19. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs (Kitchen) to the Counselor and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council (Rostow)1


  • BNSP Planning Task II (E)—“U.S. Government Organization for Internal Defense”

Attached is the paper “U.S. Government Organization for Internal Defense” developed in response to the BNSP Planning Task II (E) and in collaboration with other bureaus within the Department of State as [Page 50] well as other agencies with responsibilities in the field of overseas internal defense.

While this document was prepared in consultation with other interested agencies and in it we have payed attention to those internal defense organizational changes that have come about since the early days of the Kennedy Administration, it has not been subjected to formal interdepartmental clearance. I assume that, if formal interdepartmental clearance is desired, you will initiate this. Within the Department, however, the paper has been formally cleared with the appropriate bureaus and consequently officially represents the Department’s organization for internal defense policy and related activities.

Unless notified to the contrary, I will assume that G/PM has now satisfied the requirements of BNSP Planning Task II (E).




A. Introductory

The purpose of this paper is to outline the organization of the U.S. Government for the task of detecting and either preventing or defeating subversive insurgency in friendly foreign countries. Its scope embraces both Washington and the field.

B. Background

The document entitled “United States Overseas Internal Defense Policy” (USOIDP) September 19622 sets forth the pattern, factors, and lessons of communist insurgency, and describes the scope and application of U.S. strategy to counter it. This document, promulgated as national policy by NSAM 182 on August 24, 19623 and distributed to all departments, agencies, and field posts in September, 1962, is currently under review by an interdepartmental panel under the chairmanship of the Department of State.

The thesis of the USOIDP document is that subversive insurgency represents primarily a Communist attempt to retard, exploit and/or gain control of the development process in underdeveloped countries, and that this threat requires an effective response by the threatened [Page 51] government covering a wide spectrum of political, economic, military, psychological, and other measures. The U.S. role in countering this subversive threat is regarded as ancillary to the local government’s. The way in which the U.S. Government organizes itself to assist in this task in any given situation will normally be a reflection of the degree of U.S. influence and freedom of action the U.S. may enjoy in the country threatened by subversive insurgency.

C. U.S. Internal Defense Role

The U.S. purpose in the field of internal defense is to encourage and assist vulnerable nations to develop balanced capabilities for the internal defense of their societies. The U.S. role is normally supplementary to the local effort and therefore designed:

To assist in the immunization of vulnerable societies not yet seriously threatened by Communist subversion or insurgency.
To assist countries where subversive insurgency is latent or incipient by removing the causes before the stage of insurgency is reached.
To assist in the establishment or strengthening of intelligence and internal security organizations.
To defeat subversive insurgency in countries actively threatened by assisting the government under attack with military and non-military means.
To build confidence in and loyalty to the host government.
To minimize the likelihood of direct U.S. military involvement in internal war by maximizing indigenous capabilities for identifying, preventing, and if necessary, defeating subversive insurgency, and by drawing on, as appropriate, the assistance of third countries and international organizations.

To play its role effectively, the United States must be in a position to mobilize, coordinate, and apply its own and other free world resources to strengthen the local internal defense capability in the following critical areas: (a) military, (b) police, (c) economic development, (d) youth, (e) labor, (f) education, (g) leader groups, (h) political institutions, (i) informational and psychological.

As a corollary, the U.S. Government must strengthen organization, and procedures to enable it to apply these resources in a unified, coordinated, and effective manner.

D. Current Washington Organization


Special Group (CI)

In recognition of the growing problem of subversion and insurgency, the Special Group (CI) was established in January 1962 by Presidential directive (NSAM 124)4 to provide unity of effort and use of [Page 52] all available resources to identify, prevent, or defeat subversive insurgency and related forms of indirect aggression in friendly countries.

The functions of the Special Group (CI) are to insure: proper recognition of the subversive insurgency threat; reflection of such recognition in training, equipment, and doctrine; marshaling of resources to deal with the threat, and development of programs aimed at defeating it. In addition, its purpose is to insure the development of adequate programs aimed at identifying, preventing, or defeating subversive insurgency and indirect aggression in countries and regions specifically assigned to it by the President, and to resolve any interdepartmental problems which might impede their implementation.

In performing the above functions, the members of the Special Group (CI) act on behalf of their respective departments and agencies, and depend for staff support upon their own staffs, and upon such country, regional, or functional interdepartmental committees (normally chaired by a State Department Assistant Secretary) as may be established. Consequently, the Special Group (CI) itself has no permanent organizational structure except for its Subcommittee on Training. This has the responsibility for keeping under review internal defense training conducted by all departments and agencies. Agency training requirements have been established by National Security Action Memorandum 131.5


Departmental Organization

It will be noted that the charter of the Special Group (CI) specifically provides that program implementation is the responsibility of the departments and agencies represented on the Group. Each department and agency represented on the Special Group (CI) has organized itself differently for its internal defense mission. By and large, they have relied on their various “roles and missions” as set forth in “United States Overseas Internal Defense Policy”. Each department and agency (State, DOD, AID, USIA, and CIA) has therefore designated an element within its organization that is charged with the functional task of giving continued attention to overseas internal defense activities. The elements so designated are:

  • Department of State: Office of Politico-Military Affairs
  • Department of Defense: International Security Affairs: Special Assistant (to Assistant Secretary) for Special Operations; Joint Chiefs of Staff: Special Assistant to the Director, Joint Staff, for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities (SACSA)
  • AID: AID/PC—Special Assistant for Internal Defense
  • CIA: Deputy Director for Plans, Special Group Office
  • USIA: Office of Policy (IOP)

Program and policy responsibility for particular geographic areas rests in the regional organizations of the above departments and agencies. [Page 53] Thus, the day-to-day coordination of the many programs and policy decisions involved in the U.S. internal defense effort is normally effected by the regional officers of the several departments and agencies making contact with each other and meeting as the occasion requires in coordination with the designated elements identified above. In addition, ad hoc groups under the chairmanship of State meet as required to develop and monitor country programs and to review country internal defense plans and progress reports prior to submission to interdepartmental regional policy committees and as required to the Special Group (CI).

Department of State

The Department of State, in accordance with its primary responsibility in the field of foreign affairs, provides policy guidance and coordination of overseas internal defense policy. Such guidance and coordination is normally effected through the Chiefs of Mission and principal officers overseas and the Department of State in Washington.

Within State, the focal point for the functional coordination of internal defense policy and activity is the responsibility of the Office of Politico-Military Affairs (G/PM—Internal Defense). Responsibility for internal security assessments, policy, and program implementation coordination for particular countries and areas rests in the regional bureaus in coordination with the appropriate regional politico-military affairs advisors and G/PM—Internal Defense.

Department of Defense

Within the Department of Defense, responsibility for the functional coordination of internal defense activities is divided between the civilian staff element (ISA) and military staff element (JCS).

International Security Affairs (ISA)

The civilian element responsible for direction, coordination and guidance for internal defense policy within the Department of Defense is the Assistant Secretary of Defense, ISA. To support the Assistant Secretary in this function, a Special Assistant for Special Operations has been designated whose responsibilities include providing policy guidance to the military assistance program—a vital and major element of US overseas internal defense programs.

Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Special Assistant to the Director, Joint Staff, for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities (SACSA) is charged with assisting the Director, Joint Staff, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in all matters pertaining to insurgency and counterinsurgency. Accordingly, SACSA serves as the focal point for such matters for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His duties include planning, programming, resource development and allocation, and doctrinal guidance. Additionally, he is responsible for discharging Department of Defense staff responsibilities pertaining to the planning [Page 54] and direction of those special cold war operations and special activities, not principally intelligence in character, in which the Department of Defense participates.

Agency for International Development

The Administrator of AID has appointed a Special Assistant for Internal Defense to coordinate the formulation of internal defense programming and programming guidance. The Special Assistant for Internal Defense serves as a focal point within AID on internal defense matters and establishes and maintains those interagency relationships necessary to ensure that AID activities are in consonance with U.S. overseas internal defense policy and integrated with the programs of the other U.S. agencies. It is his further responsibility to provide general direction to program planning and development in this field. Programming responsibility for internal defense activities, as in the case of all AID programs, rests with each regional assistant administrator and, for police assistance programs, with the Director of the Office of Public Safety.

United States Information Agency

Coordination and general direction of internal defense policy and activities in USIA is the responsibility of the Office of Policy (IOP). The several geographic area offices are responsible for participation in internal security assessments and Agency program implementation in particular countries.

Central Intelligence Agency

Responsibility for the staff coordination of overseas internal defense and counterinsurgency matters rests with the Special Group Officer of CIA’s Deputy Director for Plans. He is assisted in this responsibility by a very small staff known as the Counterinsurgency Group. Intelligence support to the Special Group (CI) and its member agencies, both in Washington and to the Country Team abroad, is provided by the Deputy Director for Intelligence. Operational support to U.S. overseas internal defense programs in both the clandestine intelligence and covert action fields is exercised through the office of the Deputy Director for Plans and CIA’s Chiefs of Station abroad.

E. Internal Defense Plan Program

Pursuant to the directive of the Special Group (CI), country internal defense plans (IDP) have been required for a wide range of underdeveloped countries, including, but not limited to, those countries under the immediate cognizance of the Group. Such plans are normally developed after detailed internal security assessments are made either on the initiative of the Chief of Mission or Washington. Each IDP is given a comprehensive screening and review by an interdepartmental working group assembled under the chairmanship of the State regional bureau. The [Page 55] results of this critique are incorporated in an explanatory memorandum from the regional Assistant Secretaries of State to the Special Group (CI) recommending approval or modification as required. After approval by the Group the IDP becomes the basis for a program of specific actions.

In general, the IDP is designed to serve the following purposes:

To assure continuing attention by the Country Team to details of the local situation.
To sharpen the Country Team’s ability to forecast dangerous trends and suggest remedies.
To provide a framework within which to assess programs suggested by the local government.
To persuade the local government to adopt the most promising course of action.
To facilitate planning and program coordination in Washington.
To provide clearly defined U.S. courses of action and establish resource requirements (including funding) covering a one-year projection which, if approved by the Special Group (CI), is binding on all participating agencies.

F. Conclusions

Except for the creation of the Special Group (CI), the U.S. organization for the internal defense effort has been mounted and executed by and large within the framework of existing governmental organization. It is believed that by adhering to the traditional lines of organization and by its determination not to recreate an OCB-type structure, President Kennedy gave the Foreign Affairs agencies an opportunity to develop a more vigorous response to the problem of Communist subversion and insurgency. To insure this, the Administration created the Special Group (CI) and confined its role primarily to finding the weak spots in our internal defense effort and to spurring governmental action where necessary. On reflection, it appears from this vantage point in time, that the determination of the White House not to recreate an OCB and to thrust the primary responsibility for internal defense policy and programs on the appropriate departments and agencies has proven to be sound.

Accordingly, it is concluded that the official Washington community has effectively responded to the organizational requirements set forth under the basic National Security Policy Planning Tasks II (E). The present organization for internal defense provides the U.S. Government a far better ability to cope with the growing problem of subversive insurgency today as compared to the general situation prevailing in Washington in early 1961. Although the success or failure of a particular course of action can not be a valid test of whether the organization supporting it is adequate, the ability to develop, plan and initiate programs responding to newly developing problem situations is testimony to effective organization.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/PC Files: Lot 70 D 199, Internal Security. Secret. Cleared by Eric E. Oulashin (AF), Ellwood M. Rabenold (ARA), Richard E. Usher (FE), and Donald W. Bunte (NEA).
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. VIII, Document 106.
  3. See ibid., Document 105.
  4. See ibid., Document 68.
  5. See ibid., Document 128, footnote 3.