102. Memorandum From President Nixon to the Chairman of the Defense Program Review Committee (Kissinger)1

This year, I would like to review major defense policy and program issues when the Defense program is still in its formative stages, well in advance of the final review of the Defense Department’s budget in December.

I would like the Defense Program Review Committee to assist me in this review by undertaking immediately a series of studies on our military posture and forwarding the results to me over the next six months.

I would like this review to cover the following subjects:

  • —a definition and analysis of our overall strategy for general purpose and theater nuclear forces in relation to the threats we face and to our interests and commitments:
  • —the availability of funds for defense and non-defense programs over the next five years and potential trade-offs between defense and non-defense expenditures;
  • —an analysis of the actual and projected capabilities and costs of our general purpose forces in relation to specific military threats, in particular Army and Marine Corps land forces, carrier-based and land-based tactical air forces, and anti-submarine warfare forces;
  • —an analysis of the actual and projected capabilities and costs of our strategic nuclear forces in relation to the Soviet and Chinese threats and to our criteria for strategic sufficiency, including analysis of U.S. requirements for a manned bomber and for continental air defense forces;
  • —an analysis of our overall concept and programs for military research and development in relation to projected requirements for new weapon systems.

Would you please have the Defense Program Review Committee prepare terms of reference and a schedule of completion for these studies and forward them to me for my review by April 10, 1970.

Richard Nixon
  1. Source: 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. Top Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Lynn and forwarded to the President for his signature by Kissinger on March 30. (Ibid.)