fcOH RELEASE DATES QS
Short-Term Prospect for Cambodia Through the Current
THIS ESTIMATE IS SUBMITTED BY THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AND CONCURRED IN BY THE UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD.
The following intelligence organizations participated in the preporofion
The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence orgar.lxat.ora of the Depart-meets ol State and Defense, ond the USA-Concurring,
- The Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
The Direcior of Intelligence and Research. Department ofhe Director. Defarue tntalligonco Agency
.. The Direcior. Nollonol Security
. v. Tho Assistant General Manager for National Security, Atomic Energy CommiMion The Special Assistant to the Secretory of tha Treasury
The AsUstoM CHrecfor, federal Bureau of IrreetflooSton, (he subject being outside
- of M "
the short-term prospect for cambodia through the current
I. THE MILITARY FACTOR
II. ASSESSMENT OF THE OPTIONS
III. NEGOTIATIONS: THE PARTIES INVOLVED
ANNEX A: ARCUMENTS PRO AND CON REGARDING KC DRY
SEASON MILITARY OPTIONS
ANNEX B: THE MILITARY BALANCE IN CAMBODIA
ANNEX C: THE CAMBODIAN ECONOMIC SITUATION
ANNEX D; THE NORTH VIETNAMESE-KHMER COMMUNIST
ANNEX E: FACTIONALISM WITHIN THE KHMER
THE SHORT-TERM PROSPECT FOR CAMBODIA THROUGH THE CURRENT
During this dry season, the Khmer Communists (KC! are likely totrategy winch calls for the interdiction of Phnoui Penh's key lines of communication, attacks against the city's outlyingand attacks elsewhere. The goal of this strangulation strategy is lo create pressures, physical and psychological, that will lead to the collapse or capitulation of the Government of the Khmer Republicirect all-out assault on Phnom Penh this dry season also has some appeal to the KC and might occur later iu the dry season.
Our judgment-alt hough itery close call-is that the GKR will be able to survive the coming round of military action, and will be able to bring enough supplies up the Mekong to meet ils minimum essential mililary and economic needs. The key factors determining the GKR's success or failure, however, will be the relative staying power of the KC and GKR, the ability of Phnom Penh to prevent the KC from closing thr Mekong for prolonged periods, and theof external support to both the GKR and the KC from their respective allies. The movement of events in each of these areas is far from certain.
The prospectsegotiated settlement do not appear good until the KC have made an effort to win it all militarily this dry season. But only the KC are adamantly opposed to negoliations. Sihanouk, Peking, Hanoi, and Moscow apparently allegotiated settlement as the preferable way to resolve the Cambodian imbroglio, and some elements of the GKR also hold this view. Thus, ii the KC fail to topple the GKR this dry season, they might be more willing to consider the possibility of negotiations, even though they are likely to come outomewhat improved position in the countrysideis the GKH.
I. THE MILITARY FACTOR
Penh is and will remain onrruhtarih'. There is no prospectCKR doing much more than holdingit Ucks the capability to push themid regain lost territory. Through at
I tins diy vrason, tbe KC ate in theto curry the light to theall evidence indicates that they will do so.
KC have three baste dryoptions:1
Optiondirect all-out assault on Phinxn Penh designed to defeat the CKH in one dectsive stroke.
Optionmore deliberate, but still mayor, campaign coordinating interdictionagainst the capital's supply lines, conventional attacks against thi1 city'sdefenses, and attacks againststrongholds elsewhere in anto force the collapse or capitulation of live CKR.
Optionmodest ir.cn .is- in militarydesigned to keep FANK on theut wiih no serious attempt toinal resolution of the situation this
' Seelincussson ol ihc arguments for and Jiainit each option.
II. ASSESSMENT OF THE OPTIONS
At this point, Optiontatus quo military strategy.onstarler. and hasbeen refected by the KC. They are clearly bent oninor effort toolution on lhe battlefield during this dry season. They believe their prospects of doing so are good. Sinceotal victory during this dry season, the KC would not go Ibis route unless they decided thatthey did not have llie wherewithal to makeork or (b) tbe pressures Irom their allies to negotiate or at least toinal military solution during this dry season were Irresistible.
Although Option A,tirect assault on Phnom Penh, probably bas some appeal to the KC. we believe the arguments against it make it unlikely that ihey would choose this option, except possiblyollow-on action toB If they did choose toajor effort to take Phnom Penh, however, the odds are less than even that they could pull it off. While there atchance that the GKR's will to persist might collapse in llie faceC push, it is more likelyANK would offer effective resistance. Moreover, it is unlikely that the KC couldafor military effort against the capital; their manpower and materiel losses would be high, and it is qucs-
tionahle whether sufficient supplies would be available cither from their own stocks or irom North Vietnam if inconclusive heavy fighting dragged onrolonged period.
Our judgnwnt. ibercfotr. is that tbe KC will pursue Optiontrnngulation strategy. this dry season. The evidence, includingand private statements by KC leaders, and preparations undertaken thus far are consistent withtrategy. Hut while it is reasonably clear how tlie KC plan to proceed, it is not at all clear whether they will succeed. Ina conclusion on this matter, the majordetermining their success or failure will be the relative staying power of the KC and the CKR and the availability of support from their prune allies, Hanoi and Washington resrsecthefy.
The KC. At the height of the fighting last July, the KC had an0 troopsmile ladlus of Phnomn the coming dry season. KC militaryprobahly plan to commit at least as many troops to the elfnrl around Phnom Penh. But the quality of many of these troops is suspect. Tbe KC suffered heavy losses in tbe fighting last summer, notn absolute terms, but more Importantly in terms of combat-bar Jenetl rxtionncl. In many in stances, the replacements, both troops and cadres, arc illtraiimd and inexperienced. KC commanders can have no great confidence in how well these force* will perform underof sustained offensive action.
As mentioned above, (he objective of the KC effort underould be toand maintain an effective interdiction of Ounbodia's tnafor LOCs. If the KC could simultaneously close the key LOCs and Po-chentong Airport, anil keep them closed for
'Unmlon of the military foran and capabilities ofH iitkI KC.
a two- to three-month period, they would not only greatly cucerlwtc Phnom Penh'sproblrmv' but the government would probably collapse. Some parts of an effort to accomplish this would be easier than others. Road interdiction would present the KC with the fewest problems, although even here the KC could have trouble keeping the key land arteries to the capital simultaneously cut for prolonged periods.
Pocbentong Airport is an important, but not critical, supply funnel lot the CKH. The airfield is vulnerable to sapper attacks andby fire. Greatly increased use of Po-chentong would undoubtedly lead the KC toa for effort to close the field, and this would run the risk of heavy losses of supply* aircraft, perhaps making reustained basis. Although this would be psychologically demoralizing to thehe inability to use Pocbentong would not create major supply strains as long as the Mekong corridor were open. If the Mekong were closed, however, Pocliciitong atone could not handle the quantities necessary to keep the GKR and ilsupplied.
The Mekong corridor is the major supply route for the CKRtrictlynd.point, the critical period it likely to be from now until tlie middlv of January; if river traffic is not significantly reduced before then, the supply buildup in the capital will give the CKR some breathing room. Tlie late rains in November will complicate KC action along the river, making it more difficult for them to move in close to the banks and establish firing positions. But, In fact, the KC have al-
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rcooosiyrilatioa ii tsceeesacfy hicfi. now spprcechtufenaul rateermit. Tbe CKR'* resior cconom* proeifKO meet the food end other coeemodity rrquirrnwDti of
nl-iti,C fo*tutor ibwan of the CKR'i ntviMiiir iliiilmr
ready stepped-up attacks on the convoys, and as the water recedes, KC operations will be easier. KC action will also no longer beby US air power over the river,tbe GKR plans to commit its Own air power and increased naval asset to keeping the corridor open. Moreover, even if supplies arc available iu Phnom Penh,onth or so passed without any convoys making it to the city, the psychological impact on the populace would be unsettling.
In any event, the Mekong will be the key factor in the GKR's supply situation. The KC will probably be able to interdict the Mekong from time to time, but they areto be able to do soufficient period to cause the GKR's collapse. Ihis judgment rests on the success of the current effort to build up supplies in Phnom Penh, the ability of the GKR to use itt naval, marine, and air units along the river, and the willingness of civilian merchant captains and seamen toto run the convoys in the face of KC attacks.
A key element in the situation is theof KG supplies. We lack good evidence of the amount of supplies currently held by the KC. There is considerable evidence,that the KC rely on suppliesand purchased from the FANK.they continue to talk of being able to pull off major and sustained action, there are numerous indications of shortages of supplies, particularly arms and ammunition, from all levels of the KC military structure. Moreover. Sihanouk hasHanoi hasthat the KC lack the wherewithal toilitary effort sufficient to bring down the GKR this dry season. Though not conclusive, the evidence Suggesting that China and North Vietnam have cut back support lo the KC is fairly firm. We do not, however, know to what extent. In anyrolonged offensive would place heavy requirements on the KC supply system, and the insurgents couldrun out of steam. It is very doubtful that the KC have Or expect to get advance assurances of increased aid from Peking and Hanoi; if anything, the evidence points to the opposite conclusion.
The North Vietnamese. Although Hanoi founded and nurtured the KC movement, the relationship has never been an easy one. It has not overcome the deep historical animosity between the Cambodians und the Vietnamese. The recent fighting around Kampot and Taken between KC and Vietnamese Communist forces is only the most obvious manifestation of difficulties between tbe KC and the North Vietnamese. Initially dependent on the North Vietnamese for practically everything, the KC at the outset were not able to exercise much control over their strategy or operations. Since the springowever, the KC have been making most of their own tacticaland have become increasinglyon strategic questions. Just how muchthestUl exercise over the KC is unclear, but it is clear that the KC are not as responsive to Hanoi as they once were.*
From Hanoi's perspective, moreover. Cambodia isajor target. Its role is seen primarily in terms of the Northeffort against South Vietnam. And in this regard, the Vietnamese Communistshave what they need in Cambodia to support whatever strategy tliey opt for in South Vietnam. Giventalemate in Cambodia does not appreciably affect North Vietnamese objectives, and Hanoi might, in fact, see some problemsationalistic KC leadership in Phnom Penh. In short, Hanoi does notested interestuick KC victory in Cambodia, and while North Viet-
1 Seeuller elaboration of the North Vietnamese-KC relationship.
nam is not likely to cut off its support to the KC totally, neither is il likely to increase such support.
CKR Viability. The principal question, of course, is not the absolute strength orof the KC, but their strengths relative to those of the GKR, Under Option B, the thrust of the KC's approach is notecisive conventional military victory, but towardpressures, physical and psychological, which bring tho GKRoint where it either collapses or capitulates. Despite an estimated two to one advantage in ground combat troops over the KC, FANK for the past two years hasefensive strategy. It basmany sharp battlefield reverses but has also shown considerable resilience. Theof Kompong Cham demonstrates that FANK cannot be counted outighting force, and that unless its morale collapses, FANK may puttrong defense of Phnom Penh and other key population centers.
Psychological factors will be veryIf Phnom Penh were facedrawn out siege and mounting Supplyone major battlefieldif not decisivecause FANK and ultimately the CKR to begin unraveling. The first reverberalion might be within the top leadership in Phnom Penh,ove to push aside Lon Noi and perhaps others would become likely. The logical instigators ofove might allege (and in some casesbelieve) that they were motivatedesire to prosecute tbe war more effectively. In all likelihood, however, this phase would be only an interim stepesire to negotiate the war's end with Sihanouk or tbe KC.
As with the KC, an important element in the GKR's situation is the availability of external support, both material and political. Without continuing US assistance at least at present levels, effective FANK resistance would evaporate, and it would onlyatter uf time before the KC developed an irreversible momentum. (Because of the worldwide energy crisis, the supply of POL to Cambodia may prove particularly difficult in the coming months, and it might become necessary to dip into US reserves to meet Cambodia'sven assuming that US assistance at present levels continues to be available, the problem of getting it to Phnom Penh remains crucial. And this comes down to the question of the GKR's ability toa prolonged KC interdiction of the key Cambodian LOCs.
Cambodia cannot count on receivingaid or military support from South Vietnam. The GVN has indicated that it would only assist the GKR militarily if stronglyto do so by the US, and then only if it could lie assured that helping Cambodia would not damage the GVN's own prospects for receiving US aid.
The Military Balance. Both combatants face problems in sustaining themselves over the courserolonged offensive. The CKH has to cope with tbe factor of morale and must be able to persist in the face of an adversary who has the military initiative. Given past performance and present capabilities, it seems certain that the KC will register some gains.inimum, pressure on Phnom Penh's UK's will be intense, and this will further complicate an already shaky supply situation In the capital. In addition, FANK Is likely to give up additional territory, and theretrong possibility that some outlying GKR strongpoints (Including provincial capitals) will fall, or at least have to be given up temporarily.
Ouritery closethat the GKR will be able to Survive the coming round of action. Allof the Intelligence Community agree, however, that the uncertainties arc such that at this point the odds are very close.
If Ihc CKR survive* throughseason, its position Is likely tofurther. The KC will havna setback in Falling to topple theGovernment, and tliey might bethe effort, but (heir oveiall positioncountrysideis the CKR willimproved. The KC willmore territory and more people atof the dry season than they did al
III. NEGOTIATIONS- THE PARTIES INVOLVED
KC. The major impedimentat thit timethe KC whono interest In negotiating with thethere are elements in theback Sihanouk mid probablya dialogue, they are not theforce in thehebelieve lli.it they can winthey have made II clear tliat they doat present to go along with anySihanouk or Peking and Hanoi thatsettlement might be desirable.suspect Ihe motives of their allies,are particularly leery of Sihanouk.lip service to Sihanouk's leadership,have privately told their adherentsPrince is not the real leader of lliethat hb value to only tactical as apoint, and that be would notignificant or lasting role ingovernment. In sum, themost unlikely to move toward athe CKR until they havo made atmore attempt to win It all militarily.fail, the KC mlglil be more willingthe possibility of negotiations,allies might lie more willing and ablepressure toward suoli an end.
lwutalnii of KC factlor*.
Sihanouk. SiliatiOuk's power in thesituation rests on tlie fact that he is tbe best known figure in Cambodia, lhat he has supporters within the KC, that his return is acceptable to important groups andin Phnom Penh, and last, but not least, that he has the support of Peking, Hanoi, and Moscow. Sihanouk realizes that his only chance of againajor political role rests on negotiations. His problem is that while he is nominally the head of the KC movement, he does not in fact control or greatly influence the military or political strategy of thein the field. As long as the KC areto press aheadilitary effortis little that Sihanouk can do tothem. We would reiterate however, that even if the prospectsegotiatedbefore the KC military effort appear slim, Sihanouk will still be an important factor assuming the KC do notilitary victory.
If Sihanouk should eventually become headew government in Phnom Penh, he would initially he beholden to theaud they would restrict his freedom ofegotiated settlement in which heeading role, however, would increase his leverage. Furthermore,oalitionincluding non-Communist elements were the outcome of negotiations, his ability to maneuver would be enhanced. He would no doubt attempt to whittle away whatever fetters the KC sought to place on him.on the theme of Cambodian nationalism, and capitalizing on factionalism in theas well as on external support from the major Communl.it states and from the US. Sihanouk would also probably attempt toa relationship with the non-Communist elementsoalition government. And, like Souvanna Phouma in Laos, it is quite possible that he would succeed in undercutting the Communist elements in the government, par-
ricularly if hr were able to gain support and assistance (rom external powers.
orth Vietnam, Tbe limited evidence at hand suggests tbat Hanoi bai come around to the viewiegotiatcd settlement in Cambodia involving Sihanouk's return would serve North Vietnam's immediate interrats,ilitary stalemate Is probably also acceptable for lhe time being. But Hanoi is caught in somethingilemma. While North Vietnamese logistic support Is stillto rise KC. Hanoi is unlikeh' to use its leverage in an urscertain effort to force the KC into negotiations before the dry season ended. Hanoi may also fear that the KC might evenilitary victory without North Vietnam's backing, in which case it would have less leverage onssuingFaced with such unceitainties. Hanoi is more likely to hedge its bets than it fa toaior initiative on its own toambodian settlement.
he Molar Towers, Tlie ma)or powers now appear to be favorably disposedegotiated settlement in Cambodia. Peldne bas been championing Sihanouk as tbe only possible solution to tbe Cambodian imbroglio. From the Chinese perspective, the returnower of Sihanouk would serve tu maximize Peking's leverage in the situation. Mofcow isactor. After first continuing to maintain relations with the CKB. Moscow has now thrown its support to Sihanouk, perhaps in (be beliefegotiated settlement was possible and offered the best chance tosomething fur Soviet interests out of the situation. But the Soviets are more or lessn out of the action, ihey might servean intermediary, but they lack the entree toower brokers role.
Washington's roleajor factor. The CKR is unlikely to go much further than it has already in offering concessions to the KC and Sihanouk until and unless the US makes it clear thai tht* is isrecssary. In any event, tbe KC will remain unreceptive to the notion ofwhile they spin out their military option.
The CKB. Although the GKR has gone through the motions concerning negotiations, il has not yet faced tlie likely realities of tin situation. Major concesoions would beI "inink Malak, and prob.ihU several other key figures would not lieto the other side. Not only might Sihanouk come back us head of thebul the KC wouldajor,dominant, voiceoalition government Though Uie evidence rs sparse, we believe lhat most Cambodians would accept these conditions if they brought the war lo an end.
ARGUMENTS PRO AND CON REGARDING KC DRY SEASON MILITARY OPTIONS
Optionirect All-Out Assault on Phnom Penh
he major arguments forre:
By maximizing pressure on Phnom Penh, the KC mightud-den collapse o! the CKR's will to persist, thereby gaining their objective almost before the battle really began.
Since they are already close to the capital, the KC might believe they couldactical surprise anduick victory before the GKR could rally its forces or bring in
Despite the likelihood of heavy losses of men and materiel, tbe KC might calculateajor effort against Phnom Penh would in the long run require fewer resouices lhantrategy of protracted fighting.
Confronted with increasingthat all the other partieswith Cambodia prefer asettlement and particularly worried about the reliability of North Vietnamource of supply, going for the jugular would allow the KC to present their friends and foesail accompli.
In the KG view, the massive US air effort of the past year is noi likely to be repeated.
be major arguments againstre:
It would require the massing of KC units in the relatively open terrain around Phnom Penh, making them easier targets for CKR artillery and aircrafi and posing the risk of high losses-
Unless theyuick victory, it is doubtful that the KC couldmajor action against Phnom Penh without mcieased aid from Hanoi, and the KC appear to doubt that they cati count on such assistancehigh visibility" all-out attack un Phnom Penh.
As demonstrated in the battle for Koinpung Cham, TANK is capable of effeclivi resistanceet-piece battle when ils back is up against the wall.
Even though Ihey probably consider the risk low, the KC would not dismiss the possibility of the US (or South Vietnam) responding with air power.
Failure ofould not Only buoy GKR morale, hut would sei iously damage theandwould make Ihc KC more susceptible to political pressure from their allies.
B. Option B: The Strangulation Strategy
he major arguments forrc:
lhe cumulative impact of Optiou B. particularly il tlie capital's LOCs were cut tor any length ol time and/or FANK suffered significant reverses, could destroy FANK's will to resist and lead to the CKR's internal collapseostly attack on Phnom Penh.
It is Ihe most flexible strategytn lhe KC; by initially followinghe KC could later in the dry season shift over tor revert tu Option C.
KC forces have had considerableand success in undertaking the types of action in Option B.
The absence of US air power is likely to give the KC increased confidence in the efficacy ol Option B; the KC would consider this option less likely thano piovnke theof US air strikes.
Althoughould entail the commitment of substantial manpower and supplies, the KC could betterthe level of comltat to the assets available at any particular moment.
ight be moie acceptable to the North Vietnamese than Option A;inimum.ould allow the KC more time to gauge the level and adequacy of Northsupport
B increases the chance that Phnom Penh's key physical facilities and administrative machinery would remain in funclioning condition if the GKR should collapse.
The failure ofo topple the CKH would be less damaging to the KC than would the failure of Option A.
By concert ti at ing on cutting LOCs to Phnom Penh, the KC could greatly exacerbate the CKR's already shaky economic situation.
he major arguments against Option B
s inontinuation of the strategy that faltered during tbe3 offensive.
A key factor in the success ofs tlie availability of supplies and manpower; this strategy requiresoffensive action on several frontsubstantial investment of men and materiel- Yet, KC units are suffering from some supply shortages, particularly arms and ammunition, and there are increasing indications that the North Vietnamese have cut Itaek their materiel support to the KC.
The GKR anticipates that the KC will follow antrategy and has based its defensive plan on thisthe KC probably know this.
Strangulation of Phnom Penh requires thai the GKB's economic lib-lines he cutrolonged period; thus far, Ihe KC have had considerable success in interdicting the LOCs. but they have not demonstrated an ability toufficient number of them cut long enough to slrangle Phnom Penh.
At the upper end of the actions called for in Option B, tlie KC could find themselves inexorably drawn into a
scries of costly battles (such as that at Kompong Cham last summer) where the scale of commitment and the losses suffered forced them to limit future actions in order to recoup.
C. Optiontatus Quo Military Strategy
he major arguments forre:
It places the fewest strains on the KC, sparing them the heavy losses of meu and materiel that the other options
The KC could use the time bought to consolidate their conlrul tn theand to build up their military sb^ngth.
ould permit the KC to wait and see if the passage of time ledeakening of tbe CKIVsviabilityiminution of US support to Cambodia.
ft. The major arguments against Option C
ffers little hope forthe situation.
It flies directly in the face of what the KC have been striving for over the past lfj months or so and runs counter to what they have already stated they intend to do this dry season.
Tlie KC would risk losing theirmomentum, and the revolutionary zeal of KC adherents would flag.
ould be viewed inand elsewhereign of
flic GKR could use the respite to build up its forces.
Pressure On the KC to negotiate could mount, and they could find themselves faced with even more reluctance on the part of Hanoi toesumption of major hostilities.
I. THE MANPOWER BALANCE
FANK ground combat strength isestimated to beutotal military strength of) organized in company- to division-sized maneuver units. Combat unitsualoperations against the KC and staticare primarilyaround major towns and cities and along lines of communication. Limitedis also drawnascent(militia) program which bolsters local defense In conjunction with FANK. Although Auto-Defense strength is currentlyhe generally poor state of readiness of these units restricts (heir combat
In contrast, the KC have an estimated combat strength of0in platoon- to regimental-sizedunits. Unlike FANK. however, the KC need commit relatively Few of their troops to defensive missions, since FANK normally poses almost no offensive threat to KC-eon-trolted areas. Because there is littlewith which to gauge the strength of supporting administrative services units, and little is known about the structure and strength of the KC guenilla/militia. total KC military strength is unknown. In any event, the military potential of the guerrilla/militia is limited sincethe government's Auto-Defensetasked withmore or less firmly controlled areas. Their
'See map for the dirpwitien of FANK and KCtrenKth.
primary importance isanpower pool for KC units.
C/NVA combat troops and0 administrative services personnel remain in Cambodia, but they are operating primarily in support of Communist activities in South Vietnam, and do notirect threat to FANK at this time. In addition, there may be as manyore VC/NVA troops still operating with KC units assupport and liaison personnel.
II. FANK CAPABILITIES Manpower
ANK's inability to exploit itsumerical superiority stemsumber of factors. The most critical of these is the continuing lack of effective leadership. FANK entered the war with few capableandandful have emerged since that time, especially at the middle and upper levels. Commanders in the field continue to adherearrison mentality stressing fixed defensive positions, frequently abandonin the face of little or no pressure, and often drag their feet when ordered to initiate operations against the KC. Throughack of aggressiveness andabsenteeism from their unit* in the field, most commanders fail to instill theand discipline in their troops necessary to accomplishuccessfulajor factor affecting FANK morale is the overall impact of low pay and inflation on the Individual soldier's ability to provide for his family. In spite of some recent efforts to ameliorate the situation, basic sustenance and
shelter remain beyond the means of most, and only substantial irlunn In this area by the Phnom Penh Government can limit the present downward trend.
Accentual init the problem of ineffectual leadership in tbeho quality ofprovided bytaff. Operations have been hampered hy constantly changing and conflicting mission orders, and very little initiative lias been shown in anticipating KCstaff preferring Instead tounits piecemeal only after the situation bas deteriorated. The retrieval of theat Kompong Cham in September was the first time that the General Staff acted de-ctovefy to define objectives, and deploy the necessary forces.
The effectiveness of FANK leadership is further restrictedegree of corruption which, at times, bas been excessive even by the accepted standards of Die area.ritical impact on FANK operations because units committed to combat frequently have been found to be substantially below reported strength, and thus only marginally effective.
Closely aVJn to the problem of unit rosters padded by "phantom" troops has been the absence, until recently,ationalof personnel ivpbtcernent. It was not until mid-summer that conscription was attempted, and the initial attempts proved ineffective. With recruitment largely in the hands of local commanders, many FANKamong the reaction forces of the Generalbeen badly worn down by months of fighting, to the point that FANK's four divisions (the hackltone of the Generalcould field only aboul half of their authorized strength at the height of the KC offensive this past summer. Moreover,one-third of FANK's troopsuntrained. The internal training burden has been substantially Increased since the termination of the extensive US/Southtraining program in Soulh Vietnam.
The state of FANK's material readiness has been somewhat better than the manpower situation, esrjecially following the acceleration of Military Aid Program (MAP) deliveries prior to theugust cessation of US air operations, bul there is cause for concern.
Continued resupply through the US MAP is vital to the maintenance of adequatefor FANK. Present levels of MAPare in accord with FANK's ability to absorb new equipment, and most of FANK's hardware deficiencies have been alleviated. On tlie otfier hand, present levels of support may noi be adequate to maintain ammunition stocks during another period ofubstantial portion of the4 appropriation was consumed during this year's offensive. Any reduction in MAP funding would similarly deplete ammunition stocks, although it probably would not have aimpact on the availability of hardware.
Two additional factors make FANK's supply status tenuous. The first Is tliereliance on three key entryMekong, Pochentong Airport, androm the Port of KompongMAP deliveries. Given the vulnerability of these lines of communication, it will be difficult for FANK to maintain slocks on hand.
Second. FANK's internal distribution system, although greatly improved in the last three years, and facilitated by equipment standardization, remains undependable.because of FANK's reliance onroutes andimited aerial resupply capability, the system remains subject toA significant result of this is the reluctance of FANK artillery commanders to fire harassment and interdiction missions
the KC foi fear that their ammunition stocks will not be replenishedore immediate need arises.
Uncertainty of resupply aside, artillery supply for FANK units still remains limited. Although FANK is reasonably well equipped with artillery (the ratio of tubes to ground forces strength comparing favorably withost of the tubes are deployed in static defensive positions, thus restricting their use for offensive operations. Moreover, despite an extensive traininginternal andlevel of expertise varies greatly, and generally remains low.are generally hampered by the limited number of fire direction, ammunition handling and forward observation personnel-
Uy the same token, air support for FANK units remains limited. Although the Cambodian Air Force nearly doubled its strike sorlie rate between July and September, total airthe cessation of USbeen cut by aboutercent. Moreover, mechanisms for coordinating air and ground operations have only lecently been established, and are not yet fully operational. Target validation remains cumbersome, and Ihe effective use of forward air controllers in the air as well as forward air guides on the ground remains limited.
M. In the midst of these manpower,and firepower problems which have plagued FANK. somef improvement have been observed lecently. Since thehalt, FANK commandeis have on occasion displayed an encouraging degree ofand al least some ability to integrate armor and artillery with infantry operations. The subsequent defense ofam was relatively well conceived and coordinated.
and executedare degree ofDuring that battle, Cambodian naval and aid support proved effective.
FANK has initiatedto ameliorate some of its problems.well organizedfinally got off the ground inwith an ultimate goal oftroops. As ofovember, abouttroops had actually beenmanpower controls have beenand unlike past practices, newbeing assigned to understrengththan being used to form new ones.
III. KC CAPABILITIES
The gains made by tbe KC during3 offensive demonstrated the progress they have made toward molding an effectivestructure. Before and during the offensive, the KC accelerated the formation of regiments, aud significantly expanded their capability to control multiregimental operations At the same time, however, the offensive also pointedumber of KC shortcomings.
Despite theii organizational gains and their ability to shift units between areas of operation and eooidinate the operations of multiregimental formations, the KC failed to provide adequate organic support for their units. They also did not maintain the degree of discipline necessary to keep pace with the increasing magnitude of forces committed. Indicative of this is that On several occasions around Phnom Penh individual elements were withdrawn from combatto the surprise of adjacentsimilar displays of local autonomy by KC cominamlei* have frustrated operations in other areas ai well.
imilarly, the KC supply system seems to have been caught off guard by the scope of the offensive. Beginning in May, ammunition
began to mount, and by July,near Phnom Penh were being adversely affected by those shortages. My the same token, shortages limited KC effectiveness at Kompong Cham in August and September and in the Vilit.ii Suor area east of Phnom Penh in October. As was the case with command and control, the KC supply system seems to have been outstripped by rapid territorial gains.
Of potentially greater importance,is the question of aid from NorthPrince Sihanouk has consistentlysince early fn the year that the NVA have curtailed supply shipments to tbe KC. and the magnitude nf tbe supply problemsby them lends some credence to this claim. It is possible, however, that even in the absenceutback, the NVA may have been unwilling to underwrite tbe greatlyshipments necessary to sustain high levels of combat. In any event, il is impossible to determine to what extent the supplyexperienced by the KC were caused by countrywide shortages Or difficulties with internal distribution.
In spite of these problems, the most crucial factor in stemming this year's KCwas the impact of US atrstrikes which Increased the difficulty of resupply and further disrupted the command and control system. In addition, US strikes were extremely effective in infllelingamong the best KC units. Relatively well-trained and highly motivated troops are being replaced by "green" replacements who in many cases have been inducted under duress. Even more difficult to replace are the unit cadre which were lost to airstrikes.
The impact on KC of the difficulties outlined above will carry over Into the coming dry season, thereby continuing to limit their capabilities. The KC, however, apparently have made soma progress in ameliorating their shortcomings. Casualties suffered during the last offensive probably will be. in large part, replaced by December, although frequent references to the induction of children, old men. women and monks niggeits that the KC are experiencing some difficultie* in fleshing out their units. Moreover, many of the new troops have been impressed, and lack training and motivation Steps are aho being taken to expand and improve the command andstructure and replace ineffectiveand plans for renewed action are bcrng carefully drafted. In addition,frequent supplyof smallthat vonve ad put men ts have been made in the supply system.
In addition, the KC will benefit from the alisenee of UShis alone will substantially reduce Ibe cost of brightened combat, and will facilitate the movement of men and materiel, although significantstill can be inflicted on massed KC units by the Cambodian Air Force. In addition, offensive operations in the toining dry season will be initiated from positions close to Phnom Penh and other major citiess Kompong Cbam. Thus, the KC can quickly bring heavy pressure to bear on FANK in corstrau to the costly and time consuming prdiminuses which ehararierired the first few months of3 offensive.
Tbe most significant potential constraint on KC capabilities in the coming dry season is the availability of supplies If their NVA patrons underwrite heavy munitionstberobably BM sustain aoffensive. To the extent lhat the North Vietnamese are unwilling toigh level nf support, tin- scopeC nffensive would be curtailed.
iv. the balance of forces for the dry season
On balance. FANK capabilities arr and will remain bruitedinimum. FANK probably can successfully defend Phnom Penh, although at great coat To defend tbe capitaletermined attack. FANK would have to commit most, il not all. of its reaction force and might lie forced to pull additional territoriali into the perimeter.ommitment would allow the KC to attack other cities with relative MM and to interdict lines of com muni cation with small forces. In turn, interdiction of those lines ofcould make life in the capital untenable. Similarly. FANK cannot totally prevent the shelling of the capital or the infiltrationubstantial number of KC troops into the citypectacular, if temporary, display of power.
Even in the absenceaximum threat to the capital. FANK can achieve only moderate success in mail rtaini rig the security ef its highways. Adequate maiipower is not available to garrlwn all key roads against KC attacks, and FANK's reaction force has had very limited success in quickly clearing interdictions Moreover, the KC have been increasingly willing to commit sizable forces to such an interdiction effort. The Mekong River should be easier to keep open than the roads, though during the dry season Phnom Penh will have substantial difficulties evenrucial factor will be the continued willingness of ship owners and captains to run thewillingness that mayif losses mount.
t isery close judgment whether FANK can weather another offensive of the intensity and duration of thisin the absence of US air support. As the estimate indicates, we believe that all things considered it probably can, Nevertheless, the KC will mamtain the initiative most of the time, and while FANK can contain the threat in some areas it cannot prevent tliein some casesof lines ofor the loss of further territory Inareas. Furthermore, there is littlethat FANK will be able to recapture any substantial territory now In Communist bands. Thus, even hi the absenceecisiveon the battlefield in coming months, the KC are likely to improve their position during the dry season.
by continuing war-relatedthe Cambodian economy is underpressures al Ihis point simply tofood and other commodityrefugee-swollen citiesisruptedAlthough arrangements haveto secure adequate amounts oferious risk that shipping problemsdistributional delays could result inlocal or temporary shortages as toriots in Phnom Penh and otherThis period of uncertainty willat least mid-December and
Cambodian economy is weak.has sharply curtailed economicmost sectors, as many peasants haveoff their farmsarge shareand industry has beendamaged. The resulteneralizedof basica significant rise In the cost ofspending remains far aheadrevenues, and the resultingwill continue to be financed byloans or by printing new money.accounts, Cambodia suffersextremely unfavorable balance of tradeeven require large amounts offor some time after anyThe war has kept exports atof prewar levels, whileotals, have been shiftedgoods, especially foodstuffs.
Inflation has accelerated dramaticallyith the cost of living in Phnom Penh now more than double what It was at the beginning of the year and this rate of increase is continuing. The principal cause of the increase is the shortage of rice. Other commodities are also In short supply, asoutput has been hurt byhortage of credit,somedamage to productiveWage increases have not kept up with price hikes, however, resultingecline In real income. Substantial salary hikes are anticipated inut these will not prevent further deterioration in consumer purchasing power.
erious prevailing shortage of goods in general, government spendingwill contribute to further inflationaryupplemental appropriationinon by increased salaries for civilian and military employees and greater subsidies on ricethe budgetercent higher than thatproposed andercent greater than2 budget. Despite the implementation this year of numerous tax measures,revenues, Lagging behind earlierwill probably leave an uncovered deficit equal to about one-third of the3 budget.
Lon Noi government's mostproblem is procuringof commodities, particularly rice. Fre-
quern Itrterdlttloris of principal highways have disrupted deliveries of domestic and imported rice.rom the Battambang rice bowl has been closedeptember; the chances are good thatrom Kompong Som will also continue to be closed periodically. The Mekong River is open, but its waters are receding, making government river convoys more vulnerable to Communist interdiction. Negotiations since late summer have elicited additional rice from abroad. Much of this rice has reached Phnom Penh or is enroute, and should prevent rice shortages until UShipments begin to arrive in mid-December. Enoughice is committed to Cambodia to cover Phnom Penh's needs, both civilian and military, through tbe dry season. Stocks of POL are currently adequate, largely the resultoncerted logistics effort to increase stockpiles of critical commodities byugust, the termination date for US air support; supplyiug Phnom Penh with these commodities should pose minimal difficulty as long as the Mekong is kept open.
ny significant reduction of US economic assistance could bo fatal for the Lon Noi government. US aid currently supplies some SO percent of all foreign capital inflows and is tbe key source of commodity imports.artial replacement of US aid by other sources Ls most unlikely over tbe short run. Particularly critical is US financing of imports to see tbe government through. Without these imports, theby limited exchangehave to reduce rice consumption drastically and face the probability of at least small scale rice riots similar to those that took place inven beyond this fall's rice emergency, US aid in the form ofhipments willital element in reconstitutiug depleted commodity stocks so as to avoid similarin the future.
S support is also essential to theSupport Fundhich was es-tablished in2echanism by which some of Cambodia's imports could be purchased. Contributions for theotalillion, with almostercent coming from thehe CKR is already baving difficulty lining up donors4 and any significant reductions bt US support would almost certainly convincecontributors not to renew their pledges
'Other contributor* are Cambodia, Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, New Zealand, and until tbr.ir recent withdrawal from the ESK. Australia and Malaysia. The US may contribute sn amount rqualombined total of the other members of lhe ESF.
the north vietnamese-khmer communist relationship
Communist involvement in Cambodia dates back at leasthen the Viet Minh made contact with rebel Khmer dements fispnting against the French and persuaded them to accept (ummunist backing andip Over the next sii years tbe Viet Minh steadily incr<-atcd their political and military support to theowever. Vietnamese fortunes in Cambodia began Iu decline as Sihanouks "crusade" for independence gatheredFollowing tlie signing of the Geneva Accordsheof Sihanouks strong domestica low profile in Cambodia that was to last forecade.7 the Vietnamese became more active when they beganlocal dissidcucc In northeasterna letterthe western part of the country ai wefl.
When the war came to Cambodia directly inhe Vietnamrse Communists reacted quickly byrash program toiable Khmci CommunistThey haveegularcombat force lhat lias grownew thousand to00 men now. They concurrently laidluner Conutiunirt-donunatedstructure in all sections of the country. Meanwhile, thr-oing all of the major fighting in Cambodia. The miliary teacher-pupil riLttonthip between the Vietnamese and Khmer Communistsignificant turning point in tlie springowever, when tbe bulk of the North Vietnamese/ Viet Cong main force combat units in Cambodia became involved in the
Communist offensive In South Vietnam.the insurgents remained heavilyon the Vietnamese for arm* andand for some limited advisorythey shouldered tbe tactical load and soon prosed lhat theyatch for the demoralized Cambodian Army.
he exact nature of tbe present military alliance between the Khmer and Vietnamese Communists is murky, but most of tbesuggests lhat the insurgents haveresponsibility for their own strategy and tactics. One ol the most important factors bearing on thr Khmrr-Vietnamoso relationship Is the tension that exists between theirforces, particularly in Cambodia'sborder areas. Tills past summer, localby lraditioii.il racialto some sporadic and relatis-ely large-scale fighting between insiugcut and Northng troops, primarily in Kampot and Taken Provinces. The seeds of conflict in this region were sown earlyhen the insurgents began moving to undercut Vietnamese military, political, and economic jurisdiction over areas near the southern border.
y mid-August, senior officials on both sides who had become alarmed over thereportedly agreedruce and to several agreements covering such ocmJroterml issues as territorial and population control Neither side has complied fully with the truce or the agreements. Imt they have hadalming effect on tbe situation. If heavy fighting in this area should flare up again, Khmer and Vietnamese Communist leadir* undoubtedly
would keep striving to keep it withinbounds. But the volatility of the situation along tlie border underscores then preserving the basic delicacy of the Khmer-Vietnamese military alliance.
A more immediate and widespread factor at work in the Khmer-Vietnamese military (and political) equation is the level oflogistic support to the KC. SinceSihanouk and his in-country 'defense minister" have been contending that tbeNorth Vietnamese Innot been giving the insurgents enough arms and ammunition. More recently, Sihanouk has been stating openly that if this situation does not improve, the insurgents will in effect have to settleilitaryAlthough the Khmer Communists refect this assessment, there is evidence that they are short on arms and ammunition in some areas of the country. But whether suchare due to Vietnamese tight-fistcdncss or to battlefieldnow be ascertained.
The relatively high degree of military autonomy attained by the Khmer Communists suggests that they may now also have obtained some degree of political independence from the Vietnamese- Until the last year ot so at least, Hanoi probably had beenosition to exercise considerable influence and control over the Khmer Communists.or example, itommunist governing body in Cambodia, the "Central Office forhich was put under tlie main Vict Minh controlling authority for southern Vietnam. Subsequently, the Vietnamesewere also instrumental in setting up thehmer Communist Party, whose founding date is given by the insurgents asery little is known about the party's ties to and relationships with the Lao Dong Party from that date untilouster. Shortly after tlie latter event, however, the Vietnamese assigned the then deputy chief of COSVN, Muoi Cue, to he their top advisor to the Khmer Communist Party. With the help of specialized Viet Cong cadre from South Vietnam and of the "Hanoiue produced the short-term military and political results that Hanoi wanted in Cambodia.
In view of Hanoi's substantial investment over the years in the Cambodian insurgency, it would appear that the North Vietnamese would want to have tbe final, controlling vote over all important Khmer Communist policies. On the other hand, the Vietnamese may have inleuded to let the Khmer Communistshandle most of their own affairs. This view was set forth as far back ashen Vict Minh headquarters informed Lo Due Tho (who was then serving as the deputy to die forerunner of COSVN) that whilehad set up Cambodia's revolutionary leadership, the Khmer people had "to rely on (heir owu strength forcannot trust anyone else to do it for them, although outside help is necessaryhey must shape their ownhile somewhat similar to what Hanoi has said about the Viet Cong,iew could also be conditioned in large part by Hanoi's recognition that the Khmer, unlikeo, are an aggressive and independent-minded people who dislike the Vietnamese more than they fear them.
Whatever the nature of their pastrelationship, some tentative evidence suggests thai die Khmer Communists are now at odds with the Vietnamese on the questionegotiated settlement. Recently, two Vietnamese Communist officials in Parisindicated that Hanoi wasin negotiations between Sihanouk and US officials In Chbia because, as one of them
factionalism within the khmer insurgency
Khmer Insurgency Is far fromonolithic movement. Ill makeup ranges from hard-core Communists trained in Hanoi who are determined toommunist regime in Phnom Penh to nationalists whoore neutral, balanced goverriroent. Theowever, are the controllingentral point in Ihe differencesthe insurgency is the question ofole in any fulure realignment of political forces in Cambodia. The anti-Sihanouk forces in the insurgency arc led by the powerful and shadowy leaders nl lhr Khmer Communist Party, most ofmembers of the old "Khmer Rouge" political faction in Phnomopposed to the Prince well before his ouster inince that time, they have recognized him as their nominalrucf" only because he isa rallying p1 nt lor people r. the Gal -bodian countryside and as an rnlemahonal mouthpiece. This rynKa! exploitation has been only barely disguised however, and Sihanouk himself is well aware of it. He recently' has admitted openly that his relations with the indigenous Communists,rc very poor, and claimed that It is thus unlikely that be would ever return to Cambodia.
Although Ihe Communists are opposed to Sihanouk's playing any significant future role in Cambodia. Ihe Prince is not without support in the insurgency. The longstanding ideologically committed Khmer Communists who control tbe insurgency areraction of the total number of military and political cadre within the Insurgency's military andapparatus. The political structure and front organizations in insurgent -controlled areas of Camliodia have drawn heavily on displaced bureaucrats of the old Sihanouk regime, schoolteachers, merchants, andclergy. Mast of these are nut outright Communists, and many were recruited with the explicit understanding that Sihanouk's restoration was the objective of the movement.
The insurgents' military structure abo harbors real or potential Sihanouk supporters. The rank and file of tbe Insurgent armed forces are peasants, and it is the peasantry' which is Ihe backbone of Sihanouk's genuine support in Camliodia. But II is impossible to quantify how many of these peasant-soldiers are strong backers of Sihanouk. It is similarly difficult to tell how many insurgent militaryand units owe their principalto Sihanouk. In any case, reporting from lhe counlryside Indicates clearly that there are many insurgents who back Sihanouk. They are often labeled tin: Khmer Rumdoh (Khmererm that appears toolitical tendency or function rather than an organizational entity. On occasion, friction between Sihanouk's supporters and Commu-nist elements has resulted in bloodletting.
Although troublesome to the Communists, there is little evidence to suggest that tbe Sihanoukists in the insurgent apparatus will directly or seriously challenge the control lhat the Communist lewdcis exercise over theOn the contrary, as time passes the chances arc tbe pro-Sihanouk elements will gradually be weeded out or assimilated by the Communists. Even as matters now stand, the factionalism in the insurgency does not seem to have had any significant impact onmilitary capabilities. Thus far. thehave been able hi submerge llieir polllical differences and make common military cause against the Lon Noi government.
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