48. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Brown to President Carter 1

SUBJECT

  • Rapid Deployment Forces (U)

As you know, as part of our efforts to improve our capabilities to project forces in contingencies, I have directed the JCS to develop specific sets of Rapid Deployment Forces, and a controlling Joint Task Force headquarters. The purpose of this memorandum is to keep you abreast of the developments in this area, specifically RDJTF command arrangements. (U)

The JCS have developed a general structure for the RDJTF headquarters. It will be commanded by Major General (Lieutenant General selectee) Paul X. Kelley, USMC, and will be established at MacDill Air Force Base by March 1, 1980. It will also have a liaison staff here in Washington. The Commander of the RDJTF will have an exercise budget under his control. (C)

In peacetime, the RDJTF headquarters will be subordinate to the Readiness Command, but during contingencies it will transfer with its subordinate units to an appropriate Unified Commander (CINC) or will operate directly under the National Command Authorities, as appropriate. (S)

[Page 172]

As an integral part of its function, the headquarters will assume planning, coordinating, and implementing responsibilities for military exercises in the Middle East, as well as planning and execution of combat operations in the region. This will help us determine the need for a separate unified command for this critical region. (S)

We have made considerable progress to date in our work on the RDJTF and we expect to meet our deadline of March 1 for the activation of the RDJTF headquarters. I will keep you informed. (C)

Harold Brown
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, General Odom File, Box 28, Middle East Command Post: 7/79–3/80. Secret.