A questioning of some basic concepts that guided U.S. national security policy toward the Third World in the past, and discussion of conceptual alternatives for assistance planning under the Nixon Doctrine. The concept of self-reliance, not total-force planning or regionalism, should guide U.S. security assistance. American objectives in the 1970s are likely to be best served by the existence of a pluralistic global system of self-reliant and independent nations. Implementation of the Nixon Doctrine should not mean replication of U.S.-style military establishments abroad, but rather emphasis on inexpensive, easily maintained arms. Broadly based light-infantry forces should be substituted for heavy infantry, and air and naval forces should become secondary concerns. These and other recommendations are supported, and made more specific, by analysis of the likely threats that major Third World recipients of U.S. security assistance may face in the 1970s.