History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, V. VIII. An official publication of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it describes the JCS activities during the period 1961-1964 except for activities related to Indochina which are covered in a separate series.
More than a mere historical text, this provides a fascinating inside look at the Joint Chiefs' participation and point-of-view in dealing with the following foreign crises from the U.S.S.R. to the Caribbean to Asia -- and working with the Kennedy and Johnson presidential administrations:
- Soviet ICBM and MRBM missile gap, arms race with the Soviet Union, nuclear testing, the strategic nuclear delivery vehicle (SNDV) freeze, and the creation of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA);
- Berlin Wall construction;
- Strife in Laos;
- Failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the Cuban Missile Crisis;
- Expansion of the role of NATO;
- Support for Israel, Saudi Regime and Shah of Iran;
- Trouble in the Congo;
- Sino-Indian Border War and more.
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- Defense Dept., Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of Joint History
- Poole, Walter S.
- 2011: 394 p.; ill.
- On Spine: VIII.
- Key Phrases:
- History of the Joint Chiefs of StaffJoint Chiefs of Staff and National PolicyMilitary History
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- 2.5 lb.
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A preface by the author, Dr. Walter Poole:
Throughout the early 1960s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) confronted a series of crises that touched nearly every part of the globe. Cuba, Berlin, the Congo, Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia, Laos, and South Vietnam all became areas of confrontation. The worldwide scope of these challenges created, among US policymakers, a mindset in which failure anywhere would have repercussions everywhere.
What most concerned the JCS was an apparent erosion of US credibility that emboldened communist leaders to pursue more adventurous policies. President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara pursued what they conceived as more flexible approaches to strategy and crisis management.
The JCS, however, worried that civilian leaders might lack the determination to do whatever became necessary to achieve success. McNamara's managerial reforms, which centralized decision-making in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, added to the friction in civil-military relations.
During 1961-1962, relations between the JCS and their civilian superiors were often awkward and even confrontational. A failure in communications contributed to the Bay of Pigs debacle. The appointment of General Maxwell D. Taylor as Chairman, in October 1962, ameliorated the situation. Taylor expressed deep regard for McNamara, which the Secretary reciprocated. From the civilians' perspective, Taylor's main achievements lay in controlling the Service Chiefs during the missile crisis and securing their support for the Limited Test Ban Treaty. Yet that improvement proved temporary and personal, not institutional and permanent.
This volume is the first in this series to have benefitted from meetings during the middle and later 1970s between the author and some of the Chiefs whom he describes, including Admiral Arleigh Burke, Admiral George Anderson, General Maxwell D. Taylor, and General Lyman Lemnitzer, Chairman during 1960-1962.