99. Editorial Note

In addition to studying many scientific and technical issues, the President’s Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) also created panels to make recommendations on specific national security subjects. One of these was a Strategic Military Panel; see Document 101. Another was an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Panel, which Donald F. Hornig, the President’s Special Assistant for Science and Technology, established in May 1964 following conversations with Secretary of Defense McNamara. The ASW Panel met June 29–July 1 and August 12–13, 1965, to prepare a report on ASW problems, such as those likely to be posed by the People’s Republic of China, for the PSAC. (Status Report on Activities of the President’s Science Advisory Committee and Its Staff, September 10; Johnson Library, White House Confidential File, FG 726, PSAC, Box 407) Attached to this Status Report is a September 18 memorandum from Hornig to President Johnson indicating that at its September 19–21 meeting, the PSAC would among other things have a final discussion of the work of the ASW Panel, which was writing a report that “will recommend major changes in the forces, in the tactics, and in the research and development program if the forces are to be effective.”

A draft report prepared by the ASW Panel was forwarded to McNamara under cover of a 6-page letter from Hornig to McNamara, October 23. The report has not been found, but Hornig’s covering letter summarizes many features of it in detail. (Ibid., National Security File, Agency File, Office of Science and Technology, Vol. 1 [1963–65], Box 42) Under cover of an October 25 memorandum to McGeorge Bundy, Hornig forwarded a copy of his letter to McNamara, and noted that “In many respects the results [of the report] are disturbing, although they follow the pattern of conclusions by previous expert panels.” Bundy replied in an October 26 letter that he was “very much interested” in reading Hornig’s letter to McNamara and hoped “you and your people will be able to follow up on it.” (Both ibid.)

The PSAC’s Status Report, dated November 9, indicated in part that the preliminary report of the ASW Panel had been forwarded to the [Page 272] Defense Department “and is the subject of great controversy at this time. The principal areas of controversy relate to force levels. It appears that the DOD will establish a task force to examine in great detail the questions raised by this report.” (Ibid.)

In a December 14 memorandum to President Johnson on ASW forces, which Hornig noted the President had requested, Hornig opposed the purchase of ten destroyer escorts (DE-1052s) and advocated reducing the purchase of nuclear submarines (SSNs) from five to three in the FY 1967 budget, which would save $413 million. “In my view,” Hornig added, “our security would not be reduced.” His memorandum laid out in some detail his reasons for these recommendations. (Ibid.)

For an extract from the final Report by the Anti-Submarine Warfare Panel, see Document 124.