Gaither Report

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Gaither committee, named after its first chairman H. Rowan Gaither, was tasked by United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower with creating a strategy that would strengthen the US military defensive systems and better prepare the US for a nuclear attack. The result was the Gaither Report, a document that detailed the inadequacies of US technology,[1] among other things, and called for an urgent strengthening of US missile technology, along with offensive and defensive military capabilities.[2] The report also called for a fifty percent increase in US military spending and a redesign of the US Defense Department.[3] The committee presented the Gaither Report to President Eisenhower on November 7, 1957. The report suggested that Eisenhower's military policy--reliance on cheap nuclear weapons instead of expensive Army divisions--was inadequate. He kept the Report secret and generally ignored it, but its conclusions were leaked to the press.[4][5][6]

While the president had asked for an evaluation of fallout and blast shelters, the opening page of the report stated that their purpose was to “form a broadbrush opinion of the relative value of various active and passive measures to protect the civilian populations in case of nuclear attack and its aftermath.” This look at active protective measures relegated shelters to a secondary position in a report now concentrated on nuclear deterrence. The rationale for this can be found in their assumption that the Soviet Union, with its expedient development of military technology, had already exceeded the technical achievements made by the U.S. in ICBM research.


  1. ^ "Eisenhower and the Gaither Report: The Influence of a Committee of Experts on National Security Policy in the Late 1950s"
  2. ^ Reassessing the Gaither Report's Role.
  3. ^ "Mind the Gap: Security “Crises” and the Geopolitics of US Military Spending."
  4. ^ Snead, 1999
  5. ^ T. Michael Ruddy, "Review" American Historical Review (December 2000) p. 1770.
  6. ^ H. W. Brands, "Review," Journal of American History (March 2000), p. 1848.

Further reading[edit]