214. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (Cushman) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Administration (Froehlke)1

Dear Bob:

Dick Helms has asked me to reply to your request for comments on the alternatives proposed for reorganization of Defense intelligence activities which you discussed with us on October 20th.2 Implementation of at least some aspects of these proposals would involve amendments to National Security Council Intelligence Directives. Dick of course wishes to reserve expression of a definitive opinion on these matters until such time as they may come up for discussion through normal National Security Council channels and procedures.

In general the alternatives presented are not discussed in sufficient detail for us to be able to endorse any of them, but we will give our comments on them as concepts. We do believe that a measure of centralized control over the development and allocation of intelligence-associated departmental resources is desirable. A knowledgeable judgment about the feasibility of any new organizational plan cannot, however, be made until the fine points are worked out in detail. Of the four alternatives, numbers 1, 2 and 4 would be clearly impractical at this time. Although alternative 3 would probably be feasible to implement, we believe there are serious problems with it.

Two aspects of all the suggested alternatives present difficulties. One of these concerns the management of the national reconnaissance programs and the proposed Assistant Secretary’s relationship to them. The other has to do with the authority and functions of the proposed Assistant Secretary in connection with USIB and the process by which substantive intelligence estimates and judgments are formulated and approved.

As regards the national programs, we strongly support leaving the functions and membership of the Executive Committee of the NRO as they are. These are fundamental concepts in the NRO agreement and I believe that it would be a great mistake to change them.

Likewise, we think that it would be inappropriate to subordinate the Director, NRO, to an Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. This would be a substantial departure from the terms of the NRO agreement [Page 461] which provides that the Director will be appointed by the Secretary of Defense and that he report directly through the Executive Committee to the Secretary. (As you know, the Deputy Director, NRO, is appointed by the DCI with the approval of the Secretary of Defense.) This arrangement was designed to insure that the activities of the National Reconnaissance Program receive the personal attention of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the DCI, the President’s Science Advisor and, when necessary, the Secretary of Defense. It is true, as you note in your concept paper, that this forces considerable personal involvement by the EXCOM members, particularly the Deputy Secretary of Defense. The nature of the programs involved are, however, of such national importance that this attention seems to us to be desirable.

This raises the question then of what the relationship of an ASD(I) and the D/NRO should be. In general, we think it should be one of coordination and mutual support. In view of the need for the NRO to serve national requirements, we believe it would not be appropriate for an ASD(I) to exercise management control or staff supervision over the National Reconnaissance Program.

A second matter of concern is how to implement the authority contemplated for the new Assistant Secretary in connection with National Intelligence Estimates and as the representative of the Secretary of Defense on USIB.

In the latter connection I note that the concept paper outlining the terms of reference for the Assistant Secretary provides that he will appoint representatives on the various USIB committees. Actually the components represented on USIB committees are specified by directives issued under the authority of the DCI and USIB. I presume that it is intended that any changes in the composition of USIB committees would be worked out between the new Assistant Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence in accordance with established procedures.

The concept paper further provides that the new Assistant Secretary is to “coordinate [the]3 DOD position on National Intelligence Estimates and approve Defense intelligence estimates as prepared by the Director, DIA.”

It is not clear to me how the Assistant Secretary’s position on substantive matters involved in National Intelligence Estimates will be developed. It could be, I suppose, intended to establish a section in the office of the new Assistant Secretary to serve as a staff for substantive [Page 462] matters. On the other hand, the Assistant Secretary’s position on estimates could be developed by DIA. I very much hope that the latter arrangement is intended and that the Director, DIA, will continue to remain a member of USIB. DIA, as the main military participant in the development and production of national estimates, can provide essential staff support to the Assistant Secretary as well as contributing the military viewpoint in substantive deliberations of the USIB. As you know, the intelligence chiefs of the three military services also participate fully in the deliberations of the USIB concerned with National Intelligence Estimates, Special National Intelligence Estimates and Watch Committee reports. They are of course authorized to express any substantially differing opinion on these documents. I would hope that this practice would continue.

The membership of USIB itself is determined by National Security Council Intelligence Directive and changes in the composition of the Board should be definitively decided in the NSC context. Generally speaking, I believe that there would be no objection to including the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence as a member of USIB but I believe that the question of the over-all military membership appropriate for USIB, and best calculated to serve the interests of the intelligence community, cannot be authoritatively decided at this time but should be taken up in the context of a proposal to amend NSCID No. 1.4

Although the proposal to have the Assistant Secretary act as the principal representative for the Secretary of Defense on USIB may raise some problems, I heartily agree with the proposal that he should act as the Department of Defense representative on the National Intelligence Resources Board. This is a very desirable move and one which I strongly support.

Another area that bothers me is the meaning of the proposal that NSA’s responsibilities in the SIGINT environment will be explicitly defined by the Secretary of Defense, requiring a review of existing national and DOD directives. At present, SIGINT activities are governed by NSCID No. 6,5 which includes the following provisions. SIGINT activities are first defined in that document as national responsibilities for which the Secretary of Defense is designated as Executive Agent. The DCI, however, with the technical advice and assistance of the Director, [Page 463] NSA, is the Executive Agent for SIGINT arrangements with foreign governments other than the UK, Canada and Australia. The USIB is responsible for establishing policies for such arrangements, as well as for providing the objectives, requirements and priorities for the production of COMINT and ELINT information by NSA. The Director of NSA also has operational and technical control over SIGINT intercept and processing activities, except those required for direct support over which he has delegated operational control. I hope that the proposal mentioned above is not intended to modify these basic provisions.

I note that under alternative 3 DIA will no longer report through the JCS to the Secretary of Defense and that accordingly the JCS will require internal intelligence staff support. This could lead to an undesirable overlap of responsibility and duplication of effort between DIA and a newly formed J–2, for example in the field of national estimates. It would seem preferable to have DIA continue to provide intelligence support to both the JCS and the Secretary of Defense.

I should be only too glad to discuss the points which I have made above or any other questions which may occur to you as a result of comments submitted on the proposed alternatives at any time at your convenience.


R. E. Cushman, Jr.6
Lieutenant General, USMC
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files, Job 79–T01159A, Box 4, Folder 1, Department of Defense, 1969–1970. Top Secret; Handle via Byeman Control System Only.
  2. See Document 213.
  3. Brackets in the source text.
  4. A copy of NSCID 1, Basic Duties and Responsibilities, revised March 4, 1964, is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 275, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Vol. II.
  5. See Document 187 and footnote 5 thereto.
  6. Printed from a copy that indicates Cushman signed the original.