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



  • The National Security Agency and the Central Security Service (U)
(U) Reference is made to the draft DOD directive on the above subject.2
(S) The Joint Chiefs of Staff have reviewed the new draft DOD directive3 concerning the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Security Service (CSS) and can accept the directive with the following understandings:
There is no intent to transfer military operational control of the collection platforms, installations, and personnel currently assigned to the unified and specified commands. This control will be retained by [Page 586] the commanders of the unified and specified commands in their respective theaters. Removing these vital resources from the operational control of the operational commanders would seriously limit their combat readiness and effectiveness.
It is intended that military resources within the CSS will be subordinate to the Chief, CSS, for all matters involving SIGINT operations but will remain a part of their parent Service for all other matters. These resources would not become components of a unified or specified command in the military sense of such commands.
It is intended that provisions will remain in effect to provide for the delegation of SIGINT control (tasking authority) over assets required for the direct support of military commanders to the commanders being supported. Areas of conflict between the Military Services and the Director, NSA, would be resolved by you.
It is intended that the present system for the control and approval of reconnaissance operations, which include SIGINT operations, will remain in effect.4
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
T.H. Moorer
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330 76 197, 020 NSA 1971. Secret. A notation on the memorandum indicates Laird saw it.
  2. See Document 252.
  3. See Document 257.
  4. Hall forwarded to Laird a proposed reply under cover of a December 30 memorandum in which he stated that “provision is made in the directive for handling three of the issues raised by the Chairman, and I believe these constitute no real obstacle. The fourth issue, that of whether the Service cryptologic agencies will be components of the CSS in a manner analogous to the components of a unified command, is not addressed explicitly in the directive” but “I believe this type of arrangement is essential if we are to be responsive to the intent of the President’s memorandum.” (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330 76 197, 020 NSA 1971) See also Document 260.