EISENHOWER'S STRATEGIC POLICIES
THE TRUMAN ADMINISTRATION'S strategic initiative, embodied in NSC-68, presented a potential dilemma to the incoming Republicans in 1953. After having indiscriminately accused Democrats of being "soft on Communism" and being responsible for the frustrations of what their spokesmen liked to call "this mess in Korea," the triumphant Republicans were scarcely in a position to reverse the militarization resulting from Truman's rearmament policy. Yet at the same time, the Republicans entertained a devout, if not superstitious, dedication to a balanced budget. They, too, could count--probably better than the Democrats-- and they realized that rearmament was going to be costly. Consequently, it fell to Dwight D. Eisenhower and his advisers to formulate a strategic policy that scaled down the voracious demands of NSC-68 to fiscal reality. Eisenhower's response to this challenge provided the basis for his weapons policy, a policy much more sober than the intoxicated spree demanded by NSC-68.
By 1953, defense expenditures had skyrocketed to a record $50.4 billion, quadrupling the $13.5 billion level of only three years before. In calendar year 1950, national security expenditures had accounted for 5.2 percent of the gross national product. By 1953, that figure had risen to 13.5 percent. Leon Keyserling, the head of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, had advised the White House in 1949 that a full 20 percent of GNP could be diverted to defense purposes without causing seri-