164. Memorandum for Record1

    • DPRC Meeting on General Purpose Forces, 15 December 1970
Principal attendees at subject meeting were:
  • Dr. Kissinger, NSC (Chairman)
  • Deputy Secretary Packard, Defense
  • Under Secretary Irwin, State
  • Admiral Moorer, CJCS
  • Mr. McCracken, Economic Advisor
  • Dr. Schlesinger, OMB
  • Mr. Weinberger, OMB
  • Mr. Helms, Director, CIA
  • VADM Lee, ACDA
  • Dr. David, Science Advisor
  • Mr. Stein, CEA
  • Messrs. Spiers and Brown, State
  • Mr. Court, NSC Staff
  • Dr. Tucker, OSD
  • Dr. Christie, OSD (SA)
  • MG Elder, JCS
The meeting was introduced by Mr. Packard, who stated that Defense had not completed resolution of its Defense budget. He stated that he expected to have finished resolution of the major budget issues [Page 647] by the end of the week. He then turned the floor over to Dr. Tucker who presented a briefing along the lines of the 14 December memorandum to the DPRC Working Group.2
The discussion during the course of Dr. Tucker’s briefing is keyed to the following pages of the 14 December memorandum:
  • Page 13—Dr. Tucker explained that the three forces reflected had to be considered as illustrative only since Defense had not finished the budget scrub. He noted that the low force for structure cost alone was about $.6 billion below the planned force and that the high force was about $1.4 billion above the planned forces. He also stated that related shifts in readiness would amount to about $1 billion in either direction.
  • Page 54—No significant discussion.
  • Page 7—Major points developed in discussion on this chart5 were that readiness was the limiting factor in land force reinforcement in NATO but lift was the limiting factor in reinforcement in the Pacific; that both factors, combined with airfield reception capability, were limiting in tactical air reinforcement; that the chart indicated unopposed reinforcement capability and that no shipping, airfield and other losses were taken into account; that each area reinforcement capability was considered in isolation and that all CONUS-based forces were considered available; that no forces were withheld for minor contingencies, strategic reserve, or other purposes; that there were significant equipment shortages limiting the deployment readiness of reserve forces but that this situation should be improved by end-72 though not necessarily at NSDM 846 funding levels.
  • Pages 9, 10, and 127—No significant discussion.
  • Pages 13 and 148—Mr. Packard indicated that decisions within the last 24 hours would improve the indicated munition capability in NATO in the 30–60 day period and in Asia for the 30–270 day period. Dr. Kissinger indicated that we needed to apply pressure to our allies to improve their munitions position for both land and air forces. Admiral Moorer indicated that the situation was not as black or white as the chart portrayed since commanders would ration ammunition to avoid running out. There was considerable discussion of the meaning of the term “90 days” in NSDM 279 in respect to the NATO defense with no evidence of a clear and accepted understanding. In the course of the discussion, Dr. Kissinger stated the belief that any assumption based on operable strategic warning for Korea was in his view fallacious.
  • Page 1610—Dr. Kissinger questioned setting aside 456,000 as a Soviet strategic reserve in M+30 and not counting them in the threat to NATO. There was also general discussion of Soviet readiness posture and a consensus that we had no “feel” for Soviet stockage beyond the 30 days in units.
  • Page 1711—No significant discussion.
  • Page 1912—Dr. Kissinger questioned the 28 North Vietnam divisions reflected as available on M+30 and received no satisfactory answer. (Dr. Tucker will attempt to explain this figure.) Admiral Moorer questioned the figure that showed Chinese reinforcement in either Northeast or Southeast Asia only after M+30, and received no satisfactory answer.
  • Dr. Tucker then explained the model used in Charts on pages 22 through 36.13 Dr. Kissinger questioned the use of ratios, commenting that the Germans had met with no inconsiderable success in World War II in both the East and West despite a position of numerical inferiority. Dr. Tucker stated that the model was imperfect at best and that you could not compute the outcome with respect to Germany and World War II.
  • Page 2214—Dr. Kissinger stated that the main conclusion to be drawn from this chart was that if the Soviets got a 15-day jump in mobilization this could be critical—the Soviets would achieve a tremendous advantage and if we then commenced to mobilize they would have a tremendous incentive to launch an immediate attack. Dr. Kissinger also commented that it seemed to him that the chart indicated a need for more mobility. Mr. Packard agreed but observed that there was an even higher initial payoff in added investments for readiness. In the course of a general discussion of strategic warning and what would constitute a sufficient basis to order mobilization, Mr. Packard indicated that we might be paying insufficient attention to intelligence regarding Soviet general purpose forces. It was also observed that we probably would recognize after two weeks that we should have mobilized two weeks ago.
  • Pages 24, 26, and 2715—No significant discussion.
  • Page 3116—Dr. Kissinger and Admiral Moorer again questioned the threat basis and why Chinese forces were not shown as arriving prior to the M+60 period. Mr. Packard indicated that he felt this chart made a good case for providing ammunition and modernization for ROK forces since it appeared that ROK forces alone met the manpower requirements.
At this point, Dr. Kissinger halted the briefing and said he believed everyone had gotten the point and that he considered the briefing to be thoughtful, stimulating and illuminating. He then asked what conclusions were to be drawn.
Mr. Packard answered that first, more emphasis was needed on readiness, and second, that there might be a few force structure areas which needed building up. He stated that he thought we might find that the $74.5 billion provided in the NSDM 84 guidance could not do all that we needed to do. He stated that he was still working the budget and trying to find tradeoffs and hoped to be done by the end of the week.
Mr. Spiers stated that State was very interested in seeing what could be done at the $74.5 billion level.
Dr. David stated that he did not believe that there had been enough factoring of relative effectiveness in such areas as ECM.
Admiral Moorer stated that we are still fighting the war in Vietnam, that we have substantial requirements deriving from NSDM 9517 that we must meet, that readiness was being severely eroded, and that it was his judgment we could not get there at the $74.5 billion level. He stated we would wind up non-ready, non-modern and without options and flexibility for the President.
Mr. Weinberger stated that he shared Admiral Moorer’s concern and would like to see what $76.5 billion could do.
Mr. Packard stated that he agreed with Admiral Moorer and would be prepared at the end of the week to show what $76.5 billion would provide.
The meeting concluded.
John H. Elder, Jr.

Major General, USA
Chief, OP&MA Division
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Records of the Chairman, Admiral Moorer, 334, DPRC. Top Secret; Sensitive.
  2. On December 14, Tucker forwarded to DPRC Working Group members a package of materials in preparation for the meeting. The materials included some 43 pages of tables and charts and a 32-page working paper, entitled “Fiscal Year 1972 General Purpose Forces.” The paper comprises eight sections: Introduction, U.S. General Purpose Forces Planned for FY 72 and Possible Alternatives, Peacetime Deployments, Reinforcement Capabilities of U.S. and Allied Forces, Sustaining Combat Capabilities of U.S. and Allied Forces, Projected FY 72 U.S. and Allied Forces Needed to Meet Threats by Various Criteria, Relationship Between Forces to Meet Text Criteria and U.S. and Allied Force Capabilities and Needed Improvements in U.S. and Allied Forces. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–101, DPRC Meeting General Purpose Forces, 12/15/70)
  3. The preparatory materials distributed by Tucker on December 14 include at page 1 a table, entitled “Summary of U.S. Alternative Forces for FY 72,” that outlined three program options: planned, low alternatives, and high alternatives.
  4. At the fifth page of Tucker’s package is a table entitled “Sustained Peacetime Deployment Capability With Alternative FY 72 Forces.”
  5. The chart at page 7 outlined “Alternative U.S. Reinforcement Capabilities” in Europe, Korea, and Southeast Asia and in the event of minor contingencies.
  6. Document 155.
  7. At these pages are three tables: “Approximate FY 72 European Allied Reinforcement Capabilities,” “FY 72 Asian Allied Reinforcement Capabilities,” and “FY 72 Allied Naval Inventories.”
  8. At pages 13–14 are two separate charts representing the capabilities of the United States and its allies to provide sustaining materiel support in NATO and Asia (Korea). The charts estimated that the U.S. land forces in Europe could be sustained from 210 days to an indefinite period of time, European allies from 30 to 114 days, and U.S. land forces in Asia and Asian allies indefinitely.
  9. Document 56.
  10. The table at page 16, “Approximate Estimated Soviet Forces Available for Early Commitment,” assumed that the Soviets withheld 456,100 ground forces for strategic reserves to be used against NATO in the event of hostilities.
  11. The table at page 17 is entitled “Total Warsaw Pact General Purpose Forces Available for Early Commitment Against NATO.”
  12. The table at page 19, “Approximate Asian Communist Forces Available for Early Commitment,” estimated that North Vietnam had 28 divisions available for commitment within 30 days of mobilization.
  13. Pages 22–36 of the briefing materials included numerous tables, charts, and graphs regarding forces in NATO and Asia.
  14. The graph at page 22 plots total manpower in the NATO center region in FY 1972 against the number of days following mobilization day.
  15. At pages 24, 26, and 27 are three graphs: “Tank/Anti-Tank Summary—FY 72 NATO Center Region,” “Aircraft Capability & Requirements FY 72—Europe—All Regions,” and “Aircraft Summary—FY 72 Europe—Center Region.”
  16. The graph at page 31, “Manpower Summary—FY 72 Northeast Asia,” plots available U.S. and allied manpower versus days after mobilization by Communist countries in the region.
  17. NSDM 95, “U.S. Strategy and Forces for NATO,” issued on November 25, 1970, is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XLI, Western Europe; NATO, 1969–1972.