203. Memorandum From Clinton E. Granger of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1


  • Staff Organization

While the lack of an NSC staff organization chart has been the subject of some considerable humor over the years (and there are many advantages to retaining flexibility through a relatively unstructured organization), I was delighted to hear the announcement that you will be acquiring a deputy in the near future.2

However, the addition of a deputy again raises the question of the overall structure and organization of the NSC staff, and the relative relationships of the various members.

I would assume that your deputy will act for you in an increasing number of actions, hopefully relieving you of minor decisions, and providing you with more time to address significant actions. For organizational purposes, the Assistant to the President and the Deputy would be at the top of any hypothetical organization chart. However, below that the problem remains essentially the same—the span of control is very broad, a rather large number of individuals have direct access to you, take your time, and are not coordinated below your level.

Under one of the older organizational concepts, the NSC Staff had a Director of the Operations staff; this was a coordinator for the geographically/operationally oriented senior staffers. The space is not filled, but it would appear that the operations staff could be better coordinated by a single point of control, who would be responsible to you and your deputy.

I recognize the fact that you may not wish to add to the NSC staff, especially at the supervisor level, at this time. There is, however, an al [Page 680] ternative. One individual could serve as a Director of “Planning and Operations,” serving as a single coordinating authority for both staff elements in the Executive Office Building. This would insure closer coordination, centralize the point of contact for actions related to either the planning or operational area, and significantly decrease the present span of control which you must cope with.

This would do several things—

  • —decrease the demands on your time by filtering out the less significant matters;
  • —act as a quality control on the staff work being forwarded;
  • —act to coordinate the various elements of the staff within the Executive Office Building, with the exception of the Program Analysis Staff (where the difference in functional responsibilities would dictate direct access to you on major policy decisions which are not closely related to operational or planning actions in the normal sense).

The organizational requirement is clear, and such a structure would relieve you of much of the lesser matters that now consume your time. In addition, this structure would insure that the NSC Staff would work as a single entity rather than as separate offices often unaware of mutual interests and involvement in the same action. From my own experience, the presence of a deputy will help, but will not materially relieve the basic organizational difficulty of span of control and coordination.

Should you wish, I would be happy to serve you in an expanded role. If you think it appropriate, I would be perfectly willing to retire from active military duty to preclude any criticism of militarization of the NSC staff.3

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Outside the System Chronological File, Box 3, 11/3/75–11/11/75. Confidential; Outside System. Sent for information. Scowcroft initialed the memorandum. As part of a sweeping personnel change known as the “Halloween Massacre,” Ford announced Scowcroft’s replacement of Kissinger as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on November 3. At the same time, Ford announced the appointment of Donald Rumsfeld to replace Schlesinger as Secretary of Defense, the appointment of George H.W. Bush to replace Colby as DCI, and Rockefeller’s decision not to seek a second term as Vice President. For the text of Ford’s announcement and the question-and-answer session with the press that followed, see Public Papers: Ford, 1975, pp. 1791–1804.
  2. William G. Hyland succeeded Scowcroft as Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs on November 17.
  3. Ultimately, the staffing changes Granger recommended were not implemented. He remained as Acting Director, Planning and Coordination, on the NSC Staff until September 1976.