Presidential Decisions: NSC Documents from the Ford Administration


Gerald R. Ford was only in office for a short time, but following a series of studies on the evolution of U.S. and Soviet strategic space issues for the NSC, he showed considerable interest in improving the survivability and capabilities of U.S. national security space systems.  National Security Decision Memorandum (NSDM) 333 of July 1976 called for the United States to advance its space situational awareness capabilities and improve the survivability of its military and intelligence space assets.  Before leaving office in January 1977, Ford issued NSDM 345, a top secret directive, which indicated concerns about development of Soviet space-based force targeting capabilities, directed the Department of Defense to develop a non-nuclear anti-satellite (ASAT) capability, and tasked the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency to identify and assess ASAT arms control initiatives.  In addition, Ford reestablished the science advisor position at the White House by creating the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in 1976.

NSDM 333 Enhanced Survivability of Critical Space Systems, 7 Jul 1976

Discusses improvements to survivability of critical military and intelligence space assets.

NSDM 333 Enhanced Survivability of Critical Space Systems, 7 Jul 1976 ** Newly Released Document

NSDM 345 U.S. Anti-satellite Capabilities, 18 Jan 1977

Authorizes non-nuclear anti-satellite capability in response to military actions by the Soviet Union.  Orders program to observe current treaty obligations to allow free access to space.

  • Directive

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