Pacification and the Viet Cong System in Dinh Tuong

1966-1967

by David W. P. Elliott, William A. Stewart

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An analysis of the Viet Cong system in Dinh Tuong Province and its reaction to the 1966 GVN pacification program. Focus is on how the VC system is organized, how it functions, its strategy and tactics, and its reaction to perturbation. The system is shown to be a well-balanced, mutually dependent organization of military and political forces. In 1966-1967, the VC reacted tactically to GVN pacification by reemploying earlier village defense concepts and by harassing urban areas to force government units back to a city defense. Politically, they decentralized authority from district to intervillage levels and returned previously promoted cadres to supervise the areas. The analysis indicates that the VC operational balance could be upset by (1) interdiction of the communications process through controlling territory, intercepting essential cadres, or cutting LOCs; (2) denying VC military protection essential cadres, thereby reducing their effectiveness; (3) driving out Local Force units which inhibit GVN entrance into an area and which are indispensable for a delicate balance of force support and protection; (4) refraining from punishment of low level VC members, whose fear of GVN retribution locks them into the VC system; (5) pressuring the system at several points simultaneously to offset its capacity to overcome vulnerabilities.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

The RAND Corporation 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.