151. Memorandum for the Record1


Mr. McNamara asked General McConnell to state the position of the Joint Chiefs with respect to AMSA. General McConnell said that the Chiefs wish to proceed to contract definition. He said he wanted to make very clear that this did not mean full-scale development. General McConnell said further that the Chiefs wish to do full-scale development of the engines required for an advanced manned strategic aircraft, but went on to point out that this engine would have uses for other aircraft as well as AMSA. He stated, thirdly, that the Chiefs wish to proceed with further avionic development for the AMSA. He said the Chiefs wish to proceed to contract definition so that we would be in a position to seek to obtain an IOC in 1974. General McConnell went on to say that it was his own personal belief that it would not be possible to get an IOC of 1974, even if we proceeded on the schedule recommended by the JCS. He said he believed that a more likely IOC would be 1976.

Mr. McNamara pointed out that he and Mr. Vance did not feel that we need an IOC of 1974. Further, he said it is not clear that we need a new manned bomber.

The President then asked General McConnell the difference between the FB–111 and the AMSA in respect of speed and other characteristics. General McConnell said the AMSA would have a slightly higher speed, more range, and a substantially greater bomb carrying capacity. He said the latter factor was of greatest importance. General McConnell said he wanted to repeat that he is not asking for full-scale development.

Mr. McNamara then said it is doubtful that we will need a new manned bomber because of difficulties associated with penetration of the Soviet Union during that time period. He also said that missiles plus the FB–111 force which the United States will have at that time may be enough to meet our force requirements.

Mr. McNamara said that it was his opinion, and that of Mr. Vance, that we did not need to move as fast as the Air Force is requesting, and [Page 466] that we should go forward with the development of engines and avionics which are not unique to the AMSA.

General McConnell then said he wanted to point out that the Air Force had done a number of studies which had indicated that a mixture of bombers and missiles is more cost effective than missiles alone.

The President said he would consider the matter and give his decision at a later date.

2. ICM

Mr. McNamara said that the difference between the recommendation of the Chiefs and that of himself and Mr. Vance was merely when we might need such an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile. He said we do not disagree that preliminary work should be started.

General McConnell stated that the Joint Chiefs recommend that we develop an ICM at a total cost in FY 1968 of $36 million. This $36 million would be broken down into $10 million for various component development, and the balance for contract definition. General McConnell said the Secretary of the Air Force would not go to contract definition but would spend $19 million for component development. General McConnell said the Joint Chiefs could live with a $19 million program.

Mr. McNamara responded that he thought we could work this out as he and Mr. Vance were recommending a program of $19 million, and the only question between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Mr. McNamara and Mr. Vance was how fast we should proceed.

General McConnell emphasized that for the expenditure of $2–1/2 million in offense, we could cause the Soviets to spend $80 million in defense. Mr. McNamara pointed out that this was the very point he and Mr. Vance had been making in the ABM discussion.

3. Army Force Structure

Mr. McNamara said that the Army has recommended that two more brigades be authorized in the Active Army, with a possibility of adding another division to the Active Army force structure in Calendar Year 1967. He said the Army proposed that these additional forces be equipped with equipment taken from the Reserve. He pointed out that thus the effect of authorizing these additional forces would merely be one of substituting the deployment time of Active forces for Reserve forces. He then asked General Johnson to speak to this issue.

General Johnson said that normally we use Active forces to build a time bridge, during which time Reserve forces are called to active duty and brought to a point of training where they can be deployed. He said that with respect to part of our Reserve force, i.e., the Selected Reserve [Page 467] Force, we have reduced the training time required before that force could be deployed from 14 to 11 weeks. He said we expect to reduce it further to reach a goal of 8 weeks.

General Johnson then said he wanted to point out that we had certain additional “bills” which had been laid before us: (1) the requirement of three divisions to meet NATO commitments; (2) 40,000 personnel to maintain the proposed barrier in South Vietnam; and (3) a corps contingency force of three divisions. He said that to meet these “bills” we have only five division forces in the continental United States in the Active Army. He said this caused him concern because of indications of possible aggressive action by the North Koreans, and the possibility that the situation might become more unstable in Cyprus and Jordan, and that the United States might be required to supply forces for these contingencies.

General Johnson said if he were queried by the Congress as to the adequacy of our ground forces, he would have to say we were very thin. He said, therefore, he recommends that the additional forces he has requested be authorized.

Mr. McNamara said that we are equipment limited—that this did not mean we did not have additional equipment, but that we had bought equipment for only the authorized force structure. He said, therefore, what General Johnson was talking about was merely shifting equipment from the Reserve to the Active Army, thus substituting a slight reduction in reaction time.

He said an alternative to General Johnson’s proposal was the calling up of Reserves. He said further that he and Mr. Vance had raised with the Joint Chiefs last week the desirability of calling up Reserves, and they did not recommend we do so at this time. The President then asked each of the Chiefs whether they favored a call-up of Reserves at this time. Each of the Chiefs replied in the negative.

4. Navy Shipbuilding

Mr. McNamara stated that we were proposing to go forward with the construction of one DLGN, which had been authorized in the FY 1967 budget, and the construction of two DDG’s. He said that Admiral McDonald would recommend that we add another DLGN in the FY 1968 budget. He pointed out, however, that he thought there was a broader issue that Admiral McDonald might wish to address—the entire shipbuilding program.

Admiral McDonald said he wanted to point out that there had been no major Navy escort ships constructed since 1962. He said last year the Department of Defense had supported two DDG’s but no DLGN. He said he felt this year we ought to have one more DLGN over and above the one authorized by the Congress in FY 1967, and that if we did not [Page 468] put in another DLGN, we would end up in the same wrangle with the Congress that we had last year.

Admiral McDonald said the basic issue is how many nuclear escorts there should be per carrier. He said he and the Navy believe there should be two per nuclear carrier, while Mr. McNamara and Mr. Vance felt there should be only one. Admiral McDonald said he did not feel we were pushing too fast on nuclear power, because the Navy was asking for only these two DLGN’s and was not asking for any other nuclear powered ships.

Admiral McDonald said he also wanted to mention the issue of nuclear submarines. He said nuclear submarines were one of the most important elements of our ASW program. He said currently we have 105 submarines in our ASW program, and that this figure was agreed to by both the Navy and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He said the Navy feels that all of these submarines should be nuclear powered, but that up to now the Office of the Secretary of Defense believes that we should have only 68 nuclear submarines. Admiral McDonald said that in the past we had been constructing five nuclear attack submarines per year, and the Navy feels we should continue at five per year until we get a higher number.

Admiral McDonald said his main concern is what happens in 1968 and beyond, and that we need at least five per year for the next three years.

Mr. McNamara pointed out that the Navy hopes in 1968 to have a newer class of submarine. Therefore, he said both he and Mr. Vance have felt it advantageous to put two of the five submarines which were tentatively scheduled for FY 1968 over until next year, which would thus permit the Navy to take advantage of the newer technology that would be available in such a new class.

The President reserved decision on this issue.

The President on three different occasions during the discussions asked whether it was correct to state that, apart from the five issues which had been presented to him, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were in general agreement with the budget. Each of the Chiefs said that this was the fact. Admiral McDonald stated that he thought the Chiefs and the Secretary of Defense and Mr. Vance were closer together this year than any other year that he could remember.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 200, Defense Programs and Operations, Draft Memoranda to the President, 1968–72, Tab 8, Box 71. Top Secret. Drafted on December 7; no other drafting information appears on the memorandum, although it is on the stationery of the Deputy Secretary of Defense. This memorandum is a continuation of the record of the December 6 meeting in Austin (see Document 150).