212. Memorandum From the Director of the Program Analysis Staff, National Security Council (Smith) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • PFIAB on Blue Ribbon Panel Intelligence Recommendations

At your request (Tab C)2 PFIAB has commented on the intelligence recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel.

Those recommendations are summarized in the memo at Tab D. In essence, they would put all authority for defense intelligence under an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, who would represent DOD on USIB and have as his principal subordinates “Defense Security Command” with the functions now performed by the service collection agencies and NSA and NRO and a “Defense Production [Page 453] Agency” which would have charge of all intelligence production not organic to combatant forces.

While the Panel’s re-organization proposals were radical, the PFIAB ideas are very modest—an Assistant Secretary with budgetary and policy but not operational control, better personnel, some concentration of ELINT and cryptologic functions in NSA. Otherwise, existing institutions, responsibilities, and control relationships would continue.3

PFIAB says:

It is a good idea to have a single official, an “Assistant Secretary for Intelligence,” with overall responsibility for intelligence in Defense, but
  • —The directors of NRO and NSA should have direct access to the Secretary;
  • DIA should remain separate and not be directed by the ASD(I) because it would be “counterproductive” to have the ASD(I) in the chain of command;
  • —The ASD(I) should be on USIB, but as an addition to, not a replacement for the DIA, NSA, and service representatives. The broader representation should be maintained to “preserve checks and balances,” insure “representation of service views,” and because “the tendency to achieve consensus is …4 already too great” and having fewer voices on USIB would “institutionalize” this tendency.
  • —In effect the ASD(I) should be the advisor to the Secretary for intelligence, management, budget and policy, but have no direct operational control.
It is impractical to try to separate collection and production into different agencies:
  • —NSA and NRO are specialized “national” agencies, which work well under present arrangements; they shouldn’t be subordinated to a new “collection” command.
  • —The Defense Security command would be “disproportionately large” and engaged in “diverse methods of collection.” (But, why should it be better to have this “disproportionately large” “diverse” effort under many heads, rather than one?)
  • —Many collection activities, e.g., prisoner of war interrogation, are integral to the combat commands and couldn’t be separated out. (The Blue Ribbon Panel allowed for delegation of responsibility by the Security Command and would not in [any?] case give it control over activities “organic” to combat commands.)
  • —So much authority and responsibility should not be in the hands of the commander of the collection command “unless no other alternatives are practicable.”
The Panel recommendations would remove the Director of Defense Intelligence from his position as the intelligence officer to the JCS. PFIAB’s views are that:
  • —The director of DIA (or whatever it is called) does not have to be “J–2” to the JCS as such, but “he certainly must be fully responsive to the requirements of the JCS.”
  • —There “should be no valid objection to his reporting to the JCS … as the principal intelligence officer (J–2).” (Except for asserting that this relationship is a “separate factor” from management of DIA, PFIAB does not comment on the Panel’s conclusion that such a divorce from the JCS was necessary because otherwise DIA is trying to serve two masters—as an advisor to the Secretary, the JCS superior, and as a subordinate to the JCS.)
The Panel does “not give sufficient stress to the importance of intelligence to combat commanders.” Intelligence activities “which are intimately related to military operations should be retained in the services but under firm, centralized policy direction from the Department of Defense.” (I don’t think the Panel report would disagree with that as a statement of the objective; the problem is how to achieve the result. PFIAB does not comment on the Panel’s charge of excessive service independence and empire-building in intelligence.)
There is no obligation to a single map and topographic service. PFIAB’s recommendations include:
  • —(1) “Deliniation under NSA” of cryptologic and ELINT responsibilities. (Presumably this means assigning those functions clearly to NSA and not the services. That would meet some of the Panel’s concern with service autonomy, but be subject to some of the objections the PFIAB makes against taking intelligence activities out of the services.)
  • —(2) Improved “screening and stability” of men assigned to defense intelligence and assignment to intelligence of a “proportionate share” of “superior” personnel. (This is PFIAB’s only comment on the proposal of the Panel to create a career military and civilian defense intelligence service.)
  • —(3) Budgetary, management, and policy supervision and review by the ASD(I) with decentralized operations, with existing organizations retaining their procession responsibilities and functions.
  • —(4) Retention of separate responsibilities in the services for personnel investigations. (No reason is given.)

PFIAB asks that its comments be transmitted to the Secretary of Defense. The memo at Tab A thanks PFIAB for their comments and the one at Tab B transmits them to Secretary Laird.

(Admiral Anderson has also forwarded his personal comments on the Panel’s proposals dealing with restructuring the chain of command in DOD, which I will send to you separately.)

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That you sign the memos at Tabs A and B.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 276, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Vol. V, 1 Aug 70–31 Oct 70. Secret. Sent for action.
  2. Tabs A–D are attached but not printed.
  3. PFIAB’s comments were contained in a September 14 memorandum from Anderson to Kissinger. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 239, Defense—Blue Ribbon Defense Panel)
  4. All ellipses are in the source text.
  5. Not found. There is no indication that Kissinger signed either memoranda.