The "Whiz Kids", as they came to be known, helped the money-losing company reform its chaotic administration through modern planning, organization, and management control systems.  McNamara's advice in July 1965 to Johnson to commit more 180,000 troops to South Vietnam together with a stepped up aerial offensive to destroy North Vietnam's economy was called by Bundy "rash to the point of folly". The majority of officials favored an air attack on Cuba in hopes to destroy the missile sites, although the vote was not unanimous which brought them to other alternatives. The hawkish National Security Adviser, Walt Whitman Rostow, argued at a cabinet meeting that day that the United States was on the verge of winning the war.
McNamara directed the Air Force to adopt the Navy's F-4 Phantom and A-7 Corsair combat aircraft, a consolidation that was quite successful. When Kennedy received confirmation of the placement of offensive soviet missiles in Cuba, he immediately set up 'Executive Committee', referred to as 'ExComm'. , From 1981 to 1984, McNamara served on the Board of Trustees at American University in Washington, D.C..
, On 1 November 1963, the coup was launched.
 Records from the Lyndon Johnson Library have indicated that McNamara may have misled Johnson on the purported attack on a U.S. Navy destroyer by allegedly withholding recommendations from US Pacific Commanders against executing airstrikes.
 McNamara, via Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp Jr. of the Pacific fleet, put strong pressure on Herrick to say that his ship had been attacked by torpedo boats, despite his strong doubts on the subject.
 In June 1967, American bombers hit North Vietnam's hydroelectric plants and reduced North Vietnam capacity to generate electricity by 85%, accordingly to McNamara's calculations.  He was a force behind the Ford Falcon sedan, introduced in the fall of 1959—a small, simple and inexpensive-to-produce counter to the large, expensive vehicles prominent in the late 1950s. Daughter Kathleen McNamara Spears is a forester with the World Bank.
 After hearing of the attack, Johnson assembled his national security team together with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John W. McCormack, and the Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield, to announce "I've had enough of this". The son Robert Craig McNamara, who as a student objected to the Vietnam War, is now a walnut and grape farmer in California. Kennedy and McNamara rejected massive retaliation for a posture of flexible response.
She is with the environmental assessment and planning department, energy resources and planning division of the MITRE Corporation in McLean, Va.
He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa his sophomore year, and earned a varsity letter in crew. Then the forces leveled off at around 2,700,000 until the Vietnam military buildup began in 1965, reaching a peak of nearly 3,550,000 by mid-1968, just after McNamara left office. In 1993, Washington journalist Deborah Shapley published a 615-page biography of Robert McNamara titled Promise and Power: The Life and Times of Robert McNamara.
 In 1995, McNamara met with former North Vietnam Defense Minister Võ Nguyên Giáp, who told his American counterpart that the August 4 attack never happened, a conclusion McNamara eventually came to accept. PPBS evolved to become the heart of the McNamara management program.
The couple had two daughters and a son. In practical terms, this meant training and equipping U.S. military personnel, as well as such allies as South Vietnam, for counterinsurgency operations. McNamara became a close adviser to Kennedy and advocated the use of a blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Fearful of causing a war with China, Johnson was opposed to the plans of Khánh to invade North Vietnam, and he was even less enthusiastic about having the United States invade North Vietnam.
By 1968, the FYDP covered ten military areas: strategic forces, general-purpose forces, intelligence and communications, airlift and sealift, guard and reserve forces, research and development, central supply and maintenance, training and medical services, administration and related activities, and support of other nations.
Authorized to draw forces when needed from the Strategic Army Corps (STRAC), the Tactical Air Command, and the airlift units of the Military Air Transport Service and the military services, Strike Command had the mission "to respond swiftly and with whatever force necessary to threats against the peace in any part of the world, reinforcing unified commands or... carrying out separate contingency operations."
Henry Ford II, himself a World War II veteran from the Navy, hired the entire group of ten, including McNamara.  Admiral Anderson had at a one point ordered McNamara out of the Naval Operations Room, saying that as a civilian he was unqualified to be making decisions about naval matters, leading McNamara to say that he was the Defense Secretary and Anderson was unqualified to be ordering him to do anything. The Draft Presidential Memorandum (DPM)—intended for the White House and usually prepared by the systems analysis office—was a method to study and analyze major defense issues. According to Enthoven and Smith, the basic ideas of PPBS were: "the attempt to put defense program issues into a broader context and to search for explicit measures of national need and adequacy"; "consideration of military needs and costs together"; "explicit consideration of alternatives at the top decision level"; "the active use of an analytical staff at the top policymaking levels"; "a plan combining both forces and costs which projected into the future the foreseeable implications of current decisions"; and "open and explicit analysis, that is, each analysis should be made available to all interested parties, so that they can examine the calculations, data, and assumptions and retrace the steps leading to the conclusions."