45. Paper Prepared by the NSSM 3 Interagency Steering Group1

U.S. Military Posture and the Balance of Power

General Purpose Forces Section

[omitted here is the Table of Contents]

I. Introduction

We maintain general purpose forces to deter or cope with threats to our interests and to the interests of our allies. Neither strategic nuclear forces nor the forces of our allies can deter or cope with all of the significant threats we and our allies face around the world.

About three-fourths of our general purpose forces are normally stationed in the United States. However, we plan to use most of them overseas to meet attacks on our allies in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. We signify our intentions in this regard by basing a large number of U.S. forces in allied countries in peacetime. These overseas deployments have a decisive influence on U.S.-allied relationships.

This report provides a comprehensive treatment of general purpose force issues. Five alternative worldwide general purpose force strategies and associated overseas deployments are developed which, with varying degrees of risk, will prepare us to meet possible threats to our interests.

A wide variety of issues must be considered before an intelligent choice can be made from among the alternative strategies. For example, we must weigh the risk of being less than fully prepared to meet possible contingencies against the budgetary and economic cost of maintaining the forces required to meet them. We must also analyze how our allies and our potential enemies will react to each alternative strategy.

The purpose of this report is to set forth the major general purpose force issues and develop alternative strategies for consideration [Page 175]and decision by the National Security Council. The strategies in this report are differentiated in terms of the ultimate posture we would reach. If we were to make any strategy changes which involved major changes in force structure, particularly in forces deployed overseas in peacetime, the timing of changes would also be an important factor in determining reactions of our allies and potential enemies.

In addition, the specific force structures associated with the strategies would require further study before implementation since different mixes of forces are possible within the same overall budget total, and the analysis in this study is not refined enough to serve as a basis for detailed force structure decisions.

General purpose forces include:

(1)
ground forces with their requisite combat and logistics support;
(2)
tactical air forces to support ground forces, to engage enemy air forces, and to disrupt enemy supply lines;
(3)
anti-submarine forces and other air and naval forces to protect essential air and sea lines of communication and to provide an amphibious capability;
(4)
mobility forces to deploy and support forces overseas; and
(5)
tactical nuclear weapons for use by ground, air, and naval forces.

General purpose ground forces—of which manpower is the primary element—are the only forces capable of exercising physical control over territory and people. Other forces, such as strategic nuclear forces or fighter bombers, can destroy enemy targets, but they cannot directly control an area or a population.

General purpose forces make up over 60% of the currently projected post-Vietnam defense budget, compared with less than 25% to be spent for strategic forces. Therefore, the size of our defense budget is quite sensitive to: (1) the size and location of the overseas areas (including the supporting lines of communications) the United States prepares to defend with general purpose forces, (2) the likely threats to those areas, (3) the capabilities of local forces, and (4) the risks which the United States is willing to bear.

II. Devising Alternative Strategies

In devising alternative worldwide strategies, we must first consider:

(1)
the U.S. security objectives, that is, what our interests and treaty commitments imply about the possible areas we might want to defend with general purpose forces;
(2)
estimates of the possible threats to these areas;
(3)
the capabilities of local forces to meet these threats;
(4)
the capabilities of U.S. general purpose forces to meet these threats; and
(5)
the alternative strategies we can pursue in each country or region, that is, the specific components of a worldwide strategy.

A. Interests and Commitments

Besides defending its own borders, the United States has an interest in defending certain areas in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, and Asia as well as essential air and sea lines of communications. This interest derives from:

(1)
the strategic value of essential international sea routes and contiguous land areas for political, military, and economic purposes—for example, the Mediterranean area and the Dardanelles, the North Atlantic sea routes, and the Caribbean Basin;
(2)
the political and economic importance of our ties with allies, such as Japan and Western Europe, and the probable risks to our security should a potential enemy control the resources and territory of these allies; and
(3)
our interest in preventing the outbreak and continuation of hostilities which could lead to major conflicts and thereby endanger world peace.

[Omitted here is the remainder of Section II, which discusses U.S. collective defense commitments, including NATO, ANZUS, and SEATO, and the estimated threats posed by the Warsaw Pact and by Communist forces in Asia. Section III, also omitted, discusses various strategies for Asia, limited to either assisting allies or fighting a joint defense with allies, and for NATO, ranging from a token presence or an initial defense to a sustained defense or a total conventional defense.]

IV. Worldwide Strategies

The NATO and Asia defense strategies developed above should be viewed as the primary components of alternative worldwide defense strategies. The size and cost of each worldwide package depends on which NATO and Asian component packages are chosen and also on whether we want to have forces in being to meet the Asian and NATO threats simultaneously or only one at a time.

This section describes the five most plausible worldwide strategies. In addition to the major Asian and NATO capabilities of each strategy, all the strategies call for the capability to deploy U.S. forces to meet any two minor contingencies worldwide. The Middle East could be one such contingency. Each strategy also includes forces for a strategic reserve and anti-submarine forces to protect U.S. naval forces and military [Page 177]and economic support shipping for the United States and its allies.

The force structure for each global strategy includes U.S.-based forces for NATO and Asian contingencies and forces for the strategic reserve. These U.S.-based forces would be the major portion of our force structure and would represent about three-fourths of the total cost of our general purpose forces, that is, less than a quarter of the proposed general purpose force budgets is attributable to forces deployed overseas in peacetime.

For each of the strategies developed below, the total force structure gets successively larger. Therefore, though we describe the specific additional capability of each strategy, the larger active and reserve forces provided are available for general use anywhere the President and Congress choose.

On the other hand, this flexibility would be reduced by the deployment of forces overseas and by the specialized nature of some of the forces (for example, armored divisions).

To meet any specific contingency the President can:

(1)
deploy active or reserve forces which are maintained either overseas or in the United States for that specific contingency;
(2)
deploy active or reserve forces maintained to meet other contingencies, recognizing that we will then be unprepared to meet the contingency for which the diverted forces were intended; or
(3)
create additional forces (available in one to three years, depending on the type of forces required).

The risk of not being prepared to meet a contingency is therefore not necessarily the loss of the territory in question. The relevant risk may be the risk of leaving other contingencies without their designated forces in order to divert those forces elsewhere. At worst, the risk is that associated with the implications of losing substantial territory to the enemy before U.S. forces would be created (at least a year later) to mount a counteroffensive. If we did this, however, the wartime cost and casualties would be much greater than if we had prepared to meet the contingency initially.

A. Strategy 1: NATO Initial Defense and Assistance for Allies in Asia

1. Capabilities

The forces for this strategy could conduct an initial defense of NATO Europe while simultaneously assisting our Asia Allies against a non-Chinese attack, including provisions for a direct “assistance” force.

2. Cost

This strategy would require average annual outlays for the FY 71–75 defense budget of about $72 billion.

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3. Major Risks

As with current forces and deployments, NATO forces would be incapable of meeting a full-scale Warsaw Pact surprise attack following a concealed mobilization or of conducting a sustained conventional defense of NATO Europe. Therefore, if Warsaw Pact forces resolutely pursue aggression, they could probably overrun NATO Europe, even if tactical nuclear weapons were used. In Asia we would have no conventional capability against a Chinese invasion except possibly to defend one mainland Asian enclave; for example, in Korea, South Vietnam, or Thailand.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) believe that the overall inadequacy of the force structure to fulfill U.S. defense commitments in Asia, even without a simultaneous requirement in Europe, would be evident to all. To the noncommunist countries this would indicate that the United States could not be relied on and probably would precipitate some realignments.

4. Key Foreign Reactions

No reaction is anticipated from our NATO Allies, because our NATO strategy, our peacetime deployments in Europe, and our CONUS-based forces committed to NATO would not change in any significant way. Since we would maintain a substantial base structure in Asia, including at least some combat forces in Korea, the expected political reaction of our Asian Allies would not necessarily preclude its implementation. However, they would be far more likely to accept such a strategy without a major change in their relations with the United States if the force reductions inherent in this strategy were implemented over a period of several years rather than abruptly.

The likelihood of Warsaw Pact aggression against NATO would remain unchanged. In Asia, with a reduced U.S. general purpose force capability, the Chinese might increase their support for “wars of national liberation” if they concluded that the circumstances of U.S. military intervention had become more circumscribed than in the past. However, assuming that we will continue to maintain a substantial base structure and assistance forces for Asia and assuming that we continue to make clear our interest in the security of Asia, the Chinese would probably not conclude that they were significantly freer to threaten our allies, and the likelihood of a large-scale Chinese attack would not change.

B. Strategy 2: NATO Initial Defense or Joint Defense in Asia (Korea or Southeast Asia)

1. Capabilities

The United States would be prepared for an initial defense of NATO Europe (as in Strategy 1) or a joint defense of Asia (Korea or [Page 179]Southeast Asia). The forces are designed so that major operations in one theater must be conducted at the expense of the major capability in the other, leaving a reduced capability in the non-war theater. For example, we could assist our allies in Asia against a non-Chinese attack while simultaneously providing an initial defense of NATO, but we could not conduct an initial NATO defense and a joint defense of Asia simultaneously. If initially engaged in Asia, by disengaging we would have the capability for an initial defense of NATO.

2. Cost

The forces for this strategy would require average annual FY 71–75 defense budget outlays of $76 billion, or $4 billion per year more than for the NATO Initial Defense and Assistance for Asian Allies Strategy (Strategy 1).

3. Major Risks

As with current forces and deployments, NATO forces would be incapable of meeting a full-scale Warsaw Pact surprise attack following concealed mobilization or of conducting a sustained conventional defense of NATO Europe. Therefore, if Warsaw Pact forces resolutely pursue aggression, they could probably overrun NATO Europe even if tactical nuclear weapons were used. In the event of a simultaneous attack by Warsaw Pact forces in Europe and Chinese forces in Asia, we could be incapable of defending either Korea or Southeast Asia.

The risk exists that in the event the Warsaw Pact forces attack in Europe while the United States is involved in a joint defense in Asia, delays will occur in meeting required force deployments to Europe for initial defense, since some forces will have to be redeployed.

Opinion is divided as to the likelihood of an attack on our allies by either the Soviet Union or Communist China if the United States were at war with the other. We can say that because of the Sino-Soviet split, the likelihood of a closely coordinated Soviet-Chinese attack has for the present disappeared and that each of the major communist powers is likely to arrive at its own independent assessment of the opportunity for aggression against our allies in one theater while we are engaged in the other. Some believe that the communist nation not at war would recognize the increased risks of U.S. retaliation with the nuclear weapons in the non-war theater and consequently act with restraint. Others believe that a major U.S. involvement in one sector would be viewed by the Soviet Union or China as an opportunity to press, either overtly or by proxy, for either limited or major advantages in the other area.

In the first view, the potential aggressor is seen as being deterred by the fact that we would have little else except nuclear weapons with which to protect our interests, and, therefore, we would be likely to use them. China, with a lesser strategic capability vis-à-vis the United [Page 180]States, especially after the deployment of Safeguard, might be deterred by our nuclear weapons. For example, they might expect that we would attack their limited industrial and military capacity if we were engaged in a conventional war in NATO Europe.

In the opposing view, the potential aggressor is seen as calculating that we would modify our objectives to match our military capabilities, and, if we were already heavily engaged, we might be unwilling to become engaged elsewhere with nuclear forces. Supporting this view is the fact that the Chinese would still have the capability to mount a limited nuclear attack against our allies or bases overseas and the likelihood of strong political inhibitions against the initial use of nuclear weapons by the United States.

4. Key Foreign Reactions

No adverse reaction by our allies is anticipated, provided that they perceive U.S. policy as adhering to existing commitments in all regions. In Asia, allied reactions would also depend on the pace at which CONUS-based forces oriented toward Asia were eliminated from the force structure. Nor is any increased threat envisioned except if the United States becomes involved in major conflicts in Europe and Asia simultaneously. In this respect, as noted, there is no agreement on whether the non-involved communist power would become more or less aggressive.

C. Strategy 3: NATO Initial Defense and Joint Defense in Asia (Korea or Southeast Asia)2

1. Capabilities

The forces for this strategy would allow the United States simultaneously to: (a) conduct an initial defense of NATO Europe, (b) conduct a defense of Korea or Southeast Asia against a Chinese invasion, and (c) provide forces to assist an ally threatened by a proxy war.

2. Cost

These forces would cost $81 billion annually—$5 billion more than the forces for the preceding strategy, which would not meet the Warsaw Pact and Chinese threats simultaneously.

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3. Major Risks

As in the two previous strategies, and as with current forces and deployments, NATO forces would be incapable of meeting a full-scale Warsaw Pact surprise attack following concealed mobilization or of conducting a sustained conventional defense of NATO Europe. Therefore, if Warsaw Pact forces resolutely pursue aggression, they could probably overrun NATO Europe, even if tactical nuclear weapons were used. Since this strategy provides forces for only one mainland Asia contingency against the Chinese, we would not be able to defend Korea and Southeast Asia simultaneously in the event of a two-front Chinese attack and still withhold enough forces to defend NATO.

4. Key Foreign Reactions

None anticipated.

D. Strategy 4: Sustained NATO Defense and Holding Action in Asia or Initial Defense of NATO and Joint Defense of Asia (Korea and Southeast Asia)

1. Capabilities

Adoption of this strategy would permit the United States to conduct a sustained defense of NATO while simultaneously conducting a holding action against a Chinese invasion in both Korea and Southeast Asia. Alternatively, adoption of this strategy would permit the United States to provide for the initial defense of NATO while conducting a defense of Asia (Korea and Southeast Asia). The primary increase, compared with the previous strategy, is the capability to conduct a sustained conventional defense of NATO Europe pending the creation of additional forces for a counteroffensive.

2. Cost

The additional forces for this strategy would cost $12 billion more than the preceding strategy. The implied average FY 71–75 annual defense budget is $93 billion.

3. Major Risks

As with current forces and deployments, this strategy does not permit the United States to defend NATO Europe against a full-scale surprise attack by Warsaw Pact forces following a concealed mobilization. Also, if the United States is involved in a joint defense of Asia when Warsaw Pact forces attack Europe, the tasks of disengagement, redeployment, and reorientation for combat in Europe may not be accomplished in time to provide for the reinforcement required to prevent the loss of NATO Europe.

4. Key Foreign Reactions

Since this strategy contemplates no major changes in overseas force deployments, a direct allied response to its implementation is unlikely. [Page 182]However, when our NATO Allies realize that the United States is preparing for a sustained nonnuclear war in Europe, they would be uneasy with the thought that the U.S. nuclear threshold has been raised and that the link between our conventional and nuclear force deterrents has been weakened. Our NATO Allies view as unacceptable any strategy which contemplates sustained nuclear or nonnuclear combat in Europe.

The JCS disagree with the above assessment that our NATO Allies will be reluctant to accept a sustained defense strategy. The JCS note that our NATO Allies have already endorsed the “direct defense concept” for Europe with the implication that NATO will plan to “defeat the aggression on the level at which the enemy chooses to fight.”

No significant increase in the Warsaw Pact or Asian communist threat response is expected.

E. Strategy 5: Total NATO Defense and Joint Defense of Asia (Korea and Southeast Asia)

1. Capabilities

This strategy is the same as Strategy 4, except that the United States also prepares to meet the worst case NATO threat of an all-out Warsaw Pact surprise attack following a concealed mobilization. The required forces can conduct a sustained defense of NATO simultaneously with a joint defense of Asia.

2. Cost

These forces would cost $21 billion more than the Strategy 3 forces, implying an FY 71–75 average annual defense budget of $102 billion. Additional U.S. forces would probably have to be deployed to Europe.

3. Major Risks

This strategy has no major military risks.

4. Key Foreign Reactions

As in Strategy 4, we can expect our NATO Allies to oppose a U.S. decision to prepare for a conventional defense in Europe on the grounds that this will erode the credibility of our intention to use nuclear forces in Europe’s defense.

As for Strategy 4 above, the JCS disagree with the assessment that our NATO Allies would interpret our sustained defense strategy as an indication that the U.S. nuclear deterrent for Europe had become less credible.

It is probable that if we deploy additional forces to Europe the Soviets will increase their general purpose forces now facing allied forces in Central Europe.

[Omitted here is a brief summary, including tables, of worldwide general purpose force strategies and their costs.]

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V. Theater and Strategic Nuclear Capabilities and General Purpose Forces

A. Europe

In NATO our theater nuclear capability has deterrent value because these weapons could raise the Soviet estimate of the expected costs of aggression and add great uncertainty to their calculations. Beyond this, however, the value of our theater nuclear weapons is limited if the Soviets respond in kind. Since both sides have substantial theater nuclear capabilities, our theater nuclear forces would not necessarily enable us to overcome a disadvantage in conventional forces.

In addition, we might use strategic nuclear forces in the defense of NATO. For example, we could use or threaten to use U.S. strategic forces against one or a few Soviet cities or against military installations. (Similarly, the French and the British could use their strategic forces.) This would impose substantial costs on the Soviets, although it would also risk Soviet retaliation against our cities and bases and would not prevent the Soviets from fighting in Europe. Only a complete U.S. strategic nuclear disarming capability, which we do not have, would leave us in a position to threaten the Soviets with minimum risk that they could retaliate.

Therefore, the primary role of our nuclear forces in the defense of Europe is to raise the Soviet estimate of the expected costs of aggression and to add great uncertainty to their calculations, without necessarily having a decisive influence on the likelihood or form of aggression by Warsaw Pact general purpose forces.

B. Communist China

Our overwhelming strategic nuclear advantage against the Chinese and our expected Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) capability to defend against their Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) threat increases the deterrent and warfighting value of our forces. We can strike Chinese strategic forces, cities, or major military installations with little military risk, though there may well be political inhibitions to the initial use of nuclear weapons by the United States. At present the Chinese have no way of responding in kind against CONUS, although they could strike our Asian Allies. If the Chinese had ICBMs, they might be tempted to respond by striking U.S. cities, but it would be an irrational act, since the U.S. return strike, requiring only a small proportion of our nuclear weapons, could destroy all major Chinese cities.

Tactical nuclear weapons could be used against a conventional Chinese invasion if the Chinese forces massed for attack against a coherent territorial front or if we were willing to use nuclear weapons on large areas to destroy their reserve troops and support facilities. Even with tactical nuclear weapons, however, we could not destroy the [Page 184]Chinese capability to fight if they were determined to continue the war. Also, the Chinese could attack our bases and ports in Asia and the cities of our Asian Allies with nuclear weapons, a capability which lessens our nuclear weapons advantage.

Therefore, both our tactical and strategic nuclear forces add to our deterrence and war-fighting capability against a Chinese conventional attack in Asia. However, the advantage we would gain by using theater nuclear weapons has to be measured against the effects of a Chinese nuclear response in Asia.

In summary, neither in Asia nor in Europe are our nuclear forces a direct substitute for conventional forces. U.S. nuclear policy in Europe and Asia will be discussed in further detail in NSSM–653 and NSSM–69.4

VI. Impact on Non-Defense Programs and Budgets

A. General

In choosing among defense strategies and defense budgets, it is important to recognize the impact of such choices on non-defense programs and budgets. The competing demands from non-defense spending, the desire for tax cuts, and private sector demands on limited resources give rise to hard policy choices. We have no way of measuring whether extra dollars spent for defense are more important than extra dollars spent for non-defense programs. We can, however, describe the trade-offs between defense and non-defense programs.

The expected level of government resources and uncontrollable non-defense spending (for example, social security and interest payments) were projected through FY 75. Other domestic programs not specifically tied to legislation were held to FY 70 levels except for pay, price, and minimal workload increases. No special consideration was given to the attainment of residential housing goals of the 1968 Housing Act. The yearly differences between the total revenue and uncontrollable expenditure projections represent the funds available for defense programs, controllable non-defense programs, and, if necessary, for a surplus to hold down inflation.

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B. Priority Tiers

In order to obtain an idea of possible program trade-offs between the five defense strategies already described and non-defense program options, reasonable expansions of existing non-defense programs were grouped into four broad priority tiers. (It is, of course, possible to have many differing judgments on which programs should fall into which tier.)

(1)
First Tier ($5 billion in FY 71 to $21 billion in FY 75) is composed of programs to which this Administration has made some commitment. The largest items in the First Tier are the President’s recently announced welfare reform, revenue sharing, and urban mass transit programs. Expanded aid to elementary and secondary education, crime control, and highway safety also have first priority. Other items include water and air pollution, Head Start and vocational education, rural housing, water and waste disposal, child health and development, and others offset by a tightening of veteran programs.
(2)
Second Tier ($2 billion in FY 71 to $8 billion in FY 75) includes Federal Aviation Agency airway modernization, expanded aid to higher education through direct grants and student aid, and a comprehensive manpower program. Other smaller programs include mental health and additional programs, environmental health including water supply, and multilateral banks and Agency for International Development programs.
(3)
Third Tier ($2 billion in FY 71 to $11 billion in FY 75) contains as major items aid to urban areas through an enlarged capital outlay program for renewal of urban facilities and an expanded model cities program, medicare for the disabled, and initiation of a program to find public sector jobs for the disadvantaged. Also included are such items as environmental observation and prediction systems, recreation programs, timber management, more basic research, and Post Office construction and modernization.
(4)
Fourth Tier ($5 billion in FY 71 to $20 billion in FY 75) includes an accelerated manned space program, additional benefits for veterans, and an expanded food stamp program. Prototype development of the Supersonic Transport (SST), Merchant Marine modernization, construction of scenic roads in national parks, and additional Corps of Engineers projects are included.

C. The Results

The funding levels of the five defense strategies and the four tiers of non-defense programs were examined for possible trade-offs within the resources available to the public sector. The results of this analysis are seen in the next table. The table depicts options possible under the existing tax structure, assuming no surtax after FY 70.

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Table 6

Defense vs. Non-Defense Program Combinations Within “Available” Resources (Current Outlays in $ Billions)

Defense FY71 FY73 Non-Defense Priorities FY71 FY73
1. Initial NATO Defense and Assistance to Allies in Asia $72 $71 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Tiers ($ Billions) $9 $27
2. Initial NATO Defense or Joint Asia Defense (One Area) 73 75 1st and 2nd Tiers ($ Billions) $7 $20
3. Initial NATO Defense and Joint Asia Defense (One Area) 77 82 1st Tier ($ Billions) $5 $15
4. Sustained NATO Defense and Holding Action in Asia (Two Areas) 81 96 Surtax Required for 1st Tier (%) 4% 6%
5. Total NATO Defense and Joint Asian Defense (Two Areas) 86 106 Surtax Required for 1st Tier(%) 9% 14%

The table shows that without a tax increase:

(1)
defense Strategies 4 and 5 would not permit us to fund even the First Tier programs to which the Administration is already committed;
(2)
Strategy 3 is compatible with the First Tier programs, but not with Second or Third Tier programs;
(3)
Strategy 2 would permit us to fund the First and Second Tiers; and
(4)
only Strategy 1 is compatible with three tiers of non-defense programs.

Additional calculations have been made on the assumption that the tax reform bill passed by the House of Representatives becomes law.5 These calculations indicate that revenue loss would drastically reduce [Page 187]the financial feasibility of available options. If the tax reform bill, as it stands, becomes law and no surtax is implemented, only Strategy 1 is compatible with the First Tier non-defense programs to which the Administration is committed.

The hard choices we face, as just described, are based on optimistic assumptions about the performance of the economy (a high savings rate and full employment) and on the assumption that U.S. troops will not be fighting in Vietnam after June 30, 1970 and that the forces will be phased down to their permanent level over a two-year period. If these assumptions do not hold, our choices are even more constrained than suggested by this analysis. For example, if fighting continues into FY 71 while Vietnamization progresses, and a residual U.S. force of 2–1/3 divisions is retained until FY 73, the defense budget in the preceding table would be increased by $5 to 10 billion in FY 71 and $2 to 3 billion in FY 73. This would reduce funds for domestic programs accordingly.

[Omitted here is Section VII on balance of payments and Section VIII on military and economic assistance programs.]

IX. Issues for Decision

The purpose of this paper is to set forth the major considerations which should influence the selection of a strategy to be used for planning our peacetime general purposes forces. The selection of a particular strategy in large part determines the cost of our general purpose forces.

We have found that:

(1)
Our interests and commitments require that we maintain general purpose forces, and, along with the major threats, these interests and commitments are a general guide to the areas we might want to defend with these forces.
(2)
We can devise alternative strategies and estimate the required forces, but given the nature of the threats and the limited resources available for defense programs, risks are inevitably associated with every major general purpose force strategy option.
(3)
Whatever strategy is chosen, the forces available can be used wherever the President directs and additional forces can be created (within a one to three year period) by the President in a political crisis or at the initiation of hostilities.
(4)
U.S. general purpose forces, both those in CONUS and especially those deployed overseas, are a visible indicator of U.S. interests. Changes in these deployments may influence the policies of both allies and potential enemies. To a large extent, however, peacetime overseas deployments could be maintained relatively constant at about current levels (except for Southeast Asia) for all five strategies considered in this report.
(5)
Every strategy involves significant trade-offs, either in terms of non-defense programs or increased taxes.

A brief summary of each of the five strategies is presented below, followed by the major pro and con arguments.

A. Strategy 1: NATO Initial Defense and Assistance to Allies in Asia

The forces for this strategy can conduct an initial defense of NATO Europe while simultaneously assisting our allies against a non-Chinese threat in Asia. To maintain these illustrative forces would require average annual FY 71–75 defense budget outlays of $72 billion.

1.
Pro
(a)
This is the most limited strategy that would permit us to continue our role as a leading NATO ally and support our commitments in Asia against the most probable threats6 as well as prepare to meet two minor contingencies elsewhere.
(b)
Implementation of this strategy is not expected to give rise to an increased enemy threat.6
(c)
A strategy of this kind, carried out over a period of time, and in close consultation with our allies, could help to encourage other nations to gradually assume greater responsibility for their own defense.
(d)
Our ability to inflict significant damage on Communist China with nuclear weapons gives us a substantial ability to deter overt Chinese attacks.
(e)
Of the strategies considered, this strategy is the most consistent with the assessment that there is no evidence that China intends to expand its borders by armed conquest or that its forces are well prepared for an overt conventional attack.
(f)
This strategy provides NATO an initial conventional capability in what some believe to be the most likely contingencies (for example, conflict following a period of political crisis or a small-scale attack with limited objectives), and is consistent with official NATO strategy.
(g)
This strategy is the least costly of those considered plausible and is the only strategy that would permit the funding of three tiers of non-defense programs, assuming a tax reform bill does not reduce revenue significantly.
2.
Con
(a)
The JCS believe that the forces called for by this strategy would be inadequate to fulfill U.S. defense commitments in Asia, and that its implementation would risk allied realignments and increased communist pressure in Asia.
(b)
The State Department believes that the very substantial reductions in forces that are inherent in this strategy, if carried out too rapidly, that is, in the next two or three years, and by unilateral decisions, could create such uncertainty and concern with respect to U.S. policy as to cause at least some of our allies in Asia to loosen their ties with the United States and seek accommodation with China or the Soviet Union. Such reductions would also be likely to generate an atmosphere in which Communist China and other communist powers would feel they had greater freedom of action in pursuing their security and political interests in the area.
(c)
Our ability to deter overt Chinese attacks with nuclear weapons is somewhat limited by the fact that we cannot prevent the Chinese from retaliating with attacks on our allies; our tactical nuclear weapons will not necessarily give us a decisive warfighting advantage if the Chinese are willing to bear the greatly increased cost of aggression, and there may be political inhibitions to their use.
(d)
In the event of a Chinese attack on Korea or Southeast Asia, considerable allied territory would be lost, and U.S. wartime costs and casualties would be high if we attempted a counteroffensive with newly created forces.
(e)
If Warsaw Pact forces mounted a surprise conventional attack following concealed mobilization or continued a determined conventional attack after a period of about 90 days, this strategy has a low nuclear threshold and risks recourse to nuclear weapons. Even with nuclear weapons this strategy risks the possible loss of NATO Europe.

B. Strategy 2: NATO Initial Defense or Joint Defense in Asia (Korea or Southeast Asia)

Under this strategy the United States would prepare for a 90–day initial defense of NATO Europe or a joint defense in Asia. The illustrative forces for this strategy would require average annual FY 71–75 defense budget outlays of $76 billion.

1.
Pro
(a)
The primary advantage of this strategy over the previous strategy is that it would permit us to defend against a Chinese attack on the mainland of Asia if we were not already engaged in Europe, and it would be less likely than the previous strategy to risk an adverse allied reaction.
(b)
This strategy has essentially the same pros with regard to NATO as the previous strategy.
(c)
It is the view of some that this strategy would meet our security requirements in NATO Europe and Asia even though the forces provided could not meet the Soviet and Communist Chinese threats simultaneously. They believe that because of major Sino-Soviet [Page 190]differences the likelihood of a coordinated or coincidental attack is small. They also believe that if we were engaged in war in Europe or Asia, the threat in the non-war theater would not become significantly greater because of our involvement; some, in fact, believe that the threat in the non-war area would be reduced because of a perceived lowering of the nuclear threshold.
(d)
Although more costly than Strategy 1 by $4 billion per year, this strategy would still permit us to fund the first and second non-defense program tiers without a tax increase, provided the tax reform bill is revised to prevent a net decrease in revenue.
2.
Con
(a)
Some believe that if we were involved in a major war in Asia or in Europe, the non-involved communist power would become more aggressive. Therefore, those who hold this view believe that not to prepare to meet both major threats simultaneously would involve intolerable risks. For example, if by design or coincidence the Warsaw Pact and Chinese conventional forces attacked simultaneously, this strategy has essentially the same risks in Asia as Strategy 1.
(b)
The State Department believes that, as in the case of Strategy 1, rapid reductions in our total forces could have adverse consequences for U.S. security interests in Asia.
(c)
If we were not engaged in Europe, this strategy would not permit a simultaneous defense of Korea and Southeast Asia against a Chinese attack.
(d)
The cons with regard to NATO are essentially the same as for Strategy 1.

C. Strategy 3: NATO Initial Defense and Joint Defense in Asia (Korea or Southeast Asia)

In contrast to Strategy 2, this strategy would permit us to meet simultaneously a Warsaw Pact attack on NATO Europe and a Chinese Communist invasion of Southeast Asia or Korea. To maintain the illustrative forces for this strategy would require average annual FY 71–75 defense budget outlays of $81 billion.

1.
Pro
(a)
The primary advantage of this strategy over the previous strategies is that it would permit us to defend against a Chinese attack on the mainland of Asia at the same time we were engaged in a major war in Europe. Thus, the risk of loss of allied territory in the event of a Chinese attack would be reduced.
(b)
Because this strategy approximates our present stated strategy, it almost certainly risks no adverse allied reactions.
(c)
Of the strategies considered, this strategy calls for the largest force structure which would be fully acceptable to our NATO Allies [Page 191]that is, it is militarily the “safest” strategy of those proposed that does not risk opposition from our allies.7
(d)
The pros with regard to NATO would be essentially the same as in Strategy 1, except that the larger total force structure would give us more confidence of being able to execute the strategy as planned.
(e)
This strategy has the largest force structure that is compatible with the funding, with no tax increase, of those non-defense programs to which this Administration is already committed.
2.
Con
(a)
This strategy has essentially the same cons with regard to NATO as Strategies 1 and 2.
(b)
This strategy still does not permit a simultaneous defense of Korea and Southeast Asia in the event of a two-front Chinese attack.
(c)
Some believe that a force this large is unnecessary because of the unlikelihood of an overt Chinese attack or of a simultaneous Chinese/Warsaw Pact attack.
(d)
The cost of this strategy would permit us to fund only the First Tier of non-defense programs; therefore, we could not fund any major new programs, other than those to which the Administration is already committed, without a tax increase.

D. Strategy 4: Sustained NATO Defense and Holding Action in Asia (Korea and Southeast Asia) or Initial Defense of NATO and Joint Defense of Asia (Korea and Southeast Asia)

This strategy provides forces for a sustained defense of NATO Europe and a simultaneous holding action in Asia (Korea and Southeast Asia). Alternatively, the forces could conduct a joint defense in Asia (Korea and Southeast Asia) simultaneously with an initial defense of NATO Europe. To maintain the illustrative forces for this strategy would require average annual FY 71–75 defense budget outlays of $93 billion.

1.
Pro
(a)
Because this strategy would permit us to conduct a sustained nonnuclear defense of NATO Europe against a Warsaw Pact attack, we would not have to rely on nuclear weapons to defend Europe against any major Warsaw Pact attack, except a surprise attack following concealed mobilization.
(b)
This strategy permits a simultaneous defense of Korea and Southeast Asia.
(c)
The force structure for this strategy is the largest of the alternatives considered that would place us in a stronger position militarily without risking greater enemy buildups in response to its implementation.
2.
Con
(a)
It is the view of the Foreign Reactions Working Group and the Political Evaluations Working Group (except the JCS) that our NATO Allies would oppose this strategy because it envisions a sustained conventional defense of Europe; they think that the allies believe such a strategy might weaken the link between our general purpose force and nuclear force deterrents and thereby imply at best a rerun of World War II in Europe and at worst a conventional struggle followed by a nuclear exchange.
(b)
If the Warsaw Pact mounted a surprise attack on NATO Europe following concealed mobilization, this strategy would still risk recourse to nuclear weapons and possible loss of territory.
(c)
The same arguments apply with regard to the unlikelihood of the Chinese threat as in the previous strategy.
(d)
The defense budget required by this strategy would preclude, barring a tax increase of 4 to 6%, the funding of any of the non-defense program tiers, including the First Tier which is composed of programs to which the Administration is already committed.

E. Strategy 5: Total NATO Defense and Joint Defense of Asia (Korea and Southeast Asia)

This strategy is designed to meet simultaneously any aggression the Warsaw Pact and Communist Chinese are capable of launching, to include an all-out Warsaw Pact surprise attack following a concealed mobilization. The forces for this strategy would require average annual FY 71–75 defense budget outlays of $102 billion.

1.
Pro
(a)
Of all the strategies discussed, this strategy gives us the greatest capability and the least risk.
(b)
The forces required by this strategy can meet simultaneously all the major threats, including a Warsaw Pact surprise attack.
2.
Con
(a)
The cost of this strategy would preclude the funding of any of the non-defense program tiers without a tax increase of 9 to 14%.
(b)
As for Strategy 4 above, it is the view of the Foreign Reactions and the Political Evaluations Working Groups (except the JCS) that our NATO Allies would object to this strategy because it contemplates sustained conflict in Europe and thereby erodes the credibility of our intention to use nuclear forces in Europe’s defense.
(c)
Additional U.S. troops would probably have to be deployed to Europe, a move which our allies and the Congress would probably oppose.
(d)
Increased U.S. forces in Europe would probably prompt a buildup in Warsaw Pact general purpose forces in Central Europe.
(e)
As in Strategies 3 and 4, the same arguments apply with regard to the unlikelihood of an overt Chinese attack.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–23, NSC Meeting, September 10, 1969. Secret. This study was prepared in response to NSSM 3, Document 2. According to a covering memorandum from the NSC Secretariat, the paper was sent to NSC members on September 6 for their consideration prior to the NSC meeting scheduled for September 10. A summary of the paper was also included in Nixon’s briefing materials for the NSC meeting. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–23, NSC Meeting, September 10, 1969)
  2. Of the strategies considered in this report, Strategy 3 most closely approximates the current Department of Defense (DOD) strategy as defined by the previous Administration, and therefore has been used as the baseline for comparison of the other strategies. However, the current strategy has never been as explicitly stated as the strategies in this report. Similarly, the forces for Strategy 3 are not identical with those in the Five-Year Defense Program (FYDP), since the forces in the FYDP are simply the projections into the future of specific force decisions already made, while the forces in this report are a result of a “fresh look” from the ground up of the overall cost of executing the various strategies. For this reason, the costs shown for Strategy 3 are only roughly comparable to the cost of the currently approved defense program. [Footnote in the original.]
  3. NSSM 65, issued on July 8 and entitled “Relationships Among Strategic and Theater Forces for NATO,” is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, NSSMs, Nos. 43–103. It is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XLI, Western Europe; NATO, 1969–1972.
  4. Document 42.
  5. The U.S. Congress passed the Tax Reform Act of 1969 on December 22. Nixon, who had threatened to veto the measure, signed it into law on December 30. The Act reduced individual income taxes and extended the income tax surcharge at the rate of 5 percent through June 1970. (Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 1969, p. 589.)
  6. The JCS disagree; note the JCS con argument below. [Footnote in the original.]
  7. The JCS disagree; note the JCS con argument below. [Footnote in the original.]
  8. The JCS do not believe that larger forces would bring about adverse reactions from our NATO allies. [Footnote in the original.]