"Established during World War II to advise the President on the strategic direction of the Armed Forces of the United States, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) continued in existence after the war and, as military advisers and planners, have played a significant role in the development of national policy. Knowledge of JCS relations with the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council is essential to an understanding of the current work of the Chairman and the Joint Staff. A history of their activities, both in war and peacetime, also provides important insights into the military history of the United States. For these reasons, the Joint Chiefs of Staff directed that an official history of their activities be kept for the record. Its value for instructional purposes, for the orientation of officers newly assigned to the JCS organization, and as a source of information for staff studies is self-apparent... Adopting a broad view, it surveys the JCS role and contributions from the early days of World War II through the end of the Cold War. Written from a combination of primary and secondary sources, it is a fresh work of scholarship, looking at the problems of this era and their military implications. The main prism is that of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but in laying out the JCS perspective, it deals also with the wider impact of key decisions and the ensuing policies."--P. ix. The war in Europe -- The Asia-Pacific war and the beginnings of postwar planning -- Peacetime challenges -- Militarizing the Cold War -- Eisenhower and the new look -- Change and continuity -- Kennedy and the crisis presidency -- The McNamara era -- Vietnam : going to war -- Vietnam : retreat and withdrawal -- Dâetente -- The search for strategic stability -- The return to confrontation -- The Reagan buildup -- A new rapprochement -- Ending the Cold War -- Storm in the desert -- Conclusion.