253. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Moorer) to Secretary of Defense Laird 1



  • Department of Defense Organizational Change—Central Security Service (U)
(U) Reference is made to a memorandum by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Administration), Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (OASD) (Comptroller), dated 6 December 1971,2 subject as above, which requested review, coordination, and comment by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on a proposed plan, and supporting rationale, for consolidation of Defense signal intelligence (SIGINT) activities.3 The plan, if implemented, would establish a Central Security Service (CSS).
(S) The Joint Chiefs of Staff do not concur in certain of the organizational concepts and command relationships described in the draft DoD directive nor in certain of the rationale supporting these proposals, as outlined in the draft memorandum to the Secretary of Defense, for the following reasons:
It is believed that the intent of the President’s directive4 is to establish an organization to provide a cryptologic support service rather than to establish a unified or specified command in the accepted sense of that term. The intent is believed to be placement under one organization of the separate SIGINT collections reserved for the individual [Page 572] Service cryptologic agencies (SCAs). The SCAs would in essence be components of this organization. It is considered that there was no intent to transfer military operational control of the collection platforms, installations, and personnel currently assigned to unified and specified commands. This control should be retained by the commanders of the unified and specified commands in their respective theaters.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff do not agree with the organizational alternative proposed in the draft DOD directive which would have the Chief, CSS, report directly to the Secretary of Defense. In order to insure appropriate responsiveness to military requirements, the Chief, CSS, must be required to report to the Secretary of Defense through the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Therefore, it is recommended that the CSS be established under the Director, National Security Agency (DIRNSA). DIRNSA as Chief, CSS, would report to the Secretary of Defense through the Joint Chiefs of Staff; as DIRNSA, he would report directly to the Secretary of Defense. This alternative would not include the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the chain of command on nonmilitary SIGINT matters, yet it would provide for their guidance on matters which directly affect military requirements, capabilities, and operations. Implementation will neither denigrate nor dilute the purpose or intent of the Presidential directive. Rather, it will serve to strengthen the integrity and posture of the US cryptologic structure. The preponderance of US SIGINT effort is directed toward military needs and, as such, should be subject to prudent guidance by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
One of the stated objectives in the President’s memorandum is, “The provision of intelligence and its utilization must enhance the formulation of … military … policies of the US Government and the planning for the conduct of military operations by US Forces.” Placing the Joint Chiefs of Staff directly in the chain of command for military matters will provide a ready mechanism for the rapid and orderly transition from peacetime to crisis or combat conditions when required. The organizational and structural nucleus of SIGINT capable military forces must be retained and must be readily available to insure immediate responsiveness to the direct support requirements of all military commanders.
The functions of the CSS should be restricted to SIGINT control, defined as follows: “The authoritative direction of SIGINT operations by tasking, and allocation of effort, and the authoritative prescription of those uniform techniques and standards by which SIGINT information is collected, processed, and reported.” No activity other than communications intelligence and electronic intelligence (ELINT) should be incorporated within this organization, since these were the only two functions addressed in the Presidential memorandum. Communications security (COMSEC) matters are not considered to be within the scope of the proposed directive.
The CSS should not be responsible for “conducting” all SIGINT operations. Specifically, collection normally should be performed by the SCAs under SIGINT control of the CSS. The Joint Chiefs of Staff agree that establishment of the CSS will have its strongest operational impact in the field of ELINT operations. However, the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not agree that this reorganization will result in a “far more coherent ELINT effort, more efficient ELINT operation, and a more responsive output.” The nature of noncommunications electromagnetic radiation activities requires that certain detection and intercept activities be integrated, or, as a minimum, be in direct-dedicated support to weapon systems and/or decision making requirements of operational commanders. Reaction time alone dictates this requirement. Removing these vital activities from the operational control of an operational commander will seriously inhibit his combat readiness.
(U) The Joint Chiefs of Staff have reviewed the draft charter directive, and their comments and recommendations are contained in Appendices A and B hereto.5 A line-out/line-in version is presented in Appendix A, and a clear version is contained in Appendix B.
(S) The recommended changes to the draft DOD directive reflect the issues discussed above and provide a viable organization responsive to both national and military SIGINT requirements.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
T.H. Moorer
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330 76 0197, 350.09 SIGINT 1971. Secret.
  2. Not found.
  3. See Document 252.
  4. Document 242.
  5. Appendices A and B are attached but not printed.