32. National Security Study Memorandum 1911


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency


  • Policy for Acquisition of U.S. Nuclear Forces

In order to develop policy guidelines for the acquisition of nuclear weapon systems which will support the deterrent and employment objectives set forth in NSDM 242,2 I direct the preparation of a study of U.S. policy for the acquisition of nuclear forces. Within this context, the proposed policy should include:

—specific planning objectives to be met by the U.S. nuclear force posture;

—desired aggregate characteristics of the U.S. nuclear force posture.

The study should draw heavily on earlier study efforts such as the response to NSSM 1693 and should take into consideration such issues as:

—U.S. ability to respond to projected threats to strategic offensive forces;

—future counterforce capabilities for U.S. strategic missiles;

—realignments of forward nuclear deployments in Asia;

—modernization of nuclear forces deployed in NATO;

—current U.S. arms control policies and approaches to be undertaken in MBFR, SALT II and negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The study should provide background rationale for each major policy recommendation, identifying how each differs from or is consonant with past policy statements in both language and substance. It should identify features of the proposed policy that would foster departures from the currently planned force posture and describe the [Page 148] nature of such departures and their military and foreign policy implications.

The study should be conducted by an ad hoc group chaired by a representative of the Secretary of Defense and composed of representatives from each of the addressees, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and of the NSC staff. (The arms control portion of the study should be chaired by a representative of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.)

The study should be submitted for my consideration by April 1, 1974.4

Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, NSSMs Nos. 104–206. Top Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to Ray and Moorer.
  2. Document 31.
  3. Document 17.
  4. In a February 4, 1976 memorandum to Scowcroft, Boverie recommended closing the books on NSSM 191, the response to which was “long overdue” and “unlikely to be completed.” Although Scowcroft did not approve Boverie’s recommendation, no further action pertinent to the study was taken. (Ibid., Box H–202, Study Memorandums, NSSM 191 [2 of 2])