165. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense Laird1

JCSM–572–70
  • SUBJECT
    • Worldwide Posture of US Military Forces (U)
1.
(U) Reference is made to:
a.
JCSM–760–69, dated 11 December 1969, subject: “Worldwide US Military Posture (U).”
b.
JCSM–288–67, dated 20 May 1967, subject: “Worldwide US Military Posture (U).”
c.
JCSM–221–68, dated 10 April 1968, subject: “Worldwide US Military Posture (U).”2
d.
JCSM–548–68, dated 14 September 1968, subject: “US Military Posture Assessment (U).”
e.
MC 14/3, dated 16 January 1968, subject: “Overall Strategic Concept for the Defense of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Area.”3
2.
(U) In reference 1a, the Joint Chiefs of Staff provided an assessment of the worldwide US military posture as of end FY 1970 when all planned reductions, including those of Project 703, would have been completed.4 Further, the Joint Chiefs of Staff advised that, when the force level decisions based on the FY 1971 budget were announced, they would reassess the capability of US military forces. Although the FY 1971 budget is yet to be approved and final force level decisions are still to be determined, the impact on US worldwide capabilities of force level reductions and fiscal restraints incurred to date are considered to be of such significance that this updated assessment is deemed appropriate.
3.
(TS) The Joint Chiefs of Staff view with increasing concern the continuing degradation in the strength, disposition, and readiness of the worldwide US military posture when measured against national security objectives and the growing capabilities of Soviet and Chinese communist general purpose and strategic forces. They recognize, as a fact of life, that military resources will rarely be available in sufficient quantity to satisfy all requirements. However, recognizing limitations on resources does not change the nature of the threat nor eliminate the requirement to maintain capabilities to counter it. Forces should be developed at a reasonable cost, but US military capabilities must be maintained to support US interests and to counter the threats to these interests. This concern, expressed previously in references 1b, 1c, and 1d, has been intensified as additional force reductions and fiscal restraints have continued the degradation of the US military capabilities, an assessment of which is provided in paragraphs 4 through 19 below.
4.
(TS) North America. Soviet strategic nuclear forces continue to pose the most dangerous threat to the United States. To counter this threat, the United States must maintain strategic forces in sufficient strength to deal effectively with a direct, deliberate nuclear attack in a crisis. In addition, strategic forces, sufficient in numbers and quality, contribute to the total credible deterrence in support of national objectives worldwide. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have previously provided (reference 1d) their views on the declining trend of the US strategic posture relative to that of the Soviet Union. A discussion of the impact of subsequent force reductions follows.
a.
Offensive. The numbers and target coverage potential of forces which can be made available for commitment to the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) have been further reduced. The phaseout of B–58s and Mace and the phasedown in Titan missiles have resulted in a net reduction in the SIOP capability of [number not declassified] weapons. When viewed in light of the increases in Soviet strategic nuclear capabilities, the reduction in SIOP weapons has significantly reduced the weapon density on some preplanned targets, thereby lowering the desired damage expectancy, and has reduced coverage of Soviet hard intercontinental ballistic missiles.
b.
Defensive. The United States is confronted by a continuing and significant threat from bombers and submarine-launched cruise missiles which can be engaged by air defense weapons. US air defense forces have been phasing down, while the Soviets have improved the survivability and capability of their bomber forces by the adoption of low-level penetration tactics and by the addition of air-to-surface missiles. The accelerated phasedown of the US air defense system has severely reduced the US air defense capability and enhances the strategic value of the Soviet bombers and submarine-launched cruise missiles by offering attack options which an effective air defense would [Page 653]deny. Any further reduction in US air defense forces would increase the risks to national security.
(1)
The density of Army CONUS air defense fire units has eroded from a maximum 134 Nike–Hercules fire units deployed in 1963 to the present force level of 82 units. The reduction of these fire units has adversely affected the overall defense of the United States. All Army air defense has been eliminated in the center of CONUS. Elimination of units in the perimeter has reduced the capability of those defenses. Although remaining units represent a significant factor in defense of the areas where they are deployed, there are other vital target areas where no missile defense exists and none is planned.
(2)
From a peak of 27 SAGE Combat and Direction Control Centers in 1962, command and control has declined to the present six CONUS region control centers; 12 BUICs providing backup. During the same period, the total US Active and Air National Guard (ANG) interceptor force has been cut from approximately 1,700 to about 550. During the last year, 110 US long-range radars and 17 gap fillers have been reduced to only 87 long-range radars. Indicative of Soviet expanded capabilities is that, since the beginning of 1969, almost 500 Soviet reconnaissance and bomber flights have penetrated the Alaskan and Greenland–Iceland–UK radar coverage. Some have approached as close as 40 miles off the Labrador/Newfoundland coast and 15 miles off the Alaskan coast.
(3)
The reduction of interceptor squadrons, including the transfer of a number of squadrons from the Active force to the ANG, has reached the point that now ANG squadrons outnumber active squadrons. The consequence of this trend is a degradation of the ability to respond rapidly to an emergency, since ANG units have fewer aircraft on alert and must be recalled to further generate the force. The reduction of forces has also resulted in elimination of the airborne long-range radar input capability that previously existed on the east coast of the United States and has depleted severely the airborne early warning capability available for the west coast. Except for intermittent manning of the station between Florida and Cuba, there is no routine station manning on either coast of the United States such as existed a year ago. The radar reductions have not only denuded the central part of the United States but also have caused a severe loss of overlap coverage which is essential in the event that penetrating bomber forces attack and attempt to degrade the US ground environment. Furthermore, because of budgetary restraints, progress in developing US electronic counter-countermeasures capability has come to a standstill.
(4)
Programmed reductions in weapon systems have resulted in the loss of 21 BOMARC launchers (13 percent) available in the northeast corridor, five active interceptor squadrons, 18 percent of the [Page 654]Active force air-to-air nuclear capability for air defenses, all surface-to-air missile (SAM) defense of Hawaii, and one-third of the SAM fire units in Alaska. Further, other SAM units in the Strategic Army Forces (STRAF) have been inactivated, and a comparable number and type of units in the Army Air Defense Command have been redesignated as STRAF units to replace them. (They will remain under operational control of CINCONAD, unless required for employment elsewhere.)
(5)
The United States presently has no capability for active defense against intercontinental ballistic missile/submarine-launched ballistic missile attack and has only a very limited capability to engage enemy satellites.
(6)
Reductions of ships and aircraft dedicated to antisubmarine warfare (ASW) and the stretchout of procurement of the P–3C patrol aircraft degrade US defenses against missile-equipped submarines. Furthermore, this threat has increased with the regular deployment of Soviet Yankee class submarines, each armed with 16 ballistic missiles. ASW forces are insufficient to provide an effective defense against this threat and simultaneously carry out other missions and tasks.
5.
(TS) Europe/Middle East/North Africa. The most likely areas for Soviet military activity continue to be Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East.
a.
The NATO military posture in Europe, already weakened by France’s nonparticipation, is further jeopardized by the downward trend in numerical strength of NATO’s immediately available forces. These forces are now marginal and, in the event of major aggression, would require early and large-scale reinforcement. This situation has placed an increased reliance on rapid augmentation of NATO’s forward posture. US military forces are fully committed in support of worldwide requirements; thus, the reinforcement of NATO would require major redeployment from PACOM and would substantially reduce operations in the Pacific area at the expense of US interests and commitments.
b.
Soviet military strength and influence in the Middle East and the Mediterranean area have steadily increased relative to that of the United States. The loss of Wheelus Air Base,5 together with a substantial Soviet military presence in the UAR, continuing aid to certain Arab States, and increased Soviet naval presence in the Mediterranean, provides added opportunity for the USSR to extend its influence and to enhance its bargaining position in obtaining additional air and naval rights, authorizations, and facility arrangements on the southern [Page 655]Mediterranean littoral. Soviet Forces, especially naval and air forces, threaten essential sea and air lines of communication (LOC) and challenge the US ability to meet military contingencies in this area.
c.
Eight Active Army divisions are committed to NATO; five are M-day divisions (four and one-third in Europe and two-thirds in CONUS). (The US reply to the DPQ for end CY 1970 indicates that nine additional divisions are maintained for national purposes and are considered as a potential source of reinforcement for SACEUR.) Budgetary and personnel restraints cause the four and one-third US European-based M-day divisions and their support to be organized at less than desired strength. Under REFORGER agreements, the two-thirds division in CONUS is required to be available in Europe within 30 days. It is currently projected that this unit can meet the 30-day objective availability in Europe. Two of the other three divisions required for NATO employment by M+30 could be available under full mobilization conditions by M+60 (the deployment times shown above assume ready pre-positioned stocks in Europe). The third division would not be available until the period M+60 to M+20. Because of the reduced readiness of one of the Active armored divisions, the United States has agreed to make a CONUS-based airborne division available to NATO in an emergency by M+45 days. However, this substitution does not provide an equivalent combat capability. The remaining Active divisions would require redeployment from PACOM. None of the Reserve divisions for reinforcement of Europe could be deployed by M+6 months. A maximum of five Reserve component brigades, with their initial support increments (ISIs), and six roundout maneuver battalions could be deployed to Europe prior to M+6 months.
d.
With the decommissioning of one CVA in December 1970, 14 CVAs will be available, of which five are committed to NATO by M+2 and five more by M+30. Of three mission-capable CVSs, two are committed to SACLANT by M+2. This reinforcement of NATO would require major redeployment from the Pacific and would substantially reduce naval operations in the Pacific area, particularly west of Hawaii, at the expense of US interests and commitments. At the present time, Soviet naval forces are increasingly aggressive and continuously shadow the major units of the Sixth Fleet. However, the Sixth Fleet is unable, with forces presently committed to the Mediterranean, to maintain comparable surveillance of Soviet naval elements while concurrently meeting other mission requirements. There are insufficient ASW forces to provide other than marginal ASW protection for carriers, replenishment groups, and amphibious groups. In essence, the Sixth Fleet’s ability to accomplish its missions in the Mediterranean (such as control of the sea, surveillance, convoy protection, air support, and landing amphibious forces) is challenged.
e.
Two Marine Amphibious Forces (MAF) are committed to NATO. The LANTCOM MAF is scheduled to arrive in Europe by M+30 days; however, reductions in amphibious lift will require greater reliance on a mix of amphibious and Military Sealift Command (MSC)/commercial shipping to meet this schedule. Actual arrival and configuration of the M+30 MAF depend on the timely arrival and loading of assault shipping from the Pacific Fleet. Capability to lift the assault follow-on echelons is limited by the capacity and availability of MSC/commercial shipping. The increased reliance on MSC/commercial shipping impairs the capability to make an opposed landing. This capability is impaired further by the shortage of naval gunfire support ships. The LANTCOM MAF provides the Special Mission Force–Guantanamo. The PACOM MAF, with three-ninths in CONUS/Hawaii and six-ninths on Okinawa/Japan, is scheduled to arrive in Europe by M+60 days.
f.
Sixty-two Air Force tactical fighter squadrons are scheduled to be deployed to Europe by M+30. Of these, 21 are in-place, including four squadrons with the primary role of air defense. An additional four squadrons (Crested Cap) are dual based in CONUS. The 37 additional tactical fighter squadrons would be provided by M+30 days. However, of these 37 squadrons, only 15 active squadrons are available in CONUS; the remaining 22 squadrons can be provided only by redeployment from Asia at the expense of support in these areas and from the 26 ANG tactical fighter squadrons, most of which are still equipped with obsolete F–84/F–100 aircraft. It is also significant that delay in modernization of the Air Force tactical fighter squadrons impairs their ability to operate in a NATO/Warsaw Pact combat environment.
g.
REFORGER/Crested Cap exercises are considered an essential element of US support. During the Trilateral Talks of 1967, in which the “dual basing” concept of US NATO Forces was established, the United States gave assurance to the NATO Allies that dual basing was not the first step in a long-term program of US force withdrawal from Europe.6 The United States stated that it would annually exercise dual-based units in Europe. Despite such assurances, many allies doubted that dual basing was anything other than a US withdrawal plan. In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, first priority was accorded to an immediate REFORGER/Crested Cap exercise as a demonstration of US resolve to support NATO. Failure to continue to exercise these units in Europe would not only abrogate the trilateral agreements but would tend to dilute their NATO orientation and reinforce the fears of NATO Allies that this is another step in a long-term program of US force withdrawals from Europe.
h.
Reductions in US strategic forces are discussed in paragraph 4 above, and the command and control problems of SACEUR and USCINCEUR are discussed in paragraph 12 below.
i.
The logistic problems of USCINCEUR are discussed in paragraph 14 below.
6.
(TS) Atlantic. The strategic significance of the Atlantic stems from NATO’s reliance upon it for LOC for economic and military support and from the growing capabilities of the USSR to use it as a missile launch area for attack against North America and Europe. US naval forces have two primary tasks in the Atlantic: to gain and maintain general naval supremacy, including defense against missile-launching submarines and protection of LOC, and support of the defense of NATO. Present LANTCOM forces are limited in their ability to perform all these tasks concurrently. Even with the redeployment of NATO-committed forces from the Pacific Fleet, surface ASW forces required for defense against missile-launching submarines and for convoy escort necessitate a drawdown on those normally assigned to protect carrier, replenishment, and amphibious groups, thus increasing the vulnerability of these forces.
7.
(TS) Latin America. Latin America is important because of its proximity to the United States, the Panama Canal, and the availability of strategic routes through and around South America. The principal threat to Latin American nations is one of subversion and insurgency. In addition, Cuba continues to pose a threat to US security interests.
a.
Priority of US military efforts in Latin America will be given to defense of the Panama Canal. In addition, US Forces must be prepared to conduct military operations to meet contingency requirements, including combat, evacuation, surveillance, quarantine, and/or show-of-force operations.
b.
Soviet and Communist China objectives continue to be long range, emphasizing expanded presence and influence through diplomatic and trade relations, cultural activities, and cooperation with favored governments. Options to take advantage of favorable opportunities will be kept open, and covert participation and support of armed insurgence might occur if the prospect of success is sufficient to justify the risks involved. Recent USSR naval and air operations in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and airlift operations to Peru offer additional evidence of Soviet interests in the area and of its growing capability to undertake distant deployments in support of political and/or military objectives.
c.
US Forces available will have a very limited reinforcement capability to assist in the defense of the Panama Canal and the US Naval Base at Guantanamo in the event of a major contingency outside the hemisphere.
d.
There is insufficient amphibious shipping to sustain the Caribbean Ready force at sea on a continuing basis; thus, its reaction time in response to contingencies is increased.
e.
The steady erosion of US influence, military advice, and assistance in this part of the hemisphere lessens the ability of the United States to project and promote national security interests in Latin America. In this regard, the ascendancy of a Marxist-oriented President in Chile offers particular opportunities for the expansion of communist influence in Latin America.7
8.
(TS) Pacific Area. The commitments that the United States has with certain nations of the Western Pacific/East Asian area and the importance of the Pacific area to the defense of the United States make this area strategically important. Control of vital sea areas and protection of vital sea and air LOC are essential to meeting US commitments in the Pacific area and to the defense of North America. US Forces are presently deployed in a forward posture to assist allies to deter or contain communist aggression. Assistance is being provided selected nations in the area to improve their ability to deal with subversion and insurgency as well as with external aggression.
a.
The program of redeployment of US Forces from Southeast Asia was originally based on progress in Vietnamization. Accelerated redeployment could degrade the Vietnamization program and increase the tactical risks. This is especially true in Military Region 1 where the enemy can mass forces capable of inflicting a major defeat of Army of the RVN or US units and of seriously disrupting or reversing the course of Vietnamization.
b.
Redeployment of combat forces from the Pacific to Europe in the event of a NATO/Warsaw Pact war would leave remaining US Forces with reduced protection. With virtually all US surface and air transport and ASW capability dedicated to the movement of troops and equipment to NATO, residual US Forces in Asia would be hard pressed to defend vital areas of PACOM against attack and to maintain control of essential bases and LOC. The effect could be that the point at which nuclear weapons must be employed by the defending US Forces might be reached earlier.
c.
Announced US troop reductions in the ROK have necessitated an overall modernization program for ROK Forces. The anticipated timelag between US withdrawals and completion of the ROK modernization program will result in decreased defensive capabilities in the ROK. Airlift and sealift resources are not presently available to meet the desired time phasing of forces required for the defense of the ROK. [Page 659]Phasing down of the logistic base in Japan and lack of funding for new construction in the ROK have degraded the US capability for augmenting and sustaining combat operations.
d.
The Army portion of the PACOM reserve is one division and one separate airborne brigade. The separate airborne brigade and two-thirds of this division force are still committed to combat in the RVN. This impairs CINCPAC’s capability to respond to contingencies, including reinforcement of the ROK. The adverse situation resulting from an insufficient reserve is aggravated by reductions in already marginal sea, air, and amphibious lift.
e.
Reduction to three carriers in the Seventh Fleet has decreased the number and types of missions flown by embarked aircraft and has made it impossible to provide full-time carrier coverage of both the Gulf of Tonkin and Sea of Japan. Reduction of replenishment ships imposes restraints on ships providing naval gunfire support in the RVN. Limited assault shipping continues to restrict the flexibility of the amphibious forces. Inactivation of the Pacific Fleet’s only heavy gunfire support ship will commence in December 1970. ASW forces have been reduced to the extent that adequate protection for LOC will be delayed until augmentation forces are made available.
f.
The progressive reduction in tactical air sorties in Southeast Asia has eased the pressures against the enemy. The reduction of Arc Light sorties from 1,400 to 1,000 sorties/month has also significantly reduced the amount of firepower available to support US and allied forces. The redeployment of three of CINCPAC’s four F–105 squadrons to CONUS has resulted in a loss of conventional and nuclear capability, impacting on both contingency and SIOP planning.
g.
The command and control problems of CINCPAC are discussed in paragraph 12 below.
h.
PACOM logistic problems are discussed in paragraph 14 below.
9.
(TS) General Purpose Forces. The concern of the Services over the diminishing capabilities of the already marginal general purpose forces continues to increase. While the United States reduces the size and effectiveness of its Armed Forces, the USSR continues its emphasis on improved capabilities for nonnuclear warfare and a growing Soviet capability to project its armed strength into noncontiguous areas. This situation supports the need for strong US general purpose forces for deterrence and to provide increased defense options. This concern is amplified as the USSR increases the tempo of political and military operations in support of its expansionist doctrine. Examples of circumstances which limit the availability and capability of US general purpose forces to meet contingencies are discussed below.
a.
After presently directed reductions, there will be 13-2/3 Army divisions, with 11-2/3 ISIs, seven sustaining support increments (SSIs), [Page 660]and three MAFs (Marine division/wing teams). The disposition of some of these forces limits their availability for use in contingencies. Two and two-thirds Army division force equivalents will remain committed to combat in the RVN; one Army division, one ISI, and one-third SSI will be forward-deployed in the ROK; four and one-third Army divisions, four and one-third ISIs, two and one-third SSIs, and one-ninth Marine division will remain in Europe; and one-ninth Marine division force will remain in Guantanamo. In addition, three and two-thirds Army divisions, two and two-thirds ISIs, one SSI (including REFORGER), and two MAFs are NATO committed with attendant restrictions on their use.
b.
In the area of air operations, reductions in tactical fighter and reconnaissance forces and the lack of modernization in tactical fighter forces, together with substantial cuts in research and development and in weapon systems and supporting equipment and services, have jeopardized the capability to accomplish air superiority and close air support missions. The basic design of the latest US fighter, the F–4, is over 15 years old. During this time, the Soviets have developed several prototypes; and one of their latest operational aircraft, the Foxbat, is far superior to the F–4. In addition, the curtailed procurement of the F–111 limits US offensive counterair and interdiction capability, particularly all-weather. The continuing phaseout of tactical electronic warfare support aircraft, without a programmed replacement, degrades this support for tactical air, ground, and naval forces.
c.
Regarding sea forces, at a time when US Forces are being continuously reduced, the USSR is building a modern navy with greatly increased capability to challenge naval supremacy. An advanced submarine building program continues with the introduction of five new classes of submarines since January 1968. Out-of-area Soviet submarine deployments have quadrupled since 1965. Modern Soviet naval ships now deploy regularly to the Mediterranean, the Western Pacific, and the Indian Ocean; they also operate in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. By contrast, the US naval building program is inadequate to update and/or replace aging ships, 45 percent of which are now 20 years of age or older.
d.
Another major deficiency is the US tactical nuclear stockpile which, for the most part, is based on technology 10 to 15 years old, whereas the USSR has continued to improve in this area.
10.
(TS) CONUS-Based Army Forces. Support operations in the RVN have lowered the readiness of CONUS-based Army forces.
a.
The STRAF will have four divisions, three ISI and one and one-third SSI. One STRAF division with one ISI and one SSI has a worldwide commitment. The NATO reinforcing component of the STRAF consists of three divisions, two ISI and one-third SSI. The two-thirds [Page 661]REFORGER division with two-thirds ISI and SSI, while CONUS based, is not part of the STRAF. The availability of these forces for deployment ranges from 4 to 16 weeks. Although the eight Reserve component divisions have attained a training readiness of 15 to 20 weeks after mobilization, they cannot be deployed for approximately 18 months due to equipment shortages. Currently, these units have on hand approximately 26 percent of mobilization requirements.
(1)
Readiness shortfalls in the Active and Reserve components and force inactivations preclude the conduct of sustained operations outside Southeast Asia without mobilization. Presently, the Army could deploy one division force equivalent in support of a contingency; however, the support of this force could cause further degradation of the already strained training/rotation/sustaining base.
(2)
Considering major units (division and brigade) and total deployable assets, logistical shortfalls will preclude deployment of more than five Reserve component brigades within 180 days. Deployment of these five brigades assumes redistribution of the total Reserve component assets to high-priority units and a decision to deploy five brigades with major equipment shortages, including antitank weapons, communications equipment, and heavy engineer items which are currently in worldwide short supply.
b.
Sustaining US Army deployments in the RVN, Thailand, and the ROK has been a major concern. Both the CONUS and long-tour areas, including STRAF and US Army, Europe, contribute to the training/rotation/sustaining base for Southeast Asia. The disproportionate distribution of skills between long-and short-tour areas, particularly in logistic units with long leadtime training and equipment problems, has resulted in a high level of personnel movement and turbulence throughout the sustaining base units of the Army. Continued reduction in the base during RVN redeployments will prolong the personnel turbulence problem.
11.
(TS) Airlift and Sealift. As forward deployed forces are reduced, the requirements for mobility resources will increase, if the United States is to provide a credible deterrent by having the capability to reinforce or respond to contingencies. Current and projected airlift and sealift resources are insufficient not only to meet CINC-stated time-phased requirements for deployment of forces and resupply to reinforce NATO but also to respond to a CPR aggression in Asia.
a.
Strategic Airlift. C–133 and C–5 aircraft are presently the only available aircraft in the Active force capable of transporting outsized cargo (items too large to be transported on C–141 aircraft). The accelerated deactivation of 48 C–124 aircraft from the active inventory has reduced the active outside force from a total of 86 to 48 UE aircraft, including 10 C–5 aircraft. This creates an imbalance of forces, since [Page 662]movement of outsize items is more of an airframe availability problem than a total airlift capability problem. Therefore, the US capability to respond rapidly to contingencies and to provide airlift for this outsize as well as other cargo will be restricted until additional C–5 aircraft are available.
b.
Tactical Airlift. The STOL (short takeoff and landing) (C–7 and C–123) force has been reduced by the cumulative attrition of Southeast Asia operations. This attrition, coupled with the programmed transfer of two C–123 and three C–7 squadrons to the RVN Armed Forces, will reduce the original 11-squadron force to four squadrons. The reduced force will not be adequate to support operations in a major contingency and constitutes a serious deficiency in the intratheater airlift force.
c.
Amphibious Lift. The lack of sufficient amphibious lift for two MAFs, one each in LANTCOM and PACOM, limits forcible entry/reentry options. Assault lift is available to lift only two Marine amphibious brigades (two-thirds of a representative MAF) in each ocean. Augmentation from MSC/commercial ship resources is necessary to meet movement requirements. The use of MSC/commercial ships as a substitute for assault shipping impairs operational capability to project amphibious assault elements ashore because of the lack of landing craft, helicopter platforms, well decks, and communications capability in MSC/commercial ships.
d.
Sealift. The MSC dry-cargo nucleus fleet is overage, with only three ships less than 25 years of age. It will be necessary to phase out the bulk of the fleet in the next several years. The numbers of break-bulk ships in the commercial fleet suitable for deployment of certain military equipment (e.g., wheeled and tracked vehicles and nonself-deployable aircraft) to a forward objective area is decreasing. The US Merchant Marine is replacing older ships with container ships which have limitations in supporting military operations. Attempts to modernize the MSC nucleus fleet by means of a “build and charter program” have not been successful, due to industry pressures in Congress and a lack of Maritime Administration support. Continued degradation of the MSC nucleus fleet and nonresponsiveness of US commercial ships because of configuration will result in a marginal responsiveness to meet critical time-phased sealift movement requirements.
12.
(S) Command and Control. Reductions in the Worldwide Military Command and Control System will further reduce facilities and will continue the undesirable ground alert status of important airborne command posts, which degrades the potential flexibility and survivability of the system. This practice lowers the probability that the National Command Authorities could exercise strategic direction of the Armed Forces, including execution of the SIOP, under conditions of general war. [Page 663]
a.
Inactivation of both of the ships comprising the National Emergency Command Post Afloat has eliminated this alternate command facility directly supporting the National Command Authorities, thereby decreasing the survivability of the command and control systems.
b.
SACEUR/USCINCEUR and CINCPAC have no hardened facilities capable of surviving a nuclear attack. Communications between SACEUR/USCINCEUR and CINCPAC and their subordinate headquarters and forces are dependent on ground and high-frequency transmission paths which are extremely vulnerable to nuclear effects. At present, this vulnerability problem can only be overcome, and reasonable assurance be provided that effective command and control of SIOP forces can be exercised, by means of the airborne command posts (when airborne). Ground alert status reduces the degree of survivability of these command and control elements to a dangerous degree.
13.
(TS) Intelligence. Force level reductions and fiscal restraints have had the cumulative effect of sharply reducing the capability to acquire the intelligence data needed to deal with the major threats to US national security and objectives. Areas of particular concern are noted below.
a.
There has been a reduction in the ability to monitor the nuclear threats to the United States/allies and the conventional threat to NATO Europe and to US interests worldwide. The United States must have as much strategic warning as possible of preparation for attack by hostile forces and must have reasonably accurate information on the enemy’s capabilities.
b.
Reductions in the General Defense Intelligence Program, including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Defense Attaché System, have reduced the US capability to collect and process intelligence information and to produce finished intelligence.
c.
Budget cuts have also necessitated reductions in the intelligence resources organic to the forces assigned to the unified and specified commands. Their capability to conduct necessary intelligence activities is being degraded seriously in the areas of detection of early warning of attack and production of intelligence needed locally—especially electronic order of battle and air target charts in SAC.
d.
During FY 1969 and FY 1970, there was considerable degradation in the Consolidated Cryptologic Plan (CCP) when US Forces overseas were reduced because of the US balance of payments problems and to lower the US profile. These reductions included manpower cuts of more than 7,000 and reduced the number of field stations in Europe and Japan by about one-third. The cryptologic reductions, which are to be achieved by end FY 1971, will further reduce the CCP manpower by more than 8,000, will close nine operational sites, and will seriously reduce the mission capability of at least nine others. The prospects of [Page 664]improving future capabilities will be jeopardized to the degree that research, development, test, and evaluation efforts are reduced and the modernization and replacement of mission equipment are deferred. These CCP resource cuts have eliminated current SIGINT coverage of research and development on the Soviet SS–9 and other strategic weapons and unique coverage of Soviet satellite photo reconnaissance efforts over Manchuria/East Asia. In addition, coverage has been reduced on CPR industrial/nonoperational military activities, East European military/security forces, and Southeast Asia noncommunist political/military targets.
14.
(S) Logistics. Currently imposed fiscal year constraints will impede improvement in this area. Several major programs are affected adversely by the reduction of resources for FY 1971. Most categories of reserve stocks are at a low level. Equipment replacement objectives for certain modernization items cannot be met at this time. Personnel strength readiness for logistic units is below desired standards. Some improvement in terms of increased asset availability for redistribution to worldwide claimants is expected as a result of reduced requirements in Southeast Asia as redeployment of US Forces progresses.
a.
FY 1971 budgetary constraints imposed for programming purposes constitute a major deterrent to the attainment of authorized Service acquisition objectives. Resultant major equipment procurement programs, which will serve to replace peacetime losses, will afford only limited progress in the support of overall modernization objectives and buildup of war reserve stocks.
b.
The tempo of operations during the past several years, reductions in personnel providing logistic support, the reduction in procurement programs for repair parts, and the increased requirements generated by the retention of overage equipment will further increase maintenance backlogs, thereby accelerating the deterioration of logistic readiness.
c.
By the end of FY 1971, the Army will have approximately $1.7 billion worth of equipment that cannot be repaired for issue to claimants because of insufficient depot overhaul funds in FY 1971 and prior years. The value of this equipment relates to an actual overhaul fund requirement of $435 million. Repair of equipment that is in a “not ready for issue” condition is the most economical and expeditious way to improve the logistical readiness of Active and Reserve component units.
d.
The current munitions management concept requires a production base with the ability to expand to meet post D-day consumption prior to depletion of war reserve munitions stocks. The Service-owned production base, as well as munitions loading and assembly facilities, have been operated intensely in support of three wars and, in many areas, are in need of rehabilitation and modernization. Decreased [Page 665]funding, associated with lower Southeast Asia requirements, is rapidly degrading the US ability to maintain a production base capable of providing the rapid expansion necessary to meet post D-day production requirements. An ancillary effect is a rapidly disappearing commercial base for the production of specialized components required for munitions.
e.
Readiness of Navy ships and squadrons has been adversely affected by unfunded requirements for stockage of repair parts and equipage and for component repair. The resultant impact is an inability to support ship and unit allowances properly in these categories.
f.
USEUCOM reports a marginally acceptable level of overall readiness. Major constraints to performing wartime missions are: (1) lack of an assured wartime LOC in Europe; (2) lack of adequate reception facilities and port clearance capability; (3) concentration of logistic facilities near Kaiserslautern that increase vulnerability of stocks; and (4) inadequate POL storage located long distances from points of intended use. There are also critical personnel, supply, and maintenance deficiencies in all Services. Ammunition and POL war reserve materiel storage, distribution, and onhand deficiencies require additional funds and construction for a near-time-frame resolution. USAFE deficiencies in wartime basing, POL, and ammunition storage facilities degrade its capability to perform its wartime mission. Overall USEUCOM maintenance support of vital command and control communication is inadequate and has an overall deleterious effect on readiness. The current reduction in FY 1971 operation and maintenance funds below the austere FY 1970 level will have further impact on the USEUCOM readiness posture and mission capability.
g.
PACOM reductions are resulting in a transition from a flexible supply and maintenance position to a vulnerable concentration of activities and a significant increase in intratheater logistical pipeline length. USARPAC current war reserves and operational project stocks are insufficient to meet existing requirements. War reserve levels are at approximately 60 percent and operational projects theaterwide are at approximately 34 percent fill. Buildup of war reserve stocks and prepositioned equipment in the Pacific will be deferred, pending reduced requirements in Southeast Asia. Inadequacies in POL, ammunition storage, airfield facilities, and LOC in the ROK will continue.
h.
In USSOUTHCOM and ALCOM, low stocks of certain prepositioned equipment and war consumables are a serious problem. In addition, funding limitations have resulted in an increasing backlog of essential maintenance of facilities and equipment.
15.
(TS) Personnel. The current posture reflects the extreme turbulence associated with the rapid US force phasedown dictated by austere funding levels. Without exception, the commanders of the [Page 666]unified commands have expressed deep concern over their readiness posture and ability to react. Past force level reductions and fiscal restraints have resulted in accelerated separation of skilled personnel and have created an acute personnel shortage in certain critical skills. A few examples depicting the seriousness of the personnel situation are as follows:
a.
In the ROK, the 8th US Army has only 86 of 123 units which meet personnel readiness criteria. USAREUR was 17,000 men below authorization on 30 September 1970. Seventy-one percent of infantry and tank battalions are C–4 in personnel.
b.
Within the Pacific Fleet, 108 ships and 37 aircraft squadrons have personnel deficiencies which significantly affect their ability to perform their primary missions.
c.
In the Atlantic Fleet, there exists a quality deficiency in filling some 10,000 billets, and there are 144 ships and 47 aircraft squadrons that have personnel deficiencies which significantly affect their ability to perform their primary missions.
d.
Significant reductions of uniquely qualified electronic intelligence analysis personnel have degraded electronic warfare intelligence support capabilities.
e.
Recently, an Army CONUS-based division was alerted for possible Middle East deployment. The deployment strength of the division was 81 percent of full TOE at the time of initial alert. Realignment of assigned personnel was necessary to facilitate deployment of the initial brigade at 85 percent strength. Deployment of the second brigade would have had to be at 70 percent and the remaining brigade left nondeployable until filled, processed, and trained.
16.
(TS) Reserve Forces. The decision to rely upon the Reserves rather than draftees to provide the needed manpower in future crises has necessitated numerous studies to determine the time and costs involved to raise Reserve units to the required state of combat readiness. A summary of initial findings follows. Army Reserve components were discussed in paragraph 10 above.

[Omitted here are detailed discussion of reserve forces and paragraph 17 of the memorandum dealing with military assistance.]

18.
(S) Research and Development
a.
The present overall lead held by the United States over the Soviet Union in military research and development is in danger of disappearing through lack of emphasis and support. The Soviet technological growth rate is greater than that of the United States, and Soviet research and development is devoted almost entirely to military capabilities. Immediate capabilities will not be affected as they would be in the event of a force structure decrease, but the lack of continuous [Page 667]programming for the development of weapon systems which would be qualitatively superior to those of the USSR could have disastrous effects in the long run because of long leadtimes involved. Basic research and some phases of exploratory development are essential in order to arrive at operational systems which will be required in the long term.
b.
The budget for research, development, test, and evaluation has declined sharply in the past several years, not only in the absolute sense but also particularly in terms of real buying power (on the order of 17 percent between FY 1969 and FY 1971). Soviet expenditures for defense and space technology now exceed those of the United States and are continuing to increase; this increase is not only in terms of funding but also in quality and quantity of manpower and facilities committed. Soviet expenditures for certain areas of atomic energy technology, such as controlled thermonuclear research and peaceful uses of nuclear explosives programs, rival or exceed those of the United States with no indications of diminishing effort in the future. The net result is a sluggish technological base in the United States which permits neither qualitative superiority over the Soviet Union nor the ability to correct quantitative deficiencies quickly.
19.
(S) Chemical and Biological. Plans are being formulated to destroy the US stockpile of biological and toxin weapons and agents, in conformity with announced Presidential policy.8 Although the actual size and composition of the Soviet chemical warfare stockpile are not known, evidence indicates that the overall capability of the Soviet Union substantially exceeds that of the United States. Budgetary constraints have reduced the level of effort applied to the development of binary munitions (combination of two innocuous substances to form a toxic chemical agent), and the current estimate for the earliest availability of these munitions is late in the decade.
20.
(TS) The Joint Chiefs of Staff recognize that strategic concepts and force capabilities will be influenced by the actions taken relative to strategy studies now in progress and to possible changes in national priorities. Further, they caution that any changes in force capabilities conforming to changes in strategy guidance and/or priorities should be determined only after the political and military implications of such changes (e.g., the lowering of the nuclear threshold) have been assessed thoroughly.
21.
(TS) The Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that the current US military posture represents a continued degradation from that reported to you on 11 December 1969, in reference 1a, and that the capability of [Page 668]US military forces to execute the national strategy is being impaired seriously.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
T. H. Moorer

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–76–0076, 320.2, Strategic. Top Secret; Sensitive. According to an attached note, this memorandum was intended for Packard in preparation for his December 18 meeting with Laird, Moorer, and the rest of the Joint Chiefs regarding the FY 1972 Defense budget. No record of the meeting has been found. Notes on both the JCS memorandum and the covering memorandum indicate that Laird saw them.
  2. Printed in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume X, National Security Policy, Document 202.
  3. References a, b, d, and e have not been found.
  4. During his press conference held on August 21, 1969, Secretary Laird announced plans to reduce FY 1970 defense expenditures by up to $3 billion, an effort dubbed Project 703; see Document 49.
  5. The United States vacated Wheelus Air Force Base, located on the Mediterranean coast near Tripoli, Libya, in June 1970.
  6. For the final report on the U.S.-U.K.-German Trilateral Talks held October 1966–April 1967, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XIII, Western Europe Region, Document 249.
  7. A reference to Salvador Allende Gossens, President of Chile, 1970–1973.
  8. See Document 104.