Lemnitzer. (Ibid.)

The guidance for SIOP-64 forms the appendix to a November 14 memorandum signed for the JCS by Major General John A. Heintges, Deputy Director of the JCS, to McNamara. In the memorandum, the JCS stated that the changes in the guidance were “minor in nature,” that they did “not represent a departure from the basic philosophy expressed in the guidance for SIOP-63,” and that significant departure from SIOP-63 was “neither necessary nor desirable for the development of SIOP-64.” (Ibid. JMF 3105 (22 Jun 62) Sec 1)