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


  • Deteriorating Relationships with DOD

Our official relationships with DOD continue to deteriorate, at least as far as my activities are concerned. Since I last discussed this problem with you, we have received new and disturbing evidence of DOD’s unwillingness to cooperate with NSC activities.

I realize that you cannot do battle with the bureaucracy on every incident. However, we are faced with a series of incidents, any one of which could be tolerated but which, taken together, create a serious problem.

My immediate problem is that it is extremely difficult to get the other agencies to cooperate with us if DOD can consistently withhold its cooperation and get away with it.

My general concern is that this refusal to cooperate, even when the President himself has directed it, coupled with the serious lack of leadership and competence in OSD, may eventually cost the President heavily in bad policies and programs, missed opportunities, and problems with Congress.

The history of the last two decades demonstrates that when things don’t go well in the Pentagon, the country as well as the party in power pay a stiff price.

The specific problems are as follows.

Program Budgets

On 8 October you signed NSSM 772 directing that program budgets be prepared for 13 countries and asking the agencies to designate individuals to work on the project.

Every agency but DOD responded by designating representatives. After overcoming the reluctance of the State Department and the Budget Bureau and reaching some statesman-like compromises on schedule and procedures, a phased work program was developed.

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Dave Packard’s reply was received on December 3, two months late (See Tab A).3

After lecturing us on how busy they are and on how difficult it is to develop program budgets, he says,

  • —he will support the program analysis efforts for the four countries for which separate NSSMs have already been issued (though their cooperation on Korea and Turkey has been minimal at best),
  • —he will not cooperate with developing a program budget for Vietnam,
  • —two to four of the remaining eight countries could be undertaken as a matter of second priority if people are available and after the others are done and evaluated.

I consider the reply insulting and the assertions about the difficulty of the task wrong. If we accept the DOD reply, NSSM 77 will in effect have been rescinded.

I can live with this situation. The strategy would be to wait until the NSC has reviewed the Korea and Thailand program analyses and then attempt to reissue the NSSM with stronger Presidential support.

What I object to is the principle of the matter and the fact that the other agencies will draw inferences about who has the upper hand.

NSSM 50, A Review of U.S. Naval Forces

As you recall, DOD submitted an extremely poor study on U.S. Naval Forces in response to NSSM 50. On November 21, you sent a memorandum to DOD pointing out that the President was personally interested in the study, that the study was deficient, and that a series of specific questions should be answered before you reported to the President.

On December 2, Packard replied (See Tab B),4 noting that,

  • —many of the questions were valid and that answers would be forwarded by 21 January 1970, —you cannot consider the capabilities of a single service apart from the capabilities of the entire Department of Defense,
  • DOD’s views on naval forces will be transmitted in September 1970, as called for by NSDM 27 (U.S. Military Posture). “Only at that time will we be able to provide the President with a meaningful presentation on U.S. naval forces.” The NSSM 50 report is a Navy study with no DOD endorsement. (We asked for a DOD study, not a Navy study.)

What we will get in September 1970, of course, is a coordinated DOD view on naval force requirements for the next five years, not an [Page 199] imaginative study on how and for what purposes the Navy of the future might be designed and what the major problems are. Thus DOD is saying that it is not going to take any responsibility for NSSM 50, period.

There is nothing we can or should do until the answers to the questions come in on January 21. I would like to note, however, that:

  • —today, the Navy is quite beyond civilian control. Unlike the other two services, the Navy has no intention of subordinating itself to Secretary of Defense leadership and will use every trick in the book to get its way. Relatively speaking, they escaped scott free during the current budget review.
  • —the Navy is a museum, not a fully effective fighting force. For years they have sacrificed the basic elements of real effectiveness— trained crews, sonobuoys, support ships, spare parts—to keep the maximum number of combatant ships afloat and the maximum number of aircraft in the inventory. (I remember that two years after a new support aircraft had been introduced into the inventory, only 30 percent were operationally ready; they had simply not bought spare parts. At the time they were insisting in the strongest terms that they needed to buy more of these aircraft. The FY 71 budget review has, according to my informants, dramatically compounded such problems.)
  • —the Navy is increasingly becoming a relic. It is run largely by 57 year old Admirals who haven’t had a new idea since their battleships were sunk from under them; they won’t have their next new idea until their carriers are sunk from under them. The whole concept of the Navy should be thoughtfully reviewed, but there isn’t a prayer of this happening under present DOD leadership.


On December 1, September Laird wrote you on the proper role of the DPRC. (See Tab C)5

In Secretary Laird’s view, the DPRC should,

  • —analyze the overall economic picture,
  • —evaluate the sensitivity of our key national goals to higher and lower national spending levels,
  • —study the optimum allocation of total Federal resources,
  • —evaluate our basic national security commitments.

The DPRC should not:

  • —assess the programs of individual weapons systems (Safeguard? AMSA? CVAS?)
  • —assess alternative regional force levels (NATO? Korea?) The clear implication is that the DPRC should not review the Defense policy and program NSSM’s.

In summary Secretary Laird believes “we should reserve to the DPRC only those major aggregate resource allocation issues ancillary to our top-most goals.”

His views are preposterous. If you were to do what he suggests, the columnists would be writing that Henry Kissinger is not only Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense but President as well.

More than that, he is proposing a flat rejection of both the spirit and the letter of the NSDM that established the DPRC. (It is interesting to note that only 5 of about 35 NSDMs have been signed by the President himself; the NSDM on the DPRC was one of them; a copy of the NSDM is at Tab D.6 Not only that, at one NSC meeting the President went on at some length about wanting to put a stop to the bilateral bargaining between BOB and DOD and to the inter-service log rolling.

There are a number of ways to handle the situation:

—You could ignore Laird; as the defense NSSMs, such as the ones on Korea, Thailand, nuclear forces, etc. come up, schedule them for the DPRC, perhaps with a call from you to Laird in each case.

This approach puts Packard in an exposed position. He has already exceeded Laird’s guidelines in laying issues before the DPRC.

We could regard this as Packard’s problem, not ours.



—Call Laird and explain the President’s wishes.



—Forward Laird’s memo to the President, explain the problem to him, and get a renewed charter from the President which you could transmit to Laird.



Format for DOD’s Five Year Force and Program Plan

On October 31 you asked Packard to comment on a draft format for DOD’s submission of a Five Year Force and Program Plan called for by NSDM 27.

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You also asked for DOD suggestions on a format for showing overseas deployments and military assistance programs and DOD recommendations as to the number and content of the detailed program status tables.

The purposes of the exercise were to give guidance to DOD and to get an interagency discussion of the kinds of information on the Defense program that should be available to senior officials.

Laird replied on 25 November (See Tab E).8 He said that he wasn’t going to comply with the request and to wait and see what he submits in January. This was a simple request. I understand that a somewhat more forthcoming response was proposed for his signature but that it was toughened up in his office. (He says he will use NSDM 27 as a guide, but NSDM is not specific enough to be a guide.)

Here, too, if this were the only problem, we wouldn’t have to go to the mat on it. In the context of the other problems, however, noncompliance is significant.


I don’t see how you can let this string of rebuffs go unanswered. I recommend that you meet with Laird to resolve the problem or to decide what disagreements should be referred to the President.9

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 223, Department of Defense—01 Dec–31 Jan 70, Vol. V. Secret; Eyes Only. Sent for action.
  2. Document 78. Copies of NSSMs and follow-up studies, organized by NSSM number, are in ibid., NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Boxes H–122 through H–207, National Security Study Memoranda.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Document 89. In a December 6 memorandum to Kissinger, Lynn wrote: “My view is that he [Laird] is trying to get the DPRC off his back and divert you to fighting with Mayo, Treasury, and the Council of Economic Advisers over national priorities and the size of the defense budget. (‘Let’s you and them fight.’)” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 234, DPRC & DEF Budget 1969)
  6. Document 79.
  7. None of the options is checked.
  8. Not printed.
  9. See Document 91.