2. National Security Study Memorandum 31

  • TO
    • The Secretary of State
    • The Secretary of Defense
    • The Director of Central Intelligence
    • U.S. Military Posture and the Balance of Power

The President has directed the preparation of a study reviewing our military posture and the balance of power. The study should consider in detail the security and foreign policy implications of a wide range of alternative budget levels and strategies for strategic and general purpose forces.2

To perform this study the President has directed the creation of a steering group to be chaired by the Deputy Secretary of Defense and to include representatives of the Secretary of State, the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. Staff support for this study will be arranged in consultation between the Deputy Secretary of Defense and the undersigned. Upon request, agencies shall make available personnel to provide staff support. Agencies shall also perform such studies in support of the overall study as may be requested by the Chairman of the Group.3

The report of the group shall be forwarded to the NSC Review Group by July 1, 1969.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, NSSMs, Nos. 1–42. Secret.
  2. According to Kissinger’s memoirs, the purpose of the reexamination of military doctrine “was to enable us in time to plan and defend our military programs according to reasoned criteria, to adjust our strategy to new realities, and to try to lead the public debate away from emotionalism.” (Kissinger, White House Years, p. 215)
  3. The Interagency Steering Group was also known as the Packard Committee, after its Chairman, Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard.