The Race to Consolidate Power and Stave Off Disaster
National security, once a trumpet call to the nation to man the ramparts and repel invaders, has fallen into disrepute. A victim of complications arising from the Vietnam syndrome and from its own internal contradictions, it has come to signify in many minds unreasonable military demands, excessive defense budgets, and collusive dealings within the military-industrial complex. Watergate revelations have fueled suspicions that it may be little more than a cover for executive encroachments upon civil liberties and a free press. As Madame Roland lamented of liberty, even crimes are committed in its name.
As one who has spent most of his adult life in activities related to national security, I am naturally distressed by the evidence of its present low estate and by indications that many citizens question not only specific actions and programs under its aegis but the very essentiality of the concept. If indeed excesses have been committed in its name, that unhappy fact does not diminish one whit the very real need to protect those things which we consider indispensable to our survival, power or well-being and hence deserving the expenditure of effort and resources to gain, retain or enjoy. The national valuables in this broad sense include current assets and national interests, as well as the sources of strength upon which our future as a nation depends. Some valuables are tangible and earthy; others are spiritual or intellectual. They range widely from political assets such as the Bill of Rights, our political institutions and international friendships, to many economic assets which radiate worldwide from a highly productive domestic economy supported by rich natural resources. It is the urgent need to protect valuables such as these which legitimizes and makes essential the role of national security.
To provide such protection requires many forms of national power. In the present environment, our valuables are exposed not only to the traditional threats of military power but also to many dangers of nonmilitary character and origin. At home we perceive a growing trend toward factionalism which undermines our national unity. Abroad there are ample warnings of the dire consequences to be expected from continued population growth-international rivalries over scarce resources; natural disasters from poverty, famine, drought, and flood; stalemated or declining standards of living; popular discontent with government, political turbulence, and the overthrow of weak governments. If in such a world the United States is to play a responsible role-seeking in Dean Acheson's words, "to preserve and foster an environment in which free societies may exist and flourish"-then it is a matter of stern necessity for the United States to dispose of power, military and nonmilitary, capable of influencing events consistent with that role.
To marshal our resources for this purpose, we must design a national security program broad enough to include provision for all significant dangers, foreign and domestic. Its military component, in particular, must have a convincing rationale which can be readily explained to the satisfaction of the majority of our people. In the present national mood there will be biases and predilections to overcome, making it difficult to achieve such a consensus. Some stem from a general disbelief in the reality of the threats advanced by spokesmen for national security; others from a weakened confidence in military means to solve international problems; still others, from concern over the diversion of national resources from domestic to foreign programs.
Beyond this, there are also specific objections to many assumptions of security planners. Given the fragmentation of the Sino-Soviet bloc, the evidence of an apparent détente, the subsiding of the cold war, and the sobering Vietnam experience, it seems unthinkable to many that the great powers should ever again have deliberate recourse to war as an act of policy. There is a prevalent feeling that strategic nuclear war is suicidal madness and that, since major conventional war may escalate to nuclear war, it is hardly a more rational choice. In the aftermath of Vietnam, minor wars fare no better in the popular estimate. Indeed, war in any form appears to have no future if it waits upon American predilections.
Efforts to "sell" national security to the public also encounter rising opposition to what are widely regarded as bloated defense budgets, unnecessarily complex and costly military equipment and inefficient if not culpable management of defense business. When the bills for "hardware" are added to the high pay scales of all-volunteer forces, they threaten to price national security out of range of taxpayer willingness to pay. Many of these attitudes probably include unreasoned bias; they may also reflect human susceptibility to belief in things pleasant to believe, such as the permanence of detente and the demise of the cold war. But there are justified complaints against past aberrations and irrationalities which deserve serious consideration.
Let me illustrate how these considerations might be met in designing the military component of a comprehensive national security program. At the outset a way should be found to avoid the inconclusive annual debate over the specific threats for which a military program should make provision. With the advent of so-called multipolarity in world power distribution, the possible contingencies which may arise to affect our interests have become far too numerous and diverse to forecast by name, place and circumstance. The most feasible way to proceed is to accept as axiomatic the continuing need for military strength in an uncertain world and to budget for it in much the same way as the average citizen insures his private valuables. He accepts the fact that humanity is condemned to recurrent loss from death, fire, flood, sickness and accident, and allots an annual sum related to his net worth and family responsibilities for the insurance of his valuables against unpredictable loss. A wise and affluent nation should provide for its security in a similar way by payment of an annual premium expressed in some agreed percent of the gross national product and in an authorized ceiling for military manpower.
Under such an arrangement, in present circumstances the dollar figure might be about six to seven percent of the GNP, and the personnel ceiling might be expressed as, say, two million men or the maximum number of acceptable volunteers recruited, whichever figure is smaller. This combination of dollars and manpower would comprise the national security premium for an average year and would afford security planners a firm basis for projecting their programs into the future. Such a procedure would tend to reduce the waste in resources occasioned by widely fluctuating appropriations and manpower strengths. It would limit the annual budget debate largely to whether new conditions had arisen to justify any change in the annual premium. But there would be lesser issues to adjudicate in determining the priority of effort to be assigned to the two principal categories of combat forces supported by the budget-the strategic retaliatory force for the deterrence of strategic nuclear war, and the general purpose forces for coping with lesser forms of armed conflict.
The core argument over the strategic retaliatory force has always been-how much is enough to assure deterrence of strategic nuclear war and to hedge against its failure? Related thereto has been the difficulty of agreement as to what constitutes superiority, parity, sufficiency or inferiority in measuring relative strength in strategic forces. Over the years, adequate deterrence has been defined in various ways. In the early fifties, the feeling was that we could never have too many offensive nuclear weapons because their mission was essential to national survival. Hence, sufficiency amounted very simply to all the weapons we could get with the funds and technology available. By the time of the Kennedy administration, the yardstick had become the ability to inflict unacceptable damage on Soviet urban-industrial targets even in a second strike, to which was occasionally added vague references to the need to be able to attack some military targets as well. The Nixon administration has set a higher standard for sufficiency by insisting at times on approximate equality with the U.S.S.R. in numbers of strategic warheads and on an ability to inflict roughly equal urban-industrial damage (even though the distribution of our urban population makes our cities more vulnerable to attack than those of the Soviets). At the moment a new term has cropped up-essential equivalence, which apparently means rough equality in numbers of weapons and deliverable "throw-weight."
Generally speaking, the tendency has always been to regard numbers of strategic offensive missiles as the predominant factor in assuring deterrence. To be sure, there are other factors which contribute-accuracy, reliability, throw-weight, warhead numbers and invulnerability-but most of the opposition to the recent SALT I agreements has been caused by the preponderance in numbers of strategic missiles tentatively conceded to the Soviets. Those who affirm the overriding importance of missile numbers argue that numbers along with redundant delivery systems-bombers, land- and sea-based missiles-tend to eliminate any Soviet hope of an effective surprise attack, increase the cost of Soviet defenses, compensate for weapons lost through enemy action or mechanical failure, and provide a hedge against a technological breakthrough, particularly one which might nullify our weapon of prime importance, the submarine-launched missile. Numbers are also viewed as having a psychological effect in bolstering our confidence and that of our allies in a crisis, and in dampening Soviet confidence and aggressiveness to a corresponding degree.
Those on the other side of the argument-to which I belong-would say that numbers of missiles are important only up to a certain point. The tremendous destructiveness of megaton warheads soon produces a needless "overkill" to which the addition of more weapons would amount to sheer wantonness. Furthermore, a level amounting to overkill can now be reached by multiple independently targeted warheads (MIRVs) carried on relatively few strategic missiles.
In addition, any increase in any kind of strategic weapon stimulates the Soviets to emulation and fuels the arms race. There is an added objection that an increase in land-based weapons adds to the possible targets on U. S. territory for enemy weapons, a disadvantage which does not apply to submarine-launched weapons.
There is solid rebuttal for most of the arguments in support of the intrinsic importance of superiority in numbers of strategic weapons. As a hedge against the danger of a technological breakthrough, I would much prefer an aggressive research and development program to a further increment of obsolescent weapons. Not only would such a program protect against technological surprise but it might also induce the Soviets to avoid competition in areas where we have a recognized lead-a consideration which probably led the Soviets to avoid a test of strength in the continued development of anti-ballistic missile systems. One would hardly suggest that a successful research and development program alone would cause the Soviets to abandon the pursuit of superiority in some form as the objective of their wide-ranging strategic programs. However, it could serve as a sobering reminder of our impressive technological potential and cool Soviet enthusiasm for an unrestrained arms race.
There is more substance in the argument that we must have rough parity in numbers and throw-weight to restrain Soviet military and political aggressiveness and, in time of crisis, to steady our own nerves and to reassure our allies. There is always a danger that intelligent people-at home and abroad-may interpret superiority in numbers as equal to overall superior military strength and thus mistake an American inferiority in numbers for a sign of critical weakness. Such a fallacy if generally accepted by ourselves, our allies, or the Soviets could seriously impair the deterrent effectiveness of American power.
In this connection, it is interesting to reflect on the apparent immunity of the Soviets to the mystique of numbers during the period after World War II when the United States enjoyed a complete or near monopoly in nuclear weapons. Our advantage did not seem to overawe them in the slightest; it certainly did not prevent or appear to facilitate the termination of the Berlin blockade or the Korean War.
It has been claimed that our strategic superiority restrained Khrushchev in the course of the Cuba missile crisis, and in the end forced his capitulation. If so, I never sensed it at the time. Obviously, our strategic superiority did not deter him from initiating his rash venture in the first place. What caused his eventual retreat, as I interpreted the situation, was clear evidence that President Kennedy intended to use superior conventional forces to root out the strategic weapons in Cuba, even at the risk of war with the Soviet Union. Regardless of relative size, the strategic forces of the United States and the U.S.S.R. simply cancelled each other out as effectual instruments for influencing the outcome of the confrontation.
But perhaps American leaders at some future time might prove more susceptible than the Soviets to the numbers mystique if, in the meantime, we allow our totals to decline. If these men ever exhibited timidity in a serious crisis, such a show of weakness would indeed be damaging to our cause and would encourage increased Soviet aggressiveness. It would also undermine the confidence of our allies. So I feel bound to conclude that a really significant disparity in numbers of strategic weapons could be a destabilizing factor in our relations with the Soviets and our allies which might lead to an intensified arms race, result in indecisive crisis management, weaken our alliances, or even encourage Soviet consideration of a first strike.
Because of such possibilities, I attach great importance to obtaining a treaty from the current strategic arms limitation talks with the Russians (SALT II) which will put a damper on the strategic arms race and cause both parties to abandon the pursuit of strategic superiority as a national objective. However, I would not yield concessions which could make us appear to accept de facto inferiority in any significant sense.
In the absence of a treaty, it is entirely possible for us to pursue a rational unilateral course based upon the maximized deterrent capability of a strategic force of finite size with an adjustable safety factor. Such a force would seek to create a maximum impression of strength by all conceivable means-by its evident destructive capability, by the reliability of its components, by its comparative invulnerability to enemy action, and by the protection afforded American leaders and their communications. Having done everything possible to improve these aspects of the force, I would recommend abandoning all or most hedges against the failure of deterrence and applying the resources regained to more advantageous purposes.
The strategic retaliatory force itself would consist of a few hundred strategic weapons, mostly submarine-launched ballistic missiles, exploiting the multiple warhead principle to increase the number of warheads as desired. In addition, a small bomber force would be justified because of certain advantages which bombers have over missiles. They can be used for strategic reconnaissance; they can be recalled after launching toward a target and, by merely taking to the air, can convey a diplomatic warning to a potential enemy, as did our B-52s at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. Otherwise, the submarine is a preferable missile launcher for the present because of its relative invulnerability and its location off American soil.
The precise size of the force could be determined by agreement on the numbers to fill the blanks of a simple formula for sufficiency-the ability to put X number of strategic warheads on Y number of urban-industrial targets and Z number of military targets with a probability approaching unity. Y would be the number of cities which, if severely damaged, would cause the enemy government, industry, and society to cease to function as a national entity. Z would be a small number of military targets-missile sites, submarine facilities, air fields, communication centers and the like-which we might need to strike in retaliation for a small-scale nuclear attack on our military targets. X would be the total number of strategic warheads which, according to theoretical computations, would be required to cause the desired damage with the required probability. To the number X so derived, I would be willing to add a small factor of safety to cover uncertainties regarding missile reliability and weapons effects. After all, no strategic missile system has ever been tested from launch to warhead detonation. Also, the factor of safety could make some allowance for the psychological effect of numbers, if a concession on the point seemed justified.
Weapons comprise only one element of the strategic retaliatory force. Of equal importance, although often neglected in the past, is the protection of the command-and-control system linking the President and his essential advisers with the weapons which they control. Every promising means should be exploited to assure that the President can make his fateful decisions in comparative physical safety, with the best available information at his disposal and with multiple channels of protected communications to his field commanders. For these reasons, it is essential to provide the President with a secure command post in or very near Washington, preferably in an area defended by anti-ballistic missiles. Thus far, Congress has disapproved the construction of such an area in the vicinity of the capital.
There is a considerable saving in strategic weapons implicit in the strategic retaliatory force outlined. The weapons in excess of those required for this force, however, should be preserved for use as counters in the next phase of the SALT talks. There is no need to tell the world that we have decided that X warheads are all that are required for our security-knowing what we truly need, let us try to hold our peace and quietly negotiate down to that level as a part of a bilateral reduction in strategic forces. If such restraint is not possible, it might be well to announce the X level with a full explanation to our people for our rejection of numbers as the predominant measure of security and for our complete confidence in our limited force with maximized deterrence. Otherwise, we run the risk of talking ourselves into a sense of inferiority which can be almost as disastrous as the real thing. After all, both deterrence and security are largely states of mind.
Although there is ample reason to assert that strategic warfare, because of its suicidal, irrational character, should not be classed as a form of war, it is customary to distinguish between strategic nuclear war on the one hand and all lesser forms, that is, limited war, on the other. Limited war may range from major conflict on a global scale to minor military operations like the bloodless expedition to Lebanon in 1958. To deter or to deal with limited war is the business of the so-called general purpose forces comprising the divisions of the Army and Marines, tactical air forces based on land and sea, the carriers and antisubmarine forces of the Navy, and the long-range transport aircraft of the Air Force. The principal tasks of the general purpose forces are to provide overseas garrisons, to keep the sea lanes open, and to maintain a central reserve ready for quick reaction and deployment to any area of the world. But, again, the old question-how much is enough?
Over the years, military leaders have tried in a number of ways to answer that nagging question, but always with indifferent success. The starting point has usually been our promise to the NATO alliance to maintain a certain force level in Europe (presently four divisions and a fraction, plus tactical air support) and a balanced reinforcement of eight or more divisions in the United States ready for prompt dispatch to Europe in an emergency. But if we are to earmark such substantial forces for Europe, we must have something additional to cope with possible crises elsewhere. This reasoning has led to adopting as a force objective the ability to deal with the outbreak of one and a half or two and a half wars simultaneously, an unfortunate choice of terms because it creates an impression that the military are asking for enough forces in time of peace to be able to wage several wars at once. Actually, no military budget has ever contained funds consistent with such a force objective. In point of fact, the real objective over the years has been to meet our NATO commitment by some combination of regular and Reserve1 forces and hope still to have something left over for other contingencies outside the NATO area. In a pinch, of course, one could borrow forces from those earmarked for NATO.
Depending on the NATO obligation to justify the size of our general purpose forces has serious defects. There is widespread skepticism nowadays over the likelihood of a major attack on Western Europe and, hence, over the need for so large an American contingent to defend affluent allies who should be quite capable of looking after themselves. Some military leaders, recognizing the political importance of our NATO ties but anticipating shortages in funds and manpower in future budgets, doubt our continued capability to provide forces for Europe at present levels. Finally, there is always the possibility that one day the Congress may reduce our forces in Europe regardless of commitments, and disband those which return home. It will then be too late to suggest that we still need general purpose forces but for other reasons.
A wiser course would be to base the need for general purpose forces simply on the turbulent and disorderly world conditions which we may expect to encounter in the next decade. Any one of our allies-we still have more than 40-may get into trouble and invoke our help. We may become involved against our will in third-party quarrels, a possibility clearly demonstrated in the recent Arab-Israeli fighting in the Middle East. We may become embroiled in political upheavals to be expected in Third-World nations suffering from overpopulation, poverty, famine and bad government. As the leading affluent "have" power, we may expect to have to fight for our national valuables against envious "have-nots." Finally, we cannot ignore the possibility of an outbreak of hostilities between Russia and China with catastrophic consequences for both participants and bystanders.
In such a world, the United States must have power in many forms if our country is to play a stabilizing role in coöperation with other responsible powers. While our strategic forces help maintain the nuclear peace, we shall need flexible conventional forces to deal with minor forms of violence through the threat or application of discriminating force. Yes, but how much? That question remains unanswered.
A pragmatic answer would be to equate sufficiency to what we can afford-to the availability of funds and manpower. From the initial guidelines assumed, we know the ceilings set for both. We know what resources we have used up to provide for the strategic retaliatory force. Experience permits a fair estimate of the men and money to set aside for training, logistic support and administrative activities of the armed forces. After making deductions for these purposes, the remaining resources would fix the size of the general purpose forces and determine what must be enough, namely, the force which we can man and pay for.
How best to use the resources which would fall to the general purpose forces under this approach? I harbor certain extreme views on this subject, particularly with regard to the size of overseas forces, the need for an uncommitted central reserve, and the kind of mobilization consistent with the general-purpose-force mission envisaged.
In the first place, I share the common view that major limited war appears unlikely, at least during the next few years. Only a large industrial nation can wage such a war, and there are strong reasons why industrial nations should want to avoid doing so. They have a common fear of starting World War III and an apprehension over the domestic reaction to any prolonged conflict, even one which may receive popular support at the outset. Because of their growing interdependence, the industrial powers must take serious account of economic factors, particularly those affecting their sources and reserves of fuel, food, and raw materials. They are likely to favor the status quo in most parts of the world, an equilibrium which a major war would endanger. Such considerations afford reasonable grounds for giving major war a low probability rating in designing a security program, but not for removing it completely from the list of threats for which some provision should be made.
On the other hand, in the troubled world which I have postulated, minor wars are very probable, although unpredictable as to specifics. We shall need mobile, ready forces to deter or, in some cases, suppress such conflicts before they expand into something greater. This task is the primary justification for an uncommitted central reserve in the United States ready for presidential use as an instrument of national policy.
How to organize such a force and give it the qualities required for its mission? Our experience thus far with all-volunteer forces strongly suggests that we cannot raise and sustain all-volunteer forces of the size we might reasonably need, if we adhere to recruiting standards high enough to assure the necessary quality of personnel. Something will have to give-quantity, quality, or tasks to be performed. Like Gideon, I would much prefer quality to quantity, and hence, if we are not to revert to some form of peacetime conscription (highly unlikely at the moment), we must tailor our forces and missions to the number of fully qualified men whom we can recruit and retain in the military service.
Such reasoning leads me to look for ways to perform essential tasks with reduced manpower while cutting back or eliminating unremunerative missions. One step in this direction would be to lower unrealistic readiness criteria for our Reserve forces, notably for the Army National Guard and Army Reserve. In the past, we have striven to achieve a capability to mobilize and deploy Reserve units in a continuous stream on the heels of units of the regular establishment departing for action overseas. Even when we have had a draft to maintain the strength of the Reserves, we have never met such a standard despite the expenditure of much money and effort. We would do well to become more realistic about what can reasonably be expected from over-burdened part-time soldiers.
Another area in which to economize on manpower is one which I cite somewhat reluctantly for fear of being misunderstood-our forces in Western Europe. My reluctance stems from an appreciation of the importance of the timing of any such action in relation to the current negotiation with the U.S.S.R. for the purpose of obtaining mutual force reductions. As in the analogous case of strategic missiles in excess of our true needs, we should retain our forces in Europe at present levels for use in obtaining reciprocity from the Warsaw Pact.
However, when the political timing is right, there is strong military justification for reducing our present garrison in recognition of the impossibility under current conditions of conducting a prolonged conventional defense of Western Europe. This condition has existed since 1966 when General de Gaulle obliged us to roll up the 750-mile line of communications across France. Thereafter, we have had to concentrate our supply installations close behind our front in southern Germany, and revert to dependence on a supply line northward to Bremerhaven. This line lies east of the Rhine and parallels the front occupied by our troops, hence is highly vulnerable to any shallow Soviet penetration. One could take place in the northern sector manned by our allies without the necessity of a shot being exchanged with the American Seventh Army in the south. With the Bremerhaven line cut and without a communication zone in France to permit maneuver and resupply, our forces and their thousands of dependents would be in grave danger of defeat, capture or destruction. Hence, it makes military sense to reduce this hostage force to the smallest number consistent with the political needs of alliance solidarity.
But before making any irrevocable decision on any NATO force reduction, there is an alternative worthy of renewed consideration which is short of reversion to a bare trip-wire force backed by the threat of the use of strategic nuclear weapons. Such a defense, inconclusively debated over the years, would be based upon the prompt use of battlefield nuclear weapons of minimum yield without awaiting a palpable breakdown of a conventional defense. To give reality to the possibility of such a defense, it would be necessary to modernize the existing tactical nuclear stockpile; revise the NATO force structure, training and logistics; reposition many troop units; and obtain agreement on a reliable procedure for releasing low-yield weapons promptly for use by NATO commanders. As the alliance has never been capable in the past of such drastic actions, it is doubtful that these formidable obstacles can be overcome in the present environment. However, it would be worth reviewing the feasibility of this alternative, if it offers any chance of avoiding reversion to the sterile strategy of massive retaliation.
In addition to our NATO deployments, there is strong reason to review on occasion the justification for all troop deployments and bases overseas along with the political commitments from which they stem. While overseas troops and bases offer advantages in providing a stabilizing military presence in areas of strategic importance and in aiding our allies, they also have liabilities. In times of crisis, they may present us with a difficult choice among reinforcement, withdrawal, or acceptance of the risk of being overrun. If we seek to reduce them in quiet times, we must overcome violent protests from allies affected by the action. At any time, we may be exposed to blackmail or extortion from the owners of the foreign real estate-who may also prevent our use of the bases for purposes in which they do not concur. The recent conduct of some of our best NATO friends in impeding our arms shipments to Israel provides a case in point.
Regardless of their location, our deployments anywhere overseas represent a fixed commitment of strength to one region to the detriment of the central reserve available for global purposes. Any sound national security program must weigh these advantages and disadvantages and make timely modifications when conditions change.
The strength of the central reserve will be reduced not only by overseas deployments but by the manpower which must be allocated to the training, logistic, and administrative activities required to support the combat functions of the armed forces. In time of peace, such manpower is often regarded as "fat" to which the budget knife can be applied without compunction. Normally the danger is not that too much but that too little will be allocated to these support forces with a resulting imbalance detracting from combat effectiveness. As Army Chief of Staff, I once volunteered to a Secretary of Defense to support the reduction of the Army by one division if we could use the manpower to beef up the support units necessary to keep the other divisions combat-worthy. The offer was rejected, presumably for being politically unacceptable. As in the case of numbers of strategic weapons, there seems to be some special feeling of security and comfort derived from sheer numbers of divisions.
In organizing the central reserve, immediate readiness for action is essential. As the primary response available to the many minor conflicts which may affect our interests, such a force should be designed for movement overseas without having to await the mobilization of partially trained Reserve units-as is now the case. Further, it must be able to sustain itself in combat for several months without significant reinforcement from outside the regular establishment. Such realism in reducing dependence on the Reserves does not disturb me-it merely recognizes the facts of past experience.
Whatever else the recently enacted congressional War Powers Resolution may accomplish, doubt will certainly be encouraged as to the future ability of the United States to react promptly with military force. The Resolution raises the specter of prolonged congressional debates preventing any automaticity of reaction such as that now envisioned under the NATO treaty. While the existence of a central reserve with a modest capability for limited action without awaiting a draft or a call-up of Reserves would not dissipate all such doubts, it should produce some offsetting effect.
This discussion may suggest that I accept the current all-volunteer system as a permanent feature of the future military establishment. Under present circumstances, we must probably count on its continuation until it breaks down under combat conditions or a threat thereof. Casualty lists have a way of discouraging volunteers for the infantry and other branches of the military service which bear the brunt of battle losses. But even before such a crisis arrives, one may question today the wisdom of allocating more than half of the annual defense budget to military pay in order to avoid a peacetime draft which is little more than an unpopular inconvenience, only to revert to the draft in time of war. Then, not just the convenience of the drafted will be at stake but their very lives.
As I have intimated, these proposals for the central reserve, if accepted, would require readjustments in the mission, size, and structure of the Reserves, particularly those of the Army. Their mission in support of the regular establishment would become one of providing trained individuals and small units to reinforce the overseas troops and particularly the central reserve in the early months of mobilization and later to produce larger units toward the end of the first year of the emergency. Such units would constitute most of the forces available after some delay for waging major war, a contingency which we have rated unlikely but not impossible.
With its burden of combat readiness reduced, the Army National Guard could be given the important supplementary responsibility of maintaining for State purposes certain special units equipped and trained to cope with domestic disturbances. This is always an unpleasant duty but one far too important to be confided in a sudden emergency to troops unprepared for its exacting demands. If we are to avoid such incidents as the Kent State tragedy, we must have a few specialist units distributed throughout the State Guards to provide adequately trained military force to reinforce the civil power.
Thus far I have advanced certain proposals for a military establishment which could defend before the public the legitimacy of its claims for national support. It would comprise a strategic retaliatory force of finite size and maximum deterrent effectiveness; general-purpose forces stressing readiness for minor conflicts but with only a delayed capability for major war; and Reserve forces with their mission, size and structure adjusted to the other changes proposed. The total force would be supported in funds and manpower under broad guidelines expressed in terms of an annual percentage of the gross national product and of a manpower ceiling stated as a fixed figure or established by the number of acceptable volunteers.
The capabilities of such a force would be consonant with our likely initial needs for military force in the future environment as presently anticipated. Its structure is based on acceptance of the fact that strategic nuclear war must be deterred since it cannot be won. It recognizes the reduced likelihood of major war but the multiple possibilities for minor conflict. It acknowledges a responsibility for effecting economies and for withholding resources from projects of marginal utility.
This is not to suggest a cheap solution. One may be sure that in a period of growing Soviet nuclear and naval strength the Pentagon will find ample reason to use all of the annual "insurance premium" allotted to military purposes. The fact is that to be worth their keep, our military forces must emphasize and achieve excellence, a quality which comes high both in manpower and in equipment. But economies may be effected in a reduction in numbers and kinds of strategic weapons, in hedges against technological breakthrough, in overseas deployments, and in Reserve forces. Other savings are possible in ways not yet mentioned-in eliminating the "gold plate" from expensive, overly complex equipment and in reducing the costly overlap in service roles and missions. We still persist in maintaining two armies, four air forces, and two strategic retaliatory forces within our presumably unified military establishment. Not until the Armed Forces truly consolidate duplicating functions and pool high-cost equipment of infrequent use will it be possible to gain full acceptance of the legitimacy of military claims to national resources.
In bringing this discussion to a close, I must again refer to its incompleteness. We have dealt only with the military component of the problem of rationalizing and legitimizing claims of national security and have deliberately omitted extended consideration of nonmilitary threats and responses. These are omissions which must be accommodated in any comprehensive security program pretending to deal with all probable future dangers. In spite of the military orientation of this article, I for one am fully convinced that the most formidable threats to this nation are in the nonmilitary field.
One could hardly hope to find a better example of the seriousness of nonmilitary threats to national security than the present energy crisis. Our national valuables in many guises and over a wide span of our interests are endangered. On the domestic front, we may face retarded economic growth, higher costs of industrial production, new deficits in international payments, and increased inflation-all to the serious detriment of individual welfare and the quality of our national life.
On the international front, the oil situation will be an even greater disaster to our NATO allies, Japan, and many developing countries caught in the power play of the oil producers. Without prompt relief, the plight of the European and Japanese economies may bring about runaway inflation and a global recession which could easily involve us. A military consequence would be a further decline in the effectiveness of the NATO alliance and an added reason, the shortage of oil, to doubt the capability of NATO for prolonged self-defense.
For the U.S.S.R., the aggressive use of the oil weapon by the producer countries is a priceless asset, providing a peaceful and seemingly innocent means of undermining NATO and indeed the entire Western capitalist system without direct Soviet involvement. For the Kremlin, this must appear a thoroughly enjoyable economic war by proxy.
Contemplating such possibilities, one cannot deny that the oil issue affects American security in a vital sense in many ways. Yet, in spite of repeated warnings over the years, our government was caught largely by surprise, apparently without contingency plans to cope with it. While it may be overstatement to call it an economic Pearl Harbor, at a minimum our unpreparedness certainly demonstrates a lack of institutionalized responsibility in the executive branch for anticipating nonmilitary dangers and developing plans and programs to forestall them.
Hence, I would make a closing suggestion for dealing with this organizational deficiency. It is to create an expanded National Security Council charged with dealing with all forms of security threats, military and nonmilitary, and having access to all elements of government and to all relevant resources capable of contributing to this broad task.
Fortunately, the drafters of the National Security Act of 1947 seem to have anticipated this problem in the language defining the purpose of the National Security Council as being "to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies related to national security." In practice, however, the National Security Council has concerned itself almost exclusively with issues of foreign and military policy, paying only incidental attention to relevant domestic matters and almost none to environmental factors of such critical importance to our security as the population explosion. It has never attempted to establish relative priorities between domestic, foreign and military demands on national resources. With an appropriate expansion of membership to give representation to the domestic and environmental sectors and perhaps with a modification of title (I would prefer "National Policy Council"), the Council could be held to a more exacting compliance with its 1947 mandate. In this expanded form, the body could design a comprehensive national security program meeting criteria of rationality and legitimacy such as I have proposed for the military component.
Success in this comprehensive effort could accomplish many things. The expanded Council could afford a forum for expressions of concern over the primacy felt to be accorded foreign programs at the expense of the domestic. It could improve the integration process for blending military and nonmilitary components of national power and, in so doing, demonstrate the dependence of all forms of national policy on the same sources of national strength. In time we might succeed in correcting the misconception that national security is somehow the sole responsibility of the military, and in inducing its acceptance as a task for us all. If, in the end, this process brought forth a national security program which made clearly legitimate demands on national resources for obviously sound reasons, we would have accomplished much in restoring national security to its rightful place in the public esteem. We might also have provided a unifying purpose for a badly fragmented society.
1 In this article, Reserve (with a capital) refers to those reserve components outside the regular military establishment, such as the Army or Air National Guards, which may be called to active duty in an emergency.