76. Telegram From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler) to the Commanders in Chief of Selected U.S. Commands 1

12650. 1. We have been directed by higher authority to institute a series of actions during the period 130000Z–250000Z Oct, to test our military readiness in selected areas world-wide to respond to possible confrontation by the Soviet Union. These actions should be discernible to the Soviets, but not threatening in themselves. They may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following type actions:

Stand-down of flying of combat aircraft in selected areas or commands, to improve operational readiness.
Implementation of radio and/or other communications silence in selected areas or commands.
Increased surveillance of Soviet ships en route to North Vietnam.
Increased ground alert rate of SAC bombers and tankers.

2. To initiate actions within the time frame specified, certain commanders have been directed2 to stand-down training flights and introduce varying degrees of EMCON. These initial actions will cover the first four days of the 14–day period.

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3. I request that you nominate further actions compatible with the guidance herein, and cognizant of local problems peculiar to your areas, allies, and environment. These nominations are required NLT 122300Z. Actions proposed should be compatible with Project 703.3

4. Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 218, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Records of the Chairman, General Wheeler, Box 111, 381, World-Wide Increased Readiness Posture (Oct. 1969). Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Immediate. Drafted by Rear Admiral F. A. Bardshar in the Directorate of Operations, Joint Staff, JCS. Sent to General Bruce K. Holloway, CINCSAC; Admiral John S. McCain, Sr., CINCPAC; General Goodpaster, CINCEUR; Admiral Ephrain Holmes, CINCLANT; General Seth McKee, CINCNORAD and CINCONAD; General John Throckmorton, CINCSTRIKE; General George Mather, CINC, Southern Command; and Lieutenant General Robert Ruegg, CINC, Alaska.
  2. Wheeler on October 10 sent separate telegrams to each individual CINC informing them of the specific measures to be taken in their commands. (Ibid.)
  3. Laird, during his press conference of August 21, announced plans to reduce fiscal year 1970 defense expenditures by up to $3 billion, a cost-cutting effort dubbed Project 703. See Document 49.