245. Memorandum From the Director of the Net Assessment Group, National Security Council (Marshall) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • NSCIC Activities

You are scheduled to chair the first meeting of the NSCIC at 3:00 p.m., Friday, December 3, 1971. Talking Points for that meeting will be provided on December 1.2

[Page 550]

It would be useful if we could meet to discuss how you prefer the NSCIC to function. Here are some ideas and issues to think about:

  • —A primary function of the NSCIC will be the issuing of authoritative guidance to Helms and the community with regard to the quality of the product and its responsiveness to high-level decision makers’ needs.
  • —In addition, the NSCIC should supply its best judgments as to the major shifts in top level decision makers’ needs over the next five years.

In the assessment of the quality and scope of current product, you should play a major role because of your position and your comparative advantage in drawing upon key sources for the assessment of the current product. These include:

  • —Evaluations of selected products, or product areas.
  • —Judgments of the NSC staff involved in the NSSM process as to the intelligence input they receive.
  • —Net Assessments undertaken by the Net Assessment Group should reveal specific intelligence deficiencies.

The other members of the NSCIC will probably designate some one to provide staff support to them for this committee. A matter for you to think about is whether you want me to meet regularly with these designated people to prepare for the meetings of the NSCIC.

The provision of top-level judgments regarding major shifts in future needs is important. The intelligence community has never received appropriate guidance on this matter. They have not substituted their own judgments, and in consequence have not done much forward planning focused upon intelligence production. Whatever planning they do appears to be driven by the major hardware elements of collection programs. The NSCIC should try to change this situation. A major question is how best to obtain the appropriate judgments. What sorts of studies might be useful as a basis for your or NSCIC judgments? How might they be done?

There are some other intelligence-related matters I would like to discuss with you. They could be addressed in the NSCIC, but might also be kept separate. They are:

  • —U.S. offensive cover and deception planning and operations.
  • —U.S. defense against foreign deception operations.

These are, I believe, currently neglected areas.

Procedural Issues

  • —How frequently to meet? Initially once a month would be useful.
  • —Additional attendees, at least at some meetings? Representations to attend have been received from Treasury, AEC, and OMB.
  1. Source: National Security Council, Nixon Intelligence Files, Log Numbered Series, 1971–1973. Top Secret. Sent for information.
  2. Marshall’s talking points, forwarded to Kissinger on December 3, are ibid.