276. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (Hall) to Director of Central Intelligence Helms1

Dear Dick:

In the six months that my office has been established, we have had a number of discussions relating to how the intelligence activities within the Department of Defense may be more systematically managed and how we can be responsive to the intent of the President’s memorandum of 5 November 1971.2 These discussions have been held with your staff, with the intelligence program managers in Defense, with those other elements of the Department of Defense that are responsible for our planning and budget preparation, and with the Secretary. As a result of these considerations, I would like to put forth how I believe it would be feasible for us to proceed to handle the intelligence planning and budgetary actions of the Department of Defense in a better way and how I see these actions supporting your responsibility as DCI. If you feel that the plan meets your needs, I will discuss it with OMB as well, since, as you know, the staff there has views in this area. In any case, I hope you will review it as a proposal, and although it has had a good deal of consideration here, it could well benefit from your suggestions.

I have structured the plan around certain key events which are related to the DoD planning, programming and budgeting cycle; [Page 624] however, there are other actions, since they are dominantly yours and fall outside the DoD cycle, that I will discuss in the same context.

Planning Guidance for the Forthcoming Five-Year Program. It is customary in the DoD plan for policy, force planning and fiscal guidance to be issued in the January–February time frame for the five fiscal year period beginning approximately eighteen months later. My office is responsible for recommendations to the Secretary regarding this guidance within the intelligence area, and Systems Analysis is responsible for recommendations regarding the overall force planning and fiscal guidance for the DoD program. In past years, guidance in the intelligence area has been largely limited to fiscal guidance, whereas other DoD programs have been receiving increasingly substantive policy and planning guidance. This year, for the first time, the Secretary included substantive guidance along with the fiscal recommendations and intends to strengthen this effort next year. In preparing fiscal recommendations and substantive guidance to be issued during the planning cycle, the Secretary will consider the problems and trends in DoD, including the planning guidance that I understand you will issue about three months preceding this time frame. The Secretary’s guidance covers all four DoD intelligence programs. I will provide you or your staff with the guidance issued, and will welcome the identification of any problems you perceive.
The Program Cycle. During the spring, it is DoD procedure for the Service Secretaries, having received SecDef fiscal and substantive guidance, to analyze their forces and to prepare for OSD review Program Objective Memoranda (POMs) reflecting their proposed programs for the next five fiscal years. During this time frame, the DoD intelligence program managers analyze their programs and submit POMs for OSD review. While these POMs must implement the guidance, the program managers are encouraged also to identify issues which lie outside the fiscal and substantive guidance they have received. The program manager reviews are held as internal proceedings, primarily for the assistance of the program managers. Although there has been participation in the past from outside DoD, I believe that these analyses should in the future be conducted without outside participation, in keeping with their internal character. The subsequent Program Objective Memoranda will also be treated as internal and given internal dissemination only.
Consolidated Defense Intelligence Program Review Conducted in the July–August Time Frame. This review, which I will continue to lead, is the substantive review in preparation of the Program Decision Memorandum approved by the Secretary of Defense. I plan to review all four DoD intelligence programs at this time. The product of this review will be an Intelligence and Security Issue Paper presenting a broad range of alternatives on major issues. This Issue Paper will go to the [Page 625] Secretary for his decisions. I propose that your office submit options for incorporation in the Issue Paper. The Secretary’s decisions will be recorded in a Program Decision Memorandum (PDM) in early August. A copy will be provided to your office. I suggest that this could be the basis for the DoD input to the preparation of your National Intelligence Program Memorandum (NIPM).
Budget Review to Prepare Program Budget Decision. Beginning in October it is customary for the Comptroller to chair a budget review leading to preparation of the Program Budget Decisions for the first fiscal year of the five year program. Ideally, there should be a minimum of substantive issues at this point, and the bulk of the effort directed toward insuring that the smaller questions are settled and the budget is accurate. This review will continue to be chaired by the Comptroller, and on intelligence matters, my staff will be represented. The only other representative outside DoD would be OMB, which customarily reviews the situation at this point. I will provide you with the PBD (Program Budget Decision) which reflects the Secretary’s decision on intelligence matters. I will at the same time solicit your comments and observations on the PBD, for consideration by the Secretary. Occasionally, there are last minute issues which are important, and this did occur last December. I would propose to handle these questions as we did those. When a real-time decision is required for the budget, I would proceed to take the action necessary, but not implement the actions until the matter was reviewed carefully—and I would, of course, seek your advice.

Finally, in December there is a final NSC meeting on the Defense budget which treats all unresolved issues, including Intelligence. Your inputs to this meeting will also be solicited.

I will be happy to discuss this subject with you when you wish.


Harold G. Bowen, Jr.3
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330 77 094, 350.09 (March–Dec) 1972. Secret.
  2. Document 242.
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Deputy Assistant Secretary Harold G. Bowen, Jr., signed for Hall.