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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Transmitting Draft Bill on Defense Reorganization.

April 16, 1958


Acting under my Constitutional obligation to recommend to the consideration of the Congress such measures as I judge necessary and expedient, I transmit herewith the draft of a bill which would carry out the legislative recommendations on defense reorganization contained in my January ninth address to the Congress on the State of the Union and my special message of April third.

I recommend that the Congress enact a measure such as that set forth in the draft bill. It is designed "To promote the national defense by providing for reorganization of the Department of Defense and for other purposes." I also transmit an analysis of the proposed bill.

I call to your attention that the draft bill contains no provisions relating to the appropriation of funds to the Department of Defense. In my message of April third, I stated it as fundamental that the Secretary of Defense, as the civilian head of the Department of Defense, should have greater flexibility in money matters. The current method of providing funds has worked against the unity of the Department. I have directed that the Department's budget estimates for the 1960 fiscal year be prepared and presented in a form to provide the needed flexibility. Because this requires no change in law, the problem is not dealt with in the enclosed draft bill.

In my message of April third, I set forth the specific goals to be achieved through modernization of the defense establishment. I call these objectives again to the attention of the Congress. In essence, they are as follows:

First, the safety and the solvency of our nation require prompt revision of certain aspects of the present defense establishment to bring it into accord with the necessities of our time.

Second, onrushing technological advances in weapons and other devices of war demand that our defense organization have a posture ready to react unerringly and instantly to sudden attack.

Third, the unprecedented costs of maintaining in peacetime a massive defense establishment demand the utmost economy and efficiency in all of its operations.

Our goal must be maximum strength at minimum cost.

To these ends, I have already directed certain improvements through administrative action. To carry out further improvements, legislation is needed.

With respect for our highest traditions and a clear awareness of our respective duties, I urge that we join our efforts to achieve the effective defense we need. Let us act together that America may efficiently organize her strength to meet the demands of the future.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Richard M. Nixon, President of the Senate, and the Honorable Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The text of the draft bill submitted by the President is published in House Document 371 (85th Cong., 2d sess.). For the State of the Union message and the special message of April 3, see Items 2 and 65, above.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Transmitting Draft Bill on Defense Reorganization. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234681

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