Post-Vietnam Military Posture Review

Ford 1974-1977

Soon after entering office, the Ford administration dealt with the military takeover of South Vietnam by the North in 1975. The US response, limited by statute, included emergency withdrawal of embassy personnel. In 1976, Ford directed a defense policy and military posture review. Jimmy Carterís election disrupted the review process. Timelines were accelerated in hopes of providing a valuable input to the transition team. Some reports were not completed, some were delivered in abbreviated form, and some remain classified.

         NSSM 246 directing defense policy and military posture review, 1976,09,02 Ford Library link, pdf

         To accomplish the strategy review, six task forces were established and lead agency assigned:

         Foreign Policy and Security Assistance (DOS)

         Intelligence/Threat (CIA)

         Fiscal/Economic (OMB)

         Strategic Forces (DOD)

         General Purpose Forces (DOD)

         Preparedness (NSC staff)

         Reports identified:

         Foreign Policy and Security Assistance, nothing found or identified.

         Threats to the US and its Allies, 1976,10, pdf. The referenced 401-page document remains classified, mandatory review requested 2016,05. Included here are the respective withdrawal slips. The title suggests that this is the threat report, however, it is possible that the withdrawal slips use the first title in the report. It is customary to put the threat assessment first in a large report, and this could be the final overarching report.

         International Situation and Defense Policy, no date (1976 estimated) pdf. This 35-page document has the feel of a final overarching product based on the individual task force reports.

         General Purpose Forces, draft, 1976,10,23 pdf. This 120-page document refers to Nixonís NSSM 3 of 1966,09,05 and the resulting NSDM 27 of 1969,10,11.

         Naval Forces, 1976,11,16 pdf, 95 pages.

         Final Strategy Task Force Report, 1976,11,22, pdf, all but the cover letter remains classified, mandatory review requested 2016,05. This could be the final output of the NSSM 246 study, or it could be that itís the report from the strategic [nuclear] forces task force.

         Preparedness report, mandatory review requested 2016,05.

         NSDM 348 response to NSSM 246, 1977,01,27 Ford Library link, pdf.


Return to Top of Page

Return to Home Page