It's rather sad, because the Americans (who are naive and inexperienced) are up against centuries of diplomatic skill and finesse.
-- (Maurice) Harold Macmillan, June 19, 19621
With one near disastrous year of running American military and foreign policy under their belts, the top civilian officials of the Kennedy administration began to behave as if they were the lead actor in an episode of Father Knows Best. They wanted to pack up all their children--the military and the allies--in a big national security station wagon and drive off on an itinerary mapped with magic marker. Senior military commanders and leaders of key NATO countries had their own agendas, however. They did not intend to let wayward drivers like Kennedy, McNamara, and Rusk take the wheel.
Already, of course, McNamara was having trouble making his word law with the JCS. Because of the Berlin and Laotian crises, his order to the Chiefs to revise the SIOP in spring 1961 had been shunted aside through the summer with the result, as we have seen, that every analyst with a globe, a slide rule, and a contact in the Pentagon had drawn up his own nuclear attack plan against the Soviet Union. Then in late September when the Joint Staff had at last come up with a draft, the services had all attacked the document as too theoretical and impractical in any event because it called for massive increases in forces and logistical support for all branches of the military. They much preferred a revision of Eisenhower's Basic National Security Policy, which Nitze and his staff with JCS assistance had been working on unofficially since the Kennedy administration took office. At the meeting on July 27, the JCS attempted to interest the President in the paper without success. Thus by November and December, they had to accept a revised plan, designated SIOP 63, that contained all the bells and whistles, options and sub-options the Secretary of Defense had demanded. Although Kennedy was briefed on January 17, 1962, a final target list and coordination with Norstad to make Phase IV of the Berlin contingency