89. Memorandum From R.C. Bowman of the National Security Council Staff to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council (Smith)1


  • National Command System

I have attached two JCS papers that you might like to scan. I have not heard any more about the command system study since I spoke to you about it in February.

JCSM 1292 indicates the Chiefs’ general agreement with the study with the exception that they felt it underrates the Alternate Command Center at Fort Ritchie. At that time the Chiefs deferred judgment on the Command Post Afloat.

In the second paper, JCSM 364 (17 May),3 they concluded that two command ships are essential, and that the capabilities of the USS Northampton should be improved. The Chief of Naval Operations disagreed, and argued that one ship was sufficient.

In the last analysis, the value of any command facility must be determined to a great extent by the probability that the President will, in fact, make use of that facility.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Agency File, JCS, Filed by the LBJ Library, Box 29. Top Secret.
  2. JCSM–129–65, February 26, “Conceptual Approach to the National Military Command System”; not printed.
  3. JCSM–364–65, “National Emergency Command Post Afloat”; not printed.
  4. A typed note under Bowman’s initials reads: “Please return.” Bowman wrote a note at the bottom of the page: “It is long overdue that we take a positive hand in this & some other related command control matters. RCB”