This Article 
   
 Share 
   
 Bibliographic References 
   
 Add to: 
 
Digg
Furl
Spurl
Blink
Simpy
Google
Del.icio.us
Y!MyWeb
 
 Search 
   
Kissinger's Computer: National Security Council Computerization, 1969–1972
January-March 2011 (vol. 33 no. 1)
pp. 38-51
John Laprise, Northwestern University

After National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger ordered the National Security Council to adopt computers to improve its information-management capabilities in 1969, it employed the RAND Corporation, which championed its view of White House needs, and project manager Charles Joyce from the Department of Defense, who championed users' needs. The ensuing process illustrates how institutional constraints and resources have a powerful effect on technology adoption.

1. C. Joyce interview by J. Laprise4 Feb. 2008.
2. J. Cortada, The Digital Hand, vol. 3, Oxford Univ. Press, 2008.
3. J. Agar, The Government Machine, MIT Press, 2003.
4. T. Haigh, "Remembering the Office of the Future: The Origins of Word Processing and Office Automation," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 28, no. 4, 2006, pp. 6–31.
5. K. Flamm, Creating the Computer, Brookings Institution, 1998.
6. The IBM System/360 was the archetypal room-filling mainframe computer of its era. It could accommodate 248 data terminals while handling commercial and scientific work. The System/360 also was the first computer with an expandable storage capacity and could accommodate a variety of peripheral devices.
7. W. Aspray and M. Campbell-Kelly, Computer: A History of the Information Machine, Westview Press, 2004.
8. P. Ceruzzi, A History of Modern Computing, MIT Press, 2003.
9. M. Campbell-Kelly, From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry, MIT Press, 2004.
10. P.N. Edwards, The Closed World, MIT Press, 1996.
11. W.E. Bijker, Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Towards a Theory of Sociotechnical Change, MIT Press, 1995; W.E. Bijker, T.P. Hughes, and T. Pinch eds., The Social Construction of Technological Systems, MIT Press, 1997; T.P. Hughes, Rescuing Prometheus, Vintage, 2000.
12. H. Kissinger to R. Nixon12 Feb. 1969, "WHCC" folder, box 313, NSC Subject Files (NSCSF), Nat'l Security Institutional Files (NSIF), Nixon Presidential Materials (NPM).
13. H. Kissinger to R. Nixon12 Feb. 1969, "Computer" folder, box H-304, NSC Administrative Files (NSCAF), NSIF, NPM.
14. R. Moose to H. Kissinger17 Feb. 1969, "Computer" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
15. C. Joyce to Watts, 24 Feb. 1970, "Computer" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
16. H. Kissinger to R. Nixon13 Apr. 1969, "WHCC" folder, box 313, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
17. D. Jardini, "Out of the Blue Yonder," RAND Rev., 1998.
18. C. Joyce to H. Kissinger24 May 1969, "WHCC" folder, box 313, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
19. C. Joyce, to Watts and J. Davis16 Apr. 1970, "Information Handling 2 of 2" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
20. G. Schultz to H.R. Haldeman25 Aug. 1970, "Computer Project [II])" folder, box 92, SMOF-SS, White House Special Files (WHSF), NPM.
21. Brown to H.R. Haldeman, 22 Sept. 1970, "Computer Project [II])" folder, box 92, SMOF-SS, WHSF, NPM.
22. B. Goeller et al., "Initial Information System Applications for the NSC," Nov. 70, "Computer" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
23. C. Joyce to Watts, 13 Apr. 1970, "Computer" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
24. R. Levien to J. Davis20 Apr. 1970, "Information Handling 2 of 2" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
25. RAND Summary Report to H. Kissinger, Nov. 1970, "Information Handling 2 of 2" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
26. P. Hammond to H. Kissinger27 Nov. 70, "Information Handling 2 of 2" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
27. RAND to C. Joyce17 Dec. 1970, "Information Handling 2 of 2" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
28. H. Saunders, S. Hoskinson, and R. Neather to J. Davis22 Dec. 1970,, "Information Handling 2 of 2" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
29. H. Saunders to A. Haig4 Feb. 1971, "Information Handling 1 of 2" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
30. P. Hammond to A. Haig25 Feb. 1971, "Information Handling 1 of 2" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.
31. P. Hammond to J. Davis25 Feb. 1971, "Information Handling 1 of 2" folder, box H-304, NSCAF, NSIF, NPM.

Index Terms:
History of computing, computer adoption, information automation, National Security Council, White House, Nixon Administration, Henry Kissinger, RAND
Citation:
John Laprise, "Kissinger's Computer: National Security Council Computerization, 1969–1972," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 38-51, Jan.-March 2011, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2011.10
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.