171. Editorial Note

The Defense Program Review Committee met on February 10, 1972. In a February 3 briefing memorandum for President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger, Philip Odeen, Director of the National Security Council’s Program Analysis Staff, emphasized that the meeting marked “an important first for the DPRC in two respects: It will be the first time DOD has presented its five-year program to the DPRC as directed by NSDM 27. Also for the first time since 1969, OMB will provide a five-year look at Federal revenues and spending. In the past OMB has refused to provide this important information, which bears directly on our defense effort. This meeting is a critical first step in our efforts to get better control over the Defense program. Laird will be putting out his Strategy and Fiscal Guidance in late February which will provide guidance for detailed service preparation of the FY 74 program and our force posture for the rest of the 1970s. If we don’t get our oar in now, it will be much harder to influence the Defense program later in the planning cycle since most of the decisions will already have been made.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–104, Defense Program Review Committee Meetings, DPRC Meeting DOD Five Year Program 2–10–72)

Secretary of Defense Laird discussed the February 10 meeting of the DPRC at a meeting with his staff (the Armed Forces Policy Council) on February 14, according to minutes prepared by the Staff Secretary. Following a summary of the committee’s deliberations by the three staff members who attended on February 10, Laird said “we need to get the DPRC talking about over-all budget and economic posture of the country. Unless the DPRC goes the route of over-all national planning, it will fall.” Laird noted that at a breakfast meeting that morning with Kissinger he had expressed his disappointment over the outcome of the DPRC discussions as reported to him. Laird felt, he told his staff, “we are headed toward arbitrary budget decisions in November rather than having the President present over-all options in all areas of federal budgeting.” “We do not want the DPRC to provide fiscal guidance to the Department of Defense at this stage of the game. We want such guidance and decisions to be made from the President.” (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, Accession 76–0028, OSD Office Chronological Files, Box 14)