177. Minutes of Defense Program Review Committee Meeting1

    • Defense Posture Statement
    • Chairman—Henry A. Kissinger
    • State
      • Under Secretary John N. Irwin
      • Mr. Ronald I. Spiers
      • Mr. Seymour Weiss
    • Defense
      • Mr. David Packard
      • Dr. Gardiner I. Tucker
      • Mr. William J. Baroody, Jr. 2
    • CIA
      • Mr. Richard Helms
      • Mr. Bruce C. Clarke
    • JCS
      • Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
      • Maj. Gen. Richard F. Shaefer
    • OMB
      • Mr. James R. Schlesinger
      • Mr. Caspar Weinberger
    • ACDA
      • Mr. Philip J. Farley
      • Vice Adm. John M. Lee
    • CEA
      • Mr. Paul McCracken
    • OST
      • Dr. Hubert Heffner
    • NSC Staff
      • Dr. K. Wayne Smith
      • Mr. John C. Court
      • Mr. D. Keith Guthrie


The DPRC Working Group will review the draft Defense posture statement3 to insure its consistency with outstanding guidance on strategy. For this purpose, the Working Group will make a compilation of existing guidance based on NSDMs and the President’s Annual Foreign Policy Review.4 To facilitate this review, the Defense Department will distribute copies of the proposed posture statement to all appropriate [Page 716] agencies. In connection with the review, the State Department will submit comments on relevant political factors.
The DPRC agreed that it was important that the Defense Posture statement not imply any degradation in US readiness under FY72–76 defense programs. Specifically, the posture statement should make clear that GPF capabilities relative to those of the Eisenhower administration have been improved even though force levels have been reduced. The interdependence of deterrence and war-fighting capability should be recognized. Similarly, care should be taken to avoid appearing to abandon the 1½-war concept without making clear in other ways the contingencies under which the US is prepared to take military action.
It was agreed that the forthcoming State Department report on foreign policy5 will be submitted for review under the NSC system.
The DPRC will review the FY73 Defense fiscal guidance.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Packard) Do you want to have Bill [Baroody] present a briefing on the posture statement?

Mr. Packard: There are a few things I want to say first. In our defense planning we are dealing with two problems. We need to present our plan to the public and to the Congress. We also have to undertake detailed planning ourselves. What we are concerned with today is the first of these tasks, that is, presenting our plan to the public and the Congress. This must be done in a way that is consistent with the President’s foreign policy address and also with the statement which the Secretary of State will be making. Since the Defense presentation will be fairly comprehensive, it is especially important that it be tied together with these other statements.

Mr. Baroody: (Mr. Baroody’s briefing was based on a series of charts, copies of which are attached).6 This first chart indicates the order in which the major administration statements on foreign and national security policy will appear. Last year it was decided to present a transitional one-year defense program to Congress.7 However, at that time Secretary Laird committed himself to present a coherent five-year program the following year. Secretary Laird’s statement will follow that [Page 717] of the Secretary of State, which we understand will be forthcoming about the first week in March. The chart also indicates the basic elements to be included in the Defense report and notes that the JCS Chairman, the service secretaries and the service chiefs will be making additional statements.

The next chart [Chart 2] lists the table of contents of the report. It is divided into two sections. I will not be dealing with Section II, which concerns management, in this presentation. The appendices include charts setting forth the Eisenhower, KennedyJohnson, and Nixon administrations’ defense strategies and a number of statistical tables.

This chart [Chart 3] provides a comparative overview of the strategies of the three administrations. The budgetary figures are keyed to constant 1964 dollars.

The next two charts [Charts 4 and 5] provide more detail on the Eisenhower and KennedyJohnson strategies. The brackets are designed to give a rough indication of the types of conflict each of the various forces is designed to deter or respond to.

This chart [Chart 6] outlines the factors of change which have led to the new Nixon strategy. The quotes in our statement come from the comments which we submitted on the draft Presidential foreign policy report. They will be reviewed as necessary so as to be keyed precisely to the language of the President’s statement.

Our next chart [Chart 7] sets forth the three pillars of our strategy: partnership, strength, and negotiation.

Here [Chart 8] we have depicted the Nixon strategy of realistic deterrence. The forces listed are the FY72 baseline forces. As noted on the chart, the Defense Department is most concerned with two of the three pillars of the Nixon strategy for peace, that is strength and partnership.

Mr. Schlesinger: Where do you show that many of the fourteen Eisenhower administration divisions were paper divisions? In other words, how do you convey the point that we are maintaining our conventional strength?

Dr. Kissinger: That is a good point. If you compare the Eisenhower assumptions and force levels, and if you consider that the Eisenhower administration was relying on nuclear deterrence, then it is difficult to explain why the Eisenhower administration had more forces in every general purpose force category than we do.

Mr. Packard: That is an important point.

Dr. Kissinger: If I were on a Senate committee, that is the first question I would ask.

Mr. Baroody: In the report we state the assumptions of each administration’s strategy. We can show that the forces indicated for the Eisenhower administration were designed to serve as a trip-wire.

[Page 718]

Dr. Kissinger: That is just the point. Despite the difference in strategy, the Eisenhower administration apparently had larger general purpose forces. We need to have something in the text of the statement that explains this apparent anomaly.

Mr. Schlesinger: Five of the Eisenhower administration divisions were essentially training units.

Dr. Kissinger: If you explained that, the statement would be fine. Otherwise, I don’t know what reasons you have for thinking that with a different doctrine smaller general purpose forces are adequate. There were more forces provided under the trip-wire concept.

Dr. Tucker: One factor is the possibility of simultaneous war in both theaters.

Dr. Kissinger: I want to get to that later.

Mr. Baroody: To continue the briefing, this chart [Chart 9] states the principles underlying Secretary Laird’s report. These are Secretary Laird’s interpretations of elements of the President’s foreign policy report.

Mr. Irwin: What is the meaning of “decisive” with reference to strategic nuclear retaliatory capability?

Mr. Baroody: That is another word for assured destruction.

Mr. Schlesinger: What do you mean by stating that Free World deterrent forces should be “independent” of strategic nuclear forces?

Mr. Baroody: What we are talking about is the erosion that has taken place at the strategic level and the need for the President to have available to him the option of using these other deterrent forces.

Dr. Heffner: From what I have seen of the President’s report, there is nothing in it that says that NATO forces are to be independent of our strategic forces. This statement could be taken as an indicator that we favor such independence.

Mr. Packard: This is designed to provide for deterrence independent of nuclear forces.

Dr. Heffner: As I read the President’s statement that isn’t what he said.

Mr. Packard: We will take a look at the wording.

Mr. Baroody: As shown in this chart [Chart 10], our planning is organized around the key elements of the strategic spectrum: strategic, theater nuclear, theater conventional, and subtheater/localized.

Dr. Kissinger: One wonders when seeing that chart why it is considered that our strategic forces can be sufficient but not modern whereas our theater nuclear forces must be modern and sufficient. The requirements seem to be less strict for our strategic forces. This is just a nitpick.

[Page 719]

Mr. Schlesinger: What do you mean by stating that responsibility for theater nuclear forces can be shared with certain allies?

Mr. Baroody: This refers to the French and British nuclear forces. Mr. Schlesinger: Their forces are essential for city-busting.

Mr. Packard: It all depends on how you define theater nuclear forces.

Adm. Moorer: They provide delivery vehicles. The phraseology can be rationalized on that basis.

Mr. Baroody: I am not implying that the French and British are to contribute to deterring a strategic nuclear attack on the US. Our forces are designed to be self-sufficient in that capacity. In preparing the Defense report we looked for a single new term to provide an umbrella of all of the elements that affect Defense planning. This we have called the total force planning concept.

It is important to distinguish between total force planning for US forces and that which takes place under the partnership concept involving Free World forces. For the US, the key elements [as set forth in Chart 11] are baseline forces, better utilization of existing forces, modernization of the reserves, improved readiness, and greater use of technology. Total force planning for the Free World can be summarized in the three categories [combined planning, complementary forces planning, and security assistance, shown in Chart 12]. This terminology is not used in the report but is a convenient way of summarizing what is involved.

Total forces planning in the broadest sense can be exemplified by our Vietnamization strategy, which seeks to combine diplomatic efforts, negotiations, economic and security assistance, and cooperation among the Asian nations. [Chart 13]

This chart [Chart 14] lists the major threats to free world security and keys them to the spectrum of possible types of conflict.

The last charts [Charts 15 and 16] give more information about how the concept of total force planning will be treated in the report. The material presented in the charts is, in effect, a table of contents for Chapter 4, which deals with force planning. The discussion of theater and subtheater forces is drawn from the presentation made to the DPRC on December 14.8

Dr. Kissinger: I take it this is not exactly the way you will present the material in the report.

[Page 720]

Mr. Baroody: On the contrary, these charts I showed are the table of contents. This is precisely the way it will be organized in the report. The forces will be keyed to the type of mission each serves.

Dr. Kissinger: Are you gong to distribute a draft of the statement to interested agencies, particularly State and CIA?

Mr. Baroody: We will do that.

Dr. Kissinger: We don’t want to spend time on nitpicking. I have had enough of that in preparing the Annual Review. To cite an example, in the text of the section dealing with species of animals in danger of extinctions, there was a statement that “animals do not recognize national boundaries”. One agency wanted to change this to “some” animals. The only thing else that was needed was to add a footnote that “animals that don’t recognize national boundaries don’t deserve protection.”

In connection with the Defense report, I want to raise two conceptual issues. I don’t objective to the phrase “realistic deterrence”. It is a great phrase. However, I do object to giving the impression that we are not interested in war-fighting, as opposed to deterrence. It is not easy to see how deterrence can be achieved when we are telling the other side that we are not interested in fighting. Deterrence has to be based on war-fighting capability. I am afraid that in our attempt to package our strategy differently, we are making a distortion that could lead us to appear to be following a policy that the other side will think is a bluff. We have to be careful about elaborating these distinctions in a government document. In the Presidential statement we have emphasized the deterrent.

Does anyone have any other views?

Mr. Packard: I generally agree with what you have said. I have had some doubts about the way some of these concepts are presented in our report. I would like to take another look at the language.

Mr. Baroody: The language in the Defense report has been changed to fashion the statement of our strategy in such a way that it will not be necessary to make further revisions to cover this point.

Dr. Kissinger: Rather than phrasing the statement negatively, would it not be better to make a positive statement of what we seek to achieve in the way of deterrence and war-fighting capability?

Mr. Packard: I agree.

Adm. Moorer: War-fighting capability comes first. Deterrence stems from that capability. Deterrence is a state of mind based on the enemy’s evaluation of our war-fighting capability.

Dr. Kissinger: That is exactly the point. Could you look at the language in the report with a view to taking that into account?

Mr. Packard: Okay. We have already talked about this in Defense.

[Page 721]

Dr. Kissinger: There is one other thing I want to bring up. The Mc-Namara 2½-war strategy seemed bloodthirsty; on the other hand, we didn’t ever have the forces required to carry it out. I understand that we don’t want to nail ourselves to the wall on the subject of how many wars we want to fight simultaneously. Yet I wonder about the advisability of publicly abandoning our previously stated concepts. I understand the concern about the American public’s reaction to the 1½-war terminology. The public is unhappy enough with our ¹⁄₄ war. On the other hand, I am concerned about how the other side would interpret our giving up the 1½-war concept. Could we avoid phrasing this in such a way that it invites misinterpretation by the other side?

Mr. Packard: We can take a look at that. I think the 1½-war concept is not a very good way of defining what we want to do. But we don’t want to give the impression that we are not willing to fight if necessary.

Dr. Kissinger: That’s right. I don’t want to stick on figures—2½ wars, 1½ wars, 1¹⁄₄ wars, or what have you. But I don’t want the other side to be saying: “Since they are engaged in Vietnam, by their own definition they can’t take on anything more.” I am concerned that by giving up the numbers game, we may unintentionally create the wrong impression.

Is this group particularly docile today? No comments?

Adm. Moorer: One solution might be to mention the 1½-war concept this year and then next year get away from it completely. It is really not too meaningful. We could use phraseology such as “the strategy referred to last year as the 1½-war strategy”.

Dr. Kissinger: It wouldn’t bother me if we failed to specify the number of wars we were going to fight as long as we list the contingencies under which we expected to take action.

Adm. Moorer: In his 2½-war concept McNamara was really talking about World War III, that is, a world-wide war involving general purpose forces.

Mr. McCracken: As a layman, I am not sure I understand what some of this terminology implies. Is a war a definable unit?

Adm. Moorer: We are really talking about the areas in which we are going to fight—the Pacific, the Atlantic, etc. The half-war concept originated with the Dominican Republic intervention. I would recommend we get away from these designations.

Dr. Kissinger: Okay, but we should retain some specificity about our capabilities.

Mr. Packard: I think we need to emphasize that we have smaller but more capable forces. The increased capability is achieved by better readiness, use of reserves, and application of technology.

[Page 722]

Mr. Baroody: In discussing deployment capabilities in the report, we talk about those for Europe, Asia, and for contingencies. We also refer to the 2½- and 1½-war concepts in order to make a transition in terminology. We state that in the FY71 budget we decided to harmonize our strategy with our forces and that we called the result a 1½-war strategy.

Dr. Kissinger: As long as we explain our objectives in terms of capabilities, we don’t have to specify the number of wars. I think Paul McCracken’s question is one the non-laymen should have asked five years ago. Nevertheless, we don’t want to give the impression that such a large number of semantic changes are hiding a real degradation in our readiness.

I got the impression from your presentation that you are saying that in Asia we should never use ground forces. I think that is a dangerous thing to say.

Mr. Baroody: No, that is not what we say. We specifically state that we have to maintain a capability in both Asia and Europe, but that under the Nixon Doctrine we are looking to our Allies to improve their capabilities.

Dr. Kissinger: What exactly is the total force planning concept?

Mr. Baroody: I covered that in the last three slides. Total force planning is an attempt to take into account all the tools we have available to maximize the capability of our forces to fight.

Dr. Kissinger: Do you include allied forces?

Mr. Baroody: We consider US forces separately, including the capability for augmenting them through use of reserves.

Mr. Irwin: Is the total force planning concept directed more to our reserves or to our Allies?

Mr. Baroody: In the narrow sense, it refers to US forces, including augmentation via the reserves. In the broader sense, it takes into account Free World forces.

Mr. Helms: How do you handle the problem of shifting from the draft to an all-volunteer force? Do you phase one into the other, or do you plan to continue the draft until the transition to an all-volunteer force is complete?

Mr. Baroody: In the report we set a goal of zero draft calls by July 1, 1973. However, we also list the actions that will be required in order to achieve that goal. Most of these are not under our control. We are therefore seeking to extend the draft for two years beginning July 1. Whether we can dispense with it after two years depends on how things go in Vietnam, the support we get from Congress for the all-volunteer force, and how well we are able to improve manpower accessions.

[Page 723]

Mr. Packard: In other words, we are going to give it a good college try.

Dr. Kissinger: The next step is for the principal agencies to see the draft Defense report. Then we need to have the DPRC Working Group under Wayne Smith summarize the existing strategic guidance based on the NSDMs plus what can be distilled from the Presidential statement. Then we can get together and see if the posture statement is consistent with the existing guidance. (to Irwin) We can also eventually get a crack at your [the State Department] statement.

Mr. Irwin: I think a draft ought to be ready shortly.

Mr. Weinberger: Is it by design that there is no mention of fiscal implications in the Defense report?

Mr. Baroody: The report makes some references to this matter. The Secretary states that the proposed forces and budget levels should require no more than 7% GNP and an active force of 2.5 million.

Mr. Packard: The report will also show five-year force levels.

Mr. Baroody: But not dollars.

Mr. Weinberger: In the budget we have seen the overall totals on a five-year basis. I wonder how consistent the report is with these figures.

Mr. Baroody: The only [five-year] figure in the report is that referring to 7% GNP.

Dr. Kissinger: I think a reasonable procedure would be to get together to see what the criteria of the various NSDMs dealing with strategy are. Then if we find any gaps, the President will have to modify the existing directives or the Secretary will have to change his speech.

Mr. Irwin: Can we feed in political comments at this point?

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. We will need to have a separate DPRC meeting in a couple of weeks to take a look at the FY73 fiscal guidance.

Mr. Packard: Yes, we need a meeting to confirm our guidance.

Mr. Schlesinger: What is the guidance you have put out?

Mr. Packard: It is just about right.9

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–118, DPRC Minutes, Originals, ‘69–’73 [1 of 3]. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. All brackets are in the original.
  2. Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, 1969–1973.
  3. Laird’s 143-page draft Statement on the FY 1972 Defense Budget and FY 1972–1976 Program, February 13, is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–101, DPRC Meeting, Defense Strategy, 2/22/71. Laird released his second annual Defense Report to Congress on March 9. The 191-page posture statement recommended a policy of “realistic deterrence.” A 1½ war strategy, drawing upon annual military expenditures equal to 7 percent of GNP, would require U.S. allies to bear a greater share of the defense burden and would eventually result in the elimination of U.S. ground troops assigned to Asia by the end of the 1970s. (Washington Post, March 10, 1971, pp. A1, A9) See also Document 180.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 174.
  5. See footnote 13, Document 174.
  6. Not found.
  7. Laird issued his first annual defense report to Congress on February 20, 1970. The report, excerpted in the New York Times, emphasized the military gains made by the Soviet Union and the need to keep pace by pursuing Safeguard and other measures. (New York Times, February 21, 1970, p. 14)
  8. The meeting was held on December 15, 1970. For the record of the meeting, see Document 164.
  9. In a February 24 memorandum to Irwin, Packard, Helms, McCracken, and Shultz, Kissinger reiterated and detailed the conclusions reached at the DPRC meeting. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–101, DPRC Meeting, Defense Strategy, 2/22/71)