LETTER TO ROBERT S. MCNAMARA FROM RICHARD HELMS RE COMPLETELY PHASE OUT OXCART

Created: 9/13/1967

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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Ths Honorable Robert S. McNimiri Th* Secretary of Dafess* Department oi Defeate Washington, D. C.

Dear Bob:

The Executive Committee of the National Reconnaissance Program today dleeuaeed the etataa of the plan to completely phaee oat OXCART by the end of Deeenaber of this year and to tarn it* missions ever to SAC using tha Tea will recall that thiaeing taken In accordanceresidential deeialoa of test Jaaaary.

once the situation la thlai it la highly doubtful If an OXCARTcapability could be extended beyond SO7ecUlea la made7 to extend the eperational life of thle program. The principal reeaea*orth below.

Aa thing* now stand, there will be no procurement oi OXCART oparee, hardware and repair af assets If prodactlsn load times aad delivery date* extend beyondlthont tbe ability to acquire additional spare* or to repair aircraft andomponents, th* OXCART programntirely dependent en "living off-the-shelf1 with ccneoquent attrition af support Items In stock. In this connection it was agreed that when OXCART Is moth-balled a day sapport package' of stored articlee weald be Included so a*ac* th* Immediate dependenceeactivated aircraft onestablishment of production lines for essential spar**. A* of now. Itlready becoming aeceaaary to dip Intoay support package and therett no funding available for replenishment of those package*.

APPROVED T'JR RELEASE DATE: 7

Cam, f r

A Joint SAC/CIAow anroui* to Kadena Air Base toy ol OXCART faolUttaa aad equlpmeat so as to finalise tha plan Cor SAC deployment of thsnd Agency transfer of asaets at Ksdsns to SAC.AC taam composad of flv* specialists will remain at Kadena to begin Implementing the transition phass.

Redeployment of the BLACK SHIELD Task Tores now at Kadaaa will cornmenco In Novsmbsr, lookinglight sehedals for tbe first aircraft to depart eaovember, with the second and third aircraft leavingnd IS November reepectlvaly. The Base will then be tumid ever to SAC aad If thing, go as they plan it, they will be ready to start flying then BLACK SHIELD or ether similar missions in the Far Eastecember.

Contractor personnel have been notified that the cloee-out date is imminent. Therefore each vendor is now in the process of an orderly phase-out of ea-partsnced personnel, No personnel actions have been initiated to replace military, Agency or contractor personnel scheduled to depart aa their portions of ths program terminate.

Alt of the nbeve waa diacnaaed at tha NRO Eaecottve Committee oneptsmber. The Execntlve Committee agreed to have the Director. NRO re-evamlae all the readiaeee factors for SAC to take over the program aa preaently planned and to complete that re-examination beforectober date so that If re-cans Ida ration of Ihe decision to phase out OXCART should bs required, the necessary slements of Information will be st haad for consideration in time.

The above le intended solely to keep you personally advised on the status of this important program, it has been recorded Ln the Executive Committee mlnutea.

ely,

Signed: Dick

Richard Helms Director

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