RAND in Southeast Asia

A History of the Vietnam War Era

by Mai Elliott

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This volume chronicles RAND's involvement in researching insurgency and counterinsurgency in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand during the Vietnam War era, from the period preceding the dispatch of U.S. troops, to the most intensive combat years, to the Tet Offensive of 1968, to the end of the war in 1975. The author draws on interviews with RAND staff who were involved in research in the region, the hundreds of studies that RAND produced on these topics, and documentary sources outside RAND to provide a narrative that captures the tenor of the times, conveys the attitudes and thinking of those involved, and recounts their personal stories and experiences. Elliott assesses both the extent to which RAND's research influenced U.S. policies and decisionmakers during the war and the effect that the war had on RAND — culminating with the release of the Pentagon Papers, which became a national controversy in 1971.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    A Remote Corner of the World: The Beginning in Vietnam

  • Chapter Two

    “What Makes the Viet Cong Tick?”

  • Chapter Three

    Escalation and Airpower

  • Chapter Four

    Controversy

  • Chapter Five

    The Many Aspects of the War

  • Chapter Six

    The Mekong Delta and the Central Highlands

  • Chapter Seven

    The Tet Offensive

  • Chapter Eight

    Pacification and Vietnamization

  • Chapter Nine

    The Pentagon Papers

  • Chapter Ten

    The End of the War

  • Chapter Eleven

    Laos and Thailand: Sideshows

This book results from the RAND Corporation's continuing program of self-initiated research. Support for such research is provided, in part, by the generosity of RAND's donors and by the fees earned on clientfunded research. RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. Opinions expressed in this book are those of the author and do not reflect positions taken by RAND, its board, or its clients.

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