Cover: On Vietnam and Bureaucracy

On Vietnam and Bureaucracy

Published 1968

by Albert Wohlstetter

This paper was prepared for a Conference called "Lessons and Mislessons of Vietnam" held at the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs in Chicago, June 3-6, 1968. The Conference had a good many well-known participants, including Dan Ellsberg and Luigi Einaudi of the RAND staff, Sir Robert Thompson, Adam Yarmolinsky, Henry Kissinger and quite a few other RAND consultants. My paper was a requested comment on one by Richard Barnet, Co-Director of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. Dan is making Barnet's and the other papers in the Conference available for the internal use of RAND's Santa Monica staff in the form of a D or a DL.

1. Of all the disasters of Vietnam, the worst may be the "lessons" that we'll draw from it. The disasters so far are real enough; as is our responsibility in them. I have disagreed with our policy there. But one precedent that should make us thoughtful is the wrong lessons that were drawn in Vietnam from Korea. For example, U.S. advisors expected another conventional invasion across a parallel separating a Communist North from a non-Communist South.[1] To repel it they centered almost all our effort on organizing some 140,000 South Vietnamese in large conventional Army divisions. In the process they created commanders of vast independent political power and so increased the danger of military coups. This reinforced Diem's natural suspiciousness, nepotism and the tendency to avoid any delegation of power; and reduced further the chance that the Vietnamese, in spite of internal attack, would be able to advance in economic and political self-development and to operate under the rule of law. That in turn encouraged subversion, terror and counter-terror and helped make a discriminate response unlikely. Our advisors were responding to a "lesson" of Korea.

Lessons from such complex events require much reflection to be of more than negative worth. But reactions to Vietnam, even more than to Korea, tend to be visceral rather than reflective. We hear now:

That the United States has no valid concern in the physical security or political and economic development of distant peoples. Or of people ethnically distinct from us (that is, those of "us" descended from West Europeans);

That U.S. power is the greatest danger to the world;

That our problem is not to use our power discriminately and for worthy ends but the fact of power itself, that we are better off reducing the choices available to us;

That even the massive retaliation policy which tended to make every confrontation a choice between nuclear war or doing nothing was not so bad after all. (It was and would be fine because we would always do nothing rather than something in between—according to the hopeful left; according to the hopeful right it is fine because our adversaries would always do nothing, in order to avoid our massive retaliation, and if not they would be overwhelmed by it.)

That our concerns for security should be limited to direct physical attacks on the continental United States and that we should depend for this purpose on the Navy and an intercontinental nuclear missile force. (There is an odd coalition one might discern forming between the old defenders of Fortress America and the New Left — a kind of SAC-SDS position.)

I think that such cures would be far worse than the disease. In fact they would make likely a sharp deterioration of the international system, including an increased expectation of the spread of nuclear weapons and a greater likelihood of nuclear war. The new isolationism has been justified variously on moral, strategic, economic and ethnic grounds. In my view, none of these grounds can sustain examination.[2]

2. I have not been asked to comment on U.S. policy on Vietnam but on Richard Barnet's diagnosis of what's wrong with that policy and with U.S. foreign policy in general. I have my doubts about Mr. Barnet's diagnosis but that does not imply I believe there is nothing to diagnose. There is. To make that plain, I'll state some of my own views in a very summary way and attach them in an appendix.

3. Mr. Barnet's 39 pages condense a book. The condensation omits perhaps inevitably not only evidence and much qualification but definitions of terms. Many points are asserted without elaboration and sometimes quite ambiguously. And there are many apparent contradictions. Though I have read his paper attentively, I may misunderstand it. The following appears to me to be the main thrust of his argument.

He rejects explanations of Vietnam as a series of mistakes or the fault of individuals like Dean Rusk, Walt Rostow, Maxwell Taylor, William Bundy, and Robert McNamara. There were mistakes and he would have fired all of the individuals listed. But his own thesis is: "...the roots of the Vietnam failure lie more in the structure and organization of the national security bureaucracy..." which makes the United States "...take on revolutionary movements around the world..."

The paper doesn't define the U.S. failure in Vietnam. It is not that the United States failed to achieve its goals there. Rather it was intervention itself. Or so it seems. The paper does not make clear whether what is bad is (a) all intervention, or (b) military intervention, or (c) large-scale military intervention, or (d) unilateral military intervention, or (e) intervention by force against any movement that styles itself "revolutionary," or (f) any non-military opposition to any revolution, or (g) any support for any government faced with rebellion, or (h) any opposition to Communist rebellion, or (i) any opposition to rebellions that grounds itself merely on the fact that they are Communist or Communist-leaning.

However the failure is defined, its root is the "national security bureaucracy." While the latter too is undefined, it seems to include all those who manage our foreign or military affairs (p. 12). At least, the State and Defense Departments and the White House staff (p. 12), but also, evidently, the CIA, AEC, NSA, and the international divisions of Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, etc. And in talking of "roots," most of the time Mr. Barnet appears to mean that such intervention is an unavoidable result of the characteristics of the national security bureaucracy. "Bureaucratic momentum" makes inevitable the escalation of a small use of military force to larger and larger amounts and makes inevitable escalation even from economic aid to military intervention: "The dynamism of the myriad bureaucratic empires dealing in national security assures not only the escalation of U.S. commitments but their progressive militarization as well." And "the progression from aid missions to counter-insurgency 'advisors' to expeditionary forces takes on a kind of Parkinsonian inevitability."

The national security bureaucracy "consistently" exaggerates threats (p. 5). (The supposed missile gap of the late 1950's and the Soviet invasion threat in Western Europe in the 1940's are offered as examples.) This leads to increased military commitments and is indeed a rationalization for them. In fact, the U.S. national security bureaucrats "favor using instruments of violence to solve" political problems (p. 12). American bureaucrats seem worse in this respect than Maoist or Soviet ones. Elsewhere[3] Mr. Barnet has said that Soviet and Chinese Communists do not scruple at the use of violence but normally prefer other means. American bureaucrats, it seems, prefer violence.

Mr. Barnet doesn't deny that the world is "dangerous and anarchic." Other nations are dangerous, too. However, they are less dangerous than the United States (even if they also should prefer violence), because they are less powerful (p. 4).

But the deadly trouble with American national security bureaucracy seems much more general than its American or even its national security character. It has to do with the basic characteristics of bureaucracy. And not simply governmental bureaucracies. Non-governmental ones as well, e.g. commercial bureaucracies. Bureaucracies inevitably must convert means into ends. (Mr. Barnet cites Harold Lasswell, Robert Merton, Robert Presthus as authorities.) For a bureaucrat "to challenge the assumptions behind a policy is to take on the system which is the source of his power and status" (p. 28). Moreover, a particularly important example of this has to do with technology, both military and civilian. So, the supersonic transport in the commercial aviation field. "If the technology to produce a supersonic transport plane becomes available, a new national goal is suddenly discovered and the machine will be built regardless of how dubious its ultimate social utility" (p. 27). And the U-2 in the military field: "a new capability spawned a new requirement and it became necessary to overfly the Soviet Union" (p. 27).

Bureaucrats are conformists. They use unemotional language. This itself makes it easier to commit genocide. In fact, Barnet equates Truman's decision to use the A-Bomb to end the war with Japan with Hitler's genocide, the "Final Solution" for the Jews.

Mr. Barnet's paper sweeps over and touches on many other matters. He hints for example that national interests are a function of ethnic ties and a linear function of distance. And he closes with a geo-political view rather like that of Mr.. Kennan, who has held that "the effectiveness of power radiated from any national center decreases in proportion to the distance involved." "The global canvas," Mr. Barnet says, is too vast. "...making 'grand designs' for other nations when you have neither personal loyalties nor indeed personal relationships of any kind with them puts an unbearable strain on the processes of human judgment. This inherent limitation in the capacity of human organizations to govern at a distance offers a clue as to why empires eventually fail" (pp. 38-39).

4. I hope it will be plain from the views I express in the appendix that I put a great deal of store in reflecting on ends as well as means, and that I feel there was not nearly enough of that in Vietnam. I have frequently written in other connections on the need in systems analysis for searching critiques of the accepted objectives. So I am sympathetic with Mr.. Barnet's stress on the dangers of neglecting ends. Moreover, I have spent much of my professional life appraising technologies, several times showing the negative utility of some major technical innovations — sometimes persuasively. Further I am not at all fond of bureaucracies and I dislike bureaucratic jargon. (Also social science jargon, hippie jargon, and a number of other jargons.) Nonetheless — with all this going for it — Mr. Barnet's paper leaves me unsatisfied. It seems tome to be expressive rather than analytic. It conveys a mood, not an explanation.

And perhaps this is fortunate. Taken literally, Mr. Barnet's main argument seems to leave us almost no hope. If the general characteristics of bureaucracy or any large organization lead us so directly to genocide, nothing remains except a prayer that the world can be broken up into very small self-subsistent units in which contacts are face to face. Perhaps something like the Greek city-states, not county the slaves. But then they did get into quite a few quarrels. And it seems hardly likely that we can manage our foreign and military affairs today in city sizes or in smaller units than commercial enterprises which we are told also have the fatal bureaucratic traits.

But Mr. Barnet's argument cannot be taken literally. It is less downright than it generally sounds. On major points he frequently softens or contradicts it. Thus on "bureaucratic momentum" it seems that the Parkinsonian" should read "Pickwickian." For he follows one such statement immediately with "This is not true everywhere...But where the resources of the U.S. appear adequate to suppress insurgent movements, the result is predictable." But even this is not true. The "resources of the U.S." are not that constraining. (See my comments in the appendix.) And the U.S. has plainly not undertaken a good many actions for which it has resources. If one proceeds beyond the very broad constraints of general resources to an analysis showing that a particular military action would have been a poor use of our resources, in the sense that it would have meant surrendering something more important, then one says something very uncontroversial: We will act wisely whenever we do not undertake such an action. Almost no one will disagree.

Or take "threats" — an important matter. Has the national security bureaucracy consistently exaggerated threats and so led us into intervention? Mr. Barnet qualifies this. The bureaucracy "consistently" exaggerates "many" threats. (100% to a certain extent.) And in fact it turns out he doesn't think that having the threat appear large always encourages intervention. "Sometimes ... threats are minimized in order to justify a seemingly rational policy based primarily on the use of military power. Thus North Vietnam can be beaten in a few months, the advocates of military intervention argued" (p. 5). And "The bureaucracy falls prey to the illusion that they are able to control events because they are free of the fear of retaliation" (p. 6).

It is not hard to multiply cases where the military greatly overestimated enemy forces and as a result did not intervene. For example, at the time of our decision not to intervene on behalf of the Chinese Nationalists at the end of the 1940's, General Marshall estimated the number of Russian divisions to be 260.[4] He neglected the considerable Russian demobilization (revealed later by Khruschev) that had taken place since the war, ignored differences in size, manning and equipment of these divisions (analyzed later by assistants to Robert McNamara, in particular Alain Enthoven), and compared them with categories of U.S. force that were not strictly comparable. And we did not intervene.

That the military nearly always exaggerate enemy capabilities and that this leads to intervention is a cliche; and a vast exaggeration. It isn't so. The truth is that they sometimes overestimate and sometimes underestimate — and sometimes even get it right. And that either sort of mistake may in various circumstances lead toward or away from intervention. Or may be largely irrelevant. It is hard to see what we can conclude — except that it's nice to have better estimates of threats and to consider concretely a good many other things besides threats in deciding on whether, where and when to commit ourselves.

Mr. Barnet's reference to the "missile gap" indicates a very popular misunderstanding. In the first place the "missile gap" was not an issue raised by the ins — the top managers of national security under Eisenhower. It was a political gambit of the outs — the Democrats. President Eisenhower's top bureaucrats stoutly defended themselves against the charge. (They said we might have fewer missiles but we had and would have more bombers, that in any case there was no deterrent gap.) Second, during the Eisenhower regime the strategic force was genuinely and dangerously vulnerable, but this vulnerability had nothing essential to do with the hypothetical "missile gap." It had to do with the fact that the strategic force in the 1950's had not adequate warning or other protection against even a small manned bomber attack. Moreover, the essential major changes made in the strategic force by President Kennedy and Secretary McNamara had to do with substituting less vulnerable strategic vehicles and a more responsible and protected control of this strategic force. This drastic set of changes was indicated in any case and had been proposed in classified form before the Kennedy Administration and before a hypothetical "missile gap." The proposed changes had been accumulated by analysts, many of whom took great pains to separate the problems of deterrence, of responsible control against "accidents," and of reducing the vulnerability of strategic forces from the problem of matching forces in number.

The mythology of the "gap" includes not only the potential gap that turned out not to be actual but the myths about the role the gap played. I am quite familiar with them, since I began writing analyses to demonstrate the essential irrelevance of bomber gaps, missile gaps, engineer gaps, and the like beginning in the early 1950's, and as late as 1960 I sent a lengthy explanation to the man who was writing John Kennedy's main campaign speech on defense, specifically to suggest why the "missile gap" was not only a theoretical and operational misunderstanding of the problem, but one that was very likely to kick back politically. It did, but only after the election.[5]

The Russian invasion potential in the late 40's is the other example cited by Mr.. Barnet. It would take quite a lot of space to evidence why, but I believe that his judgment about what was wrong on our various estimates at the time and what role our erroneous estimates played in our commitments is itself in error. A study of the quotations from General Marshall suggest why. Let me simply register my disagreement.

On technologies it seems to me Mr. Barnet greatly overstates his case and gets some of the historical record quite wrong. On the historical record the U-2's existence did not create the requirement for overflight. On the contrary, the U-2 was an unusually clear-cut case of a rather precisely defined lack generating a technology. The need at the time for better estimates of Russian forces might be suggested by the troubles I have discussed with early estimates of Russian capabilities. In fact, some of our early knowledge seems to have come from German data and Russian documents captured by the Germans during World War II. These were quite a bit out of date by the early 1950's. And our information then was quite incomplete. In any case, the need for better information was felt in the administration. And according to public accounts, a variety of government officials and advisors explored the possibilities of gaining reconnaissance at extremely high and hopefully safe altitudes. The crash project at Lockheed to develop the U-2 responded to this perceived need. Quite the reverse of Mr. Barnet's description that overflight of the Soviet Union was decided on because we had the plane. In fact, the desire for information about Soviet military forces appears to have generated not one but several technologically distinct modes of fulfilling the same need.[6] The relationship between technology and aims is usually much more complex. I doubt that there are many examples as clear as this.

Yet Mr.. Barnet suggests that the creation of national goals regardless of ultimate social utility is automatic. If this were so, it would be impossible to explain the fact that a great many technological developments have been sharply limited or canceled altogether — military developments such as the Navaho ramjet missile, the B-70 manned bomber, the Skybolt missile, the nuclear propelled aircraft, and a great many others. The world would have been knee-deep long ago in a wide variety of military hardware most of which has never seen the light of day.

The same may be said for civilian technology. Our choices here, as in the military case, are frequently misguided, and often too fascinated by techniques, but it is fortunately not the case that every technology feasible is made actual. There are many in which there is little argument and there are some like the development of the nuclear merchant marine in which arguments against have so far prevailed. And some like Mr. Barnet's own example of the supersonic transport in which there has been a great deal of argument, pro and con, with the pros winning but under much severer restraints than had been proposed. It has not been anything like as automatic as Mr. Barnet suggests. Moreover, the most potent arguments against supersonic transport, perhaps to Mr. Barnet's surprise, have been made by systems analysts borrowed from the Defense Department. (Dr. Stephen Enke, for example — see his paper in the American Economic Review, May 1967.)

In fact, Mr. Barnet's description of the automatic coming into operation of any new technologies is excluded by the fact that there are resource constraints. Choice is not only possible, but necessary. To develop one alternative precludes developing some others. Mr. Barnet's nightmare of bureaucracies automatically sponsoring every technology would simply be too crowded. It is a logical impossibility. This does not of course mean that good choices will be made. But choices will be made. What are we to conclude from this? Only that we should keep working at improving our methods of selection — recalling always that our choice of means is related to our choice of ends.

On the matter of ends and means, once again Mr. Barnet seems to me to have greatly overstated the problem, made it appear in fact insoluble. I quite agree with him that bureaucrats tend to forget about their ends. They frequently, as Santayana remarked about fanatics, redouble their efforts as they lose sight of their goal. On the other hand, as the context of Santayana's remark suggests, this is hardly limited to government bureaucrats, or bureaucrats in commercial enterprise. It can be true in political parties, and had obvious illustrations in the party bureaucracies of the left, which Robert Michels analyzed. But it is also true, sad to say, of violently anti-bureaucratic movements. The anarchists, it is familiar, have frequently taken revolutionary violence as an end in itself. There is a great deal of romanticism current on this subject. And much of the discussion of whether one should support revolution or counter-insurgency proceeds on these sentimental terms. But whether a revolution is worth supporting or opposing surely should depend on what it is a revolution to as well as what it is a revolution from, and what the human costs are of the revolutionary process, and what other alternatives for change there are. Reflection on ends as well as means seems quite as rare among insurgents as among counter-insurgents.

In sum, I do not see that Mr. Barnet shows it to be impossible for men who manage foreign and military affairs to reflect on goals as well as means. And if this is rarer among military men and statesmen than we would like, so is reflective behavior almost any place.

On Mr. Barnet's opposition to intervention, I will not try to select for comment one or two out of the nine or ten possible meanings that I have listed. I will note only that he does relent a little on his indictment of the national security bureaucrats. Although on page 12 he indicates they actually prefer the use of violence, on page 34 he says they prefer non-military to military intervention, but will use force rather than lose control where we have an interest. My own views in this respect are quite close to those of my colleague, Professor Morgenthau:[7] one cannot decide whether it is good or bad to intervene at a given time or place without a great deal of concrete empirical analysis. It is not clear to me that Mr. Barnet agrees.

I will not comment at length here about the bare suggestion in Mr. Barnet's paper of a geo-political view that relates national interests to ethnic ties and linearly to distance. I have written extensively about the limitations of such views elsewhere.[8] On the ethnic argument let me say only that I think it particularly incongruous today when voiced by those who want to turn from foreign concerns to the problems of domestic racial, and ethnic inequities. I'm afraid we'll have to deal with both.

Appendix on Mini-Brute Force in Vietnam

a. In Vietnam, I believe the U.S. intervened in a conflict in which the chances were poor to start with for affecting events in the direction of basic U.S. interests and aims for the political and economic self-development of the Third World. The skillful Communist leadership benefited from its success in the long struggle against the French. They had built up a formidable apparatus of cadres in the South. The heritage of French colonialism left the non-Communist alternatives for leadership weak and badly divided.

b. The nature of the threat, the feasible and worthy objectives of our support, and the main alternatives for achieving such objectives were misconceived. The issues were wrongly defined at each of the major successive stages of decision.

c. They were defined wrongly, moreover, not only by official policy, but also frequently by factions within the Government and by the critics of the Government — and not least by the critics. The question was not whether to "escalate" or "de-escalate." The concept of "escalation," prominent especially in the last few years, merely caps the general confusion. It indicates that we can order and measure the alternatives for choice on a linear scale: Shall we reduce or increase the intensity of the fighting? Or (since the latter is affected by decisions of the North Vietnamese), should we scale our own effort up or down? How many men should we keep in Vietnam? How much should we spend? How many, and which, target constraints should we remove? These were the wrong questions.

d. If we were to try and help in Vietnam the basic questions concerned not how much, but what for? Such questions were clearly posed at least by 1961 — perhaps most clearly by British advisers in Vietnam.[9] Should we concentrate on the slow, persistent attempt to help construct a viable government capable of economic and political self-development, able to protect an increasing proportion of the population from subversion and terror, and so to reduce the local support for guerrillas or infiltrated Northern forces? Or, on the other hand, should we focus our major efforts on trying to hunt down and annihilate guerrillas and the main force units of the DRV? While the level of forces needed is not entirely in the control of one side, the first alternative would have required smaller military forces than the second. It would subordinate conventional military operations, and among other things would aim to prevent the establishment of secure base areas by the Viet Cong and DRV main force units; but it would not expend its efforts to "search and destroy." It would have taken years and may not have been successful at all. The second alternative required the application of brute force massively and at a much greater rate than was politically feasible for the United States and in any case would have destroyed much of the basis for viable government in South Vietnam. On my observation, one of the things that predisposed us to the latter course was impatience and the distaste for any long-term involvement. This explanation runs quite counter to current views that attribute to the U.S. Government the desire to get involved everywhere and specifically to get bases or a "sphere of influence" in South Vietnam.

e. In any event, the U.S. Government tended never to face such basic choices. Instead, it "escalated" — more slowly and less extensively than requested. But it did not change the objectives. In this way, it got the worst of both worlds, what might be called "a mini-brute force policy:" a slow application of brute force in the hope of achieving quickly objectives that could be achieved, if at all, only by a massive and rapid use of force — and the wrong objectives at that. The bombing of North Vietnam, for example, was wrong even in its own terms — it was poorly adapted for reducing the number of North Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam. And the bombing and the artillery in South Vietnam were not for the most part in "close support;" they exacted much too high a toll in bystanders and friendly forces. (This does not, of course, justify the VC's deliberate putting of bystanders in peril.)

Let me elaborate a little on mini-brute force. While a brute force policy was mistaken, it is conceivable that in its own erroneous terms it could have been successful if it were actually massive enough. And this was not, as is usually said, a matter of the absolute limits of U.S. resources. After all, the United States raised armed forces including, in gross, 16,354,000 military personnel in World War II, with over 12,000,000 on duty in 1945 when our population was less than 140,000,000. We have the resources to raise over 20,000,000 men now — more than one for every North Vietnamese man, woman, and child. By brute force we could simply pave North and South Vietnam in concrete. Something less than that undoubtedly would accomplish the "search and destroy" job — however blindly. of course, even a much less total mobilization of massive force to meet so limited a challenge was not politically feasible. This in itself, quite apart from the more important consideration of what the problems are of a small country under attack by Communist insurgent forces, might have suggested transformation to other objectives. In fact, a change of objectives was never genuinely made. Time and again when requests were made for more resources or the removal of further constraints, the government response was to grant something less than the amount asked in resources or in the removal of constraints; but not to change the objective sought. As a result, we had the wrong objective pursued by a brute force tactic with far less than the amount of force that the objective required: in short a mini-brute force policy.

f. The recent government decision to turn down a request for 206,000 more American ground forces in South Vietnam, courageous though it was, leaves unsettled a basic issue — one that will remain so long as the negotiations drag on in Paris. It does not alter what our forces in Vietnam are doing and for what purpose. They are still chasing Viet Cong. Still focusing on annihilating elusive DRV main force units. Still largely ignoring the need to establish a politically secure base area relatively free of VC cadres, the need to protect the population, and to have a government that operates under the rule of law.


  • [1] "Q. with command in your own hands from that point on, what were you trying to achieve?

    "A. First of all, to organize the armed forces to repel an invasion coming down from the Communist North." Interview with Former Chief U.S. Military Adviser in South Vietnam from 1955 to 1960, Lieutenant General Samuel T. Williams (Ret.), U.S. News and World Report, November 9, 1964.

  • [2] I examine several of these grounds in "Illusions of Distance," Foreign Affairs, January 1968.
  • [3] Richard J. Barnet, Who Wants Disarmament (p. 76).
  • [4] General Marshall told an audience in the Pentagon in November, 1950: "... when I was Secretary of State, I was being pressed constantly, ... by radio message after radio message to give the Russians hell. ... when I got back I was getting the same appeal in relation to the Far East and China. At that time, my facilities for giving them hell ... was 1-1/3 divisions over the entire United States. This is quite a proposition when you deal with somebody with over 260 and you have 1-1/3."

    "With reference to the situation in China in 1947 and 1948, General Marshall testified: "... There, the issue in my mind, as Secretary of State, was to what extent this government could commit itself to a possible involvement of a very heavy nature in regard to operations in China itself ...

    "We would have to make a very considerable initial contribution and we would be involved in the possibility of very extensive continuing responsibilities in a very large area.

    "At that time, our own military position was extraordinarily weak, I think I mentioned the other day that my recollection is ... we had one and a third divisions in the entire United States.

    "As I recall General Wedemeyer's estimates, about 10,000 officers and others would be necessary to oversee and direct those various operations.

    "In view of our general world situation, our own military weakness, and the global reaction to this situation, and my own knowledge out of that brief contact of mine in China, we could not afford to commit this government to such a procedure.

    "Therefore, I was not in agreement with undertaking that, nor were ... the chiefs of staff."

    Tang Tsou, America's Failure in China, 1941-1950. University of Chicago Press, 1963. pp. 366-367.

  • [5] Mr. Barnet is in error in suggesting that basic changes in the strategic force made in the early years of the Kennedy Administration depended on the existence of a "missile gap." The gap was strictly inessential. On the other hand, his own comments, in Twenty Years After, on the recent state of the missile gap and its future suggest the need for caution about not merely the significance of gaps but their possible future existence and direction. He was confident two or three years ago that the Russians were quite willing to put up with a large gap favoring the Americans. The evidence since suggest they are not.
  • [6] The magazine Air Force (March, 1968, p. 53) states that satellites for reconnaissance were studied before as well as after Sputnik. And Soviet accounts report reconnaissance over Russia, not only by the U-2 manned aircraft, but also by balloons. (New York Times 2/6/56, 2/12/56. and 10/12/58.)
  • [7] "To Intervene or Not To Intervene," Foreign Affairs, April 1967.
  • [8] "Technology, Prediction and Disorder," in the Dispersion of Nuclear Weapons, edited by Richard Rosecrance, Columbia University Press, 1964. "Illusions of Distance," Foreign Affairs, January 1968. "Strength, Interest, and New Technologies," in Adelphi Paper #46, Institute of Strategic Studies, London, 1968. "Theory and Opposed-Systems Design," to be published in New Approaches to International Relations, edited by Morton Kaplan, St. Martin's Press, New York and London, Fall 1968; "Distant Wars and Far Out Estimates," written with Richard Rainey. To be published.
  • [9] While I have some differences with them, since the beginning of 1962 I have owed much of my own view of the alternatives to talks with British advisers in Vietnam, in particular Robert Thompson, Dennis Duncanson, and John Barlow.

This report is part of the RAND document series. The RAND Document (D), a product of RAND from 1948 to 1970, was an internal working paper written as a step in a continuing study within RAND, which could be expanded, modified, or withdrawn at any time.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.