123. Paper Prepared in the Department of Defense1


Attached2 are four alternate Safeguard deployments which differ one from the other with respect to the FY 71 authorization. For each the attachment describes: the alternate; the schedule and costs for the portion of the system authorized through FY 71; and the schedule and costs for the full Phase 2 deployment. These alternates are:

  • Alternate 1, which would authorize in FY 71 the Whiteman and Northwest site complexes and advanced preparation for Northeast, Michigan/Ohio, and the National Capital Area.
  • Alternate 2, which would authorize in FY 71 the Whiteman and National Capital Area site complexes and advanced preparation for Northwest, Northeast and Michigan/Ohio.
  • Alternate 3, which would authorize in FY 71 the Whiteman and Warren site complexes and advanced preparation for Northwest, Northeast, Michigan/Ohio, and the National Capital Area.
  • Alternate 4, which would authorize in FY 71 only the Whiteman site complex and advanced preparation for Northwest, Northeast, Michigan/Ohio, the National Capital Area, and Warren.

Contrast of Characteristics of the Alternates.

Schedule and Costs. As to schedules and costs, there is no great difference between alternates. Alternate 4, which would authorize in full only Whiteman would require slightly longer for completion of the 12 sites. It would require slightly less FY 71 NOA but the difference is not sufficient to warrant a change in the budget submission already prepared.
Military Objectives. As to progress made toward the several objectives of Safeguard by the sites fully authorized in FY 71:
Alternate 1 is relatively balanced in that it emphasizes about equally Minuteman, area and SLBM protection. However, it does not advance the protection of the NCA.
Alternate 2 advances the Minuteman and NCA protection but gives lesser progress in area and SLBM protection.
Alternate 3 emphasizes Minuteman protection, gives only small contribution to the area and SLBM protection, and makes no progress on NCA protection.
Alternate 4 is similar to Alternate 3 but gives lesser progress toward Minuteman protection.
Opposition. Opposition by those who disapprove of any deployments will probably be about equally severe for all four alternates. Sites in the Minuteman fields will receive significantly less local opposition than would the case for the Northwest and NCA complexes of Alternates 1 and 2, respectively. (On the other hand, sites in the Minuteman fields using current Safeguard components will probably be attacked publicly by technical critics as being ineffective and expensive protection to Minuteman as compared with other approaches.) Opposition to an NCA site located close to the heavily built-up D. C. area (Alternate 2) will probably be severe, and it might be severe in the case of Northwest (Alternate 1). Overall in severity, the local opposition will probably be most intense for Alternate 2 over the NCA complex, somewhat less for Alternate 1 over the Northwest site, and much less for Alternates 3 and 4 which locate only in the Minuteman fields.
SALT and Other International Considerations. The four alternates differ in their possible effect on international negotiations, including SALT. (It is assumed in this discussion that whatever alternate is selected will be authorized by Congress.)
Alternate 1, authorizing in FY 71 only Northwest and White-man, indicates a balanced response to the Soviet and Chinese threats. Since it demonstrates a desire to go ahead with an area defense system, it might serve as an incentive to the Soviets to negotiate if they do not want this kind of defense. Also, the initiation of area defense would demonstrate to our Asian allies a U.S. commitment to our nuclear policy in Asia. However, authorizing a first site which only contributes to area defense (Northwest) might be interpreted by critics in Congress as a commitment to an area defense system without allowing an adequate opportunity for SALT to eliminate the need for area defense. This issue would be avoided this year by deferring the request to Congress to authorize the Northwest site (or any other exclusively area defense site).
Alternate 2, authorizing the National Capital Area and White-man complexes, presents balanced defense objectives (Minuteman, National Command Authorities, and some contribution to area defense) and consequently may have the advantage of allowing our negotiations to stress any one of these objectives at will. Also, defense of the National Capital Area can be argued to be similar to the Soviet defense of Moscow. [Page 435]However, the installation near Washington, D.C., might be misinterpreted by the Soviets as a first step toward a heavy urban defense.
Alternate 3, which would authorize only Warren and White-man, would demonstrate to the Soviets our concern about the growing SS–9 and SS–11 threat to Minuteman. Since Warren makes less contribution to area defense than most sites, this alternate does not demonstrate concern for area defense. The emphasis on Minuteman defense could be interpreted by the Soviets as skepticism about the progress of SALT.
Alternate 4, which would add Whiteman alone to the two Phase 1 sites authorized last year, demonstrates our concern about the SS–9 and SS–11 threat, but also might indicate a slowing down of Safeguard. This might be regarded by the Soviets as slowing down deployment in anticipation that SALT would reach a low or zero level ABM agreement and tend to lessen their incentive to negotiate.
  1. Source: Ford Library, Laird Papers, Box 27, Safeguard. Secret. On January 29, Packard sent the paper, to be used during the January 30 DPRC meeting, under a covering memorandum to Kissinger, Richardson, Helms, Wheeler, McCracken, Mayo, and Gerard Smith.
  2. Not found.