22. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration (Crockett) to Secretary of State Rusk 1
- Comprehensive Country Programming System
You asked that I give you a statement (in non-bureaucratic terms) of the concept and usefulness of CCPS i.e. the Comprehensive Country Programming System. That statement is attached.2
I have added to the statement the following comments for your consideration:
The Acceptance and Limitations of Planning
The idea of developing detailed U.S. policy statements (National Policy Papers) for a country has had only limited acceptance by our own bureaus and by other U.S. agencies.
Some of our bureau officers still think of planning as “busy work” to be suffered with during the process and then to let lie unused.
Some of our Embassy officers still think of planning as an inevitable but useless Washington exercise with little if any relevance to the real problems they face.
Some of our Assistant Secretaries and their deputies still don’t discern the value of having broad goals and lines of action when these plans don’t contain the answers to their daily crises.
But plans, even if fully accepted, do not in and of themselves produce action for programs, or measure effort, or establish priorities, or evaluate accomplishments, or even guarantee their use at all.
Almost two years ago, Walt Rostow and I began to focus on the real shortcoming of the planning concept, i.e. plans won’t result in action [Page 49] unless a means is found to make them “action forcing.” Bureaus, other U.S. agencies, and our missions must not be able to put them safely away in a drawer and forget them.
We were determined to find a means of translating plans into programs.
For only if this were done would plans (National Policy Papers) become, as we hoped they would, vital guidelines for determining the purpose, the size, the content, and the priority of U.S. programs in a given country.
The Relationship of Plans (National Policy Papers) to Agency Programs
The National Policy Papers (plans) as presently written first set forth a number of U.S. policy goals or objectives for a given country. The plans also contain lines of action that set forth the things the U.S. establishment in the particular country should undertake.
While the National Policy Papers are formally cleared with every agency involved before being approved by you, the papers themselves provide no means of forcing agencies to do anything about the plans or to make any commitment of budgets or programs for the attainment of goals suggested in the plans.
At this juncture, it is apparent that each U.S. agency can pretty much pick and choose among the various goals and lines of action for those things they wish to undertake, or in fact, for all practical purposes, ignore them all in planning, budgeting, and executing their programs.
There is simply no mechanism to ensure compliance within the planning process itself—nor, for that matter, to even find out the extent to which there is, or is not, compliance with the objectives and lines of action.
A Program Concept is Required
By a Program we mean the things that agencies put money, people, and other resources into in order (presumably) to accomplish some ascertainable U.S. objective.
Walt and I believed that we needed some means of relating the existing programs of agencies and the activities of their people to the goals and lines of action of the National Policy Papers.
We believed that we needed some means of relating the establishment of new programs in a country to the policy paper.
We believed that we needed some means of relating both old and new programs of each U.S. agency in a country to each other’s programs.
We believed that we needed some means of comparing agency programs in those cases where two or more agencies claimed their programs were carrying out the same or a similar objective.[Page 50]
In short, we believed we needed a system for inventorying the quantity of effort and resources each agency had at its disposal in a given country and for comparing that inventory to the goals and the lines of action called for by the National Policy Papers.
And thus the Comprehensive Country Programming System was born.
The Comprehensive Country Programming System
CCPS was designed to provide the information required to ascertain whether or not anything was actively being done to carry out the National Policy Papers—the objectives and their lines of action.
It is called comprehensive because it encompasses the total U.S. effort—all the activities and all the programs in a given country. It sweeps across agency barriers and agency lines. It is not State Department bound.
It is called Country because it first measures all of the things (policy related or otherwise) that are actually being done by U.S. agencies in a given country.
It is called a Program because it puts together similar activities of the various U.S. agencies into broad program categories in order to compare them to each other and to relate them to the goals and the lines of action of the National Policy Papers.
It is called a System because it systematically aggregates like activities undertaken in any given country and support of any given plan.
What Does the Comprehensive Country Programming System Do?
In the first place, the system in and of itself doesn’t do anything. It is like a set of business books. They don’t do anything. They provide information and insights that astute managers can use in order to ask questions and to make decisions and to evaluate results. That is all that is claimed for CCPS.
What the system does do is provide information that the Ambassador and the Regional Bureaus can use to ask deep and searching questions about their operations; questions about what people are doing with their time; questions about the things that no one is doing anything about; questions about the reasonability of the plans themselves; and questions about the kinds and quantity of resources that are in a country to do the job.
It does measure the effort (dollars, materials, and people) committed to each line of action.
It does show up gaps and duplication in the application of resources.
It does raise questions of priority.
It does raise questions of reasonability of the objectives.[Page 51]
It does provide an information bridge between plans and programs that for the first time permits the planners and the operators to communicate with each other in a meaningful way.
It does show ($ and people) what each U.S. agency is expending in a country in order to accomplish each NPP goal and each NPP line of action.
It does show those goals and lines of action that are receiving little or no resources.
It does show the goals and lines of action where there are program duplications between agencies.
It does show the goals and lines of action where there may be too many resources being applied.
It does enable the Ambassador and Regional Bureaus and other agencies to consider the re-assessment of our objectives or a re-adjustment of our resources when the two are out of harmony.
It does give Ambassadors the answers to such questions as:
- What are the U.S. programs?
- What are their relationships to each other?
- Where is the effort being applied?
- What U.S. objective is the effort supposed to be accomplishing?
- What priorities are agencies giving to their programs?
- What are people spending their time and effort on?
- When will an objective be accomplished?
- When will resource levels be changed?
- When will programs stop, start, be increased, or decreased?
By providing this kind of information, it enables the Ambassador to ask questions of how and why, to evaluate techniques and performance, and to make qualitative judgments on people and programs.
Examples to Date
In the course of installing the system in 23 countries during the past 13 months, we have seen many times the things that happen when people begin to think about what they are doing and why.
We have heard Ambassador McGhee, for example, tell us that it was not feasible to relate the activity of his mission to lines of action contained in the policy paper that he and his staff had prepared for Germany.3 This conviction has led the mission in Germany to re-examine the way policy papers are written and they are now being rewritten to contain the goals that he and his staff are pursuing.
A CCPS installation was carried out in Ethiopia shortly after the approval of a National Policy Paper for that country.4 (It had taken 18 [Page 52] months to produce the paper, much of the time being consumed by inter-agency negotiations and clearances.)
After comparing what people were doing with what the paper said they should be doing (as shown by CCPS), Ambassador Korry made a series of recommendations both with respect to the paper and the activities of the various agencies in Ethiopia. As a result, the Ethiopia paper has been re-written, the office of the Agricultural Attaché has been abolished, and the Pentagon is continuing to struggle with a recommendation to reduce the military attachés.
In Mexico, Tony Freeman and his staff reviewed and approved a LAPC policy paper.5 A subsequent CCPS installation revealed several lines of action that were receiving little or no attention. Upon further review, the Ambassador indicated that he thought the lines of action were inconsequential and should be eliminated from the paper. Washington is now studying his recommendations.
A similar process is now going on in Guatemala where the Ambassador has been looking at agency activities in support of an Internal Defense Plan. As a part of this study, Ambassador Bell asked agency and section heads to rate lines of action contained in a two-year old paper on a five-point scale ranging from “important and being carried out” to “unimportant and should be dropped.” Ratings from some 15 units on 20 of the 40 lines of action ranged from 1 to 5 with no apparent correlation among reporting units. The Guatemala paper is now being re-written.
In fact, every one of the 23 installations has demonstrated in one way or another that plans don’t become real until they are applied, that they aren’t apt to be applied unless someone or something forces them to be, and that all individual effort benefits from being related to a higher purpose or objective.
State Department Leadership Capability Enhanced
The National Policy Papers give substance to the principle that the Secretary of State is the President’s principal instrument of coordination and of leadership in the field of foreign policy.
The Comprehensive Country Programming System gives further substance to this same principle by providing a means for ensuring that the programs and activities of the other agencies as well as the State Department are indeed in harmony and in furtherance of those policy papers (NPP).
Until we developed the Comprehensive Country Programming System there was no means by which an Ambassador or a Regional [Page 53] Bureau Assistant Secretary (or Desk Officer) or the Secretary of State, or the President, or the Bureau of the Budget, or the Congress could plan for, discuss, or evaluate the total U.S. effort in a single country. Such planning and evaluation as occurred was done piece-meal by program or by agency, i.e. AID, Peace Corps, USIA, Military, State, etc.
There was no means for looking at the whole U.S. program for a single country.
The Comprehensive Country Programming plan is designed to show the total U.S. program in a country and thus to give the Desk Officer, the Assistant Secretary, and you a chance to ensure that agency plans and programs, budgets, and resources are in harmony with the country policy objectives and courses of action that you have signed off on for a given country.
- That you meet with Mr. Rostow and me to discuss this in greater detail upon your return to Washington.6
- Following our meeting, we hold similar discussions with the regional Assistant Secretaries on a common approach to planning and programming.
- Source: Kennedy Library, Crockett Papers, MS 75–45, ORG 1, CCPS. No classification marking.↩
- Attached but not printed.↩
- Not found.↩
- Dated December 19, 1963; an extract is printed in Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, vol. XXI, Document 309.↩
- Not found.↩
- In Programming Systems and Foreign Affairs Leadership (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970), p. 68, Frederick Mosher and John Harr describe a February 1965 meeting on CCPS that Crockett had with Rusk alone, during which Rusk indicated “he was concerned that any effort in the programming field for the Department not be ‘naive and overcomplicated.’ He told Crockett that he had decided to convene a committee of five ambassadors to study the system and advise him what to do about it.” However, according to Mosher and Harr, pp. 68–75, the committee, chaired by Ambassador Bunker, held only one meeting and never submitted a report, and programming efforts in the Department soon became focused on implementing the study mandated by the President on March 25, the Executive Review of Overseas Programs (see Document 33). Rusk’s Appointment Book at the Johnson Library indicates that the Crockett-Rusk meeting on CCPS may have taken place on February 24. For a description of Crockett’s first meeting with Rusk on CCPS, which took place a year earlier, possibly on February 5, 1964, according to Rusk’s Appointment Book, see Mosher and Harr, pp. 54–55.↩