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United States. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)

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Popular Documents

December 24, 1962

Talking Paper for the Chairman, JCS, for Discussion with the Deputy Secretary of Defense on 26 December [1962]: 'Planning Requirements Resulting from the Nassau Pact and the JUPITER Decision'

JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor was aware of Kennedy’s Jupiter decision, but it is not clear when the other Chiefs learned of the “closely held decisions.” This paper, approved by General Paul S. Emrick, director of Plans and Policy for the Joint Staff, gave an overall look at the “planning requirements” necessitated by the Jupiter decision and the recent Nassau conference between President Kennedy and UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. Among the issues presented by the withdrawal of the Jupiter missiles were retargeting requirements, Sergeant missiles for Italy, the number of Polaris submarines patrolling the Mediterranean and their basing, and the speeding up of F-104G deliveries to Turkey.

December 27, 1962

JCS Telegram 7947 to USCINCEUR [Commander-in-Chief European Command], CINCLANT [Commander-in-Chief Atlantic Command] and DSTP [Director Strategic Target Planning Staff], Offutt Air Force Base, Info for CINCSAC [Commander in Chief Strategic Air Command]

This urgent message “of the highest sensitivity” from the Joint Chiefs to top commanders began with a misrepresentation of President Kennedy’s decision: “serious consideration [is] being given to withdrawal of JUPITERS from Italy and Turkey.” The recipients—General Lyman Lemnitzer [CINCEUR], Admiral Robert Dennison [CINCLANT], and General Thomas Power [DSTP]—were to assume that Italy and Turkey had agreed to the decision, that withdrawal of the Jupiters would occur by April 1, 1963, and that Polaris submarines would be in the Mediterranean by that date. Both USCINCEUR and DSTP, who directed work on the SIOP, were to consider retargeting requirements once the Jupiters went offline. CINCLANT was to consider the feasibility of deploying one, two, or three submarines.

February 21, 1963

Memorandum from JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor to the Secretary of Defense, 'Deployment of POLARIS Submarines to the Mediterranean'

Consistent with the concerns about target coverage, the plan for Polaris patrols required the presence of at least one submarine in the Mediterranean. The overlapping patrols would begin when the U.S.S. Sam Houston entered the Mediterranean on March 28, followed by the U.S.S. John Marshall on April 10, and the U.S.S. Ethan Allen on 1 June. The Sam Houston could make a port call in Turkey, but the stopover had to occur when another submarine was in the Mediterranean. Taylor recommended the port of Glock as the site of a two-day visit, one day for a visit by officials and the second for a “daylight indoctrination cruise by designated observers.” The latter would be barred from sensitive “spaces” used for communications and nuclear propulsion.

February 9, 1963

Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense from Major General John M. Reynolds, Vice Director Joint Staff, 'Withdrawal of Jupiter Missiles'

The Joint Staff prepared a detailed and lengthy report in response to a request from the Defense Department’s Office of International Security Affairs for an “outline plan for withdrawal and complete disposition” of the Jupiter missiles. A number of options were considered and rejected, including other military uses, offering the Jupiters to other agencies as a space booster, storing the missiles, and destroying them “without reclamation.” As there was “no identifiable requirement for the missiles,” the most appropriate option was “promptly dismantling and removing [them] from operational launch site.” While the warheads should be speedily returned to the United States, other useful components could be reclaimed, and the rest could be salvaged. The process would prevent the loss of high value components that were still usable, such as rocket motors, fueling trailers, and electronic devices. Such an outcome required decisions on the final disposition of Jupiter assets.

January 21, 1963

Memorandum for the Record by Lt. Colonel R.B. Spilman, Assistant Secretary, 'Summary of Discussions by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Deputy Director, STPS [Strategic Target Planning Staff], Regarding Retargeting to Cover Withdrawal of JUPITER Missiles fr

The Joint Chiefs met with Admiral Roy L. Johnson, the deputy director of the Joint Strategic Targeting Planning Staff [JSTPS], to discuss how to cover the target gap left by the dismantling of 45 Jupiter missiles and also the gap that would be caused by the temporary absence of one Polaris submarine during its transit from Holy Loch (Scotland) to the Mediterranean. Johnson saw the missile shortage as one that would be of “decreasing significance after July 1963” when more ICBMs would be entering the nuclear arsenal. To complete retargeting of the previous Jupiter targets  would take 90 days while retargeting of the Polaris submarines, which involved “cutting new cards for the computers,” would take several months. Johnson reviewed in detail the problems involved in providing coverage of the previously targeted bomber bases, military control centers, and other targets.  

JCS Chairman Taylor emphasized the importance of assuring General Lemnitzer that retargeting would not injure NATO’s position and that the U.S. would retain the “present level of missile attacks” against Soviet missile and bomber bases that threatened NATO. Johnson made suggestions for “alternative criteria” to provide coverage of Soviet threat targets, while the Chiefs conveyed their criteria for retargeting, such as the same level of damage expectancy for the Jupiter targets.

Written on top of this document is the word “SIOP [Single Integrated Operational Plan]” because the targeting problems that the Chiefs were discussing with Admiral Johnson were integral to the U.S. nuclear war plan.