125. Minutes of Senior Review Group Meeting1


  • NSSM 244


  • Chairman
  • Brent Scowcroft2
  • State
  • Charles W. Robinson
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt
  • Defense
  • William Clements
  • Dr. James P. Wade
  • Sally Horn (briefer)
  • JCS
  • Lt. Gen. William Smith
  • CIA
  • Paul Walsh
  • Ray DeBruler
  • OMB
  • Robert Howard
  • Don Ogilvie
  • HUD
  • Thomas P. Dunn
  • ACDA
  • Colonel Charles Estes
  • Robert M. Behr
  • FPA
  • Leslie W. Bray
  • NSC Staff
  • Gen. Richard Boverie
  • Roger Molander
  • Michael Hornblow

Meeting began at 3:14 p.m.

The meeting began with Ms. Sally Horn of DOD briefing from charts copies of which are attached to these minutes.3

Mr. Hyland: How does Defense come out on the study?4

Mr. Clements: [1 line not declassified]

Mr. Walsh: [1 line not declassified] The CIA expects to have a new study on the Soviet CD installations concluded by the fall of ’77. [1 line not declassified]

Mr. Hyland: The final report will be ready when?

Mr. DeBruler: The fall of ’77. [2 lines not declassified]

Mr. Clements: A lot of people are talking about what the CIA knows of the status of the Russian effort. If you know something I don’t—I want to know it.

[Page 593]

Mr. DeBruler: [2½ lines not declassified]

Mr. Hyland: [1 line not declassified]

Mr. DeBruler: [4 lines not declassified]

Mr. Clements: [1 line not declassified]

Mr. DeBruler: [1 line not declassified]

Mr. Clements: [1 line not declassified]

Mr. DeBruler: [2 lines not declassified]

Mr. Wade: What would be the additional cost of building something that large underground?

Mr. DeBruler: [1 line not declassified]

Mr. Robinson: The Russians are spending a billion a year on CD, right?

Mr. DeBruler: [1½ lines not declassified]

Mr. Howard: Are these fairly typical?

Mr. DeBruler: [3 lines not declassified]

Mr. Ogilvie: What are the shelters for?

Mr. DeBruler: [2½ lines not declassified]

Mr. Hyland: What is the population of the Kiev Oblast?

Mr. Walsh: 2 million.

Mr. Hyland: What is the capacity of the shelters?

Mr. DeBruler: [2½ lines not declassified]

Mr. Wade: Are the facilities located near industries?

Mr. Clements: We are talking about three different requirements: one is a shelter for military command and control, one is for industry and the third is for civilians.

Mr. Hyland: What is the percentage breakdown in Kiev for civilian vs industrial shelters?

Mr. Walsh: [1½ lines not declassified]

Mr. Hyland: I would not expect to see shelters for the general population.

Mr. DeBruler: [2 lines not declassified]

Mr. Walsh: [2 lines not declassified]

Mr. Hyland: You are doing the [number not declassified] largest cities?

Mr. Walsh: Yes, but there is a difference between in depth analysis and routine intelligence reporting. [1 line not declassified]

Mr. Wade: The NSSM 244 study gave clear goals but it was neutral in its assessment of Soviet CD efforts. But I believe there is a strong warning signal coming out of the study.

[Page 594]

Mr. Clements: I am a skeptic on civil defense and have been for a long time. The President at the last NSC Meeting went beyond being a skeptic.5 Yet there is an added dimension to CD. Proceeding down this track we are just touching the surface. We need to talk about the overall preparations and mobilizations which are applicable to the problem. Where are we regarding mobilization plans and the surge capabilities of our industrial base? It damn near doesn’t exist. In considering civil defense we should do it in terms of our capability for post-attack command and control protection. We need to think of our ability to retaliate and to have a hardened capability in that field. Then what about protecting industries? And then in order of priorities how about the general population.

Mr. Hyland: There is a pressing nature to this problem. Now we have nothing. No direction and no objectives.

Mr. Clements: We have zilch. It is a political pork-barrel. All you have to do is to try to change this program thereby touching some sensitive boils and see the reactions to know that it is pure pork-barrel.

Mr. Hyland: The question is how to convert it from a pork-barrel to a pork-barrel which is somewhat effective.

Mr. Ogilvie: In the present budget there is $77 million to be used for CD. This study got started because of the President’s interest in the CD problem. I agree with Bill [Hyland] that the study needs to go further. The present situation is scandalous.

Mr. Hyland: Suppose we had a free hand in CD What should we be doing? How do we decide between crisis-relocation and post attack retaliation?

Mr. Behr: Do we emphasize deterrence or damage minimization?

Mr. Hyland: A massive evacuation plan might constitute a deterrent of sorts but if you can’t implement it, it is no deterrent but becomes a ploy perhaps. What would this cost?

Mr. Wade: That is option 3A costing $200 million a year.

Mr. Hyland: How much?

Mr. Wade: $1 per head per year.

Mr. Hyland: Or $2 billion over ten years.

Mr. Robinson: What does the current CD money do?

Mr. Ogilvie: It supports its employees.

Mr. Clements: But there are matching funds from the states.

Mr. Robinson: That means $150 million.

Mr. Clements: Yes.

[Page 595]

Mr. Ogilvie: But that is for all kinds of disasters, floods, earthquakes etc.

Mr. Hyland: Option 3 would protect 3/4 of the present population?

Mr. Ogilvie: Yes, 180 million people.

Mr. Wade: You can’t get there in one year.

Mr. Clements: I can’t speak for Defense but I don’t think the program should be increased by one extra dollar.

Mr. Hyland: According to the study it would increase protection from 1/3 of the population to 3/4. There is no discussion about protecting our industrial base or about transportation.

Gen. Smith: More study is needed.

Mr. Hyland: So we have produced this study so that we can do another study?

Mr. Wade: We can start with this.

Mr. Hyland: What about this year’s program?

Mr. Wade: It would add $20 million.

Mr. Ogilvie: I would prefer to see $20 million reprogrammed.

Mr. Clements: CD turns people off. There has to be a new movement, new impetus, new momentum.

Mr. Bray: Yes, we need to have a new type of CD, a changed concept.

Mr. Hyland: Well what are we going to advise the President, that pending further studies we would like to explore the possibility of going to a more efficient program by reprogramming or adding more money to the present one?

Mr. Clements: There is enough money there now. We just have to use that money efficiently.

Mr. Ogilvie: Right.

Mr. Hyland: Suppose that we say that 3A is the preferred option. How can we find out how much the added cost will be and about the efficiency of post attack recovery?

Gen. Smith: That takes time—months of study.

Mr. Hyland: There are trade offs. If 1/2 of the population survives that may be acceptable provided that 1/2 can run the country. We may be better off to lower our expectations of how many survive but make sure that the survivors can run the country. The real test, once the horror is over, is to see who can run the country.

Mr. Bray: To get to 1/2 or 3/4 of the population surviving you need fallout shelters and crisis relocation plans. We can take the first steps now and undertake mobilization studies.

[Page 596]

Mr. Hyland: Have we decided to concentrate more on crisis relocation?

Mr. Clements: There are several other things that happen before crisis relocation. All sorts of things need to be studied.

Gen. Smith: Are we now talking about the non-civilian population?

Mr. Hyland: Is it the consensus of the group that the present CD effort should be tilted toward more planning for relocation and evacuations, and that there should be a new study on post-attack recovery and that we should bring together all these things in a year.

Mr. Wade: We are asking for more money.

Mr. Ogilvie: The issue is $88 million vs the $108 requested by DOD.

Mr. Hyland: But Clements thinks the money could be reoriented.

Mr. Clements: Yes, turn it around.

Gen. Smith: That will take time, at least six months.

Mr. Ogilvie: We now have an opportunity as an outgoing administration to say in our budget that there is a need to reorient the program. We are now spending $12 million a year just on inflation.

Mr. Wade: The first year you might get reorientation but then the following years would cost you more.

Mr. Bray: If you reorient you can get some efficiency. The problem is all the phone calls from the political side.

Mr. Clements: The President must take a hard line.

Mr. Howard: In the first year $15 million could be reoriented toward crisis relocation.

Mr. Bray: $15 million is better than nothing.

Mr. Hyland: Is a one year warning time realistic?

Mr. Clements: No, that is stupid.

Mr. Hyland: Let’s talk about the differences between one week and one month. Are we in favor of one week?

Mr. Clements: Yes.

Gen. Smith: Yes.

Mr. Hyland: Okay, we will aim for one week surge capability. Now there are the technical questions about casualty levels after a mass attack and the fallout situation. How are the calculations arrived at?

Gen. Smith: There are varying assessments. Some studies will bring you to a higher level. It is complicated.

Mr. Hyland: These must be gone into. Any post-attack recovery study must have a detailed account of the effect of fallout. And if we go forward with the study we must reexamine our own strategies regarding the population killing option.

[Page 597]

Mr. Wade: Those questions were not supposed to be part of this study.

Mr. Hyland: We will tell the President what we have done at this level. There has to be a budget decision soon. Should we meet him soon or do a memo on the budget.

Mr. Ogilvie: The President’s tentative decision was for $88 million. He is not absolutely firm on that number.

Mr. Hyland: Should there be more?

Mr. Wade: There could be a little more. Reprogramming is the first priority.

Mr. Bray: We have to reorient the program. That takes time and you need some money to start off with.

Mr. Ogilvie: I don’t agree with the philosophy of adding on to a bad base.

Gen. Smith: I think Brown would agree to a little more money.

Mr. Clements: You could add three million more for a blue ribbon panel.

Mr. Ogilvie: But how about that horrible pork-barrel at the base?

Mr. Clements: There will be a lot of flak coming up. To deflect it you need to have in hand a good report done by a panel of first class citizens. A blue ribbon panel would give it some visibility and credibility. Otherwise you will fall into the Strom Thurmond syndrome.

Mr. Ogilvie: Okay, we could agree on $2 million and a blue ribbon panel.

Mr. Clements: That will do it.

Mr. Hyland: How about an additional paper. Does the CIA need anything before it can go forward?

Mr. Walsh: No.

Mr. Hyland: We could leave behind a NSSM instituting a study of post attack recovery in all its aspects.

Mr. Clements: Yes.

Mr. Hyland: We will have to work a little on its terms of reference.

The meeting ended at 4:09 p.m.

  1. Source: Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box 24, Meeting Minutes—Senior Review Group, November–December 1976. Top Secret. The minutes are erroneously dated December 22. The meeting, held in the White House Situation Room, actually took place on December 21 according to Davis’ attached covering memorandum, January 7, 1977, to Scowcroft. (Ibid.)
  2. Scowcroft did not attend. Hyland chaired the meeting in his absence.
  3. Attached, but not printed.
  4. The study submitted in response to NSSM 244 is Document 117.
  5. See Document 120.