81. Memorandum From the Director of the Program Analysis Staff, National Security Council (Lynn) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Defense Program Review Committee

The Defense Program Review Committee (DPRC) will meet in the situation room tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.2 At this meeting, I believe you should:

  • provide general guidelines on the types of issues the DPRC should address as a matter of routine;
  • indicate a tentative approach to the FY 71 DOD budget so that issues with policy implications requiring Presidential determination are identified early:
  • initiate interagency (State and Budget) involvement in setting up the Defense Five Year Force and Program Plan (FYFPP) by asking all the DPRC members to assist in defining the FYFPP format. The idea is that this document will serve as a basic reference and control document for the President and the DPRC.

At the next meeting of the DPRC you could then begin the process of reviewing the FY 71 DOD budget in terms of its policy implications.

All these topics are discussed in more detail below—issues are identified and some proposals for proceeding are suggested.

Defense Program Review Committee—Issues

The charter for the DPRC as established by NSDM 263 is to “review the diplomatic, military, political and economic consequences of issues requiring Presidential determination that result from:

  • —proposals to change defense strategy, programs and budgets;
  • —proposals to change U.S. overseas force deployments and committed forces based in the U.S.;
  • —major defense policy and program issues and program issues raised by studies prepared in response to National Security Study Memorandums.”

These issues are of the following types:

Strategic Guidelines. These guidelines, based on Presidential and NSC decisions, will set the framework of purposes, objectives, and goals, which the Defense Five Year Force and Program Plan will serve. There are several defense-related NSSMs now underway which will assist in expanding and clarifying these guidelines:
  • —studies on the role of nuclear weapons in Europe (NSSM 65) and Asia (NSSM 69);4
  • —a study on strategic requirements to deter less than all-out nuclear attacks on the U.S. (NSSM 64);
  • —an upcoming NSSM on U.S. strategies and forces for NATO.
Budgetary Guidelines. The budget level guidelines, drawn from Presidential decisions, set the overall limits for the Defense budget. Pressures for changing these budget guidelines may arise through the year resulting from:
  • changes in the budgetary planning assumptions concerning the level of U.S. activity in Vietnam: higher (or lower) deployments, ammunition consumption, etc;
  • changes in U.S. Government revenue projections which might constrain further the availability of funds for defense;
  • new national priorities which could require reallocating government funds away from defense toward domestic programs or vice versa.
Force and Program Guidance. NSDM 275 specified the general level of military capability the U.S. will maintain to support its international objectives and commitments. As we modify existing forces so they are consistent with the NSDM 27 decision, diplomatic and political reactions could develop which raises major policy issues for the President and the NSC;
  • —How do we explain diplomatically the relative roles of Korea and Southeast Asia in determining the forces we will maintain in the Pacific after the war in Vietnam?
  • —What obstacles will domestic political pressure groups present when we consider ways to redesign the Army Reserve force structure so that the Reserves support the worldwide strategy?
  • —What weapon system procurement plans will become major Congressional issues—shipbuilding (under study in NSSMs 50 and 54), advanced strategic weapon systems (ABM and ULMs, etc.)?
Overseas Deployments. When we told NATO what forces we would commit during 1970, we had some difficulties in coordinating our diplomatic scenario with our military plans. Other similar issues may arise requiring Presidential determinations:
  • —The Korea Program Analysis (NSSM 27), includes alternatives with different deployments to Korea.
  • Elliot Richardson, in his report on the Defense Program Questionnaire (DPQ 69) for NATO, indicated that further changes in our forces committed to NATO may be necessary.
  • —Our deployments to Thailand are becoming a symbolic and political issue in Congress which may eventually require Presidential determination. (NSSM 51 will address the Thailand issue.)

As a general rule major issues of these types should be reviewed by the DPRC. After examining each issue, the DPRC should decide whether it should be forwarded for NSC or direct Presidential consideration.

The FY 71 Budget and the Five Year Defense Force and Program Plan.

In addressing the Committee’s responsibilities in reviewing the FY 71 DOD budget, I believe you should involve the members of the Committee immediately by:

  • —asking State to begin identifying the defense program implications of NSDM 27 which will raise diplomatic policy issues;
  • —asking BOB to identify the major procurement issues which may raise policy issues in Congress (FDL, C5A, F14);
  • —asking BOB and Defense to identify areas where costs might so exceed projections that either budgetary guidelines or the force level must be adjusted.

I believe it is important for agencies to begin addressing these issues now so that when Defense submits its budget, no time will be lost in identifying issues for NSC or Presidential attention.

The Five Year Force and Program Plan—Setting It Up

NSDM 27 calls for the submission to the DPRC by the Secretary of Defense of his proposed Five Year Force and Program Plan by next January 15, together with an explanation and rationale for the forces in each major force category.

This plan, when completed, will be in effect a basic reference-control document which the DPRC can use to track defense decisions. Whenever DOD or any agency proposes to change elements of this plan, that would automatically create a potential issue for the DPRC, which it could take up or not depending on the policy implications and the diplomatic consequences of the proposal.

The non-defense members of the Committee can be involved in designing the format for the plan. If the plan is designed correctly, it will include enough detail so that the non-defense agencies can become aware early in the process of defense program change proposals with policy implications.

With respect to the specific procedures that might be followed in developing the FYFPP format, I believe you should consider either:

  • —asking Dave Packard to form a small working group, chaired by a Defense representative and including representatives of each DPRC member, to define the format; or
  • —providing a “straw man” format to serve as preliminary guidance for DOD and to provide other DPRC members a framework in which to place their own suggested additions. (An outline and several illustrative tables are attached (tab A);6 however, more work should be done before you could distribute the document informally.)

I believe you can go either way. Clearly, there are bureaucratic reasons for giving Dave Packard a major role in designing the proper format. On the other hand, since the primary orientation of the DPRC is toward the broader policy implications of defense program changes, with particular emphasis on all the dimensions of a problem, I believe you should retain the dominant role in indicating the level of detail and the basic categories in the FYFPP.

[Page 172]

I have prepared talking points along the lines just described for the first DPRC meeting (tab B).7

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 234, DPRC & DEF Budget 1969. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. The meeting, the DRPC’s first, was held on October 22.
  3. Document 79.
  4. Copies of NSSMs and follow-up studies, organized by NSSM number, are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Boxes H–122 through H–207, National Security Study Memoranda.
  5. NSDM 27, “U.S. Military Posture,” October 11, 1969. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 363, Subject Files, National Security Decision Memoranda Nos. 1–50)
  6. The tabs are not printed.
  7. According to the minutes, Kissinger opened the October 22 meeting as follows: “Originally, President found himself arbitrating defense issues on a line-by-line basis. He didn’t like being put into this position. We’re concerned with political doctrinal implications of long-term force projections. You’ve seen NSDM 26. Implications of force postures, in relation to five year projection, and in relation to NSSMs. In this context, the Group performs same function NSC Review Group performs. Other contexts are five-year plan due by Jan 15 and next year’s DOD budget. We can’t reopen budget line-by-line. We can review implication, e.g., NATO implication, doctrinal implications, it’s this problem we are here to deal with. Defense strategy, overseas deployments and policies and programs.” Richardson then commented that “As a Group we should be concerned with regular mechanism between State and Defense, see that political implications are taken into account.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–099, Defense Program Review Committee Meetings, DRPC Meeting 10–22–69)