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25. National Security Study Memorandum 841

TO

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

SUBJECT

  • U.S. Strategies and Forces for NATO

Pursuant to NSDM 272 and in conjunction with the work being done for NSSM 65,3 the President has directed a study of the alternative U.S. force deployments in NATO, their political and budgetary implications, and their consequences for NATO strategy. This study should examine:

—differences in views as to the threat, including the views of our allies;

—allied views concerning an appropriate NATO defense strategy;

—our best estimates of the defense capabilities these allies will maintain committed to NATO;

—the range of deployment alternatives we have within the context of the current and alternative NATO strategies;

—likely Soviet/Warsaw Pact political and military responses to various US/NATO deployments in Europe;

—the political and cost implications of modifications to current strategy and force postures.

With respect to alternative U.S. conventional force deployments to Europe, the alternatives considered should include different deployments to support the present strategy, different initial defense strategies (for example, 30 or 60 days rather than 90), and different deployment schemes including consideration of more efficient transitions to limited nuclear operations and more effective responses to threats on the flanks. The alternatives considered should include a wide range of U.S. force levels in Europe.

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The study should be supervised by a Steering Committee chaired by a representative of the Secretary of Defense and including representatives of the addressee agencies, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The completed report should be submitted to the NSC Defense Program Review Committee by 1 February 1970.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, National Security Study Memoranda (NSSM’s)—Nos. 43–103. Secret; Sensitive. A copy was sent to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  2. “U.S. Military Posture,” October 11. It is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIV, National Security Policy, 1969–1972, Document 56.
  3. Document 20.