This volume covers an unhappy period in US as well as JCS history. As the Vietnam War turned into a bloody stalemate, the strategy of "close-in" containment for the Far East proved to be unbearably costly. After the Six Day War of 1967, the Middle East became increasingly polarized between East and West. NATO had to cope with France's secession from the integrated command. Across a broad range of issues, the Joint Chiefs of Staff found themselves at odds with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. They wanted to escalate sharply the air campaign against North Vietnam, preserve superiority in strategic nuclear capability, and restore a US-based reserve of conventional units being drained by Vietnam's demands. Many times, their recommendations were rejected by President Lyndon B. Johnson who accepted instead those of Secretary McNamara. Indeed, the sidelining of the Joint Chiefs of Staff emerges as the dominant theme of this volume.
The Vietnam War dominated and ultimately consumed Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency. In March 1964, President Johnson set the objective of preserving an independent, non-communist South Vietnam.1 But as 1965 opened, communist forces—Viet Cong guerrillas supported by North Vietnamese soldiers—were close to victory. During March, the United States started a systematic bombing campaign against the North and began committing large ground forces in the South. Defeat was averted, but steady escalation followed as the communists persevered. By 1968, there were 549,500 US military personnel in South Vietnam.
Vietnam's Impact * 2. Strategic Nuclear Forces: The End of US Superiority * 3. Losing the ABM Debate * 4. The Overstretching of Conventional Capabilities * 5. Arms Control Inches Forward * 6. NATO: Surviving Challenges from Within * 7. NATO'S Flexible Response: Reality or Mirage? * 8. Phasing Out the Military Assistance Program * 9. Latin America: The Instruments of Influence * 10. Upheaval in the Middle East * 11. Africa: Avoiding Direct Intervention * 12. South Asia: US Influence Shrinks * 13. The Far East: The Climax of Containment
Overview: Vietnam's Impact * Reputations Tarnish * Decisionmaking Mechanisms Become Muddled * The PPBS under Stress * The "Two-War" Strategy vs. Diminishing Resources * 2. Strategic Nuclear Forces: The End of US Superiority * Force Planning in 1965 * Force Planning in 1966 * Refining the SIOP * Force Planning in 1967 * Force Planning in 1968 Perspectives * 3. Losing the ABM Debate * Force Planning in 1965 * Force Planning in 1966 * Force Planning In 1967 * Force Planning in 1968 * Aftermath * 4. The Overstretching of Conventional Capabilities * Force Planning in 1965: Losing the Slack * Force Planning in 1966: Tautness * Force Planning in 1967: Fraying Faster * Force Planning in 1968: The Snap * Afterthoughts * Appendix: Forces in Being * 5. Arms Control Inches Forward * Killing the Comprehensive and Threshold Test Bans * Fissionable Material Production: No Cutoff * Signing an Outer Space Treaty * Negotiating a Non-Proliferation Treaty * SALT: Hopes Raised and Blighted * A Qualified Conclusion * 6. NATO: Surviving Challenges from Within * Coping with France's Secession * Re-Cementing the German Connection * Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus * 7. NATO'S Flexible Response: Reality or Mirage? * Cross Currents * The Evolution of MC 14/3 * Conventional Capabilities Start to Dwindle * Until Czechoslovakia Compels a Turnabout * 8. Phasing Out the Military Assistance Program * The FY 1966 Program * The FY 1967 Program * The FY 1968 Program * The FY 1969 Program * Preparing the FY 1970 Program * Conclusion * 9. Latin America: The Instruments of Influence * The Dominican Imbroglio * A Political Quagmire? * Internationalizing the Occupation * Resolution and Extrication * Panama: Toward a New Canal Treaty * Aircraft Sales: Pro and Con * 10. Upheaval in the Middle East * Israel and Jordan: An Unattainable "Balance" * Countdown * The Six Day War