December 2, 1983



The studies conducted in response to NSSD 6-83 confirm that an aggressive technology research program aimed at developing and demonstrating the capability for defending the nation against ballistic missile attack is feasible. These studies also confirm that an effective defense against ballistic missile attack could enhance U.S. national security and our ability to deter conflict.

I would like to consult with the Congress and U.S. allies before I make a final program decision regarding the strategic defense initiative. The purpose of these consultations is to acquaint the Congress and allied governments with the Administration's perspective on this subject and to solicit their views.

Congressional attitudes and reactions should be surveyed prior to beginning consultations with allied governments.

To accomplish these consultations, I direct the following steps be taken:

  1. The Department of Defense, working closely with the Department of State and the Director of Central Intelligence, shall immediately prepare a coordinated presentation which addresses the following:

    This presentation should highlight the potential that the strategic defense initiative offers for providing the basis for a policy of deterrence which utilizes the contribution of an effective defense rather than depending solely upon the threat of effective nuclear retaliation. It should also make clear the risks that the U.S. and its allies face from the vigorous Soviet ballistic missile defense program. The emphasis in the technology plan on development and demonstration, as opposed to early deployment, should be underlined. The relationship between the strategic defense initiative and current deterrence doctrine, the strategic modernization program, existing arms control agreements, and our long-term commitments to our allies should be addressed. Finally, the presentation should stress the continued U.S. commitment to current deterrence doctrine and force planning as well as to existing alliance commitments and arms control initiatives.

  2. As soon as possible, the Department of Defense shall offer this briefing to key members of Congress. Congressional reactions shall be noted and reported. Based on these reactions, if necessary, I will discuss this subject with appropriate Senators and Congressmen. The detailed plan for this briefing process will be developed immediately so that it can be implemented as soon as the briefing is available.

  3. After Congressional consultation, the Department of State shall consult key allied governments on the thrust of the strategic defense initiative. The detailed plan for these consultations will be developed immediately so that consultations can begin as soon as Congressional consultation is complete.

  4. A White House Coordinating Group, chaired by the Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, will be established immediately to over see the development and implementation of this presentation and consultation process.

    These Congressional and Allied consultations should be completed and its results submitted by the White House Coordinating Group by December 14, 1983.

    All public statements by Administration officials regarding the strategic defense initiative will be reviewed in advance by the White House Coordinating Group.

    This NSDD supplements other guidance previously issued on the strategic defense initiative.