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November 9, 1962: Low-level photograph of 6 Frog (Luna) missile transporters under a tree at a military camp near Remedios. U.S. photo analysts first spotted these tactical nuclear-capable missiles on October 25, but only in 1992 did U.S. policymakers learn that nuclear warheads for the Lunas were already in Cuba in October 1962.

Source: Dino A. Brugioni collection, The National Security Archive.

The Pentagon during the Cuban Missile Crisis

Part I. New Documents

 


Graphic from Military History Quarterly of the U.S. invasion plan, 1962.

"President Kennedy visits Vandenberg AFB [Air Force Base], Calif. At his left is Gen. Thomas S. Power, Commander of the Strategic Air Command. At left is Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, and in right background is Lt. Gen. Howell M. Estes." As SAC commander-in-chief, Power implemented instructions from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to put his forces on "maximum readiness." Estes was deputy commander for aerospace systems, Air Force Systems Command (AFSC), in Los Angeles, California . Behind McNamara is Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown.

Source: National Archives, Still Pictures Branch, Record Group 342-B, box 571

The Joint Chiefs of Staff During the Final Phases of the Missile Crisis: "Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in session at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., November 19, 1962. Left to right: General Earle G. Wheeler, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; General Curtis E. LeMay, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force; General Maxwell D. Taylor, USA, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Admiral George W. Anderson, Jr. Chief of Naval Operations; and General David. W. Shoup, Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps." Anderson would not be CNO much longer because of his resistance to Secretary of Defense McNamara's directives on the conduct of naval operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Source: National Archives, Still Pictures Branch, Record Group 342-B, box 571

Soviet surface-to-air missile site near Havana, in the characteristic star-shaped deployment pattern. This photograph was taken during the 29 August 1962 U-2 flight. The discovery of the SAM sites escalated concern in Washington about the nature of the Soviet military build-up.

Source: National Archives, Still Pictures Branch, Record Group 342-B, box 1402

San Julian Airfield, site of one of the deployments of IL-28 (Beagle) bombers, as they were still being unpacked from shipping crates. This photograph was taken during the 14 October 1962 U-2 flight (misdated on photo as 15 October).

Source: National Archives, Still Pictures Branch, Record Group 342-B, box 571

Washington, DC, October 16, 2012 – Fifty years after President Kennedy considered invading Cuba to take out Soviet missiles during the Cuban Missile Crisis, newly declassified Pentagon documents published today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) describe the potentially catastrophic risks of the invasion including 18,500 American casualties in the first 10 days, even without any nuclear explosions.

U.S. intelligence had detected at least one nuclear-capable short-range nuclear weapon launcher (the Luna/Frog) with the Soviet troops in Cuba, so Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Maxwell Taylor told President Kennedy - in a crucial November 2, 1962 memorandum published here for the first time - that U.S. invasion plans were "adequate and feasible" as long as no battlefield nuclear weapons came into play. If the Cubans were "foolhardy" enough to use nuclear weapons against the invasion, U.S. forces would "respond at once in overwhelming nuclear force against military targets." Taylor cautioned, "If atomic weapons were used, there is no experience factor upon which to base an estimate of casualties. Certainly we might expect to lose very heavily at the outset if caught by surprise, but our retaliation would be rapid and devastating and thus would bring to a sudden close the period of heavy losses."

Taylor's memo came in a tense period when U.S. generals pressed for an invasion, based on their skepticism about the October 28, 1962 announcement by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that he would withdraw the ballistic missiles in Cuba. Decades later, Soviet evidence would reveal nearly 100 tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba that the U.S. never identified, including cruise missiles 15 miles from the U.S. base at Guantanamo.

Luckily, U.S. and Soviets capabilities were never put to the horrible test that Taylor described. Many of the "military targets" that Taylor had in mind were located in western Cuba, e.g., IL-28s were at San Julian, so apart from the death and destruction that nuclear detonations would have caused to local populations, prevailing winds (to the northeast) could have brought radioactive fall-out to Havana and further to the Florida coast.

The Taylor memorandum is one item in a compilation of documents focusing on the role of the Pentagon during the missile crisis and drawing upon material recently released by the National Archives, some of it only months ago. A related compilation, "The Pentagon Day-by-Day during the Missile Crisis," including chronologies, personal notes, office calendars and diaries, will be part II of National Security Archive's special collection of Defense Department material. Today's publication shows top level policymakers, including President Kennedy, asking Defense Department officials for information and the latter preparing proposals, plans, and reports to support policymakers in the National Security Council's Executive Committee (ExCom), as they deliberated over how to induce Moscow to withdraw nuclear missiles and bombers from Cuba. The compilation also includes Joint Staff and Air Force contingency plans as well as material prepared by other agencies which surfaced in Pentagon files.

Another item in today's publication provides cost estimates of the missile crisis prepared in response to request made by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Several months after he asked Pentagon Comptroller, Charles Hitch, for cost figures, Hitch provided a preliminary answer: the missile crisis cost at least 165 million dollars [FY 1963 dollars], with some spending that was still unaccounted. In current FY2013 dollars, adjusting for changes in price levels since 1962, the cost of the missile crisis for the Defense Department was in the range of $1.43 billion.

The Taylor memorandum, the Hitch report and other documents in today's publication are from formerly classified collections of the records of the U.S. Air Force, records of the Secretary of Defense, and the files of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Maxwell Taylor. Documents from these collections shed light on the role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Staff planners, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and other government agencies in the preparation of contingency plans, strategic readiness measures, and intelligence assessments. Among the disclosures:

  • "Deceptive" activities taken by the U.S. military before the crisis to signal to Cuban and Soviet intelligence U.S. "intent either deceptive or real" to take military action. [See Document 40B]
  • Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay's proposal to General Taylor for actions by the Strategic Air Command, including airborne alert and "maximum readiness posture", which SAC translated into Defcon 2, the readiness level just before nuclear war [See Document 6].
  • Proposals to escalate the blockade against Cuba, in the event that negotiations with Moscow over the missile deployments did not work, with measures including expanding the contraband list, changing the location of ship intercepts to a few miles off Cuba, and changing blockade procedures (e.g., forbidding "submerged operations") [See Document 10].
  • JCS Chairman Taylor's memo to President Kennedy and Secretary of Defense McNamara on 27 October 1962, hours before a diplomatic settlement was reached, proposing air strikes and an invasion of Cuba [See Document 17].
  • "Operation Raincoat"-the code name for air strikes against Soviet missile sites if diplomacy failed [See Document 18].
  • "Operation Hot Plate"-- the U.S. Air Force contingency plan to attack the Soviet IL-28 bombers deployed in Cuba in the event that diplomacy failed [See Document 29].
  • An Air Force proposal to put Cuban military "installations" on the target list as an option for nuclear attack in the Single Integrated Operational Plan [See Document 36].
  • A Defense Intelligence Agency estimate suggesting that Soviet forces in Cuba had a "possible nuclear capability." [See Document 34]
  • A series of proposals by the Joint Chiefs and senior Pentagon officials to use the IL-28 crisis as leverage to induce a withdrawal of Soviet forces from Cuba.

Some of the items in this collection convey the hard-line thinking of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff and the corresponding military options that they preferred. A prime example is the Joint Chiefs proposal on 27 October 1962 for presidential approval of plans for air strike against the Soviet missile sites and an invasion of Cuba. Those plans were an option for the White House if diplomacy failed to induce the Soviet leadership to dismantle the missile bases, but the members of NSC Executive Committee [ExCom] were highly familiar with the JCS thinking to the point that they could joke about the latest iteration. Thus, according to the taped record of the 27 October ExCom meeting, after Taylor made a pitch for the JCS recommendation, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy teasingly said, "Well, I'm surprised!" President Kennedy was not interested in engaging with Taylor on the invasion plans, and probably found the brief for an invasion irrelevant when he was trying to think through a diplomatic settlement involving a non-invasion pledge and a trade of the Jupiter missiles. [1]

Central elements of U.S. government policymaking, diplomatic activities, and military operations during the Missile Crisis are in the public record, including the uniquely important tapes of White House ExCom meetings. For the U.S. side key documents on Missile Crisis diplomacy and high-level policymaking have been published, [2] but some important collections remain classified that may shed light on more of the story. A major State Department collection remains closed at the National Archives as do hundreds of documents in a Secretary of Defense collection, "Sensitive Records on Cuba." The U.S. Air Force's operational files on the missile crisis are also classified (except for a few documents, some of which are included here). Beginning in 2008, the National Security Archive filed declassification requests for Air Force histories of the crisis, but those requests have yet to be fulfilled.

The U.S. Navy's Operational Archive has made important material available [3], but important Navy records have possibly been destroyed (e.g., intelligence summaries) or remain classified, such as "Blue Flag" messages between flag officers during the crisis. In the past, the Defense Intelligence Agency has declassified some documents relating to the missile crisis, but the newly released items in this collection may be the tip of the iceberg. As for National Security Agency operations during the crisis, much remains to be learned, for example, of the intelligence "take" collected by the U.S.S. Oxford stationed off Cuba during and after the crisis. It may take quite a few more Cuban Missile Crisis anniversaries before a fuller record of the events is in the declassified public record.


THE DOCUMENTS

 

Section I: Before the Crisis

 

Document 1: Kennedy Wants Model SAM Site

Memo from President Kennedy to Secretary of Defense McNamara, 21 September 1962, Top Secret

Source: National Archives, Record Group 330 (Office of Secretary of Defense, "Sensitive Records on Cuba, The Cuban Missile Crisis," (hereinafter cited as RG 330, Sensitive Records), box 5, 381 22 October thru 29 October

Three weeks earlier, on 29 August 1962, a U-2 flight over Cuba had detected the presence of a Soviet surface-to-air missile site; another flight on 5 September detected more SAM sites. This would be the last U-2 flight over western Cuba until 14 October 1962. With the new intelligence about air defenses in Cuba, the Joint Chiefs of Staff started to contemplate what it would take to destroy them if so ordered. Having heard that the Chiefs were divided about U.S. aircraft losses in such a contingency, President Kennedy asked Secretary of Defense McNamara to look into the possibility of constructing a model surface-to-air missile site as well as to ensure that Cuban contingency plans were up-to-date. [4]

 

Document 2: McNamara Ready for Overflights

Memo for the Record from Julian J. Ewell, Executive to JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor to the Director of the Joint Staff, 6 October 1962, Top Secret

Source: National Archives, Record Group 218 (Joint Chiefs of Staff), Records of Chairman Maxwell Taylor (hereinafter cited as Taylor File), box 6, October 1962

With growing suspicion over Soviet military activity, McNamara supported the resumption of U-2 flights over Cuban territory, which had been suspended since early September. He sought the views of the Joint Staff on a proposed U.S. statement that the US was watching the arms build-up in Cuba and will overfly in order to check on the build-up.[5]

 

Section II: The Crisis

 

Document 3: Pulling Plans Together

Memo from Col. Julian Ewell, Assistant to JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor, to Taylor, 17 October 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, October 1962

After the discovery of the Soviet missiles, October 14-15, the ExCom began to consider policy alternatives and the Joint Chiefs of Staff reviewed its own policy preferences. Taylor's assistant Col. Julian Ewell (later a highly controversial Vietnam War commander) reviewed miscellaneous cables on Cuba and identified a number of areas where more thinking was needed, including blockade plans, rules of engagement, and reaction times for establishing a blockade and reinforcing Guantanamo.

 

Documents 4A-B: Where the Soviets May React

A. Memo from J.S. Holtoner, David W. Gray, and JC. Wylie, Joint Strategic Survey Council, to JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor, "Prospective Soviet Responses to US Action," 17 October 1962, Top Secret

B. Memo from J.S. Holtoner, David W. Gray, and JC. Wylie, Joint Strategic Survey Council, to JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor, "Prospective Soviet Responses to US Action," 17 October 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, October 1962

The Joint Strategic Survey Council, an advisory group to the Joint Chiefs, reviewed possible Soviet reactions if the US were to take direct military action against Cuba. Questioning whether the USSR would start a general war in defense of Cuba, the Council concluded that the Soviets would not do so because they could not successfully launch a surprise attack and lack vital interests in the region. The Council also considered other possible Soviet reactions, including action in Turkey, Berlin, Korea, at sea, and Iran. For example, while key members of the ExCom such as McNamara and Gilpatric were concerned about a possible Soviet attack on the Jupiters in Turkey in retaliation for a U.S. attack on missile sites in Cuba, the Council tended to rule it out because it would "involve NATO" and therefore a possible cause for general war.

In an amended conclusion to their paper, the Council concluded that Soviet military reaction would be limited to small-scale actions at sea, in Iran, or a possible "IRBM accident" on Johnston Island, while Berlin reaction would be "short of direct military seizure."

 

Document 5: Use of "Minimum Force" by the Blockade

Memorandum from Capt. William D. Houser to General Maxwell Taylor, 19 October 1962, Top Secret

Source: RG 330, Sensitive Records, box 1, 381 1962 (20-25 Oct '62)

Late in the afternoon of 19 October, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and ExCom member, Roswell Gilpatric called one of his military aides, Captain Houser, with a list of issues for the Joint Chiefs to explore, including possible riot control assistance to Latin American governments, blockade procedures, the problem of "unidentified submarines," whether aircraft should be blockaded, and the possibility that the anti-Castro group Alpha 66 might get involved and make the blockade tougher than the Kennedy administration wanted. Blockade protocol was of special interest to Gilpatric, who wanted to ensure that "minimum force" was involved, with no ships sunk "unless absolutely necessary."

 

Document 6: SAC Actions

Memo from Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay to JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor, "Additional Decisions," 22 October 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, October 1962

For years, it has been well known that the Strategic Air Command took unparalleled alert measures during the missile crisis, including putting nuclear forces on Defcon 2 and one-eighth airborne alert. But the decision-making process that brought SAC into the mix has been obscure. This memorandum from Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay, formerly Commander-in-Chief Strategic Air Command (CINCSAC) shows LeMay taking the initiative by suggesting to Chairman Taylor actions that SAC and the Continental Air Defense Command could take as a deterrent to Soviet military action: airborne alert, "maximum readiness posture," dispersal of B-47 bombers and air defense forces, and Defcon 3 worldwide for U.S. military forces. Taylor checked "OK" next to the recommendations except for the one suggesting "maximum readiness posture" to be reached by 12 noon on 23 October. Next to that item, Taylor wrote that it be reached when the blockade went into effect, which is when CINCSAC Thomas Power put into effect the DEFCON 2 posture, the first and only Defcon 2 during the Cold War.[6]

 

Document 7: Quarantine Guidelines

Memo for the Deputy Secretary of Defense from Vice Admiral Herbert D. Riley, Director Joint Staff, "Rules of Engagement," 22 October 1962, Top Secret, excised copy

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

On the late afternoon of 21 October, Deputy Secretary Gilpatric asked the Joint Staff for basic information on rules of engagement for a blockade, attacks on armed merchant shipping, defense of the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, and attacks on U.S. surveillance aircraft. At 7:20 a.m., the next morning, Joint Staff director Admiral Riley provided the material (See Day-by-Day, Documents 8B and 9C). As it turned out the most controversial feature of this paper were the standard Navy rules for implementing a quarantine, which gave discretion to local commanders to use force to compel an intercepted ship to cooperate and submit to a search. With President Kennedy and his advisers concerned about an incident at sea and the risk of further escalation, they played a significant role overseeing the quarantine to ensure that the Soviets had maximum time to react to it and to prevent premature boarding of Soviet ships before civilian authorities in Washington had been consulted. [7]

 

Document 8: Generation of SAC Forces

JCS cable 6917 to CINCSAC, 23 October 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, October 1962

Following up on LeMay's memorandum and Taylor's approval, the JCS directed the Strategic Air Command to initiate the generation of SAC forces at 1400 hours the next day. It noted that the JCS "A" Hour worldwide for all military operations has not been established, and that the message only related to SAC action.

 

Document 9: Avoid Extreme Reaction in Southeast U.S.

CINCNORAD cable 24328Z to JCS, 24 October 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, October 1962

In a personal message to Taylor, NORAD Commander-in-Chief General John K. Gerhart outlined his thoughts on civil defense in the Southeastern U.S. While believing that the region should be alerted to the military build-up, explaining that it was to deter an attack from Cuba. Nevertheless, the situation did not require extreme action such as evacuation or blackout not least because it would cause "violent" protests from "civic and business interests."

 

Document 10: Proposals to Escalate the Blockade

"Blockade Measures," n.d. [25 October 1962], Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

Mid-day during 25 October, McNamara and Gilpatric asked Admiral William Lee and their military aide Captain Houser to prepare a plan of measures to "escalate the limited blockade." They wanted the information on an "urgent" basis so McNamara could use it in an ExCom meeting later in the day; therefore, after three "furious" hours of work, Lee and Houser presented it to McNamara, Gilpatric, Taylor, and Nitze. With the Soviets continuing to develop their "capabilities" on Cuba, the concern was that the situation would become "static" unless the U.S. took "intensifying measures," such as expanding the contraband list, changing the location of intercepts (e.g., a few miles off Cuba), or changing blockade procedures (e.g, forbidding "submerged operations").

 

Document 11: Continued Work at Missile Sites

Memo from Lt. General Joseph F. Carroll, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, to Vice Admiral Riley, 25 October 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, October 1962

Citing photographic intelligence, Carroll described evidence showing that the Soviets were continuing work on MRBM and IRBM sites as of 23 October.

 

Document 12: The "Strategic Threat"

William Kaufmann memorandum, Annex 2, "Cuba and the Strategic Threat," 25 October 1962, Top Secret

Source: RG 330, Sensitive Records on Cuba, box 2, Cuba Volume II

MIT political scientist and RAND analyst William Kaufmann worked as a consultant to the Office of Secretary of Defense for many years. Earlier, he had worked with McNamara in developing the "no cities/counterforce" concept that had influenced famous speeches in Ann Arbor and Athens earlier in the year. In this memorandum, part of a larger, unidentified report, he provided a dark view of the strategic balance in the event that the Soviet missile deployments stayed in place. Treating the prospective Soviet force of IRBMs and MRBMs as a threat to missile and bomber bases in the United States, he concluded that a successful Soviet attack would reduce by 12 percent U.S. delivery vehicles and by 20 percent U.S. nuclear weapons. This would necessitate early use of Polaris missiles, which could not be held in "reserve" for possible strikes against "high priority Task I targets," presumably unprotected "soft" military targets, in the Soviet Union.

 

Document 13: What Reconnaissance Pilots "Actually See"

Memo for from JCS Chairman Taylor to Joint Staff Director Herbert D. Riley, 26 October 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, October 1962

Noting the President's interest in what Navy reconnaissance pilots flying over missile sites would "actually see," Taylor asked for post-mission interrogations of pilots flying the low-level missions.

 

Document 14: Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations

Deputy Assistant Secretary Nils A. Lennartson to Deputy Secretary Gilpatric, 26 October 1962, enclosing untitled paper, Secret

Source: Sensitive Records, Box 5, Cuba 381/22 October thru 29 Oct

The U.S. effort to track Soviet submarines in the Caribbean waters was a central element of the crisis, although kept largely secret at the time. This description of the Essex's anti-submarine warfare (ASW) activities was probably not used at a press briefing on 27 October, because information on these operations did not reach the press until mid-November. Then, on 13 November 1962, The New York Times's Tad Szulc reported that the U.S. Navy had forced Soviet submarines to the surface; he had not learned how this came about, although he did mention the possible use of depth charges without "destructive power may have been employed as a warning device." AP writer Fred Hoffman reported several days later that several submarines that had been tracked surfaced "to recharge their batteries." According one of Hoffman's sources, "We ran them until they had to surface." [8] No one knew at the time that the submarines were armed with nuclear torpedoes and that the use of practice depth charges caused a near crisis on 27 October 1962 when the commander of submarine B-59, Captain Vitali Savitski, came very close to using one of the torpedoes because he believed that he was under attack. At that moment, the practice depth charges (hand grenades) sounded far more destructive than civilians at the Pentagon may have realized. [9]

 

Document 15: Possible Reactions to Air Strikes

Memo from Sherman Kent, Chairman, Board of National Estimates to CIA Director John McCone, "Reactions to US Air Strike Against Strategic Missile Bases MIG-21s and IL-28s," 27 October 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, October 1962

Sherman Kent was the author of the notorious estimate from a few weeks earlier that rejected the idea that the Soviets would deploy missiles in Cuba. In this estimate, he outlined the likely reactions by various state actors to a US air strike against the missile sites in Cuba. Believing that the Soviets anticipated a strike, he argued that they wanted to avoid having to respond preferring a negotiated solution; if they did respond, they would likely do it in a way that avoided "risks of escalation." Fidel Castro, however, would want to react strongly and the Soviets would find it difficult to stop him from taking local action (e.g., use of air defense forces).

 

Documents 16A-B: Psychological Warfare

A. Briefing Sheet for the Chairman, JCS, On a Report to be Considered at JCS Meeting, Saturday, " SACSA-M 610-62-Psychological Leaflet Campaign to Accompany Cuban Surveillance Program (C)," 27 October 1962, Confidential

B. Leaflet for "Bugle Call," n.d.

Source: RG 330, Sensitive Records on Cuba, box 1, JCS Documents re Cuba '62

The JCS Chairman's Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities had developed a plan, "Bugle Call," to wage psychological warfare in Cuba by dropping hundreds of thousands of copies of a leaflet designed to sway popular sentiment against the Castro government. President Kennedy had approved the proposal on 26 October and the SACSA had developed a detailed plan including "benefits and hazards." While the SACSA recommended support for the plan, it did not go ahead; with the U-2 shoot-down, it was too risky to fly leaflet-dropping planes over Cuba. [10]

 

Document 17: Joint Chiefs Recommendations to Use Force

Memorandum from JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor to the President thru the Secretary of Defense, "Recommendations for Execution of CINCLANT OPLANS 312 and 316," n.d. [27 October 1962], no classification marking

Source: RG 330, Sensitive Records on Cuba, box 1, Black Book-4th Drawer

On the late afternoon of 27 October, while the ExCom was debating the options for a settlement, including the possibility of a trade involving the Jupiter missiles, JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor reported that the Chiefs had met and recommended air strikes [OPLAN 312] and an invasion of Cuba [OPLAN 316]. This is the formal paper recommending military actions. [11]

 

Document 18: Operation Raincoat

Memo from Major General Paul S. Emrick, Director for Plans and Policy, Joint Staff, to Director, Joint Staff, "Checklist of Operation Raincoat," 29 October 1962, enclosing "State Department Draft, Operation Raincoat," 27 October 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, October 1962

As Kennedy and his advisers were negotiating a settlement of the crisis with Soviets, State Department and Pentagon planners were looking at one of the worst case options, an air strike against Soviet missile sites in Cuba--code-named "Operation Raincoat"--in the event that diplomacy failed. As Emrick noted in his cover memorandum two days later, the plan had been overtaken by events; if it had gone forward, however, the authors of the "Checklist" had prepared a detailed checklist of actions aimed at consultations with NATO and other allies so Washington could avoid charges of "unilateral recklessness" if an airstrike went forward.

 

Document 19: DIA on Soviet Strategy and Military Deployments

Memo from DIA Director General Joseph Carroll to Secretary of Defense et al., "Current Indications and Implications of Military Capabilities in Cuba," 29 October 1962, study with same title attached, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

Analyzing the Soviet military build-up in Cuba, this DIA report discussed Moscow's rationale for establishing an "offensive base" in Cuba, and Soviet miscalculations in assuming that Washington would not detect the deployment or react quickly to them. The drafters of the report held back in offering an interpretation of the Soviet buildup and missile deployments, but believed that the Soviet leadership made their decision to move forward "not later than March of this year." Differing from Secretary McNamara, who saw the missile deployments as more of a political problem, according to DIA, they represented a "significant addition to the total strategic threat" in part because they increased "by about 50 percent the present megaton yield which the Soviets could lay on United States targets."
Also, according to DIA, without U.S. pressure, the Soviets would "stall" in dismantling the missile and IL-28 bases. The report included data on Soviet military deployments, both conventional and nuclear. It indicated that two more nuclear warhead bunkers for the MRBMs had been detected, and further noted the presence of cruise missiles for coastal defense and the discovery of a FROG (or Luna) short-range missile, without speculating on the possibility of tactical nuclear deployments. In fact, the Soviets had deployed tactical nuclear warheads for the FROGs and the FKRs and did not remove them until December 1962.[12]

 

Section III: Aftermath and Crisis over the Il-28s

 

Document 20: DIA to Check for Signs of a Buildup

Memo from JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor to DIA Director General Joseph F. Carroll from, "Data on USSR Buildup in Cuba," 30 October 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

To make sure that Washington could detect any sudden Soviet actions to build up military forces in Cuba, Taylor asked DIA to analyze shipping from the Sino-Soviet Bloc to Cuba and also estimate the number of ships required to remove the offensive military equipment then in Cuba.

 

Document 21: DIA Estimate on Missile Dismantling

Memo from DIA Director General Joseph F. Carroll to JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor, "Time Required to Move Offensive Military Equipment from Cuba," 30 October 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

Carroll estimated that it would take circa 7-8 days to dismantle and move expeditiously the IRBMs/MRBMs, IL-28s, Komar PT Boats, and Mig-21s. Assuming that shipping capacity was available, it would take another 7-8 days to load the equipment.

 

Document 22: Capabilities for a Nuclear Response

Memo from Chairman JCS Maxwell Taylor from the President, "Evaluation of the Effect on US Operational Plans of Soviet Army Equipment Introduced into Cuba," 2 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Nov. 1962

Responding to President Kennedy's query to take into account the presence of modern Soviet military equipment in Cuba, Taylor reported that U.S. contingency plans for invading Cuba are "adequate and feasible" assuming that the Soviets did not use nuclear weapons. The Soviets had delivery systems, such as FROG missiles, that were nuclear capable but no one in Washington knew for sure whether Moscow had deployed nuclear weapons with them. Nevertheless, Taylor and others, such as DCI John McCone, thought it possible that tactical nuclear weapons had been deployed with the FROGs [13], although Taylor went further when he suggested that they might be under Cuban control. This was consistent with the original Soviet plan [14], although whether Taylor was speculating or had some "hard" intelligence remains to be learned. He asserted if "Cuban leaders" were "foolhardy" enough to use nuclear weapons U.S. forces could "respond at once in overwhelming nuclear force against military targets." If nuclear weapons were not used, the U.S. could expect about 18,500 casualties in the first ten days of an invasion. What Kennedy exactly thought about Taylor's exposition may be unknowable, but no doubt it made him more determined to settle the remaining issues, such as the IL-28 deployments, without incident.

 

Document 23: The Berlin Connection

"Talking Paper for the Chairman, JCS, on a Paper Under Consideration by the NSC Executive Sub-committee-Berlin/NATO, "'Berlin in the Light of Cuba,'" 2 November 1962, with attachments, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

As the Cuban crisis unfolded, a special NSC subcommittee, chaired by Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze, explored the relationship between the Cuban situation and the long-standing controversy over the status of occupied West Berlin. In light of the possibility that the Soviets might retaliate against West Berlin if the Cuban crisis escalated or that West Berlin's status might figure in a long-term diplomatic settlement with Moscow, the subcommittee looked closely at alternatives. Evaluating a recent Nitze proposal (Tab A: not attached) to explore long-term solutions to West Berlin's status, the Joint Staff concluded that the proposals offered had been considered before, and that the paper seemed to assume that Moscow "might accede to U.S. and Allied demands," which may not be true. The Joint Staff recommended that the paper be considered suitable for preliminary discussion only and that it be developed further prior to presentation to the ExCom or the President.

 

Document 24: DIA on IL-28 Buildup

Memo from DIA Director General Joseph F. Carroll, to the Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, et al, "Status of Soviet Offensive Weapons in Cuba," 3 November 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

According to DIA, photographic evidence provided "no conclusive evidence" that the Soviets were removing offensive missiles from Cuba despite Khrushchev' public statement of 28 October. Equipment had been moved from the MRBM sites, but not necessarily off of the island; the possibility of "redeployment" elsewhere on Cuba was "not excluded." Moreover, DIA believed it had "positive evidence" of a buildup of IL-28/Beagle bomber capability. More reconnaissance was needed because U.S. intelligence did not know where Soviet missile systems were located.

 

Document 25: Whether to Exercise the Invasion Force

Talking Paper for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Meeting 7 November 1962, "Exercise for Forces Assigned to CINCLANT for OPLAN 316-62," 6 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

The Joint Staff saw a need for the services to engage in medium and large-scale joint exercises to prepare for OPLANS 312-62 and 316-62, but saw problems that would make that difficult. Army forces were on alert and could be used for training, but they also lacked sealift capability and prepackaged equipment could not be used for training. Air Force units were on a rigid alert posture, and could not engage in training exercises unless the alert posture was relaxed. Naval forces, including Marines, were already performing duties, and unavailable for training exercises on a large scale. Believing that changes in the Air Force's alert posture were not possible, the Joint Staff advised against attempting large-scale exercises and reducing the current reaction posture.

 

Document 26: Keeping Ships Available for an Invasion

Memo from Vice Admiral Herbert D. Riley, Director, Joint Staff, to JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor, "Review of Necessity to Continue Holding MSTS [Military Sea Transportation Service] Passenger Ships in Port for CINCLANT OPLAN 316-62," 6 November 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Nov. 1962

When the invasion option became something to plan for, the Navy-led Military Sea Transportation Service, which met the ocean transportation needs of all the military services, had to make ships available for an invasion forces. It held passenger ships in New York port at a cost of $10,000 a day for each ship (a total of seven would become available). With the verification and IL-28 issues unresolved, Admiral Riley recommended holding the ships and so did General Emrick, who suggested keeping them available until November 10; the plan could be reviewed on 8 November and every ten days after.

 

Document 27: Nitze on How to Remove the Il-28s

Paper by Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Paul Nitze, "The Removal of IL-28's From Cuba," 7 November 1962, Draft, Top Secret

While negotiators in New York were trying to resolve the Il-28 issue, members of the ExCom floated proposals for action if the Soviets stalled on removing them. Nitze suggested that if the Beagles were not dismantled and removed, Washington could take such measures as delay lifting the quarantine, expanding quarantine list to some POL items, and even an air attack in the worst case.

 

Document 28: Joint Staff Catalog of World-Wide Actions

"Revised Briefing Sheet for the Chairman, JCS, on a report to be considered at the JCS Meeting, 9 November 1962, 'Supplement to JCS MCL - Outline for World-Wide Actions,'" 9 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

When it was not clear whether the White House would order military action against Cuba (air strikes and invasion), JCS Chairman Taylor asked the Joint Staff to develop a list of actions world-wide that would supplement the "JCS Master Check List for Cuban Operations." The Joint Staff prepared what amounted to a wish list of short-term and longer-run military actions that would put the U.S. in a better position to address Communist reactions to the missile crisis. So that Washington could "capitalize on any immediate advantages" from the crisis, a program of military measures would support a "political offensive …to develop pressure points within the Bloc for subsequent exploitation," "enhance [U.S.] credibility," strengthen strategic capabilities, and improve the readiness of U.S. forces "on a strategic scale." Among the short-term measures were "covert action" by Chinese Nationalist forces against mainland China, possible support for "resistance movements" in North Korea and North Vietnam, reinforce U.S. forces in Europe, expand the nuclear test program, and persuade the British to retain U.S. Thor missiles, among other steps.

Among the longer-term measures were desiderata that the JCS had sought for years to no avail, but had never abandoned, such as persuading Tokyo to let the U.S. store nuclear weapons in Japan. Also suggested was U.S.-French nuclear cooperation to induce Paris to let the U.S. store nuclear weapons in France, more frequent deployments of U.S. forces overseas, getting U.S. deployments of nuclear weapons in Canada back on track, and expanding covert operations within the "Sino-Soviet bloc."

The list was a formidable one and would have taxed the capabilities of the Joint Staff if anyone had asked it to flesh out the entire program. This problem led the Director of J-3, Operations, to suggest that the Joint Chiefs consider discussing only the "underlying rationale" with other agencies, with specific actions to be developed only when "political guidance" was available.

 

Document 29: Operation Hot Plate

Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Air Forces, Atlantic [CINCAFLANT] cable 18253 to JCS et al., "Operation Hot Plate. Operation Scabbards," 9 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: NARA, Record Group 341, Headquarters, Department of the Air Force, Top Secret Central Files, 1955-1965, box 700, RL (62) 38-9 Policy Cuba

In the event that the negotiations over the IL-28s failed and the White House decided to use force, CINCAFLANT at Langley Air Force Base, the home of the Tactical Air Command (TAC), prepared "Hot Plate," a special plan to use 24 F-100 and F-104 fighter/bombers to destroy the IL-28s on the ground or airborne at Holguin and San Julian airfields in Cuba.

 

Document 30: Operation Full House

Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Air Forces, Atlantic [CINCAFLANT] cable 18335 to JCS et al., 9 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: NARA, Record Group 341, Headquarters, Department of the Air Force, Top Secret Central Files, 1955-1965, box 700, RL (62) 38-9 Policy Cuba

Another contingency plan, perhaps to be executed in conjunction with "Hot Plate," was
"Full House," for a synchronized attack on all surface-to-air missile sites in Cuba.

 

Document 31: Taylor on IL-28 Strategy

Memo from JCS Chairman Maxwell Taylor to Secretary McNamara, "Possible Way to Terminate the Cuban Incident," 10 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Nov. 1962

Worried that negotiations would fail or prevent the introduction of new weapons, Taylor did not see good choices. But the "better course of action" might be if the UN and the Soviet Union disengaged from Cuba on the IL-28 issue, leaving the U.S. and the OAS to "deal with the Cubans on what the Russians say is a Cuban matter." Among other actions, Washington could inform Moscow that as long as the IL-28s and other "offensive weapons" are in Cuba, Washington would give no "guarantee" relating to an invasion. The U.S. could inform Cuba that it will continue surveillance flights and that the US will be free to take any action necessary to nullify a Cuban "offensive threat" to the United States or Latin America.

 

Document 32: Preparing for a Meeting with the President

Note to Control Division from Col. Walter Turner, Assistant Secretary, "Scheduled Meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the President at the White House at 1600 Friday 16 November," 13 November 1962, no classification marking, annotated copy

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

During the JCS meeting on 13 November Chairman Taylor informed the Chiefs of their impending meeting with President Kennedy. Seeing the meeting as an opportunity for the Chiefs to get across their thinking on Cuba, Taylor suggested that the Chiefs sign off on a memo that could be read to the president, developing ideas in a paper JCSM 893-62 (which is not yet available). Marginal notes on the paper may refer to ideas that someone wanted to bring up at the meeting with Kennedy, including proposals to "crank up Mongoose," and "periodic large [military] exercises in SE to pressure Castro."

 

Document 33: Getting the Soviets Out

Memo from W.Y.S [Col. William Y. Smith, Assistant to Chairman], to JCS Chairman General Maxwell Taylor, "Soviet Military Presence in Cuba," 14 November 1962," Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Nov. 1962

Probably written as background for the meeting with President Kennedy, Smith (a future member of the National Security Archive's board of directors) argued that no one will see the "Cuba episode" as a U.S. "victory" if the Soviets kept their troop presence on the island. Washington, however, could use the quarantine list as leverage to induce the Soviets to withdraw their military forces. Suggesting that a non-invasion assurance could help persuade Castro to expel Soviet military forces and to give up Soviet military aid, Washington could provide assurances if offensive weapons were removed and Soviet forces departed. He recommended that the ExCom have the State Department evaluate alternative negotiating tactics to urge the USSR to withdraw and decide on US action when the Soviets attempt to resupply their Cuban garrison.

 

Document 34: "A Possible Nuclear Capability"

Defense Intelligence Agency Estimate, "Assessment of Increased Conventional Military Capabilities of Cuban and Soviet Units in Cuba," 14 November 1962

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Nov. 1962

Noting the "very substantial increase in Cuban combat capability," this report reaffirmed Maxwell Taylor's view about that the U.S. contingency plan for an invasion of Cuba, CINCLNAT OPLAN 316-62, remained "valid and workable" when preceded by the air strike and as long as it occurred in a "non-nuclear environment." Noting recent photographic coverage of four significant military camps, DIA analysts concluded that "they contain highly mobile composite Soviet Army ground combat forces of reduced regimental size, with a possible nuclear capability." The enumeration of Soviet forces included a FROG (Luna) nuclear-capable artillery rocket battalion, with two launchers and 8 to 20 missiles. What DIA missed, however, were the deployments of 80 FKR nuclear-armed cruise surface-to-surface missiles, unless some of them were conflated with the coastal cruise missiles that they did identify. [15]

 

Document 35: Who Told What to Whom?

Memo from Major General John A. Heintges, Deputy Director, Joint Staff, to JCS Chairman General Maxwell Taylor, "Debriefing" 15 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Nov. 1962

Possibly trying to track down the source of a leak--to an unnamed "individual--on highly sensitive Kennedy-Khrushchev communications on the Il-28s, Heintges provided Taylor's with a list of officers present at a debriefing conducted earlier, and with whom they discussed the debriefing.

 

Document 36: Cuba and the SIOP

Memo from Col. Russell E. Dougherty, Deputy Assistant Director of Plans, U.S. Air Force, to Director of Operations, Joint Staff, J-3, and Director of Plans and Policy, Joint Staff, J-5, "Cuba (J-3 Ops 189-62)," with draft memo to Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff attached, 15 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: NARA, Record Group 341, Headquarters, Department of the Air Force, Top Secret Central Files, 1955-1965, box 700, RL (62) 38-9 Policy Cuba

Reviewing a Joint Staff plan, this future CINCSAC argued that nuclear targeting plans against Cuba, apparently because of the continued presence of the Il-28s, should be included in the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) for nuclear war, not in CINCLANT contingency plans. Instead of sending a memo to the Atlantic Command, he proposed a draft memo to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff which had responsibility for keeping the SIOP up-to-date. Doughterty suggested that the JSTPS select "Cuban installations" for inclusion in the National Strategic Target Data Base and chose DGZs [Designated Ground Zeros] following the guidelines established under SIOP-63. Consistent with that version of the SIOP, which included a number of attack options and target "withholds," those DGZs could be selected, in consultation with the Joint Chiefs, for "optional attack." Target planners would take into account other SIOP-63 requirements, for example, "lowest feasible level of population casualties" and radioactive fall-out. How the Joint Staff responded to Doughterty's suggestions remains to be learned.

 

Document 37: Nitze Again on Getting Soviet Forces Out

Memorandum from J-5 for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, "Nitze's Memorandum for NSC Executive Committee: 'Relationship of Cuban Objectives to Present Situation,'" with Nitze paper attached, 15 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

Analyzing Nitze's "carrot and stick" approach to get the IL-28s and Soviet forces out of Cuba, J-5 saw the assessment of Soviet strategy--to minimally retain a "foothold" in Cuba--as sound and supported Nitze's purposes, although they thought he was too "optimistic" about the possibility of levering the Soviets out. Nevertheless, J-5 saw at least one of Nitze's suggested carrots as incompatible with U.S. interests: a denuclearized zone in the Western Hemisphere and Cuban readmission to the Organization of American States.

 

Document 38: Meeting with the President

"Talking Paper for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the Meeting with the President, 'Military Aspects of the Cuban Situation,'" 16 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Misc. Papers

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research tried to account for the deployments of intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. The Soviets had removed 42 MRBMs, and U.S. intelligence was able to confirm that through visual sightings on cargo ships. But U.S. intelligence had trouble determining whether any R-14 intermediate-range ballistic missiles had been deployed. While launch sites for the R-14s and associated equipment had been detected, U.S. reconnaissance never identified the missiles themselves. We know now that the Soviets had planned to deploy 2 R-14 regiments, but the ships carrying the missiles did not reach Cuba before the blockade, although the Aleksandrovsk carrying the warheads did arrive. [16] Hilsman tried to account for the possible shipment of IRBMs and argued that "presumptive evidence exists that some IRBMs were in Cuba." Thus, the "burden of proof that there are none there … rests on the Soviets."

 

Document 39: Where are the IRBMs?

Roger Hilsman, Director of Intelligence and Research, to the Secretary, "Removal of IRBMs from Cuba," 16 November 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor Papers, box 6, November 1962

State Department INR tried to account for the deployments of intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. The Soviets had removed 42 MRBMs, and U.S. intelligence was able to confirm that through visual sightings on cargo ships. But U.S. intelligence had trouble determining whether any R-14 intermediate-range ballistic missiles that had been deployed. While launch sites for the R-14s and associated equipment had been detected, U.S. reconnaissance never identified the missiles themselves. While the Soviets had planned to deploy 2 R-14 regiments, with a total of X missiles, the ships carrying the missiles did not reach Cuba before the blockade. Only the Aleksaandrovsk carrying the warheads for the R-14s arrived in Cuba. [17] Hilsman tried to account for the possible shipment of IRBMs and argued that "presumptive evidence exists that some IRBMs were in Cuba." Thus, the "burden of proof that there arr none there … rests on the Soviets."

 

Documents 40A-B: Cover and Deception Operations

Memo from Captain A.H. Berndtson, Military Assistant to the JCS Chairman, to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, "Letter Reply to Senator Stennis," 19 November 1962, Secret

B. November 30, Draft Letter from Secretary McNamara to Senate Arms Services Committee Chief Counsel James T. Kendall, 30 November 1962, Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Nov. 1962

Senator John Stennis (D-Ms), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee's Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee, was a critically important figure in Congress whose requests could not be ignored. To disrupt the Cuban economy and to hurt morale, Stennis proposed recurrent U.S. military exercises around Cuba that would force Castro at least to "partially mobilize" Cuban forces. Noting that U.S. "Cover and Deception" activities were highly secret and that Stennis was "one of our staunch supporters," Taylor's assistant Captain Berndtson, suggested a briefing and proposed a draft letter for McNamara's signature.

As it turned out, Stennis wanted a classified reply, not a briefing, so a draft was sent to McNamara's office, which was presumably sent in some form to James Kendall, the chief counsel for the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee, which would soon undertake a major investigation of the administration's conduct of the Missile Crisis.[18] Describing the past success of "training exercises of the deceptive type" in WWII and the Korean War, the letter cited specific "deceptive" activities that had been taken before the missile crisis to signal to Cuban and Soviet intelligence U.S. "intent either deceptive or real" to take military action. Among the activities, which no doubt raised the Cuban and Soviet sense of threat, were a higher "tempo" of training activities, logistics build-ups, and increased naval and tactical air naval activity in the area.[19]

 

Document 41: More on Getting the Soviets Out

Unsigned memo for JCS Chairman General Maxwell Taylor, "Cuba," 20 November 1962, Top Secret

Source: Taylor File, box 6, Nov. 1962

Just before Khrushchev agreed to remove the IL-28s in exchange for ending the quarantine, one of Taylor's aides presented another proposal to get the Soviets to withdraw their forces from Cuba. Anticipating Khrushchev's move, the author made a number of non-actionable suggestions to raise the pressure on Havana and Moscow by asking for "one-time on-site verification," giving up the demand for "ground" inspection in return for "removal of Soviet troops", and tying U.S. non-invasion assurances to "continued U.S. aerial surveillance" and "cessation of subversive acts by Castro groups. Khrushchev's letter on the same day ended the controversy over the Il-28s if not JCS interest in trying to find ways to get the Soviets out of Cuba.

 

Documents 42A-B-C: What It Cost in Dollars

A. Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Hitch (Comptroller) to the Secretaries of the Military Departments et al., "Financing and Reporting Increased Costs Associated with Current Activities Incident to Cuba," 24 October 1962, Confidential

B. Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Charles Hitch to Secretary of Defense, "Increased Costs Associated with Activities Incident to Cuba," with attachments, 24 January 1963, Confidential

C. Spread sheet itemizing aggregate costs, with adjustments for today's dollars, prepared by Jonathan Fox.

Source: Sensitive Records, box 5, 381 (Case date 2 January 1963)

On 22 October, the day Kennedy gave his quarantine speech, the budget-conscious McNamara asked comptroller Charles Hitch to keep track of the costs [See Part I, Document 9c]. In late January 1963, Hitch finally had a number, although it was still only in the ballpark because some spending was not yet accounted. While the military services and defense agencies included detailed reports of their spending, Hitch acknowledged that some expenditures were still running, such as the National Security Agency's, which meant that his was necessarily an interim report. Nevertheless, he provided McNamara with estimates based on the numbers that were available. In current dollars, the Cuban Missile Crisis cost $165,678,738. Using Defense Department deflators, it is possible to arrive at a ballpark figure for the cost of the crisis in today's dollars: about $1.433 billion.

While the military services and defense agencies included detailed reports of their spending, Hitch acknowledged that some expenditures were still running, such as the National Security Agency's, which meant that his was necessarily an interim report. Nevertheless, he provided McNamara with estimates based on the numbers that were available. In current dollars, the Cuban Missile Crisis cost $165,678,738. Using Defense Department deflators, it is possible to arrive at a ballpark figure for the cost of the crisis in today's dollars: about $1.433 billion.

Going further into the breakdown provided in Tab B [page 8 of the PDF], it is possible to compare current and adjusted dollar figures for the specific types of expenditures. The deflators (personnel, procurement, "grand total," etc.) for Fiscal Years 1963 and 2013 that can be found in the Department of Defense "green books" are the basis for the grand total and calculations for specific categories of expenditures by the armed services. Please keep in mind that the adjusted dollar figures for the following categories are only approximations.[20]

a. Personnel: $15,387,500 or $199 million

b. Operations and Maintenance: $117,661,401, or $972 million

c. Procurement and Equipment: $24,359,700, or $166 million

d. Research and Development Test and Evaluation [RDT&E]: $4,704,826 or $30 million

e. Military construction: $1,711, or $10,251

f. Military Sea Transportation Service [MSTS] industrial fund: $3,563,600 or $21.31 million

The National Security Agency's report is not available in the file, but Tab A of this report [page 3 of PDF] includes the budget number for January 1963: $6,819,562, or $59.2 million. Those costs included a variety of communications intelligence operations, including the U.S.S. Oxford deployed off Cuba during and after the Crisis.[21]

Some weeks later, Hitch prepared updated cost figures, which McNamara presented to Congress, but without the classified numbers for agencies like the National Security Agency or the specific breakdowns, e.g., for missile procurement. For details, presented by David Coleman as background for his new book, The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York, 20120, see http://jfk14thday.com/how-much-did-cuban-missile-crisis-cost/)

 


*Thanks to Jonathan Fox, a graduate student at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, at the Monterey Institute of International Center, for his assistance with this posting. Stephen Schwartz, also with the Martin Center, provided invaluable advice on converting budget costs into today’s dollars, although any errors are mine.

Notes

[1] See Stern, Averting 'The Final Failure': John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings (Stanford, CA: 2003), 337-338. Kennedy had held a critical view of the Chiefs since the Bay of Pigs fiasco and JCS members (except Taylor) acted contemptuously toward him during the crisis, ibid. 121-129.

[2] Among the major compilations of U.S. government documents on the Missile Crisis are Digital National Security Archive/ProQuest collections: Lawrence Chang, ed., The Cuban Missile Crisis (Washington, D.C., 1990) and Peter Kornbluh, ed., The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited (Washington, D.C., 2006); U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, volume 11: The Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath, http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v11/, and Mary S. McAuliffe, editor, CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 (Washington, D.C., 1992). For even more material, including documents from Cuban and Soviet archives, see the National Security Archive's "Special Exhibit" on the Crisis at http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nsa/cuba_mis_cri/index.htm

[3] For many examples, see William Burr and Thomas Blanton, editors, "The Submarines of October," National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 75 http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB75/

[4] For background on this memorandum, see James Hershberg, "Before the 'Missiles of October': Did Kennedy Plan a Military Strike against Cuba," Diplomatic History 14 (1990), 185. For the discovery of the SAM sites, see David Barrett and Max Holland, Blind over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis (College Station, 2012), 5-6.

[5] McNamara had already signed off on a DIA request, privately initiated by CIA officials, for a U-2 flight over a suspect area in western Cuba; see Barrett and Holland, Flying Blind over Cuba, 16.

[6] For useful coverage of the airborne alert and the Defcon during the crisis, see Scott Sagan, The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons (Princeton, 1993), 63-69.

[7] See Joseph Bouchard, Command in Crisis: Four Case Studies (New York, 1992), 111-116 and135.

[9] For a detailed account of the Soviet submarine deployments during the missile crisis and the incidents on 27 October 1962, see Svetlana V. Savranskaya, "New Sources on the Role of Soviet Submarines in the Cuban Missile Crisis," The Journal of Strategic Studies 28 (2005): 233-259.

[10] Michael Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War (New York, 2008), 286.

[11] See Stern, Averting, 337-338.

[12] For a useful discussion of tactical nuclear weapons during the missile crisis, published before the revelations of the FKRs, see David Coleman, "The Missiles of November, December, January, February…: The Problem of Acceptable Risk in the Cuban Missile Crisis Settlement," Journal of Cold War Studies 9 (2007): 5-48.

[13] For McCone, see Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight, 145.

[14] See Sergo Mikoyan, edited by Svetalana Savranskaya, The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis:Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November (Palo Alto/Washington, D.C. 2012).

[15] For the FKRs, see Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight, 124-125.

[16] For a record of the meeting with related documents, see U.S. Department of State,Foreign Relations of the United States, Volume XI, Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v11/comp1, documents 186-188.

[17] See Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight, 42-43, 60-61.

[18] For the investigation, see Barrett and Holland, Blind over Cuba, 72-81, 85-87, and 109-111.

[19] For details on the military signaling, see Hershberg, "Before the 'Missiles of October,'" 180-182 and 190-191.

[20] Department of Defense, National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2006 and National Defense Budget Estimates for FY 2013.

[21] For the role of NSA during the crisis, see Matthew Aid, The Secret Sentry: the Untold History of the National Security Agency (New York, 2009), 64-79.

 


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