77. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara1
Washington, February 26, 1965.
- Conceptual Approach to the National Military Command System (NMCS) (U)
- Reference is made to:
- A memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ADM), dated 28 January 1965, subject as above.2
- JCSM–4–64, dated 10 January 1964, subject: “Deep Underground Command Center (DUCC) (S).”3
- JCSM–446–64, dated 25 May 1964, subject “Deep Underground Command Center (DUCC) (S).”4
- JCSM–914–63, dated 2 December 1963, subject “Alternate Facilities and Supporting Communications Required for the National Military Command System (U).”5
- Reference 1 a requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff submit their views on a report, subject: “Department of Defense Command and Control Support to the President.”
- The Joint Chiefs of Staff are in broad general agreement with the principles and concepts developed in the study (see Appendix A hereto) and believe that the study provides an excellent basis for furthering rapport and understanding among the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and other governmental agencies concerned with planning for command and control at the national level. The first assumption in the terms of reference states that it is extremely unlikely that the President would leave the Washington area during a crisis situation. It is noted that the study nevertheless advocates the principle of multiplicity of centers for Presidential protection and infers that the likelihood of Presidential relocation would significantly increase as a crisis intensifies, even if the crisis is short of general war. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider these points to be valid both prior to and after construction of a Deep Underground Command Center (DUCC); however, continued improvement of national command and control capabilities depends on a better understanding between all principals of the conditions under which the President might seek protection.
- With regard to the alternate command centers of the National Military
Command System (NMCS), the Joint Chiefs
of Staff consider that:
- The study’s recommendation prejudges the conclusions of a separate study currently being undertaken by the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding the optimum number of National Emergency Command Post Afloat (NECPA) ships required for the NMCS.
- The National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) program, in which one or more of three EC 135 aircraft are maintained on continuous ground alert status, represents the minimum acceptable airborne command post posture.
- There is firm need to assure, to the extent feasible, the survival of the Presidency during any future conflicts; and the circumstances of a future crisis or conflict may be such as to preclude the relocation of the President to one of the existing alternate facilities. In this light, the proposed DUCC represents a potentially effective means for assuring survival of the Presidency to an extent not now provided by the NMCS.
- The Joint Chiefs of Staff:
- Concur in the study’s comments on the NEACP.
- Agree in principle on the NECPA as an important element of the NMCS. In this connection, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are currently addressing the optimum posture for the NECPA and upon completion will forward their recommendations.
- Consider that, if a DUCC is approved and constructed, the study’s detailed concepts and principles regarding the DUCC generally provide a basis for determination of detailed functional requirements, concept of operation, and detailed design.
- Are in general agreement with much of the detailed discussion in the body of the report regarding the role of the Alternate National Military Command Center (ANMCC). However, as indicated in Appendix B hereto, they do not feel that the study recognizes that the ANMCC is fully as valuable as the other alternates of the NMCS when its unique capabilities for supporting all levels of crisis and war are considered. Moreover, they have previously noted that it is essential to continue the ANMCC in its current role for the foreseeable future.
- The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that:
- The study be forwarded to the Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Office of Emergency Planning, the Department of State, and the Central Intelligence Agency for comment regarding the principles and concepts underlying those parts of the study particularly applicable to their operations (see Appendix A).
- They participate in any evaluation of the comments received by the Secretary of Defense from other agencies and in the identification of [Page 213] subsequent steps to clarify the conceptual approach to command and control.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Earle G. Wheeler 6
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, JCS, Filed by the LBJ Library, Box 29. Top Secret.↩
- Not found.↩
- Document 3.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 52.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 3.↩
- Printed from a copy that indicates Wheeler signed the original.↩
- A handwritten note reads: “V.P.—I think 2 groups at least.”↩
- Next to this sentence is written: “True.”↩