101. Editorial Note

On March 26, 1970, Laurence Lynn, Director of the Program Analysis Staff, National Security Council, drafted a memorandum to the President from the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger [Page 222] explaining Kissinger’s disagreement with Secretary of Defense Laird concerning the role of the Defense Program Review Committee. The memorandum reads in part as follows:

“The Issues

“Secretary Laird and I are in complete agreement on four issues:

  • “—We both believe that systematic analysis of the proper size and allocation of the Federal budget is badly needed and would be of great assistance to you in your budget planning.
  • “—We (and Budget Bureau officials as well) agree that the process whereby major domestic program decisions are made throughout the year, whereas the DOD budget is reviewed only near the end of the budget cycle, may put DOD at a distinct disadvantage: if new domestic program initiatives taken during the year cause your spending commitments to exceed projected revenue by the time DOD’s budget comes to your attention, DOD may be forced to take disproportionate cuts in its budget to bring total spending and revenues into balance.
  • “—We agree that the DPRC should analyze alternative DOD budget levels in the light of their impact on spending for domestic programs, on our ability to fulfill our obligations and commitments, and on the overall capabilities of our military posture. Studies to accomplish these objectives are already underway.
  • “—We agree that the DPRC should not become involved in detailed program management or weapons design issues.

“Our disagreements are as follows:

  • “—I do not believe that the DPRC—the primary function of which, as I understand it, is to insure balanced and comprehensive analysis of major Defense policy and program issues—should concern itself with analyzing the size and scope of government activities, the proper level of Federal spending and the allocation of the Federal budget among DOD and other agencies. The DPRC is not constituted for these tasks, as it lacks non-defense agency representation, and I question whether it would be appropriate for me to oversee this work.

    “However, at such time as your Domestic Policy Council is in a position to undertake an analytical presentation of domestic program ‘strategies’ and their costs, we could join forces with them and discuss the larger questions Secretary Laird raises with the entire Cabinet. I see no intellectual obstacles to achieving this within six months.

  • “—I believe that, in addition to analyzing our national security objectives, strategies and overall budgets the DPRC must analyze major DOD policy and program issues well in advance of the final budget review.

“We cannot analyze the size of the DOD budget in the abstract. It must be done in the context of specific threats to our security and our [Page 223] interests, capabilities required to meet these threats at various levels of risk, and the implications for defense and non-defense spending of implementing any particular alternative.

“For example, in my January 19, 1969 [1970], memorandum [Document 93] to which Secretary Laird is responding, I suggested a work program as follows:

  • “—Analysis of forces, threats and strategies in relation to U.S. overseas commitments and policies,
  • “—Analysis of resources required for defense and relation of defense budgets to civilian programs and the economy.
  • “(Secretary Laird and I are in agreement on the need for these first two studies, and they are underway.)
  • “—review of U.S. general purpose forces posture;
  • “—review of U.S. strategic posture;
  • “—future strategic role of manned bombers;
  • “—requirements for aircraft carriers;
  • “—continental air defense.

“In addition, the State Department has proposed a study of our overall base structure in East Asia.

“In my judgment, if such analyses could be completed and reviewed by you during the next three or four months, you could indicate your decisions and priorities to both DOD and the Budget Bureau well in advance of the final budget review and foreclose the necessity of making most major decisions at the last minute without knowledge of their implications.

“Moreover, Secretary Laird would no longer be at the ‘end of the line’ when the final budget review took place.

“Equally important, you would have a much better opportunity to shape our defense posture in accordance with your thinking rather than having the posture reflect compromises struck among three competing Military Services.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–098, Defense Program Review Committee Meetings, DPRC General 1969–Feb. 1970.)

Lynn forwarded the draft memorandum to Kissinger together with a draft memorandum from the President to the Chairman of the DPRC (Kissinger) stating Kissinger’s view of the DPRC’s role and directing that a series of studies be done. Kissinger decided not to send the former to the President but forwarded the latter to him under cover of a March 30 memorandum. The President signed it on April 2 (Document 102).