34. National Security Study Memorandum 1961


  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Deputy Secretary of State
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • Overseas Military Base Structure

The President has directed that a study be made of the requirements for maintaining a viable overseas military base structure to support US strategy over the next 10 years. The study should address the adequacy of our overseas bases and access thereto in terms of the consequences of political restriction or denial on US ability to: (a) contribute to regional stability through our military presence; (b) provide logistic, technical or other non-combat support for our allies and friends in a crisis or conflict and for our overseas activities; and (c) respond to a crisis or conflict with US military forces.

The study should be conducted in two phases. The first phase should identify, on a world-wide basis, deficiencies in our current overseas military base structure. This portion of the study should identify:

—scenarios which would require the use of US overseas military bases;

—the extent to which our access to and use of these bases is likely to be subject to political restrictions or denial in these scenarios;

—the impact on our overseas base requirements of restrictions in overflight rights.

The second phase of the study should address, on a regional basis, the means to correct the deficiencies in the current overseas base structure. This portion of the study should identify:

—actions which could be taken to lessen the likelihood of restrictions on the use of current bases and existing overflight rights;

—hardware or other alternatives expected to be available within the 10 year period which could reduce US overseas base requirements or the vulnerability of overseas bases to political denial or restrictions;

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—possible basing and access alternatives which are needed to correct any remaining deficiencies;

—for each such alternative, the related budgetary costs, Congressional implications, vulnerability to political denial or restrictions, and likely reactions by other countries.

To the extent applicable, the study should take into account the assessment contained in the December 1968 report entitled “A Study of US Overseas Base Requirements in the 1970’s” (SDG 68–033), prepared by the special State-Defense study group under the direction of General Robert J. Wood, USA.2

The study should be prepared by an NSC Ad Hoc Group comprising representatives of the addressees and the NSC staff and chaired by the representative of the Secretary of Defense. The study should be submitted by April 30, 1974, for review by the NSC Senior Review Group prior to its consideration by the President.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–203, Study Memorandums, NSSM 196 [1 of 2]. Secret. Copies were sent to Moorer and Ash. Kissinger referred to this study in his staff meeting, January 7, the record of which is Document 29.
  2. Not found. See Documents 225 and 226 in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Vol. X, National Security Policy.