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SEP 1 51959 Copy
MILITARY POSTURE BRIEFING
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES,
Washington, D.C., Monday, February 2, 1959. The committee met at 10 a.m., Hon. Carl Vinson, chairman, presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. Let the committee come to order.
Members of the committee, you will recall at the outset of our organization, we stated that the first order of business ordinarily is a briefing from the Department of Defense. But as the Secretary and General Twining were engaged before other committees, we proceeded to the consideration of the draft bill, which we concluded last Friday.
I want to state that I will appear before the Rules Committee in the morning at 10 o'clock to ask for a rule, and if the rule is granted, then it is the intention to call it up on the floor Wednesday.
So I hope all the members will be on hand Wednesday and participate in the debate. The report will be at your desk today. We are anxious to finish it Wednesday or Thursday. At the end of it there will be a rollcall vote.
Now, after discussion with some of my colleagues in the Department of Defense the method of our briefing, I have reached the decision that the proper way to commence it will be first to permit Secretary McElroy to present his views, publicly, and then we will go in executive session. Then we will have the views of General Twining. And then later on, we will go back in public session to question Secretary McElroy.
Now, with that understanding, we will proceed. Members of the committee, all of you know our distinguished Secretary of the Department of Defense, Mr. McElroy. It is a pleasure to have you here this morning. The committee welcomes this opportunity for you to present to the committee and the public your views with reference to our military posture, the defense of the Nation.
Now let the Secretary proceed without any interruption. Then after General Twining has finished his statement, we will go back and question the Secretary.
You may proceed, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary MCELROY. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I want to thank you first, Mr. Chairman, for that gracious introduction.
Also, before I begin my formal statement, I would like to express the appreciation of the Department for the expeditious action taken by this committee in approving and reporting out of committee a most important bill from our standpoint, the extension of the Selective Service Act.
Because of appearance before other committees of the Senate and of the House, I personally was not able to appear. I did, of course, send a letter which expressed my thorough agreement with the action that was being considered here.
But in my opinion, the committee has taken action in a way which should make it very clear to the country that this is of the great importance that we in the Department have considered it to be. And I congratulate the committee on this action.
Now with respect to this report, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. A year has passed since I first appeared before you to discuss matters pertaining to the Nation's defenses. It has been an active year. I believe that much has been accomplished. I am glad to be here again to present to you a review of where we stand today, some of the major steps which have been taken, and some of the problems that still face us.
In advance of our meeting this morning, Mr. Chairman, you were good enough to present us with certain questions which you would like to have answered in the course of these hearings. I shall try to cover these in my statement with the knowledge that you, of course, and other members of the committee may wish to go into them in considerably more detail later.
And I would emphasize that, Mr. Chairman, because there has been no attempt really to give completely comprehensive answers to all of these in my statement. I thought it would stretch it out too much.
I can tell you with confidence that this country not only remains strong but is increasing its defense capabilities. We are improving our forces; we are moving ahead faster than we had expected in many important areas such as the intercontinental ballistic missiles and Polaris; we are steadily building up the quality of the personnel required in our Armed Forces and achieving a better utilization of our manpower; we are stronger organizationally than we were a year ago. The basic policy of the Department of Defense continues to have the following principal elements:
1. We consider our first responsibility to be that of protecting the ability of this country to retaliate with large weapons in case of an outbreak of general war.
2. We consider as our second but equally pressing responsibility that of providing a capacity to apply military force promptly in various local conflict areas of the free world similar to Lebanon and Taiwan of the past year.
3. We seek these objectives without in any way overlooking the need of continental air defense and for maintenance of open sealanes. Let me discuss in some detail our program in each of these areas. First, our deterrent ability. Recognizing that manned bombers will continue to be an important element of our retaliatory forces for some years to come, the fiscal year 1960 budget includes funds for the procurement of additional B-52 heavy jet bombers, B-58 supersonic medium bombers, and the supporting KC-135 jet tankers. This will permit us to start replacing some of the older B-47 medium jet bombers.
Funds are included for an additional quantity of the Hound Dog air-to-ground missile which, used by the B-52, will permit the
bomber to stand hundreds of miles away from the target and deliver a weapon with very large destructive power. Provision is also made for the continued development of the B-70, a very high performance intercontinental jet bomber, and for the development of advanced penetration aids to be employed by the B-52 and B-58 as well as the B-70.
As I have indicated, the Atlas missile is moving ahead even faster than originally expected. It has successfully completed a full-range test and is well along in production. Construction has started on a number of launching sites and by the end of the current fiscal year the first few operational missiles will be in position in the hands of trained military personnel.
The development of the Titan, an advanced liquid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile, is proceeding on a high priority basis. Large scale testing of this missile has begun and work has already started on the design and engineering of the launching facilities.
Development work on a "second generation" solid propellant intercontinental ballistic missile, the Minuteman, is progressing rapidly and on the expanded scale proposed by the Congress last summer. One of the very promising elements in our retaliatory system in the future is, as you know, the Polaris system. The first five of the submarines equipped to fire the Polaris solid fuel ballistic missile are well along in construction and the contract has been awarded for a sixth Polaris submarine of a still more advanced design. We plan to start three more in 1960. Additional funds are included in the fiscal year 1960 budget for the advance procurement of long lead time components for 3 more Polaris submarines, making a total of 12. Actual construction of these latter three will be started in fiscal year 1961. This will give us a program of three Polaris submarines in each year 1958 through 1961, without prejudging the number of additional submarines needed thereafter.
Development of the missile, itself, and other elements of the system is moving forward on schedule. We anticipate the first firing of the first complete Polaris missile this summer, and expect to have the first fully operational Polaris submarine, at sea ready to fire, in the latter part of calendar year 1960. These submarines, each carrying a number of missiles, able to launch their weapons while surfaced or submerged, will constitute a most effective means of responding vigorously to an attack on this country, and will be very difficult for an enemy to keep track of.
I have already mentioned other elements in our deterrent capability. These include the intermediate range missiles based in allied countries, the first units of which have already been deployed to the United Kingdom with additional units planned for deployment within the next 18 months. They include also our carrier task forces, which carry medium range bomber type craft to provide a strategic weapon delivery capability to supplement their primary function associated with limited war situations. They include also the fighter bombers of the Air Force tactical command. With SAC as the present backbone, we have today a deterrent capability of impressive magnitude and will have for as far ahead as we can see.
The second essential element in our defenses is the ability to apply the necessary degree of force in limited war situations. We must
be able to move promptly to meet situations that arise in various parts of the world and which, if not handled with resolution and dispatch, can easily spread out and lead to major war. The fact that United States carrier aircraft were patrolling the Quemoy Straits within 24 hours of the time the Communist Chinese started shelling Quemoy last August in my opinion was a major factor in containing that situation. The same can be said with reference to our prompt response to the Lebanon crisis a month or so earlier.
The Army and Marines have demonstrated their readiness in limited war situations during the past year: on July 14, the President of Lebanon asked for United States help, and on July 15 the first battalion of Marines landed in Beirut. The combat-ready forces of the Army, the tactical arm of the Air Force and our highly flexible naval forces add to our confidence that we will be able to meet the kinds of limited war situations which are apt to face us.
In this year's budget, we have included a new aircraft carrier. This has important strategic uses, but as I have indicated, its primary function is to constitute a major factor in our limited war capability. As long as manned aircraft are important-and we believe this will be the situation for many years to come-these highly mobile platforms with their heavy complement of tactical aircraft have great importance as a means of moving our power to the scene of trouble. Essential to the strength of our limited forces and a particularly important element in our ability to meet local situations, are the forces of our allies. Our security program is based on such relationships as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the South East Asia Treaty Organization and our many bilateral agreements. With the assistance of American funds, equipment and know-how, and with the training and guidance afforded by American military personnel, many friendly nations around the world have been able to build forces which are now capable of meeting a local threat-a fact which often prevents trouble from materializing.
The rightness of this program of military assistance was demonstrated in the Taiwan situation, where the Nationalist Chinese were able to meet the Communist attack with their own forces, and win decisive victories in the air over planes with at least equal performance characteristics. Another example of the effectiveness of the military assistance program is Vietnam which a few years ago had practically no effective military forces of its own and today, with our help, has been able to achieve a significant strength with which to defend itself until additional help can be provided.
I recently visited a number of our allies in eastern and southeast Asia. I came back more convinced than ever that the dollars and the efforts we are spending on military assistance are as productive as any in our whole defense program, and are essential to our security. Our continental air defense was the third element I mentioned in our overall program. We recognize air defense as an important adjunct to the retaliatory capability which supports deterrence. We must make the enemy know that an attack on us would be costly to his attacking force and that he cannot obliterate our ability to retaliate.
Our capacity to defend ourselves against air attack-and this means aircraft attack- because I am sure this committee knows that we do
not at this time have any defense against missile attack, any effective defense except early warning.
Our capacity to defend ourselves against air attack has progressively increased. The growing effectiveness of our early warning radar coverage, including the seaward extensions, the use of automation for more effective control, and the improved capability of groundto-air and air-to-air missiles have all stepped up our strength in this area and will continue to do so. Bomarc has had a number of highly successful tests, including tests in which the target was knocked out of the air despite violent evasive action. Nike-Hercules has intercepted supersonic targets at extremely high altitudes and at varying ranges. Nike-Zeus, the antiballistic missile, is still in the research and development stage but the program is being supported to the full extent our present knowledge indicates is prudent. We cannot expect to counter an all-out attack so completely that no hostile weapons will penetrate, but our defenses are formidable and can be recognized as such by any potential attacker.
Here again I must be sure that this is clearly understood. That is the statement with respect to attack by aircraft. There is not, I say, again, in this country and so far as we know any place in the world, a defense against missiles. I am talking about ballistic missiles.
I have mentioned also maintenance of sealanes as a primary element in our defenses. This is of key importance if we are to support our own forces overseas and those of our allies especially in local war situations. Effective antisubmarine measures are required for the protection of the striking force, the mobile logistic support force, and the ocean convoy, and for defense of continental United States against missile-launching submarines. Good progress has been made in improving our capabilities in this area. New ASW ships and nuclearpowered attack submarines with greatly improved capabilities are joining the fleet. Personnel and ships have been assigned to the antisubmarine task forces and hunter-killer groups on a more permanent basis to increase their efficiency. Programs designed to improve techniques for detection and tracking of submarines have been stepped up and expanded. Research and development on new techniques and equipment have been intensified, including work on antisubmarine missiles, homing torpedoes, drone helicopters, and special aircraft for ASW use. The nuclear depth bomb is available now to our forces.
Eight destroyers will be extensively modernized in order to extend their useful life by an estimated 8 years. This program involves the modernization of armament and electronics equipment, and the rehabilitation of hull and machinery. It is part of a larger, long-range program to extend the useful life of World War II ships and it provides a partial answer to the problem of bloc obsolescence of the fleet. I would like really to call your attention to this particular item, because it is the beginning of a program which we will have included in succeeding years also. It has exactly what is described here, as its objective, which is to extend the useful life of certain of the elements of the fleet in the destroyer type, which if we did not apply this modernization program, would give us a serious bloc-obsolescence problem.
In all the phases of our military program, we are pushing forward our ability to wage nuclear war without losing sight of the need for