21. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara1



  • Joint Strategic Objectives Plan for FY 1969–1971 (JSOP-69), Part VI—Force Tabs and Analysis (U)
On 14 February 1964, the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, forwarded Parts I through V of the Joint Strategic Objectives Plan for FY 1969–1971 (JSOP-69) (CM–1181–64). Attached is Part VI, Force Tabulations.2
Section A of Part VI contains force objectives and associated ration-ale in the format of the Five-Year Force Structure and Financial Program, as requested in your memorandum of 21 December 1963 (subject: “Program and Budget Reviews Calendar Year 1964 Schedule”).3 Recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff concerning reserve personnel are provided in Table 13; therefore, Table 12, Army Reserve Components Program, was not addressed. Section B contains force objectives, deployments, expansion, and selected reserve tables in the normal JSOP format. Section C consists of situational analyses which were designed to assist the Joint Chiefs of Staff in their determination of the objective force levels recommended in Sections A and B. Although logistic implications were considered in the situational analyses (see paragraph 5, Section C, Volume II of Part VI), specific logistic guidance will be recommended to you in the Logistic Annex to JSOP-69 on 1 April 1964. The Joint Chiefs of Staff will provide their views on personnel in conjunction with their comments on your tentative decisions on all programs by 15 June 1964, as required by your schedule for Calendar Year 1964. The individual views of the Chief of Staff, US Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of Staff, US Air Force, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps are briefly and clearly summarized in the Tables of Section A and footnotes thereto. The rationale associated with these Tables provides additional explanation of these views.
The objective force levels herein are considered essential for national security in support of the US military strategy delineated in Parts I through V, JSOP-69. In considering objective force requirements, [Page 58] the Joint Chiefs of Staff were agreed in many areas as to the degree to which FY 1966 programmed forces meet our basic military objectives. In other areas, however, there exist major unresolved questions and divergencies regarding forces and weapon systems which are reflected in differences in individual and collective force recommendations. As concerns our general war posture, there is the problem of the optimum balance of offensive and defensive means. In connection with our limited war posture, issues exist concerning: force levels; mix of land, sea, and air capabilities; weaponry to be used; rates of modernization; and the use of tactical nuclear weapons and the degree of reliance to be placed on them.
Strategic Retaliatory Forces. There is agreement that the United States should maintain a clear margin of strategic superiority as a deterrent. A major issue is whether or not the Minuteman force should be increased above the programmed level. This issue stems from differing views concerning relative emphasis as between counterforce, damage-limiting operations, and assured destruction of the enemy as a modern industrial society. A related issue concerns planning factors and the application thereof to translate differing target lists into delivery system requirements. A second major issue is whether an advanced manned strategic aircraft should proceed beyond the program definition phase at this time.
Continental Air and Missile Defense. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are agreed that programmed force levels do not provide sufficient capability for CONUS defense in the mid-range period against the threat of manned bombers and missiles. They further agree that the defense should be composed of a balance between active and passive defense; a balanced air and missile defense, to include antisubmarine forces; and a proper mix of air defense weapons systems. There are significant differences with respect to the balance and mix and the selection of specific air defense weapons systems. The Joint Chiefs of Staff agree to continue with the development of the Nike X system, as a matter of priority. One issue, however, is whether a decision can be taken now for production and operational deployment, as justified by research and development progress, or whether final selection of a system for defense against ICBMs and SLBMs should be deferred pending evaluation of further research and development and completion of the study now underway regarding the integration of all components affecting the defense of CONUS. They agree that research to pursue other approaches for missile defense should also be emphasized and that development of increased capability against SLBMs must continue, both in antisubmarine and antimissile capabilities. A second issue relates to the IMI—whether to proceed with deployment beginning in FY 1968 with related phase-down of Century series aircraft and their transfer to the Air [Page 59] National Guard, or to keep open an option to procure the IMI subject to a review of the above study.
General Purpose Forces. The specific major issues pertaining to General Purpose Forces center on the number of Army divisions, the numbers and concept of employment of attack carriers, concept of employment of Marine Corps forces, and Air Force tactical aircraft required to carry out the strategy in the mid-range period. The individual force level recommendations vary from proposals for significant increases above the program level to those for substantial reductions. Underlying these recommendations are the differing views regarding the levels and mix of forces required to provide, with an acceptable level of risk, the capability to meet the estimated requirements of a separate major contingency operation while maintaining the readiness to reinforce NATO. A matter which makes the problem more complex is the difficulty of forecasting accurately whether or not it would be advantageous for the United States to use tactical nuclear weapons and, if so, the relative effectiveness and timing of their use. The current intensive study being given these questions should assist in the continuing evaluation.
Airlift and Sealift Forces. The Joint Chiefs of Staff agree that there is a continuing need to improve our airlift and sealift capability in order to permit the rapid deployment of our combat forces. An issue in this regard is whether MSTS troopships should be in active status or are sufficiently responsive when retained in ready reserve. Fundamentally, the basic problem with respect to the levels of these forces is the appropriate balance and mix of sealift and airlift with due consideration being given to selective pre-positioning of supplies and equipment. Continuing studies will assist in better understanding of their relationship.
The scenarios used in the situational analyses are illustrative, designed to test alternative degrees and types of response with varying levels of combat and support forces. The conclusions derived are valid to the extent that they provide useful information to the decision-making process. Certain assumptions, which necessarily had to be made, and the concepts and factors used, are critical in the derivation of the forces employed in the postulated situations. Individual comments regarding the limitation and usefulness of the scenarios are included in the footnotes. There are differing views regarding the value of the scenarios for deriving forces. One view holds that the scenarios of Section C, prepared separately from Sections A and B, provided an insufficient and inappropriate basis from which to develop over-all objective force levels. The other view, while recognizing limitations, utilized the situational analyses insofar as practicable as a basis for developing and evaluating the force structures for each program and for quantifying support and logistics requirements.
Part VI of this year’s JSOP has been prepared with a view to serving as a primary vehicle for providing military advice on force structures, particularly as it applies to the FY 1966 budget. The combatant force objectives contained herein have been derived from consideration of such factors as requirements to support the national objectives and strategy in Parts I–V, the recommendations of the commanders of the unified and specified commands, technical feasibility, levels of military capability established in current programs, and reasonable attainability. However, the Joint Chiefs of Staff desire to emphasize that the force levels recommended beyond the period requiring appropriations in FY 1966 are for planning purposes and require recurring evaluation.
The further views of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be forwarded by separate memorandum.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Maxwell D. Taylor

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 200, Defense Programs and Operations, JSOPFY 1969–1971, Feb. 14, 1964, Box 41. Top Secret.
  2. Not attached. Regarding this paper, see Document 12 and footnote 1 thereto.
  3. A copy is in the Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330 69 A 7425, 110.01 FY 66 1964.