Statement Announcing the Establishment and Membership of the President's Commission on Strategic Forces, and Designation of Chairman and Vice Chairman

January 3, 1983

In the 1983 continuing resolution, the Congress expressed interest in several aspects of the strategic force modernization program, including the basing mode for the next generation ICBM. The legislation requested a report addressing these concerns not earlier than March 1, 1983. To help in this congressionally directed effort, I am today establishing a bipartisan Commission on Strategic Forces. The Commission will review the strategic modernization program with particular focus on our land-based intercontinental ballistic missile system and basing alternatives for that system. An important part of the Commission's work will be to consider carefully the views of the Congress.

I am pleased to announce that I have asked the following distinguished Americans to serve on the Commission, subject to the customary clearances for such appointments, and they have agreed to serve.

The Honorable Brent Scowcroft, former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, to serve as Chairman;

The Honorable Thomas Reed, Special Assistant to the President and former Secretary of the Air Force, to serve as Vice Chairman;

The Honorable Nicholas Brady, former Senator from New Jersey;

The Honorable Harold Brown, former Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Air Force;

The Honorable William Clements, former Governor of Texas and Deputy Secretary of Defense;

Dr. John Deutch, dean of science at MIT and former Director of Research at the Department of Energy;

The Honorable Alexander M. Haig, Jr., former Secretary of State and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe;

The Honorable Richard Helms, former Director of Central Intelligence;

John Lyons, vice president of the AFL - CIO and chairman of the defense subcommittee of its executive council;

Vice Adm. Levering Smith (USN, Ret.), former Director of Special Projects for the Navy;

The Honorable James Woolsey, former Under Secretary of the Navy.

Dr. Marvin Atkins, Director of Offensive and Space Systems in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, is to serve as Executive Secretary of the Commission.

I have directed the Chairman of the Commission to seek out the views and assistance of a wide variety of distinguished authorities in the strategic field and to consult closely with Members of Congress throughout the Commission's deliberations.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of the complex task facing the Commission and how much the success of this distinguished group hinges on constructive cooperation among the Commission, Congress, the Department of Defense, other agencies, and outside experts. In undertaking this vital mission, I ask that we all keep the fundamental objective in view -- to preserve an effective deterrent while moving forward with negotiations to reach equituTle and verifiable arms reductions.

Note: On the same day, the President met in the Cabinet Room at the White House with Brent Scowcroft and several members of the Commission. During the meeting, which also was attended by Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, the President signed the Executive order establishing the Commission.