Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Yes, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Shire, somewhere in Cascadia

    Also, Arthur Hailey is on standby.


    He thinks you're fabulous.

    Weeeeeeeeeellll, I'd only give that a "maybe" at most. That set of dates doesn't automatically signify an end to the McGovern administration any more than the '64 start line means LBJ beat sitting-President Richard Nixon in order to kick things off. It's all about context. It could mean that Saint Ronald (or Chuck Percy, or Ed Gurney, or Westy, or...) beats McGovern and shoves the pendulum back the other way. It could mean that it's difficult for polarizing presidents to get landmark legislation passed in their second term. All the doors remain very much open. Only time and spoilers will see.

    (1) You're quite right that there are still openings; the authors shied from tackling directly the "what if Congress are all a bunch of irradiated skeletons now?" issue. It's substantial progress from Twenty-Five, in particular that if both yer POTUS and yer VPOTUS are out of commission it puts a deadline on when the Acting POTUS needs to get the constitutional gears turning again for lawfully-elected (by special session of Congress, itself a form of contingent election) presidents. Also the authors (again I'm writing with deliberate intent to create fallible humans here, but they do have their own POV on settled Con Law) reference up top the continued relevance of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, I think they're taking as read (and perhaps because of that, decided to spell it out in the Twenty-Ninth?) that if an Acting POTUS doesn't do what it says in black ink here (nominate within 30 days) there's constitutionally-based cause to remove them under Twenty-Five for non-performance or malfeasance. That would of course add its own circus and its own monkeys if someone wanted to game the system, but here in the early Seventies, especially an early Seventies when the McGovern crew have arrived to muck out the stables after Nixon, that people will do what they're supposed to. Good eye that there's plenty of room for a bad actor(s) to foul things up, though.

    (2) I'm a fan of presidential succession issues myself, having written legal research papers on both the separation-of-powers fustercluck with the '48 Succession Act and also the deliberative processes that gave us Twenty-Five. That does not mean, Careful Readers, that I intend to muck about with that stuff in the narrative directly (i.e. create a fact pattern of messy succession.) But it is one of those important pieces of background noise in congressional and executive politics we should check in on from time to time, even if its consequences play out elsewhere. Dick Cheney never got to operationalize his whole continuity-of-government model directly, but he did get to dominate a weak sitting POTUS and crank the Nixon "if the president does it, it must be ok" doctrine up to about fourteen, for example.

    Indeed. :) And it's not the only place they're up to that (hey, look, it's the Department of Commerce and Industry! Hi, Department of Commerce and Industry! Hi, free-standing Department of Education!) Indeed it's a bit of a theme for these Last Capital-P Progressives, shaking up bureaucratic and structural norms.

    A small Micronesian community that has taken a footnoted, peer-reviewed paper by Norman Borlaug about rhizome resiliency in hybrid dwarf wheats as Holy Writ says hi.

    As we'll see in the second appendix to the chapter (up a bit later today) it's the experimental Seventies so there has been some internal mucking-about in a handful of divisional formations, but nothing to tackle the larger whole, partly because the reformers have a decent sense of when they might push traditionalists too far, partly because people are looking below (all the way down to squad level per Bill DuPuy at newly-minted TRADOC) and above that level (at the European theater and whether any other locales need actively to be planned for.) Mostly they're trying to beef up divisions they've got for resilience against the Red Hordes along the Inner German Border, and to not loose too many divisions to McGovern administration cuts.

    DARPA's really kind of in the background here, and the folks inside the administration who think DARPA's useful (yer Cy Vances, yer Harold Browns) have very deliberately put it in the background, so it can carry on quietly and not get too demanding about budget lines. Radar experimentation on stealth research is still very much underway, just low-key, along with advances in laser targeting. As for ARPANET, the luck of the political draw means that a good chunk of McGovern's Justice League of left-liberal economists came from campuses where they had access, so there's a broader constituency in the administration that thinks this is a useful structure. Especially if those Xerox guys out in California can figure out how to plug their nifty little local-area Aether networks into it. Also Commerce & Industry Secretary Gavin likes the look of this new fiber-optic cabling Corning came up with, and has been given to wonder whether one might establish a public-private partnership with Ma Bell to recapitalize AT&T's national grid with the stuff. It seems like that might have potential.

    Not as bad as one might think. I mean, the administration are buds with Fritz Mondale and Bill Proxmire on more issues than they are not, but as long as NASA keeps its head down and stays in its straitened lane the McGoverners aren't inclined to kick NASA lying down just on general principle. Indeed with their emphasis on practicality if NASA can do stuff like get a robust launch schedule up for satellites that help detect crop failures or enforce CART, or make Skylab a little less fly-by-night and more like a long-term experimental investment, they're willing to listen.

    It's funny you should bring this up :cool: Two chapters out from here (that is to say, chapter after next) that's one of the very things on the menu. Since the chapter deals, among other things, with McGovern administration relations with the union movement (both old-school and new wave) it's even titled "What Side Are You On?" (My late mother learned the lyrics from her grandmother when Mom was a wee thing. Grandmammaw, among other virtues, hung out some with a few of the Highlander Folk School folks.) So we will very much get there. Yes, part of it lies in proud-son-of-Pennsyltucky Secretary Gavin's domain (he's a miner's son, that's as big as the ammo gets on Chekhov's Gun...) but also as you say in the tensions between Old and New inside the labor movement. And ol' George himself wrote what was for many decades the definitive monograph on the Ludlow Massacre and the Colorado Coal Field Wars of the 1910s. So mining is definitely gonna come around in the narrative. So too tensions between unionized Old Left and environmentalist New Left, and as we both know the politics of school boards in your native state in the Seventies were not without interest...
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  2. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Shire, somewhere in Cascadia
    Prexactly; well spotted. There's still plenty of room for the River of Time and Circumstance to fork in either direction. As usual, the more operative question is who gets forked in the process...
    Soup likes this.
  3. Workable Goblin Chronicler of the Pony Wars

    Aug 3, 2009
    Good job NASA's already working on that!

    Well, that's more the job of the blue shirts...especially the ones who work in big blue cubes in California that don't (officially) exist...

    At this point it's a bit too late for that, Marshall notwithstanding. At best they could cut up B and make modifications based on what they've learned from Skylab, but that's going to be spending rather a lot of money for something that's not really as good as an actually dedicated station. At the time, anyway, the focus was on getting Shuttle up and running--there's not going to be much to do in terms of human spaceflight until after 1976, where some interesting options open up. Not that NASA won't be trying to get more money for stations and such, but in '72-'76 Shuttle is the name of the game.

    Unless...I forget...Shuttle hasn't been canceled, has it? It was, after all, something of a ploy by Nixon to make sure he won California, and the eternal trend of presidents since the beginning of, the beginning of the 1970s, anyway, has been to cancel their predecessor's marquee programs and start their own, the only exceptions being for programs that were much too advanced to cancel by the time they got into office (Shuttle, Station) or where the new president was in the same party as the former president.
  4. Expat Monthly Donor

    Oct 26, 2007
    Washington, DC
    But it's Magic McGovern! Here's what's gonna happen: Inauguration day. The motorcade's cruising down Penn. McGovern says, "Take a left on 4th real quick." Who's gonna argue with the president? So left they go, down to NASA HQ at E St. Out pops Big Mac, "leave it running, I'll just be a sec," he says. Up to the penthouse (there is no penthouse, but in this story there's a penthouse) where the director sits pondering a mock-up of Skylab.

    "Put that toy away, kiddo," says our hero. "I've got something better." And out from his jacket he pulls a blueprint. "Let me introduce you to Freedom"

    (PS: I loved Eyes Turned Skyward)
  5. Threadmarks: McGoverning: Chapter 15, Appendix 2, or Milspec G R A N U L A R I T Y

    Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Shire, somewhere in Cascadia
    So here we are with an additional appendix that, like an all-inclusive resort's buffet, hopefully has a little something here or there for most interested parties to the latest chapter of McGoverning. It's a lot to take in at one go so I've tried to provide some topic headers that may help folks page through and find items of interest. More generally, this pulls back the curtain a bit to show off the operating details of some McGoverning subject matter that has mostly happened "off screen" from the master narrative. (Not unlike that Elections, Oscars, and Sports Oh My entry a little while back.) Feel free to browse - you can read it straight through in a kind-of narrative form but it's meant just as much to be something where people can hunt and peek without needing to do the whole thing - and ask any quetions that crop up, or that seem pursuant to it.

    Forces proposed in FY 77 Five-Year Defense Plan (FYDP)

    Each year, the Department of Defense produced a five-year defense plan (FYDP) that described the force structure and composition that DoD sought five fiscal years (September before the numbered year to September of the numbered year) into the future. The Fiscal Year (FY) 1977 FYDP, produced in the spring and summer of 1976 for FY 77, reflected what the McGovern Pentagon wanted to see in place by the autumn of 1981. Some elements of that force, particularly in terms of organizational reforms, were in place already by the last year of the term George McGovern won in the 1972 presidential election. These figures reflect the legacy McGovern's senior national-security officials sought, on behalf of the White House, in the reshaping of America's defense structure and posture. At the same time, with the institutional optimism favored by administrations faced with reelection, they represented ambitions as well for a potential second term.

    We'll take a short journey to reach those FYDP 77 figures, by way of some comparisons. A brighter spark with HTML than me might figure out how to make a chart with them in our humble and code-limited comments format - if so feel free to drop me a line by PM or in the thread. For now we'll take them one by one. Each chart will compare like with like in its categories.

    (1) Forces in Being, FY 73: The first chart enumerates forces that existed at the very start of the McGovern administration, in the FY 73 operating budget that covered the first seven-plus months of President McGovern's tenure. This gives us a picture of where things kick off

    Category Number
    ICBMs 1054
    SSBNs/SLBMs 41/656
    Bombers 540
    Army divisions 13
    Marine divisions 3 regular/1 Reserve
    USAF tactical wings 22
    Large-deck carriers 16
    Attack submarines 78
    Surface combatants 178
    Amphibious ships 67
    Division sealift 1+

    (2) The House View, FY 74 FYDP: These figures reflect the early "in house" proposals for the FY 74 FYDP from the uniformed hierarchy of the services, their opening bid if you will, aimed first at the outgoing Nixon administration then at the new crowd of civilian leadership who arrived in President McGovern's train. It reflects the aggregate proposals of the services for rebuilding institutional capital after the withdrawal from Southeast Asia.

    Category Number
    ICBMs 1054
    SSBNs/SLBMs 41/656
    Bombers 520
    Army divisions 15
    Marine divisions 3 regular/1 Reserve
    USAF tactical wings 24
    Large-deck carriers 15
    Attack submarines 76
    Surface combatants 200
    Amphibious ships 67
    Division sealift 1+

    (3) Campaigning for Alternatives: This set of numbers reflects the McGovern presidential campaign's Alternate Defense Posture, released in January of 1972 (with plans for full implementation by the 1975 calendar year if President McGovern were indeed elected) at the end of the fifty-eight page defense proposal, together with an itemized budget. This was the first shot across the bow from McGovernite reformers in the direction of the Pentagon's status quo.

    Category Numbers
    ICBMs 1000
    SSBNs/SLBMs 41/656
    Bombers 200
    Army divisions 10
    Marine divisions 2 regular/1 Reserve
    USAF tactical wings 18
    Large-deck carriers 6
    Attack submarines 69
    Surface combatants 130
    Amphibious ships 56
    Division sealift 1

    (4) Making the Sausage: This set of numbers represents the FY 77 FYDP approved by the DoD under the McGovern administration in the first half of 1976. It includes changes in strategic weapons numbers mandated by CART (the five-year end state for this FYDP would be FY 82, kicked off in September of 1981 by an administration definitively after the McGovern White House even if it won a second term), firming up of reforms, cuts, enhancements, and compromises developed over the course of this presidential term (1973-77), and a structure coherence for the end products yielded by several contentious years of debate and haggling within and beyond the Pentagon.

    Category Numbers
    ICBMs 600
    SSBNs/SLBMs 18/288
    Bombers 200
    Army divisions 12
    Marine divisions 2 regular/1 Reserve
    USAF tactical wings 18
    Large-deck carriers 8
    ASW carriers 6
    Attack Submarines 78
    Surface combatants 155
    Amphibious ships 56
    Division sealift 1+

    Structural and Institutional Reforms

    Unified Command Structure

    Out of the McGoverners' love for what they considered pragmatic efficiency, one of the administration's higher priorities in defense policy was organizational reform. They carried this through on two main fronts: reform of the Pentagon's bureaucratic structure, and reform of the Unified and Specified Commands system.

    At the level of the Department itself, the McGovern administration reordered its components into two broad categories. In one sorted category it put "tasks in common" that stretched across all the services and established a series of Under Secretaries to draw up and administer policy where those tasks were concerned. In another sorted category the administration put the uniformed services themselves, with a much more active (and activist) Deputy Secretary of Defense as the direct administrator, overseer, and referee above the services (and those services' civilian secretaries and uniformed commanders) with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as the DepSec's military adviser and uniformed deputy.

    (NB: The "Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff" box should in fact be offset, as a deputy to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, rather than in direct line above the service secretaries/chiefs.)


    In the matter of the unified and specified commands, the 1973 Hoopes Commission report (named for Deputy Secretary of Defense Townsend "Tim" Hoopes) recommended cutting the number of commands from ten (in practice more like twelve, as much of the apparatus for at least two more commands had survived their termination in the 1960s) down to five. Over the next two years the Hoopes Commission plan was carried through and the modern Unified Command System that lasted from 1974 to 2006 took shape. The five commands were these:

    United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM): Unified the elements of the nuclear triad, and the former Continental Air Defense Command, under one roof. Command of STRATCOM rotated between the Air Force and the Navy in turn.

    United States Americas Command (USMERICOM): Responsible for operations throughout the contiguous Americas and the Caribbean basin, including "operational" units within the United States (military elements authorized to deploy on missions inside United States borders in support of civil power, as opposed to normal base operations or training.) Command rotated between the Air Force and Army in turn.

    United States Atlantic Command (USLANTCOM): Responsible solely, but entirely, for operations on the high seas of the Atlantic, inclusive of Arctic and Antarctic waters, along with Atlantic islands such as Iceland, Greenland, other such Atlantic territories, and the Antarctic coast. Command of USLANTCOM was a Navy preserve.

    United States European Command (USEUCOM): Responsible for US forces in Europe out to the Urals, inclusive of the Baltic and Mediterranean sea basins, and also continental Africa, the western Indian Ocean, and West and Central Asia to the western border and shores of India. Within EUCOM a permanent joint task force existed to take charge of operations outside NATO territory and the contiguous bodies of water, dubbed Joint Task Force Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (JTFMEAFSA). Command of EUCOM was an Army preserve vested in SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, within NATO) while command of JTFMEAFSA rotated between the Army and Marine Corps.

    United States Pacific Command (USPACOM): Responsible for operations throughout the Pacific and its basins from the Bering Strait to the Antarctic coastline, the Pacific Rim, Southeast Asia, and the eastern Indian Ocean including India's national territories. PACOM was a Navy preserve.

    Operational Equipment of the US Air Force under FY77 FYDP

    (This gives a quick precis of the major flying hardware the USAF would acquire and possess as of the FY77 FYDP model for procurement. Total fleet numbers of different types of aircraft would of course include flight-training and weapons qualification squadrons, spare airframes, etc. The numbers readers can derive from the list below would be airframes officially assigned to active-duty squadrons.)

    Bomber wings
    B-52H 2 (of 36 aircraft each) (NB: increasing the size of B-52 squadrons from 16 to 18 involved surprisingly complex processes for personnel assignments, small-unit rotations and tactics [moving from four flights of 4 in each squadron to six flights of 3], and readiness schedules)
    B-1A 3 (of 24 aircraft each)

    Tactical air wings
    F-111 4 (of 72 aircraft each)
    A-7D 1 (of 54 aircraft each, to be replaced by A-10s in 1982)
    A-10 4 (of 54 aircraft each, rising to 6 by 1983)
    F-4E 2 (of 72 each, to be replaced by A-10s and F-15s by 1983)
    F-4G 2 (of 64 each)
    F-15 5 (of 72 aircraft each, rising to 6 by 1983)

    *Also one composite wing in Republic of Korea with one squadron each F-4E, A-10, and OV-10A
    **Also five independent F-106 interceptor squadrons for North American air defense

    Support air wings
    RF-4C 2 (of 54 aircraft each)
    EF-111 1 (of 72 aircraft)
    OV-10A 1 (of 36 aircraft)
    E-3A 1 (of 36 aircraft)
    RC-135 1
    TR-1A/SR-71/EC-135J 2 (each with 6 SR-71, 12 TR-1A [militarized U-2], and 6 EC-135J)
    C-12 1 (of 36 aircraft)
    C-14A 3 (of 48 aircraft each)
    C-141 3 (of 48 aircraft each, to consist of "stretched" -141B models by 1981)
    C-5 2 (of 32 aircraft each)
    C-130H individual squadrons in Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), Philippines, and Alaska
    VIP 1 (with VC-25 [Boeing 747], VC-137 [Boeing 707], C-9, and C-20 aircraft)
    KC-135 6 (of 48 aircraft each)
    KC-10 1 (of 48 aircraft each)
    ARRS (Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service) 1 (four operational squadrons each with 4 HC-130P tankers and 6 HH-53 helicopters)
    SOF 1 (four squadrons with, respectively, 6 MC-130E, 6 HC-130P, 10 AC-130H, and 12 CH-53H)

    Various support and training squadrons including Northrop F-5 aggressor training squadrons, EC-130 and EC-135 electronic warfare aircraft, WC-130 and WC-135 weather surveillance aircraft, etc.

    Air Force Reserve wings provided for in FY 77 FYDP
    A-7D 2
    F-4E 2
    C-130H 3
    C-141 2
    KC-135 3
    KC-10 1
    *Also one squadron each of AC-130A and OV-10A

    Air National Guard wings provided for in FY 77 FYDP
    A-7D 4
    F-106 1 (assigned defense of US airspace)
    F-4C 1 (to be replaced by F-16A in 1981)
    F-4D 2 (to be replaced by F-16A by 1984)
    F-4E 4
    OA-37 2
    RF-4C 2
    C-130E 2 (to be replaced by C-130H by 1984)
    KC-135 2

    Major Combatants of the United States Navy under FY77 FYDP

    8 (by 1980 to include three Nimitz-class and one Enterprise-class nuclear powered CVNs and four Kitty Hawk-class conventionally powered CVs)*

    CVSs 6 (Iwo Jima-class landing platform, helicopter (LPH) ships converted to anti-submarine "sea control" role with Marine Corps AV-8A Harriers, anti-submarine helicopters of multiple types, and CV/EV-84 Puffin [Canadair Dynavert] vertical-lift radar early warning aircraft)

    CGs/CGNs 16 (by 1981 to include two California-class and six Virginia-class nuclear-powered guided missile cruisers, all to be refitted with AEGIS radar during 1980s, and eight Leahy-class guided missile cruisers)**

    DDGs 63 (40 Spruance-class anti-submarine guided missile destroyers and 23 Charles F. Adams-class anti-air warfare guided missile destroyers; Adams-class ships to be replaced by 24 DD-X [Ticonderoga-class] large anti-air warfare destroyers during 1980s)

    FFGs 52 (forty-six Knox-class and six Brooke-class guided-missile frigates, with construction on FF-X class to begin in 1980s)

    PHMs 16 (Pegasus-class guided missile fast hydrofoils, based in four squadrons in Florida, Sicily, Denmark, and Okinawa)

    SSBNs 18 (nine Atlantic-based Benjamin Franklin-class, and nine Pacific-based James Madison-class SSBNs ,under CART end-state provisions, all armed with UGM-73 Poseidon C3 missiles)

    SS/SSNs 80 (to include thirty Los Angeles-class nuclear powered attack submarines by 1982)

    LHAs 6 (all Tarawa-class LHAs to be in service by 1982)

    * By 1980, the McGovern-era DoD planned for a disposition of the Navy's "big-deck" carrier resources as follows. At Naval Air Station, Norfolk the service would base USS Nimitz (having replaced USS Independence in 1975) and USS America. At Naval Air Station, Mayport (Jacksonville, FL) the Navy would base USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (having replaced USS Saratoga in 1977) and USS John F. Kennedy. At Naval Air Station, North Island (San Diego, CA) they would base USS Enterprise and USS Constellation. At Naval Air Station, Alameda on the San Francisco Bay they would base USS George Washington (replacing USS Ranger in 1980) and USS Kitty Hawk. The four retired Forrestal-class carriers would form part of the higher-readiness components of the Reserve Fleet, as wartime loss replacement for the Kitty Hawk/Kennedy-class carriers. With plans to cut steel for USS Woodrow Wilson in the later 1970s, that fourth and final (under McGovern administration plans) Nimitz-class carrier would replace USS Enterprise in active service in the mid-1980s, with Enterprise likewise transferred to the higher-readiness elements of the Reserve Fleet as a loss replacement for active CVNs.

    ** The McGovern administration chose ultimately to stop fighting Congressional plans to replace the Leahys in the 1980s with a sub-class of the DD-X design, stretched to include command staff accommodations and function as a cruiser as a Halsey-class of eight vessels adapted but separate from the Ticonderogas, provided lead-in funds could be delayed into the late Seventies subject to contemporary review.

    Structure of the United States Marine Corps under McGovern-era reorganization

    While the Air Force actually took a larger overall reduction in personnel (up to thirty percent, at least two-thirds of that already programmed into Nixon administration force ceilings for the USAF), no branch of the Armed Forces faced more dramatic cuts than the Marine Corps, whose manpower dropped roughly twenty-seven percent (from just over 198,000 to a ceiling of 145,000) in the first two years of the McGovern administration. The drama stemmed from two aspects of the draw-down: first that the Corps historically had many friends on Capitol Hill who insulated the Marines from such outcomes, second because many of those old friends had joined with think tanks, retired officers, and serving four-stars in the other services to ask just what would keep the Marine Corps relevant on the battlefields of the post-Vietnam world.

    Commandant Louis Wilson, together with a combination of uniformed and civilian reformers and political partners within the administration and in Congress, set himself to the task of mending the Corps' wounds and reframing its role for the future. Wilson did stand pat on two traditional rationales for the Corps: that it was the principal amphibious force of the US military, to whatever ends amphibious warfare might be put in the future, and also a principal crisis-response force for sudden emergencies. Beyond that Wilson chose not to waste a good crisis. More even than the Army, Wilson decided to use the major reduction-in-force to purge unfit or undesirable personnel. Wilson embraced, in a distinctively Marine Corps fashion, the methods and recommendations of the "organizational effectiveness" reformers who wanted a more reciprocal and communal approach to ground-level operations and decision making that could invest young, new marines in the institution: the Corps was a tight-knit and exclusive tribe already, Wilson's OE aides found language and logic to justify changes in terms of the health of the service and regeneration of its historic bonds. Wilson also used the Haynes Board, chaired by one of his trusted staff officers and geared to answer the pointed questions from outside reformers who saw little justification for the Marines in the present day, to alter force structures and doctrine so that the Corps would balance better between utility on "high intensity" armored battlefields and its historic crisis-response role. All this came together as the MARINE 200 program, a catchy monicker that linked the Corps' founding in 1776 to the Bicentennial that was all over America's public conversations.

    Under MARINE 200 reorganization, Corps reorganized around:

    • Three Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEFs, with restoration of the term "Expeditionary" in place of Vietnam-era "Amphibious" designation), two in the regular component and one in the Marine Corps Reserve, each MEF with one Marine Division, one Marine Air Wing, and one Force Support Command
    • 1st Marine Division (of I MEF, serving as Fleet Marine Forces Pacific) includes four rather than normal three Marine infantry regiments; each Tank Battalion (one per division) increased in strength by one company over pre-MARINE 200 strength, each division now with two Tracked Amphibian Battalions (amphibious tracked landing craft) rather than one
    • Each MEF to provide division- and Force-level command as needed to large operations; on a constant basis to provide one Marine Assault Brigade (heavy Marine brigade with full Tank Battalion minus one company and one Tracked Amphibious Battalion assigned to field a mechanized Marine brigade), one Marine Expeditionary Brigade (lighter force on the older Marine-brigade model, with one tank and one tracked-amphibian company each assigned), and a Marine infantry regiment plus necessary support forces to form and rotate three Marine Expeditionary Units (based on a Battalion Landing Team) through rule-of-three readiness cycle (one deployed, one training up, one reconstituting after deployment)
    • This meant each of I and II MEF would provide (1) one Marine Assault Brigade force, (2) one Marine Expeditionary Brigade force as needed, and (3) three MEUs available
    • I MEF stronger overall so that it could if needed provide a full division (three infantry regiments) for operations without compromising the MEU mission
    • As of programs initiated in the FY 76 budget, by the late Seventies I MEF will maintain an Afloat Prepositioning Squadron of cargo ships moored at Saipan in the Pacific for 9th Marine Assault Brigade (formerly 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade), while II MEF will maintain a hardened Prepositioned Materiel Configured in Unit Sets (POMCUS) site in northern Norway for 4th Marine Assault Brigade (formerly 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade)
    • Further amphibious and transport ships available to form up and transport an MEB each from I MEF or II MEF to operations when required
    • Under MARINE 200 overall Corps regular-component strength reduced from c. 198,000 in 1972 to 145,000

    United States Army Organization for the Volunteer Force Under ARMY 76

    The Army was of course the largest of the services, arguably the most damaged by the Southeast Asian experience as well. It was subject to a mixture of public and inter-service disdain, congressional scrutiny, and significant cuts as the Army's end-strength ceiling dropped to 650,000 through agreement between the McGovern administration and a belt-tightening Congress. The Army's active component was circumscribed in other ways, as the Humphrey-Cranston Amendment to the FY74 defense appropriations bill largely backed the administration's play on root-and-branch Army withdrawals from South Korea and significant drops in forces deployed forward to Western Europe, and the administration dickered with force structures to eliminate the assignment of major Army formations (divisions, corps, etc.) to any specific missions on the Pacific Rim, an effort to "reorganize out" what McGoverners considered risky latent capabilities for large land wars in Asia.

    At the same time, like the other services, the Army started to find its way. Senior commanders found ways to preserve contingency missions in theaters where the administration preferred to avoid direct assignments (Northeast Asia, the Philippines, Latin America, etc.) and so salvaged a path to expand the "tooth to tail" ratio in the smaller All-Volunteer Force to contain twelve active-component divisions rather than the ten first planned by the McGovern administration. This ended up reinforcing the United States' formal commitment to Europe, with the restructured III Corps taking up a conventional-force backstop role on the North German Plain and raising the official US commitment of active-component forces to NATO back to nine divisions in three corps. The service also found a path of least resistance by embracing the model set out by Under Secretaries for Policy, John Holum, and Intelligence, Robert "Blowtorch Bob" Komer, that centered defense of West Germany on large new prepositioned-equipment bases in West Germany and the Low Countries, dubbed Prepositioned Materiel Configured in Unit Sets (POMCUS), vast covered motor pools of heavy vehicles and equipment arrayed so that individual small units could find their gear on a map grid and drive it into the field, after they arrived at NATO airfields by air transit. Tied to this was the expansion of several stateside bases to take up forces redeployed from Europe, often chosen with political benefits in mind: notably Camp (now Fort) Stewart in Georgia, Fort Hood in Texas (already a massive facility), and Fort Polk in Louisiana, where base expansion became a public-works project that dovetailed with reconstruction after the 1973 Mississippi floods.

    Two large changes internal to the Army's structure and ways of doing business also took hold. One was a cautious but deliberate embrace of the "Organizational Effectiveness" model for remaking officer-enlisted and command-small unit relations, for investing new volunteer recruits in the Army's culture and ways of doing business, and for vetting (sometimes subtly, sometimes not so) serving officers and senior NCOs for their facility at working with these new methods and relationships. The flagship OE project of the service was Gen. Bernard Rogers' enterprise with U.S. Army Europe, the front-line forces for the potential conflict that the Army deemed most important. In a zig-zagging line from former Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird's proposals of 1970, the service embraced a "Total Army" model that, through the ARMY 76 program, integrated active, National Guard, and Reserve units at theater-army and corps level as semi-integrated layers of a wartime force. The total-force system would give the service some organizational depth in case of a major war and the ability to regenerate itself (through Guard and Reserve reinforcements, and Reserve training divisions that would ready wartime volunteers and Involuntary Ready Reserve personnel for action for six months, then flesh out as combatant formations themselves.) The leading uniformed light for that change, alongside Secretary of the Army Charlie Bennett, was Gen. Walter T. "Dutch" Kerwin, first as the inaugural commander of Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), later as Chief of Staff of the Army.

    Through the ARMY 76 plan the service worked to improve the quality of its soldiery by (1) using major force reductions to "section out" low-performing, poorly skilled, even criminal personnel, (2) working to improve inducements and personnel quality through OE programs, and (3) streamlining its organization around a few key missions. At the same time the Army worked to identify and shepherd major procurement projects that would improve the service's capabilities in the field.

    Theater-level Army Forces

    United States Third Army (US Army MEAFSA) - Camp Darby, Livorno, Italy
    United States Fifth Army (US Army Americas) - Ft. Sam Houston, TX
    United States Seventh Army (US Army Europe) - Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)
    United States Eighth Army (US Army Pacific) - Ft. Shafter, Hawaii

    Corps level

    III Corps (HQ: Ft. Hood, TX)
    (III Corps major wartime mission to reinforce NATO's Northern Army Group [NORTHAG], with potential secondary missions to Northeast Asia or the Middle East only in the absence of a major conflict in Europe)

    Regular-service element
    2nd Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Ft. Lewis, WA; mechanized infantry, all at Ft. Lewis, with tenth maneuver battalion - armored - provided by US Army Reserve; Prepositioned Materiel Configured in Unit Sets [POMCUS] site at Grobbendonk, Netherlands)

    1st Cavalry Division (Ft. Hood, TX; special organization with two brigades structured as armored cavalry regiments minus aviation squadron, and one organic attack-aviation brigade, all at Ft. Hood; POMCUS site at Monchengladbach, FRG)

    2nd Armored Division (Ft. Hood, TX; armored, all at Ft. Hood; POMCUS site at Kaiserslautern, FRG)

    3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Ft. Bliss, TX; corps armored cavalry regiment; POMCUS site at Garlstedt, FRG)

    199th Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Ft. Ord, CA; mechanized infantry, corps rear-area combat brigade; POMCUS site at Essen, FRG)

    Corps support elements at these bases and Ft. Huachuca, AZ

    National Guard element
    40th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Los Alamitos, CA; from CANG except one armored battalion from NVNG)

    49th Armored Division (Camp Mabry, TX; from TXNG)

    81st Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (Separate) (Seattle, WA; corps rear-area combat brigade, from WANG)

    Corps support formations from across western United States

    Reserve element
    91st Infantry Division (HQ: Sausalito, CA)

    95th Infantry Division (HQ: Midwest City, OK)

    104th Infantry Division (HQ: Vancouver, WA)

    Also corps-level Reserve support units, chiefly medical, engineering, and logistics

    V Corps (HQ: Frankfurt, FRG)

    Regular-service element
    4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Ft. Carson, CO; mechanized infantry, all at Ft. Carson; POMCUS site at Gelnhausen, FRG)

    8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Bad Kreuznach, FRG; mechanized infantry, all based forward in FRG)

    3rd Armored Division (Ft. Stewart, GA; most of division at Ft. Stewart less one armored brigade based forward at Kirchgoens, FRG; POMCUS site at Frankfurt, FRG)

    11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Fulda, FRG; corps armored cavalry regiment, based forward in FRG)

    197th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (Separate) (Ft. Benning, GA: mechanized infantry, corps rear-area combat brigade all at Ft. Benning; POMCUS site at Frankfurt, FRG)

    Corps support units based forward in FRG, at Ft. Benning, GA, Ft. Sill, OK, and Ft. Jackson, SC

    National Guard element
    30th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Raleigh, NC; armored brigade from NCNG, mechanized infantry brigades from SCNG and TNNG, division support units from those states and VANG)

    50th Armored Division (Trenton, NJ; one armored and one mechanized infantry brigades from NJNG, one armored brigade from VTNG [including one mechanized infantry battalion from NYNG], division support units from those states and DENG)

    107th Armored Brigade (Separate) (Columbus, OH; converted from armored cavalry regiment, corps rear-area combat brigade, from OHNG)

    Corps support units based in northeastern US

    Reserve element
    76th Infantry Division (HQ: Hartford, CT)

    78th Infantry Division (HQ: Edison, NJ)

    98th Infantry Division (HQ: Rochester, NY)

    Also corps-level Reserve support units

    VII Corps (HQ: Stuttgart, FRG)

    Regular-service element
    1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Ft. Riley, KS; mechanized, division at Ft. Riley less one mechanized brigade forward at Goppingen, FRG; POMCUS site at Mannheim, FRG)

    3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Ft. Polk, LA; mechanized infantry, all at Ft. Polk; POMCUS site at Schweinfurt, FRG)

    1st Armored Division (Hanau, FRG; all based forward in FRG)

    2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Nurnberg, FRG; corps armored cavalry regiment, all based forward in FRG)

    194th Armored Brigade (Separate) (Ft. Knox, KY; corps rear-area combat brigade; POMCUS set at Nurnberg, FRG)

    Corps support units based forward in FRG, also at Ft. Sill, OK, Ft. Devens, MA, and Ft. Drum, NY

    National Guard element
    30th Armored Division (Nashville, TN; armored brigades from TNNG and ALNG, mechanized brigade from MSNG, division support units from those states and ARNG)

    35th Infantry Division (Mechanized) (Ft. Leavenworth, KS; mechanized brigades from KSNG and NENG, armored brigade from KYNG, division support units from those states, MONG, and CONG)

    32nd Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (Separate) (Milwaukee, WI; corps rear-area combat brigade, from WING)

    Corps support elements from the Midwestern United States

    Reserve element
    70th Infantry Division (HQ: Livonia, MI)

    84th Infantry Division (HQ: Milwaukee, WI)

    85th Infantry Division (HQ: Arlington Heights, IL)

    Also corps-level Reserve support units

    XVIII Corps (HQ: Ft. Bragg, NC)

    Regular-service element
    25th Infantry Division (Schofield Barracks, HI; "leg" infantry division, all based in Hawaii)

    82nd Airborne Division (Ft. Bragg, NC; "TRICAP" airborne force with airborne, air assault, and organic aviation brigades; on duty as national alert force)

    101st Airborne Division (Ft. Campbell, KY; "TRICAP" airborne force with airborne, air assault, and organic aviation brigades; assigned to provide airborne capabilities to conventional-warfare operations)

    U.S. Army Special Warfare Command (Ft. Bragg, NC; two-star command in control of Army special missions units and training schools based variously in United States and overseas)

    Corps support units at those bases, Ft. McPherson, GA, and Hunter Army Airfield, GA

    National Guard element
    38th Infantry Division (Air Assault) (Indianapolis, IN; two air-assault infantry brigades from INNG and one from ILNG, along with organic aviation brigade from ILNG and KYNG, division support elements from those states and OHNG)

    42nd Infantry Division (New York, NY; "leg" infantry division from NYNG)

    36th Airborne Brigade (Separate) (Houston, TX; corps reserve airborne brigade from TXNG)

    48th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (Separate) (Macon, GA; corps rear-area combat brigade, from GANG)

    Corps support units from southeastern United States

    Reserve element
    80th Infantry Division (HQ: Richmond, VA)

    100th Infantry Division (HQ: Louisville, KY)

    104th Infantry Division (HQ: Charlotte, NC)

    Also corps-level Reserve support units

    A note on Airborne Divisions: As part of ARMY 76, both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions converted to a version of the "TRICAP" (TRIple CAPability) model. Thus altered the divisions included (1) one airborne-infantry brigade made of a brigade headquarters and four airborne battalion combat teams [ABCTs] (large battalions structured with three rifle companies, a headquarters company, a support company that included among other elements heavier weapons and an engineer platoon, and an organic battery of airborne artillery), (2) a heliborne air-assault infantry brigade structured like a Separate brigade (e.g. with organic artillery, engineering, combat support/logistics, etc., rather than elements detached from a divisional pool), and (3) an organic air assault aviation brigade with three large aviation battalions each of which combined attack helicopters with medium- and heavy-lift transport helicopters, along with a cavalry squadron armed chiefly with scout helicopters.

    A note on Special Warfare Command: The principal elements of the downsized and reordered Special Warfare Command were a single (large company-sized) active-component Civil Affairs Battalion (to be reinforced by no less than five Army Reserve formations in the event of a major conflict) and three Special Operations Groups. The SOGs, which bore the identification and lineage of previous Special Forces Groups - 5th, 7th, and 10th - were amalgams of capability inside one structure. Each Group contained two active-component Special Forces battalions (with their mission defined more narrowly around three tasks: around unconventional - i.e. guerilla - warfare training and leadership, around human-intelligence collection, and around foreign military liaison in the field) each regionally-aligned, one National Guard Special Forces battalion that would serve as a reinforcement unit for the active-component battalions, one Army Reserve Special Forces battalion structured as a cadre and institutional training unit for wartime replacement personnel, one (company-sized) regionally aligned Psychological Operations battalion, and one large Ranger company (made up entirely of "tabbed" Ranger School graduates, with Special Forces-qualified personnel in leadership positions, assigned to special reconnaissance and direct-action tasks.) Each of these component elements was to be led by a lieutenant colonel, with the larger Group headquarters commanded by a full colonel. There existed also several special-qualification schools, and some independent force support units aligned to provide specialized service-support and logistics functions.

    Special Independent Brigades

    Regular element
    56th Artillery Group (Schwabish-Gmund, FRG; control over three Pershing I field artillery battalions in FRG [to become two Pershing II and one Pershing I] and one security-force infantry battalion; also affiliated with 4th Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment as a Pershing I battalion in Republic of Korea)

    172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Ft. Wainwright, AK; trained for arctic operations, assigned wartime defense of Alaska and as US Army Pacific theater reserve; two arctic-infantry battalions, one independent armor company, one organic aviation company, and brigade support units at Ft. Wainwright; one airborne battalion combat team [ABCT] at Ft. Richardson, AK)

    193rd Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Ft. Clayton, Panama Canal Zone; trained for jungle operations, wartime defense of Canal Zone; command slots structured to expand to division-sized command and support in wartime with assigned National Guard round-out units; two "leg" infantry and one mechanized battalions, one independent armor company, one organic aviation company, based variously in Canal Zone)

    Berlin Infantry Brigade (United States Occupation Zone Berlin; three mechanized infantry battalions, one independent armor company, various support elements including Special Forces special detachment; assigned to supervise and defend US zone of occupied Berlin)

    SETAF (Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy; Southern European TAsk Force with airborne battalion combat team [ABCT] assigned to rapid-reaction role for US Army Europe, also artillery support elements assigned to dual-key nuclear forces with Italian, Greek, and Turkish armies)

    National Guard element
    29th Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Honolulu, HI; from HING and one California-based US Army Reserve "leg" infantry battalion; assigned wartime defense of Hawaii and United States Territories in the Pacific)

    34th Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Mineota, MN; "leg" infantry brigade with organic armor battalion, from MNNG; assigned wartime reinforcement of Iceland)

    53rd Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Tallahassee, FL; "leg" infantry brigade from FLNG with organic armor battalion, from FLNG; assigned wartime defense of Panama Canal Zone)

    92nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) (San Juan, PR; "leg" infantry brigade from PRNG; assigned wartime defense of Puerto Rico and other United States Territories in the Caribbean)

    116th Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Richmond, VA; two "leg" infantry battalions each from VANG and MDNG and support units from both states; assigned wartime defense and security operations for District of Columbia)

    207th Scout Group (Separate) (Anchorage, AK; long-range patrol formation assigned wartime defense of Alaska, from AKNG)

    256th Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Baton Rouge, LA; "leg" infantry brigade from LANG; assigned wartime reinforcement of Panama Canal Zone)

    Total ARMY 76 force contained in four Theater Army headquarters, four corps formations, and thirty-two divisions (twelve Regular, eight National Guard, and twelve Reserve.)
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  6. Workable Goblin Chronicler of the Pony Wars

    Aug 3, 2009
    So obviously most of the missions performed by the non-geographical commands IOTL must be folded into geographical commands ITTL or otherwise handled outside of the unified command structure. I see that CONAD/ADCOM is now part of STRATCOM, which I suppose makes some degree of sense (although it would make just about as much sense to put them in MERICOM, IMHO), and obviously SOUTHCOM and NORTHCOM are now one big happy family (that should be interesting...). CENTCOM and AFRICOM weren't things yet anyway, though it looks like EUCOM has basically taken those areas of responsibility. Really, the big miss here seems to be MAC/TRANSCOM...

    I don't have much intelligible to say about anything else, although now I wonder what the world looks like the blue suits in Sunnyvale, Vandenberg, and the Cape--i.e., the space people. A lot of them are really NRO people, not blue-suiters, but I imagine that the McGovern crew are not as hard on them as maybe the rest of the Air Force, because after all if you're going to do more with less doing it smarter is kind of a good way to do that, and a lot of the time nowadays that means satellites. On the other hand, this could collide with their disdain for technoprojects, because if there's anything space is known for it's gold-plated technofeasts that go massively over budget and don't end up delivering what was promised. (On the third hand, though, the NRO has that pretty well in hand at this point, and it won't really be for another few decades that they have a screw-up like that)
  7. King of the Uzbeks Charles Curtis is my Baby Daddy

    May 28, 2013
    Not-Tashkent (sadly)
    So who's won the Nobel Peace Prizes thus far? OTL 1972 had no winner for some reason and Kissinger is out of the picture for 73.
    Yes and Batman16 like this.
  8. CountDVB Dual Emperor of the Aztech and Maychanical Empires

    Aug 26, 2017
    Hope someone is keeping up with the TVTropes page so people don't get lost
    THE OBSERVER, Batman16 and Yes like this.
  9. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Shire, somewhere in Cascadia
    Another good question! I'll get back to you on that by tomorrow.

    True enough to the first sentence. STRATCOM brings CONAD and SAC together along with the Navy's boomers. Much of the practical stuff REDCOM did has been shuffled over to Army FORSCOM and its rhyming equivalents in other services, with the MEAFSA role vested officially in USEUCOM. MAC is still largely "pre-specified" at this point but becomes even more so folding back into the Air Force proper as part of an arrangement - at least for now - that keeps the various services' logistical toys inside their own prams, as it were. Yeah, things may get "interesting" occasionally at Fort Sam Houston as people fight in memos and sulk in footnotes about whether old!ARNORTH and old!ARSOUTH should get priority for which particular things. It would make some reasonable sense to put CONAD in with USMERICOM but they've gone for horizontal integration with nuke-related bureaucratic fiefs so off to STRATCOM it went.

    Thanks for the shout-out to dear old Onizuka earlier today, it actually gets a brief, oblique mention in the next chapter in progress. President McGovern has been very impressed with repurposing LANDSAT resources to identify and flag crop failures in the early stages, and to some degree that's sealed it on the pro-satellite perspective because that's how bounded-rationality theory works. McGovern's inner historian wants good, detailed primary sources from which reasoned conclusions can be made, and technologically-gathered intelligence fits that bill, structurally and operationally largely separate from the old Langley dirty-tricks gang, and even at least in part from the nosy parkers at Fort Meade. NASA may soon be jogging to keep up with proposals to make STS a designated national launch system for various technical payloads into orbit that can support a broadly-construed intelligence gathering process, from direct monitoring of Kapustin Yar (or Lop Nur, or even the Overberg Range in South Africa...) to what we'd now classify under GPS processing and connectivity. McGovern is very much a "do more with less by doing smarter" guy in his general impulses, indeed so are most of his reformers, just some of them happen to be what I'd call "learned technophobes" on the basis of things like TFX and the MBT-70 et al. But his impression, from the multi-use LANDSAT gear, that even some of the equipment officially geared to military purposes can take a broader view (quite literally) and support other kinds of national, indeed global, security, makes him at least an interested party for the Seventies satellite boom.[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]
  10. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Shire, somewhere in Cascadia
    I'm stealing that. Possibly sigging it.

    Yeah stealing that too.

    All narratives should be written like this.

    Space-station porn is quality porn. And ditto on Eyes...
    Expat likes this.
  11. Workable Goblin Chronicler of the Pony Wars

    Aug 3, 2009
    Well, that's basically's the only way Shuttle made sense, if it was the all-dancing, all-singing answer to everyone's launch needs...
    Yes likes this.
  12. Expat Monthly Donor

    Oct 26, 2007
    Washington, DC
    I don't want to keep pestering you, Workable Goblin, so please tell me if I'm being an overzealous fan, but if you're inclined I'm interested to hear what you would do if you were advising President McGovern on space policy in January '73.
    Yes likes this.
  13. THE OBSERVER Independent Progressive

    Jul 22, 2010
    New England
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  14. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Shire, somewhere in Cascadia
    Indeed. And they'll market that even more aggressively, given the president's closeness to the Senate Minnesotans and desire to mend fences with Proxmire after the BONE purchase. "Flexible manned launch platform" will appear on many, many brochures.
  15. Workable Goblin Chronicler of the Pony Wars

    Aug 3, 2009
    Well, assuming I could travel through time and space to McGovern's inauguration and he would give me the time of day...I would give him a six-point plan that I think would put things as right as they could be. In rough order of importance,
    1. More probes. Specifically, small probes, from Ames and other non-JPL centers, including some outside of NASA. IOTL there was something of a crisis in the 1980s and early 1990s in the planetary exploration program, because all NASA would do was these big, huge flagship missions that absolutely couldn't fail, and because they were so big, huge, and absolutely couldn't fail they had a very slow development and launch cadence, meaning there wasn't enough going on deeper in the pipeline to maintain the scientific and technical workforce needed to make them work properly. IOTL, this was resolved when Goldin came in and pushed Faster, Better, Cheaper, which led to the formation of the Discovery program--small spacecraft with a fixed maximum budget (not including launch costs) and a rapid development and launch cadence. Along with the later New Horizons program that applies the same principles to medium-sized spacecraft, it's really improved the health of the American planetary science community. So basically I would advise him to start the Discovery program in the 1970s instead of the 1990s. Even if nothing else changes, this will greatly assist planetary science in remaining healthy over the 1980s.[1]
    2. ...Even more probes! Actually, this is a little add-on to the former point that's probably just enough to be its own separate thing. In addition to the *Discovery program, McGovern should also set up something like the Deep Space program, also from the 1990s, that is a program to launch probes that are not primarily centered around researching scientific questions but instead around demonstrating new technologies. There's a long-standing chicken-and-egg problem in space exploration, which is that you want new technology to enable you to do new things but you want to use old technology because it's what's actually flown and has been demonstrated as reliable and functional. It's therefore worthwhile to launch spacecraft that focus entirely on using new technology and don't particularly worry about whether they'll end up being reliable or as useful as you had hoped--the whole point of the spacecraft is precisely to find that out. And doing it as a dedicated program instead of one-off missions means a steady drip of new technologies that can flow back into the *Discovery program and flagship missions instead of a stop-start of new technologies occasionally, whenever the budget allows it, and old technologies at other times. And, of course, the missions can still do useful science--it's just that that's not the point the way it is for other missions.
    3. Shuttle, Shuttle, Shuttle. Or rather, no Shuttle, no Shuttle, no Shuttle. What NASA wants is a reusable replacement for the Saturn IB that will also subsume all other launch vehicles and be so cheap and easy it will be able to return to its halcyon days of the mid-1960s and do the Moon! And Mars! And a space station! And so on and so forth. Obviously, that's not realistic, but NASA wants it so bad it's been ignoring warning signs that things aren't going to turn out the way that they want. This is one case where the bean counters are absolutely right: what NASA needs is not Shuttle, which is going to be an albatross around their neck, but the OMB glider or slight variation, an oversized HL-20 that can replace Apollo as an Earth-orbital vehicle and perform many of the same missions, including short-term Earth orbit science missions, but which has no grand ambitions of replacing all other launch vehicles or slashing launch prices or anything like that. Combine that with a look at Marshall-esque plans of incrementally building up capabilities (although it'll be second-term McGovern at best who can actually send those forward) and you should be able to get to more or less where we are today IOTL but more cheaply, more easily, and with fewer deaths along the way. The good news is that the Shuttle program proper is less than a year old by '73, so it's entirely possible to redirect it. If I was advising Carter IOTL, I'd just tell him to try fixing the more glaring flaws of Shuttle, because it was just too late to actually cancel it.[2]
    4. Titan/Saturn IB replacement. If you're not getting Shuttle, it's time to look seriously at replacing Titan (mostly) and Saturn IB (somewhat) with a new launch vehicle. Saturn IB is just plain expensive, so it hardly needs explaining why you might want to drop it, Titan's issues are more subtle. In the first place, it uses highly toxic and not-that-performant unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide as propellants. Now, on a missile these propellants are great: you can store them basically forever and they ignite on contact, so using them lets you stick a missile in a silo for twenty years and be pretty sure it'll light if you have to say the word "go". On a launch vehicle...not so much. Moreover, because of their toxicity and potential for environmental protection, the actual costs of the fuel were clearly going to go nowhere but up by 1972. In the short run this was masked by how cheaply the Titan cores themselves could be obtained, due to all the missiles they had lying around, but in the longer run (i.e., once the missiles were retired) it played a role in the skyrocketing cost of the later Titans and their ultimate replacement. I would specifically advocate having two companies develop separate replacements, to introduce an element of competition in line with point 5 and to make sure that there are two different vehicles that can be used for any particular payload in case something goes wrong with one of them and it has to stand down for a time.
    5. Privatization. In the early 1970s, a surprising (by today's standards) amount of space activity was more or less directly under the control of the government. Launch vehicles were built by private contractors, sure, but they were supplied to the Air Force or NASA and then prepared and launched by government personnel. In fact, NASA was actually acting as a launch vehicle provider: you would contract with them to launch your satellites! Communications satellites were mostly owned by the government-owned corporations COMSAT or INTELSAT, although this changed later in the decade and was in fact changing at the time due to new FCC regulations (less than a year old in January '73) that allowed competitors to COMSAT. McGovern's administration should facilitate and encourage this shift towards a more private space environment. For example, those Titan/Saturn IB replacements I mentioned? They should try a new model with those: instead of being built by industry to government specifications, then handed over with no further private involvement, the contractors should be encouraged to be responsible for the launch vehicle over its entire lifecycle. They would be responsible not just for manufacturing the rocket, but also assembling it with the payload, preparing it for launch, and, indeed, launching it into orbit, with the Air Force or NASA being rather in the position of a customer contracting for a package to be delivered to a particular location versus having their own delivery trucks or trains to pick it up and transport it to where they want it. The point here is to encourage private investment in space exploration and development, as well as facilitating the development of ideas and technologies outside of the "oecumene" of the Air Force/NASA/major contractor world.[3]
    6. Air Force/NASA reconciliation. Or, rather, getting the Air Force to play nice with NASA. For whatever reason, probably something to do with how the Air Force lost the human space mission early on and was never able to get it back, from the early 1960s onwards the Air Force kind of dicked over NASA whenever they had to work together--dismissing them and their concerns, allocating them lower priority wherever possible, that sort of nonsense. Obviously, this led to inefficiencies when the two sides duplicated systems just to avoid dealing with the other, the clearest example being the Titan and Saturn IB, which fell into essentially the same niche. If possible, McGovern should get them to sit down together and hammer out agreements on how to play nice, although given that the Air Force seems to fight with everyone around them (Army, Navy, NASA...), I'm not sure how well this will actually work.
    [1]: Why only planetary science and not also Earth science or astronomy? Well, because those already had the Explorer program, which was (and is) basically the Discovery program but for Earth-orbital missions. In light of that, it's surprising it took nearly forty years to start up a true "Planetary Explorer" program, but in any case it means that there's no real need to do anything for those fields except maintain their budget appropriately.

    [2]: Moreover, the glider will be helpful in finding out all the little "gotchas" that will inevitably come up in such a big development program, with less impact than on the Do Everything vehicle. So it will help develop an even better future vehicle. (Though NASA will point out, quite properly, that there's no guarantee such a vehicle will be developed...)

    [3]: In reality, this is likely to be something of a monkey show for a while, rather the way that the "privatization" of the Space Shuttle was IOTL. There might technically be a private contractor--Boeing or Martin Marietta or some kind of joint venture or whomever--operating the launch vehicles, but the government is going to be calling the shots in every meaningful way. However, like the late '80s and early '90s privatizations of OTL, the point is to establish a precedent in favor of, basically, future SpaceXs and Orbital Sciences and so on. In the shorter run, it might make the American launch industry more competitive against ESA in the 1980s and 1990s, instead of falling into a deep slumber until SpaceX showed up where it was really just launching government payloads.

    I feel that most of this would appeal to the McGovernite technocratic-but-learned-technophobe impulses. Fewer big, gold-plated projects, more little agile ones that can fail quickly if it turns out they're not feasible, or that show whether nifty ideas work without needing to invest a decade and a billion dollars in them. Trying to exploit competition a little bit to fight the iron triangle. Besides ranking in order of importance, though, I reckon that they're roughly in order of difficulty. Setting up some new probe programs should be an easy sell in Congress, even to the Proxmires and Mondales of the world given the focus on improving efficiency and bang-for-buck, canceling Shuttle is a bit trickier but mostly because the pro-Shuttle people are REALLY pro-Shuttle. Meanwhile, replacing Titan is hard (realistically, Saturn IB is on its way out anyway, so Titan's the main target), and a major reorganization like 5 or 6 is very hard because there's a lot of interest in favor of the status quo and every side knows that they can just wait out the administration.
  16. Threadmarks: McGoverning: Prizes, Get Yer Prizes...

    Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Shire, somewhere in Cascadia
    Two brief mentions here, one prompted by @King of the Uzbeks, that give more little glimpses behind the curtain/at the wider world going on as we move through the McGoverning narrative.

    Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, 1972-75

    1972: Eisaku Sato (the outgoing Japanese PM has his gong moved left on the timeline as the committees decide he's the best option in a low-ebb year)

    1973: Henry Kissinger, Le Duc Tho (Le still refuses his; in Trend-like fashion any cease fire in Southeast Asia was going to benefit from crocodile-tears of joy on both main Cold War sides, and from a Midwest-nice desire on the part of the incoming McGovern administration to look a little less aggressive toward the Nixon crew, given that the McGoverners probably have an ex-president to prosecute)

    1974: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (in a detente-driven environment the Helsinki talks move faster; the OSCE wins the prize in its infancy simply for existing, being the kind of multinational coordinating body that gives the committees ya-yas)

    1975: Clark Clifford, Vladimir Semyonov, Georges Pompidou (the chief Western and Soviet negotiators, respectively, responsible for haggling out CART and getting it signed, all things considered pretty deserving, plus a fillip for a dying man because France without gloire is nothing)

    48th Academy Awards (1976, for 1975 films)

    Best Picture: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    Best Director
    : Robert Altman, Nashville
    Best Actor
    : Jack Nicholson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    Best Actress
    : Louise Fletcher, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    Best Supporting Actor
    : Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King
    Best Supporting Actress
    : Barbara Baxley, Nashville
    Best Original Screenplay
    : Federico Fellini and Tonino Guerra, Amarcord
    Best Screenplay Adapted from Other Material
    : Bo Goldman and Lawrence Hauben, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    A script for Man... weighted more towards Caine's POV on the story arc wins him an unexpected statuette. As a point of order Warren Beatty's big project Hairspray has moved its filming and production to the right by a year from OTL as the McGoverners' point man in Beverly Hills has stayed busy with the social aspects of political organizing.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
  17. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Shire, somewhere in Cascadia
    This is glorious stuff - the reason why I quoted it in entirety, to ensure readers' eyes catch this either of two times as they scroll down the page. I'm over here nodding and trying to take detailed notes.
  18. THE OBSERVER Independent Progressive

    Jul 22, 2010
    New England
    Interesting choices. What will be the names and subjects of the next chapters?
    Yes likes this.
  19. Yes Safe, Efficient Airship Travel Since 1972

    Aug 8, 2013
    The Shire, somewhere in Cascadia
    :p in the Queen's English-slang sense of "hono(u)r or award given for some reason and downplayed ironically so as not to draw attention to the fact that the entire culture [in the cases of both the UK and Japan, something about islands...] is a vicious crab-pot of constant internecine battles over small advantages in status over one's fellows"...
    John Fredrick Parker likes this.
  20. Workable Goblin Chronicler of the Pony Wars

    Aug 3, 2009
    I should note, as a further complication, that even if McGovern was completely on board and immediately started to try to implement these ideas they wouldn't necessarily be successful, at least not right away. Take point (1), for instance, the small probes program. Well, planetary scientists weren't stupid; they could see that it would be useful to have smaller spacecraft as well, not just giant mega probes. It's just that they had trouble getting everything together for a while. In the 1970s, for example, the issue was Shuttle funding sucking all the oxygen out of the room, so once the '60s hangover missions like Mariner 10 were done there just wasn't anything in the pipeline and no money to put something in the pipeline. In the 1980s, on the other hand, they had what seemed to be a very clever idea, which was to develop a standard "large" spacecraft for outer planets and other flagship missions--Mariner Mark II--and a standard "medium" spacecraft for inner planets mission--Planetary Observer. Moreover, the latter would be based on communications satellites, hence cheaper to develop. But it turned out that each mission was different enough that you couldn't really standardize spacecraft that way, it cost too much to develop the spacecraft to launch enough missions to make it worthwhile anyway, and then Mars Observer blew up because communications satellites aren't really intended to handle months cruising in deep space. So that didn't work either.

    But then in the 1990s they had the idea of having a competitive fixed-budget, fixed-time procurement outside the agency on a fixed budget line that insulated each specific mission from Congress (Congress could vote "yea" or "nay" on the overall Discovery budget line, but each individual mission wasn't a separate budget item, unlike flagship spacecraft), and that ended up working pretty well. So I could very well see McGovern NASA trying to implement some kind of small-probes program, but doing something "wrong" so that it doesn't quite work--adopting a plausible but ultimately incorrect idea about how you might reduce costs like the 1980s idea of standardizing spacecraft, for example. The underlying idea of doing small missions to complement the big, expensive probes like Viking and Voyager (in the 1973 context) isn't likely to be discredited, but it might take two or three presidents before they work out a successful method of actually doing that. You could say similar things about most of the other items on my list--there was significant space privatization under Reagan and Bush, for instance, but it didn't really make much of a difference to how things ran until the Clinton and even Obama administrations.

    It's also worth remembering that "the President proposes, Congress disposes," which is to say that grand presidential ambitions rarely get anywhere unless they're backed by Congress. Apollo was successful because Congress really, really wanted some kind of response to the Soviet program, and by the time they soured on the idea it was much too far along to cancel. Shuttle was successful because Congress really, really wanted to find a cheap way to maintain an American presence in space, create jobs, boost the aerospace economy, all that jazz, Proxmire and Mondale notwithstanding, and NASA promised them exactly that (though both sides completely misunderstood the real motivations of the other). Meanwhile, the Bush proposals were failures because they weren't able to persuade Congress to go along with what they want. I did cover this a little in my previous post, but I wanted to emphasize it a bit--even if McGovern and his crew want to cancel Shuttle, it's entirely possible that enough congressional delegates want Shuttle to keep going that it doesn't really matter (see: SLS). That's probably not actually the case in 1973, but it's at least conceivable.