national intelligence estimate
' * 7 .
IRECTOR Of cYnTRAL INTELLIGENCE
in by tht UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD
* v. 5f AiM7
Copy NfV 58
- mil jLU-f ..
The following intelligence organizations participated In 'the preparation of this estimate:
: -tht Centralgency ond lha inlelffgenc*of Tlioenu of State and Defense, and the NSA_
Vice Adm. Ruful Taylor, Deputy Dlfoetar, Central
ha Director of Inlelllgenro ond "teiaoreh, Deportment
S*." . 'tAS.: r' | '
".It. Geo. Jonph f. Co-roll, Dlr*cfor,t*llig*rte*
, Monhdll S. Carter, lha Director, National Security
'? . "- *
Mr. Howard C. Brown,litont Oaneral Manager, Atomic tn*#gy Cam-million and Mr. William O. Crcgor, for lh* AMfMaM Dlrietor, Federal .Bureau of IrtVHtlgation, (he wbjact being ovttldt of theirtdltllon. ,P,
Thla mat ifiiIiiIim TifMIIIIMWiaWbfjilliillJilli ini"iil Nii'i Unitedth* meaning, tho Iran*,
minion orony manner loatT^ri*_uih*'li#cI pmm it prehi&iied.
INTRODUCTORY NOTfi .
DISCUSSION I. CAPABIMTIKS Ol' NOHTII VIETNAM
and MulilU/nllun Potential
Twining nndI) if) It nit Inn ..
MH.ITAHY SITUATION IN TUK SOUTH
P. Communist Manpower hi die SonUi
OUTLOOK KOH COMMUNIS! KOIICtiS
CAPABILITIES OF THE VIETNAMESE COMMUNISTS FOR FIGHTING IN SOUTH VIETNAM1
to estimate the capabilities of the vietnamese communists tomilitary opt-rut inns in south vietnam over the next yenr or so.'
our earlier twdemlniidjiig of overall coiiiitmnltft capabilities in vietnam had, of uewssuy, to rely heavily on ilatn provided by the gvn. much of this turned tint to be unreliable, nnd in ninny liitttaniiti our numerical otbimigi of communist forces, other than for the regular units, were too low. our information has improved suli-Ktiuitiully in the past year or two, hut the unconventional naturehe war paws dlmvuh intelligencelw mow noocial environment where baste data Ik ineomptete and often untrustworthy.
manpower, for example,ey element for theut we lackbaslu dntn on population slw, rales of growth, mid ago distribution for both north nnd south vietnam, assessing com* immist capabilities also involves no uudurxtamlinu, of the organization and effectiveness of the various components in the communist military and political appiiralus in south vietnam. much of tho evidence on these enmponenk is obtainedariety ofncluding
capiuied dueunieuin, of varying rellftbility and timeliness, the nntdynis of this data,well nn that concerning xmlh victnumcke support to the .south anil idl manpower tpiemlmw nipiirusmethod* nlojileal approni'lietw which cannot rim above the uncertain tlata inputs,
'IhhWiUKll,il tot ftojtttmt
nty intift, my
'Tin- Ri;ll|i1 iii till. il(i>iIhV
Our data and conclusions are therefore subject lo continuing review and revision, espceially since capabilities do not remain static- In this estimate we have concentrated on reaching the best judgments of the current strength of the Communist forces and, because of incomplete and unreliable basic data, we have not attempted toCommunist strength retrospeetively.
Reservations with respect to evidence are explained whereIn the individual sections of the estimate. The main conclusions which follow, however, allow for such uncertainties in the supporting intelligence, represent our best appntiatinn of the overall situation as it now stands, and arc based on ihe assumption tbat there is no radical change in the scale and nature of the war.
the past year, Hanoi's direct control and share ofof the war in South Vietnam has grown substantially.will continue.
ajor problem confronting ihohave been increasing and recruitment In South Vietnammore difficult. Despite heavy Infiltration from NorthIho strength of Iho Communist military forced Midin South Vietnam declined in the lost year,
c The major portion of this decline has probably been felt at the lower levels,eliberate policy of sacrificing these levels to maintain the structure of political cadre* and the strength nf the Regular military forces. In particular the guerrillas, now estimated to tmul somemve stilfered ft tmbsHuittal reductionho estimated poalc of about earlyegular force strength, now estimated at IlrJ.OOO, has declined only slightly, hut Viet Cong (VC) nulls are increasingly dependent upon North Vietnamese rcphiccuK-iilff,
iven enrrrnt Communist strategy, mid levels ofajor eflorl will be noeovsnry if tin* Regular forces and the Ruentlltw are lo In- mithilahit'd al ot umir pM'Senl levels, To do Mievel of infiltration much higherull observed in IWiV and intensive VC recruitment as well. Consideringe relevant factors, however, we believe iherei Iffy good chance that ihe
overall strengthiiitcl cllccliveuessof the military forcesanil the political infruvtrueturentinuc to decline.
K. The Communist leadership Is already having problems Inmorale aiul quality. Thew problems have not jet impaired overall military effectiveness, but thev are likely to become mure difficult.
V. Difficulties in internal distribution will continue to cause local shortages and hiterh're with Communist operations from time to lime. Hut wc believe (bat the Communists will be able to continue to meet at least their essential supply requirement forevel of forces and activities in South Vietnam deserll>cd in this estimate.
C Communist strategy Is torotracted war of attrition and to persuade the US that it must pull out or settle on Hanoi's terms. Our judgment is that the Communist* still retain mlet|ttutc capabilities to support this strategy for at least uiMltcr year. WmUMT or not Hanoi does in fact persist with thli strategy depends not only on its capabilities lo do so, butuinlvr of political andconsiderations not treated in this estimate.
has become increasingly obvlom that Hanoi's share of tire burdenin South Vietnam hits grown substantially. Infiltration of prrsonnc! inInto the northern provinces, was more thnu twice that ofdirect control of military and political operations has become'Ihe supply of weapons from the North has continued, andof greater firepower have been introduced. The logisticalNortli Vietnam and In Laos nnd Cambodia have been expandedtoreater flexibility to cupc with tho effects of airenabling tho Communists to meet higher levels of combat nndgrowth of their forces to at least their present levels.
I. CAPABILITIES OF NORTH VIETNAM
A. Manpower ond Mobilization Potontlal
growing Intensity of the war in the South nnd owio than twoUS nir strike* agamst the Notth have muclcncfViulnjriyaspect In estimating Ownnunfat capabilities. Since nikbUMB theArmed Forces haw expanded bum anenhis expansion Include* those troop*ro* and Southbulk of tl*halt age etas, of(flbmit JOOflOObeing taken Intoservice. Hie war tn general nnd theparticular have forced Hanoi tn diverto fiffflflllO civilian-,women, ymtng and old) lo full-time and part-dine Wflr-relwled nrllvltics.
X Nevertheless, it does nut appear thai North Vinlniim is encountering insiir-mouninbli- problem* hi oblnlnlui- sitfllelcnl able-bodied mm to Htpmrt tile war in .Smith Vietnam, of Northitlal )Kipuhitiim of over IB million, aboutillion orare males hetwi-ciind almit huH of these nre probably physically fit fur military service.'1 At present, the Nurlh Vietnamese Armed Forces have taken less than om-tpinrlri of the fit males agednnd less than twn-fllllix of theillion Hi mule* In the prime military ages ofhough (here Is some evidence of lowering of dralt standards nnd extending of age limits, ll appears ihiit,ew Ineal exttp-lions, Hanoi Is still drafting only Ihose between the agon or IV.
I, 'Ihe number of physically fit male*unit beyond (he niimi.il lucre-merit rif thaw mielillig age IVt who mv utttIII llir iiillietl fwW'k ts Mil"
slant iid, Iheis* oh vu,muihi nl maiipirtMrivluw Hart' me
illfitii men of .illnd wtteie< .ipila piodut-ihm Is low, Thetv arc iiIm, il.mil half ii imlliim im-iii%si-diirun mm', Ira hiding
"IV"'S I'loiiiJViiliwiti'ik,H*i'Pllie lijvin- nl Nurlhii'H<>l> lHutlni'ijili lUkl
n HHBimwi seiTfcltjkill million men in industry, over half of whom an- in ImurtkmfW; mid0 mule atiidcuU of military age.
o Xkeir is nfkcd percentage of these men who can be spared for military duty. Hanoi ha* already draun men from the civilian economy for military mid war-related tasks, replacing diem where possiblo with women-Taking large additional numbers of men would obviously Involve winaants lo the Chilian economy, but Urn woulduestion of priorities in Hanoi. lasses in agricultural and industrial production can lie made up tiyto the extant necessary to maintain essential .subsistence levels of cousump* tion; consumer rnifvlcrs me lo some degree expendable and rducatlon can be postponed Thu* wo believehe manpower ptoblem, while growing inoto serious, i- itill manageableorth Vljfnam.onservative estimate we brli'jvrr there are0 men who mild be culled into military service, in addition to the riiina.il draft class.
fl. Tho North Vietnamese Armed Forces expanded lust year ami tne now estimated to totalriplle hotter evidence on their strength, then- are still some uncertaintlei coneernlag the itetuit ttn-nglh of Willi, tho number of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops In Laos, and the tire of tha Armed Public Security Forres, The following table iliutiltl bo regardedoTucrvativo estimate.
NORTH VIKTNAMKIIK akmkortalm tWT SUMMAtiV
Armed VuMie Srmilly Pones
TOTAL Aimed font NiirlhAniiy Bmlnluwi! Out'Vmnlty sVaih VMnin
ht* uuhKle*AAA miifc, ttsA*NAM Mtatom U
If the recroitimint of mm for replacements .mil lorinfiltration Into the Smith shouldritical problem for Hanoi,ast resort it could draw dossil its standing military establishment in North Vietnam, tne nimilxi ul troops which could be rvlckwil for out-ofduty would be tnfluenced greatly tiy Hanoi's concern tot/abtc force for defense against aIf, for example, Hanoi should ssanl to keeproops for tla? defense of North Vietnam undOOraining base anddministration, then somedditional NVA iroop> could ba muile available for use outside of North Vietnam.
Training and Leadarsh'ip
a Special premilltrutlon training of North Vietnamese recruit* bw averaged
3lthough increasing numbers uf prisoner* report training of only
1 mouth prior to Infiltration, There in evidencerowing deficiency oftrained personnel to fill the milks of (autildlatoon sergeants, and nlutoim lenders. There are ItMlk'iitlom that (lie normal source of platoon Intel, tin* Infantry Officers' School near Son Tity, hits reducedear courseonth* The lailk of the reserve officers and nont-otltmlMlrmed officers have Wen recalled to active duly. The largest lirtglc lOUrcc of junior officer* is now bom battlefield commissions.
U. North Vietnam has tbe capability luear for liilllir.itiou. By shortening current training cycles orIhe number of unlli Invoked in ihe training of ntsv recruits, thit number toutdl* pulHUntfatly increased, Training rrjilaM-mentj at the rate uf Ta.WO-lOO.tXK) aniiiudly, however, would not permit nrganl/ing all of them Into unit* and providing them with the UMNMry kadt'ship at therate, Inearetloally, North Vietnam could train awlH Infantryen)ywif, but at ltd* pfttr then- tvuddonsidenibtn reductluii lii tjuutlty. In any SUA iirtual fufma-liou and training nf orguiim) units fur Inflllmtlnn lint la-en well short of this theoretlcnl capability.
0 and powlhly a- manyorth Vltfiiuni-cso troops were sent Into South Vietnnrn (neehrough Jury HJftfl, Ihe bulk of the Infiltration wiut aetountcd fur by the hitnulmttuii ol oigantnisl Infantry regiments. Inehidiog three regiments- llialirts' lislitefter July Hieof Infill rattan darkened somewhut.pjnwcd that the One munist llegutoret lite had rem bed planned level*f the inflltra (Inn ihricaflci was InUeun nil In Milting units
Duringmiw, tiletitnitsl.gnmi.ls thus far und tin- flow ol ' rlhl ll nttUII>sT litis
nktutv uf utsirs and ualivtuWcuK plus tla- spetlal viiuahaign eMlm.il> uf hil.il hifillfal* a. nly isre ll-
m! hf! Inft .'ban-
IS lb Mm
TAB MS 2
MONTHLYata ,in ofeptember IW7)
IniMiMiiMtonly xrihnl- la ftmili Vh-lmun. Matlrtlu for 1M7 tire luhjwt la iri.on.Kv*tV-etui* of llir-W ItifumMliw.rtituW. ihe(or lUu Hurt fl nwtiilw ornw Uimiipfcte, ami Ituuh-quati* lo ttetwrottwtiew figure intblc lh- Mkwfng MlPKOTlMi
MXKITKD; AiwjifwfwilWiiitrd liihlllreMimIn unc wltuh Is ttrwplwl hi Swtili Vli-limm mi the hii-in of InfMiiMlkm pravhlvilinimum of two VOWt or irturvwm ftum llir iiiiit/gnMii, or Iwu ciiphlrctl ibcumrnU ftoni Oh-unit, orlomhlnnlton nf jvimwiioI ,incl iH-iuwnn.
.Wtyh-rfwolwMp bifltlinlfooiw wliieh tt *wptw( n> South VMnuidheof infiwnuRtMi piovlilwl hy miuvlwnrr tiom ihr mill/Biniip. ori iiphinol ilumiiH'iil, Mipnuriwl hy liittKiiinlNi fttHii ulhn vwifim whUh urn lw ovuluatnl ttf pwtmhly Hue.
iiJilimiUmU whlih >ivu<in South VlHinim wh itw ImUi hi dJini.ntt.ui whH'hunihly intollimiiihiW. iHuuiL'f,.Uwiwnt it iiMiiliihlvily )lu> nikiilt
of cup hi ring personnel or documents from raeh of the numerous smallgroups. There is also the problem of the units thai suffer casualties inZ area and return to North Vietnamese territory for replacements; tltcso tatter cannot always he Identified as new infiltrntois when the units return to South Vietnameseimilar problem applies to otherareas.
thus far7 totals0 in allllowing for the probability that later information willfigures, and extrapolating, it now appears that total infiltration forbe no more than last years and possibly somewhat less. Weoercent of the infiltration will probably consist offor existing units. Tlic remainder will probably include seven toregiments which will add to the Communist forco structure buttheir total military strength, because louses have resulted Inunit strengths. There still appears lo be no elenr-cut seasonal patternor any significant indication that Hanoi Is unwilling to dispatchmen and units to South Vietnam.
Supplies .'or Communist forces move Into South Vietnam by various means. In North Vietnam, truck, rail, and water transport aru used to tiring supplies through Militaryrom MM, most Mimlla are truettMl through liBos, although some use of waterways is also made in Laos. Some sup-plies move directly nernw the DMZ, and some are moved by sea, In addition, some supplies from Cambodia enter South Vietnam directly while others flta routed through Lao*.
he Communist logistical roiidnct Inn North Vleiimm and In Luos whs Improved over the past year. Though the linnrmvinents haw hiereused tonnage capacities somewhat, thoy were Intended primarily Io provide additional flexibility for the system and be!lev year-round movement. One development was the extensionew motonihle road bom tAm directly intohun Valley of South Vietnam, In addition, the admlnlstmtloo ami operational control of the IXlCs haw been Improved and expanded. The eii= pneity of the entire system for delivery of supplies to South Vietnam through Laos continues to be limited by the capacities of the routes In Uios rather thantliose of North Vietnam.
Tii'i'k'. We estimate that at ihe end of IW3 (lie North Vietnamese had an invfiiim'y uf00 trniks, LnweK from ulr attach have been xulnlnnllid, ami North Vietnam has been forced In (ihti'iim1 Us imports, to eouuter this attiltlon. Iiupuils Irons Kaslem Kunipc, the I'SSIt, and China bine cnuhled Nurlh Vietiiuiu roughly lothef it* hivi'lilhry.
itihluus have hrnvuvd. .mil us many as 3ll peui'Ut nl theay nol be opendileaily husk Tin-reiek ol
piopcrly maimed iii.iintfiMDcu facilities, anil (he varietyick imports has resultedIstI ofeil different countries. POL imports iiiin North Vietnam during theffaveat record levels,d we have luid no evidence of anyhortages affecting the move.-neiit of supplies lo South Vietnam.
Waterway* The coastal and inland waterway system in North Vietnamseful Supplement In the mad and mil system and has been used cMcnsively, particularly since the start uf the US bombing prugraia. Akhuiigh the milling uf some Norih Vietnamese waterways has reduced the movement of large craft, small bo;it truffle cnutiimcs. Increasing imports of barges and Iwrgc sections iolo Noith Vietnamrogram of watt way Improvement indicate that Ihe Communists intend to exploit further the potent fall lien of these water routes. In Urns, there has been increased use of small pirogues and motor-boats on rivers over the last year. The use of these waterways will probably continue to increase.
Hail. The North Vietnamese also use the rail line south of Hanoi for movement of supplies Into MIH. Despite repeated US air attacks, tile North Vlcriinme.su have been able to construct bypasses mid keep section! of the line serviceable from Hanoi to Vlnh. South of Vinh Ihe rail line ht not operable fur regular mil cpiipmciil. The North Vietnamese can only use light geitr,trucks withheels, In transport wipplies over tho remaining rail segment in (his area.
IU. Impart of Mrir ullticloi hi North Vietnam,nd (lieave destroyed trucks railroad railing stock, and wiilwcraft, have damaged the highway ami railand hnvw nMrlvtvd the movement of cargo and personnel paillcuLuly during daylight hems. They luw created construct Ion problems and delays,tem ipt Ion* inflow of men ami supplies,reat loss ofnd forced North Vietnam tn lie up large numbers uf people in air defense and in the repair ofommunist court-irniK-iitiirvs in North Vietnammt havo Inelmleil divMsilleiittnn of the means nf hanspoit hi Include greater use nf luhmtl waterways and porter IniHs, eonstrnitlon ot alternatend nf multiple bypasses at Impmlantumber of truck parks and vehicle putloll's fur ipiiefc convoy dispersal ham hM'ti built.easures' have Increased the ability of the Communists to tope witli the elff ltir nltiuls. altbmigh at i) considerable cost and effort;
pe vm iioving to South Vietnam have lieen fureed tn muve under
myiHtf lllrlf mmiVKIIt HIHt SUllfilthlf!il' i'ii- (rati fur ItMii-'T itefiitits.
infill- The mipnilimv .it c'.imhudtaanebiaivianverite) InmmimM war ejhirt iw MihsUinli.ilwy Nmh
w a iDf ihi* , "ttnhlrwr*tMu
It.iii4iyMa HPVC fts.-
il.lil 'ko vtll)
have substantially increasd their purchases in Combndia sinceG. The movement of supplies in Cambodia lo Communist fotees along tin: border, particularly on the Se Sun and Tunic Kong Riveis in the northeast and alongn Laos, bns increased in the past year. Indications are that Communist units along the Gimbodiun border have been stockpiling some of Ihe food and other materials obtained from Cainlwdia.
is still oo good evidence, however, thai substantial amount*or ammunition are being obtained by the Communists fromor through Cambodian ports. On the oiher hand, there is evidenceunits, particularly in the border area, receive arms Hiidstockpiles maintained on Cambodian territory. These inunftlotumoved south through Laos. Should Infiltration of arms intoubstantially reduced, Cambodia could be an alternativethe Communists.
Infiltration. We uro unable to cs'.mate tho extent of the infiltrationhy sea mto South Vietnam. Wc believe, however, that suchbeen greatly reduced by US eounterelforts. Much of the Communists'sea routes, at present. Is For tho movement of supplies along the South Vict-coast. We believe thatressing nerd csists North Vietnamattempts to move some supplies by sen, primarily armii and ammunition,
II. THE MILITARY SITUATION IN THE SOUTH
A, Communist Forco*
or the purpose of thin estimate, we consider the following element* of the Communist orgnnb'iiHon in South Vietnam: the Regular fortes (NVA and VC Mainculhe mlmluKlriiUve service units which support Ilium, the VC guerrilla forces, the politicalheform, the secret indf-defonse forces, and the "Assaulthe contribution of thwo diverse elements lo Ihe Communis! effortSouth Vietnam differ* widely In value, Tlieir capabilities and missions are set forth In the following pitrflgntphi.
2J. We believe llitit. with the exception of the Regularo hawnnderesl(mated the strength of these elements. The flgurus ourrlttd In ibis eslimnto for these elements reflect new Infonnatlnn and nnolysls rather than an hrerenso In neliml CSnmmnuht vtretiglh, Kurthcrmore, our information on thi- strength and organl/ntlun of the dlfleirnt elements varies widely. Pwr the Regular forces II Is good; fur other component* ll l> imit'lieliable,current, and less detailed. The resulting imeefliillillt's me explained lu ihepmagmphs and me ii* fleeted by the nw n!bu esliiuales wo present.
U-vutare mv reasonably hiulldeiit that the OnumunlM Hegir lar (ones in South Vietnam now totaluo troops who are geiiendly well-armedablehis strength has llmln.iid over tin-pastumilhs, it issi>iih-ivhatthan It whsihb lav v'mr Inning thh period.
ansmg iiiuuIhi of NVA ivnlui riimits haw Ih-ch inlroiliKnl into
in font1 iiniitt.
1 SliMATKI) SIHKNtrril OK KWIt'l.AR COMMUNIST KOIICKS IN SOI.TII.hu&rt l'J07)
7 1 I
Main mid LimlIWvWni.
II lU-tfhmiil*llvMomilUMM) OH lUhilfrm* CU rrglrih'tilnl Mini'V4CinifpiiiilrtIrjinralk' ilitnoin
titnlntUltiry orguiilMllniiel'ilrtiMi im lt-,il mill lulnilnhlMMt* fmidlnrw iiimI in ciinmilf nnlhiini. Ah Inlmtbniilly nV*lhl<a, lb) military tmtclMtitfM nd oprrulluniililltlfllv, VkliMllUW CniiiiuiHiM Front* Miuait!/tit-ilml Smith VMwim nn:1lwoint, and UM Nrxtli^in KraalSiibrciflimahYrfH-Thtat-IIiw MilitaryW HU?
'NVAA'C JKUlnn. In South Vietnam un'lftlil Uifiiittiy ilUMoui UikHftlfoiin Sou Ui Vietnam. Thrw dlvMum an* rashly fgot-iiiubiV andiUr In Imr tornrfttnuviOxfl, and ttfrnglh. The* innompo<nJ ofrf rrgluwil) *fllh *af)fni intntkaJ and fin>hey Iwiimir ol arifOrtylly nwnMIrdNVA MRMllMi
1 In aiklillim Li llw Htm NVAn Si-nlh VirllMii, rtrnirnli oflrvhlifcl in N'nrlh VMnini) Imw Ihtii committed fmiti (unit lu limeprurtinni HUlth otronl.
4Tlilii liiliil tniltiuVi hhiik NVA iiplavninatj an* paMgnipli Ml.
'lmlnMrailic Sambahere ti an cxIoiihIvd nyrtpin for the-oppnrt of bulb NVA mid VC Itogtilurt operate*Sooth vj. mid extendim nnd Cnmhodla at well ni thoooiih of tho DMZ. In South Vlvtiwrn It lurludm the militaryin tht' ittflf and MTVieo ctenK'tit* (eg. medlei nrdnnnrv. logtMlt^,the cti'i il, ii'glooiil. |irnvtiKlnt ami dl*trli1 milil ,iyIn twaiti-clmkid null* ol nil 'ypei dtrnll)'to thtM-firf iidinlnUiiuilvt' wts'tf"enre
wiiWy frooi pTovloiv to
i-In' iiHiDdcnt of tho iut.il kifo oladnuuMmllveiit. ui any giviii tlnu', Inforinatlon on dm iimi'iil vHiumth ol th" nihnlitlxH'a= fivo srrvitvs nt (In-nhi'lon* Is invuIBcliillMi-.Ii ii Rrui estunatr. 'Ilikms idmost (vrlninty >nlhmil attrition and hn* |uotuihlvdrawn uuwn to imividr miihii totnhat'ukiiIh. Moreover,do nut extlinitto
LAOS PANHANDLE AREA COMMUNIST ROADNET
thef the administrative service units located outside tin- hmmdaii* of South Vietnam which support tho forces in the DM/ and llio western highlands In light nf these iMMkler.ilions, we estimate i'..it there are wat leastadministrative servicen South Vietnam wlio ate performing essential administrative support functions. In addition, almost anyone under VCan Ik- amimpressed into service to perform specific administrative or supportocal ctmcUtions retjuue.
tierrif/ai. The guerrillas provide an essentiallir VC comltat ciip-ihility. Tliey arc oigani/id into Mpinds and platoons which ate nolarily restricted to thelt borne village or hamlet. Typiail mission* for guerrillas are terrorist and salHituge activities, protection of villages androvision ol assistance to VC Mam and Local force units its well as NVA, and tlai eieallon of local threats in order to divert allied forces to local security mission*.
be guerrilla force has been subject to tunliicllng prcssuies. On the our hand, increasing numbers of guerrilla* have been drawn upon lo providefor the VC Main and Local forces, because these have suffered heavy casualtiesesult of more intense eomliat At the vim. time, numeroiii captured documents us well ai VC propagandaoncern to Increase tin- guerrilla force substantially. There i. evidence which mggi'sti thatsulership set very high fens? goals fur the guerrilla* but had, by mid-lOflfl, fallen Lit short ofalms.
Information from captured dueuinenU lead* us to Isrllevo lliat wsi have previously iindens-timated Ihe guerrilla strength, Certain Cnmrminlil docu> ineni, wluch dale from8 assert tluii there were thru atKX1 guerrillas. Tin* figure was almost certainly exaggerated. Their is rvi dence whlrh suggesis that Ihe Communist* somrttmtM cuniiider other groups part ot the guerrilla force and thereforeinger number nf guerrilla* on theirlliere is also considerable uuivtmlnty over the nt'tmaiy of VC report-ing at Ihe Inwer levels. We believe that guerrilla strength has iletllnt'd DVCf the past year or so lieeimse cf losses, upgrading of some personnel to Main and la-ind force units, and recruiting difficultly. We are ininble lu substantiate tho extent tn which Ihe VC have been able ia replace guerrilla haws. Considering all the available evidence and allowing for sonice estimate thai tlx- current .strength of the gm-rrllla fnnv
'Ilie Mitlfal OrjKinfinffirn.dmg over the Communist elfoil is the pohtie.d'I his includes the leadership and admlnUlt.ititm of iluienitHai KmhiiIsi^k'i Ih-vsmitlnniiry Party (tin-mm' iiitdi'i sshieh tb" North Vietnamese Cminmitilstoperates In SouthI. t4 si-hkhihmit to tla.l 'Ihe app-inilus notwisrrirumciit Inrolledull also has iiM|tnmfhll* in-iintnlnuig morale ami fm uaihlli/jug muupimcr andHittsin Mwmsrt of tincflotl. It* buatkms aie nutmaid) uilhlaiy and IttJwTfintcncluded in ila' military unlet i4evertheless. It duesnit limine, pirientiid for urgiul/iiig .md nttrifvaliug tin' uuhtait Im.-s , thislb" CiwimmiiisU seelsaili.il die pcitplc id
Vietnam.ey element which ultimately will have to he overcome nlung wllli the military nnd guerrilla lories. Its numbersard eore estiro:ilcd .it aboutman: important is the wide geographical extent of its power and Ihe dedication and effectiveness of its* personnel.
ther Comimtnld Organizations. 'Hie Communisiseliberate effort to organize most of lite people under their control Into various work forces and semimilihiry organizations. Among (he more significant of theseare the self-drfeosc forces, secret self-defense forces, uud groups such a* the "Assaultoreover, whenmauds, almost every able-hedied person under VC eimtrol may lw called upon to support the war effort.
Thedefense force is ili-sciHied hy the CommunistsilitaryIt is clear, Iwwover, thai ils orgiiri/mlun mid ihImIim differ from that of village! and hamlet guerrillas. Self-defense forces Include people of all agesubstantial percentage of them are females. They are largely unarmed and only partially trained. The duties of self-defense units include tho mainienaute of law and order, (lie eonstmctlon of bunkers mid strong points, warning against the approach of allied forces, and the defense of villages mid hamlets In VC= eonlrollcd territory. Self-defense forces do not leave ihelr home areas, And HWtn-lu-rs generully perform their duties part-time. Their eslstelice poses An Impt'db ment to alll.il sweeps nnd pacification, howver, .mil in Ihrtr defensive role, lliey Inillct casualties on allied foTLVL
Another element, the secretforces uprratra tnntmlli'd and contested nrrm Theyesidual communist present*
. In Mich ureas ami support the Co minimis) effort primarily by tlrmdesttne intelli-gi-nee activities.
the past year we hnve teamed moreCiny serve full time lit dUlriet level and Ahnw, mid theyInlo compmilcs and platoons, Although wmo an* armed, tht*do not considerombat force; their primary mission appearslogistical, frequently in iHUtlefleld luviu. This organization also servesmanpower pool andnfiling program for youth wlm Inter gnVC Main and Untilnto Informs ton ts im.lla.hte to indicateor divtrilmltun of the "Assault Youth.'
:lti. Our enmiit evtdtmw does not enable it* to eMinmle the presenlself defend, wvttheautttherorgao^niioiw) with any measure of eoufldenci, Nome dminnent.in early UXjfl Ha- aggregateof the self.defend fnree was unhismid ihe other groups,iwvnMibsl.uirlnl attrition since lluit (hue, as well as uu appreciable<|iiahly. IteeaiiM* ol Unw.i, ivciuiltug oftlielr members tlitll ihe
rlll.isiii' VC military component* mid, part" nlai'ly, tlie shrinkage In VCopulated units. 'I hough In aggregatehese group* arc Mill large andart ol the overall Communist ellort.rc nut oilcnslvc military forces. Hence, they an- nut hitIh-order ol IhiIiIi' total.ome of their members accountart of the total Communist military losses.
Mini, the Communist military .md pulitK-.il otgditiyalkai Iiggregate numericalannot he isfimatcd with tsmlklciiec.such aggregate total would Ik* misleading shite it would involveihnt have widely different missions inal degrees ol skill orVC/NVA Military Forte (Main and Local forces, administrativeand guerrillas) can begfullyn iiumcrlcnl total*Indicated above, we estimate that this Military Force Is now nt leastIt must be rceogiibxd, how iter, lti.il this Military Forcoone ccmpmieiit of tlie total Communist uigaukntton. Anyuf Communist capabilities In South Vietnam must nilbrote tbeof all tlve elements which comprise that organtvalfuu. the tula'fof course ecatsiderably gn-iter than |Ik* figure given (of lite Military KofTC,
he Commond Structure
COmmnnisU liave continued lo modify their nuninitidin particular, Hanoi has significantly Increased Its dlivet timtrol, Thliapparent In Ihu DMZ ami central highlands &tvM whore Hanoiboth COfsVN and Militaryhsahpiarlers. Withof two VC division* and one NA'A division, al) divisionidl ihe confirmed Front* are Ini the DM/n addition louf tlte DM/ Front, which is iimtntlled directly by Hanoi, itcertain that Mllas hern disliletl iutu thrre opciitthinal arms.llnrn lla> Military lleglon (formi-rlv the Northern Front or Snlmgimi!,or Western Highlands Front, ami the rnualrtug ireistnl province* ofThere i. substantial evidence tlmt Hanoini*c* directover the Tri-Thien-Ihie Mllltaiy Heglnn andront.
C. Lotjlstlcal Support
uring tho past year eaptuietl dimnneiits and I'OW Intemigallnu* havek-Hit Ihihis (or estimating how much ul' each class nf supplies was
necilisl and consumed by the CunnnnnM fime.hows tllOlota) daily OUMHMHBl ropiHcmeirt lu South VMtiamRegular -nd Adiuiivervkv Fi*rei ami tlwl pnrtiini ol II sshtahun cilctiial Mtuivv*,
i'i tr-tpMrtrr >aT ilw dally ri-iiutniw-nt fur
* Tin* ntiiMlnOVrlh* timniiBinltitlent jinnn*ut vemasimlilinlli illifiltv Milmiillii.il'. Ini.ilhi VI! miliLiiyjwijc dsiv|mvstum.
iamith X'Hmim. llieteiuwing dependent"
on gstc-malot only for CW II andeapon* andut aUo forIhU i* parity because of allied denial efforts andull of the growing proportion of Northoctn in South Vietnam, cspetially lincc these arc generally deployed in food deficitC guerrilla fortes piolubrymall amount of food and ammunition from external sources, hot tlte bulk of their supplies isfrom local sources within South Vietnam. We have not includedfortes in the logistical computations.
KS.1MATM) DAILY UKIMTICALKUUIHKslKNTS KM NVA AM) VC RECUIJU AM) ADMINIKTRATIVKN SOUTH VIKTNAM'
MIkhi im Hi
* IV (IIIrMKniclwr. MpiIImI,
V . f
onVA amin and IajI fari* troop*,
Mnth* wpvort troops. taptrmau si* Hs-njatnl aajttb of Mltisl ttitnirti, wnjih.boottinxK -W. Inttnpiws itspHmrA,ilw toor .Wnunon >m> iwidmO. as W. eue to rtwradluian. nnwh mad* to ptmkW fr* lh* iri-mnppKi* of IW fanaaotpmwd wwhnewN|iiu,itMiwniJ, of winv, wit ifcwarwrapiiM. km UasliulP *vnmmunitionc bawl iipi vtfhMa* ofMWHOIMnand mty I* .uhjrss h.sln
H prnriil lin-toi furt"lliroli-al captured or oVvlinjru hy friendly fum*.
thlruS id Ihrctual ammunition, Nit paduylng fmloi is iiu-hulid In erfliiMllnti firtvrnal aniimiiilUitnThn totidpilreinna dw* lii.lu.ki the ntnnal psdoajuuj Baitah
ommunist logldlnd requirement* from external Miimvs vary eiawlderahly in both amounts ami class io the dllferent IfCH of Smith Vli'lmim. hi the north cm provinces, for iinmplc, tie- requirement I* tuolmbly higher per *uldlcr MM flsrwlu-n- lu Smith Vietnam bcianwr of emnlwl lliere ha* Iwii higher, ami the Loop, amNVA' UHler et|tllppfll IIIth Hi ii hii-hloids.e. piiremei1 hnU high On the olhei IiVlla mhISalR.n. an-.i, tamimiUiMpiulwldy haveiiimI
i. 'ji'x.tot fapA
illi- we iwmnt evltmaleioi.tt.hmoptoiHtithan uf eitillialMipfdyao-nilh Vh t
iitnn, some gencrall/atlims can Ik- iii.kU- nlmut theystems iuvohcd. The road network through llie Laotian Panhandle Is nwl primarily In supplyquipment, midortion of tlie fowl requirement for Communist forces* In the northern provinces is iulilti.it'd through or around the DMZ idong svith Mime other supplies. Cum bod In isource for food (prolubtyeit-cnl of the Communist v' external requirement) and some it tins vmh is uwilii.il soppllct andithin South Vietnam, theptotoniiK'nt and diMrd>iilioti system Is usually wgiiui/ed under tin-Comniunbt military icgkmal headquarters.
owl Supply. Tne Communists continue toh fooilIn certain uni. hcvausr uf locid fhoftagrs, distribution bnitleneekt, and the effects of allied military operations which have inui uilngly Intruded Into CommunM base areas .md disrupted Ihe supply network, The amount uffund .supplies captured or destroyed hy allied hnces7 Isanuary throughugust It amounted to an it vertigo ofoons pw day, which Is mure than oue-foutth the Communist lingular ami Administrative Portet' dally requirement, ami greater than their externalBut detqilte some ievere hit-.ilhe overall efreellvem'M of the ComimiiiUt mllltaiy forces has not yet beenioudy Impaired by iWw problems. The fnotl rcqiilrumiils for the Communists In many area* are mel from internalotion, purchase, nnd iwrUon, Ifowovef,rnnmuniit mlliliiy forces In diearea and In 'he ilre-deflHrrtthe hlghkuids an- hr^-lv deptndmt on Imports from Norlh Vietnam and Cdtn>
hi iMtiutv, weh.it food supply problems for tiro Coinmuiilsls are likely to become more burdensome, ami In lomn areas will Impede military operations, Nevertheless, we do nut believe that fond -diuihtgcs svill greatly j. in iCommunist nperallons In near fultiiu lis long at the done immlsN have utsvss to Cambndian rite,
/ AViimtier Wuapuwt, Cuinmuulut lim.es In South Viet' nam have liw-renutl ihelr mortar, rocket, and artillery attacks,earm mortar* .mdm nndm howitzer* began to be used: Other lypti ofvemployist slnrv otrly llHlT. TlieSe Include Chineseun rin-Ms,mOckcti. andgteiMile htuiHherv In athlitton, the NVA Imi fl'cd light ant) medium .utitkty into South'rom positions nltltlu or uoith nlhr ineviMpons in th,.hid*tjOi|hdh in i'i>.'. ami duringlods of jn-ak (If ut Kepli-mlnis estimated thai muui.tr fotecsut unsip<'ntllug inuttur, nreket, ami artillery *ov munitionale of elosi'uns per day
lu. The esiiinni'dr 'ill mmlar. mlilhry, andpuur. of id. t'liiiiniuuKl lories in South Vietnam fur iheonth'
ut including (hut lind ngiiinst allied forces just south ofM'/lesson per day. While logistic problems would inhibit increased use of these heavier weapons throughout South Vietnam on the settle they have been used near thet is likely the Oiimmiuists will increase theirfor mortar, rocket, and artillery nlluck against selected fixed targets.
Hanoi has recentlyew agreement with ihe USSH for military aid. It is possible that Hanoi has sought more sophisticated types of equipment than those now urrjviug on the scene. These might tueluile noise missiles and tnctieal roekets svhkh could be used to support NoMh Vietnamesein the DM/ area and against USontinuing and Intensive wuteh hus hern maintained for any indications of Ihe presence of these or larger missiles in North Vietnam. So fat, no deliveries hus'e been detected.
Tlw North Vietnamese already have .somen the vlcfiiily of thend we think tt likely they might Increase Ihe nuimVrs ofliere. It h> also possible, but less likely, (hat they would deploy SAim. They would almost certainly not introduce (liens inlo Soulli Vielnain. It Is possible that Hanoi would use aircraft against South Vielnain hut wo think this unlikely. Ineat during the outing nuitith* the StivMs will continue to supply equipment designed to strengthen air and coastal defenses In North Vietnam and to increase five firepower of Imih tlio rrgolnr North Victnameie forces ami tho Ounntunlst forces fighting In the (smith*
D. Corrimun'st Manpower in the South
Vuitnimisiodd Communist losses haw been rising sharply over thoears. On the basis nf the latest data, see estimate lha! total fosse*7 will amount to hIkmIincrease nf aboutwithThe bulk of these losses uru killed in-aillou n* reported from body count. Our estimate of petnuneiil tosses' from wounds Is Ittised on evidence- indleattng that forcjHimI there would probably he ISO wounded, and that, of these, at leastie or are permanently disabled,these figuresargin for error, huthey t'laitmi take lOtn account nil casoidlir* from air attacks or from nrllllery fire, or losses front sick-iwjm and accident, the killed and wimmled est (males are probably nol over-stated, Figures fm milftar. eturners and prisoner* an* firm. Mul the Milliliter of ihsserterti Is an estimateon athat suggests there Is likely to Ih* one permanent denellinu for every military Mm nee. If the merall Inlals ilo nr.ikely tn on the low njuV
.lMiliiKitiif.1Jj.nli-1linwnthni* Tuwnftl the YK'Unsihi)ul,
KSTUIATKD COMMUNIST LOSSES IN SOUTH VIETNAM
liuititcd MiU iiic llicl incragini of Connow*uiollu
Include not only lovws for Ri-gulnr anil ActmlnUtwUvout she kr.se* tor an unknown nuinWr of otiW Communal ulemenU inch at trlf. Mew, (rcrcl wlf-dcfciHCA^uulttc.
ajor probleme*smg tho significance of these Communist tosses is tlmt we are unable to determine what proportion are suffered by lha fighting forcM and what proportion by such element? us the setf-deferuto forces, "Assaultonscripted laborers and other civilians taught up in combat areas. Wluit is clear is that not nil uf tlte killed uud wounded are members of primary lighting units (NVA Hrguhir forces, VC Main and Local forces, andon^ seipiently, we cannot estimate tho loss to llicsc Communist mllltitry forceJ for any given year.
Manpower hmutt. In the face of these Increasingly heavy losses,resources availuhle to Ihe VC mid the actual rate of recniliment are
melements In .in estimate of Communist capabilities lo continuef manpower available to tho VC fof recruitment t* cliilieultf the absence of Iruslworthy popululion htatlslfes. Hut oven if such .tlalisllci were fairly aeeunilr. major assumptions have to ba made eon* wming whiil percentage of able-bodied mules are iivoihlblo to tiw VC recruit' meut apparnton in their own areas, In the contested nrrns, and Inolled arras.
In miild these caveats, we eMlmutii that tho VC mayillion male* bciwvvn the ages ofnd 'IS. Ko>mwe belh-ve that the VC (didd recruitanpower pool ofmen. though Ics than hulf of this lotnl nre inrolled areas.
It is dlllii nil lo reconcile ihiv apitaieiitlv Luge hlorli of manpower derived from limitiddata, with the Increasing ovlileiieo-the nasi vear oi VC pnilriViiK in olHainlngtoils. Oi- misoiih disnepmiey is that lbe muipmier io VCts is aluxiily subject to nlhef iril|Mi|liiiilsvhirh >rv letiiteil toffort, Michio'luttlno, uini somelc. .ireig..second reason fur VC itiffintllieh is that losses of allili.ed tilepno-.cd to the lhi-Oletie.il lihhtpnVYi'F
available to the VC Tlx-mport mt rt usim is tl- iU-clining .il.iliiv of the VC to olrtam recruits hi-cause of silks! lotuy* into.in< mounting floss-il of tla-st' nil MS, IUkI the lllu Milthat individuals arc mors- reluctant to enlist lu tin- VC movement tlsanhen the Communists appeared to 1k*test of sihs-css.
These Jncreivsiiig recruitment probkms me least evident in tlie llugulur forces and most conspicuous among the guerrillas and self-defense forces, ami have resulted In unfilled recruitment tpintns. reduced standard* (as to uge, physical isatdition, and politicalnd greater employment of women and youth. They has* been partkularly severe in areas of intense allkd military pressure, hut have not been totally alxent elvsvlirrc. Moreover, the lU-vnlu-tionary Desclop-ncnt (RD) programlrrcat to Comrnnimlin* population, and is umlotibti-dly one of llse reavim tbe VC laive detklrd to mi' heavy pressure against it.
We estimated tluit duringhe VC svere prolwbly able lo retruiten pereevalnaliou of recruitment for early WOT, how-ever, shows that this performmice has fullen olf. We csthniite that llie average monthly rec-uitrneut prolnmly falls within the rangeen per mouth for the Main forcc-i, tire Local forces, and the guerrillas. In addition, however, the VC nimmonly upgrade personnel from the lower lu the highei ccla-lont of tla: Cotriminiiit organi/ntiou. Forocal forte unit willlacenventt from vtri-ige gueiriflas in the area; and these guerrillas In turn may Ire replaced by hamlet guerrillas, self-defense forces, or "AW'thonic resent evidence Miggests Ibnl In IV CoqM, hajidct guettlllns imd hiunlelorce* are being cotisobilated,
n anyersuasive lodlentliui nf growing manpower piohlems for the VC Is tin* Increasing mimlrer of Indlvldind NVA wldiers serving as rcplnee--mviit* In VC Main forcestudy In late 1DD0iuuIkt of VC tilths in III <area indicated that at leastercent of Ihe men lu VC Main force units were NVA replacements, and the percentage ir. prolwbly higher imwA VC untilmi II fWp* prolmblyigher petei'iitage of NVAIhiI see haw tart found NVA personnel in VC units In tla- Delia.
i'iu'r. 'Ila rapid manposstr tiimowr coined liy lmTrsi.tiig casualties bus Imveretl tlic quality ol all the VC fighting Inrves, bat it Is ma ul aptnireut lb.it lhi> has sciionsly Impaired thill military effect'Hie Com muiil.ii have been forced toam- and mine on turn-inn lo olMalii iverulls have made greater use ut women tn free men IW coadi.il. ond base rvihircd their iceiiiilmeiilining standards The dicUne in quality has lieniCst at the lower lei'i'K where perviiiniiel base lepeateillv been siphoned of* ha higher cilnloiiv More iKKjnalanl, though pi nihil as- not so pinamuotctl. Is tits uWlii iti On- ipialHyibr i< litres -tint- (ciir-iiI uf |hr
/VS. In an> nxlily lists slhialkai ila- (amttitiniKts alensju-rnlliais Its."*
includi: iiiN. mivi rciiidottriu.ilini) sessions and tin- infusion oi North Vietnamese cadre into the VC organization, Sincehe VC have also been sliding sonic experienced cadre down to tin- lower lewis lo improve llie quality of Icadersliip mid to eliminate the overdcpciidence of village and hamlet party chapters on higher echelons. Some administrative reorganizations have also heen instituted ia an attrmpt tn strengthen local respousihility and initiative. The effects of such measures are not yet evident, hut could somewhat improveefficiency at lower levels,
aptured documents and evidence from prisoners amply demonstrate that morale problems are liecuming serious and are likely to become wnr.se ;is the war continues. Bui there have been no mass defections. This year's returneetatistical indicator of morale, is well above last year's rale. Captured documents have repeatedly noted this trend us one of live Communists' major shortcomings. Since the bulk of the returnees come from the fms'er fcscls of tlic VC .structure, the immediate effect of these losses has not heen critical. The troops continue to fight well, and the VC infrastructure remains generally strong. Over ihe longer term, howesci, such losses not only deprive the Communists nf manpower, hut. more important, they crude the 1mho of the VC infrastrueiiire.
III. THE OUTLOOK FOR COMMUNIST FORCES
nrior lo the commitment of sbjibli' US forces, Iheapparently expected lonockout blow.eriod of some uncertainty Hod hesitation created Ity the US Intervention, and et?r> tain tactical setbacks to the Communisteneral polititid-mtlltiiry strategy waa worked out ath Plenum of the North Vietnamese. Communist Party inhis spelled out how to fight the war nut! manage Itsunder thelmunstances.
he essence of these decMom was to maintain Miffluhurt forces in being torolonged and aggressive war of attrition. Their abjective In pursuing this strategy was andcisuadc the US that it cannot win: that it must even-tu.'ly pull out or settle nil let ills fnvoiablo lo Hanoi's further pursuit of Its political goals, As part of Ihh strategy, the war would ho conduct ed without specific timetables negotiations would be avoided unlessosition of significant military .successes; and an effort would he made to limit the risks of an expanded war in tin- North or thiunghout Southeast Asia. Tills strategy aimed nl main,nnliuiioiis threat by lingular furves, avoiding combat tinder"HidOloun,igh lesel uf guerrilla activity, fllid undertaking Km-ited objective olfenMse. when favorable upj tort unities, arise,
at. liming HlOfJ and Hint bit' inhe (iiimmmisls haw apparently iidhcrad in tlie.se basic divisions, h'orew debate* iHiw luser lltv role of (he gueirillns with suiue olficildsile fur these fnr-irs. at Ihe espeiise ot tla* Main forces:, 'Hits- prnpnslHnu has iippnreiilly been lejclcd
slfalegl- ' Nevetthelew it. is. clear that
erhaps the most important problem for Hanui (luring llir last year lut Ihui how lo maintain military prcsim- int' due of ihe .superior firepower nnd mobility of (lie Allied forces, lis uiiMCei to (his problem has been tortillery, rocket, and mortar attacks, especiallyorps, and to developthreats by large units* in border area* inay as lo spread Ihin the Allied forces, open opportunities for localizednd create belterfor attacks against the Kt) program. Over the past year the Communists have used elements of ul least three- and possibly four divisions in the DMZ area phis artillery and some air defense units. Another buildup of Communist forces lias taken placeo highlands along the CuinlHidian imrdcr. Such threats tie down large US forces in thew areas, thereby lessening Allied inllittiry pressures elsewhere.
fti. Filiate Forco Lrtcln. Regardless of their previous policy deelskms, the Communists will assess the urinal situiitinn as it evolves. Their decisions as to force structure and strengths over the next year will be idTcctfd In part by the level of combat, their casualty rates, the esleul of any further buildup of Allied forces in the South, and tlte overall Impact of the war clfort against lite North, Another factor which complicates estimates of foiure force rdmi-hiro and strength level* is that North Vietnam retainspithlllly in movo divMim size fweeif across tliohould theyhis option, then Ihe lolrtl force structure in South Vietnam coidd ho espauded relatively quickly by Introducing one ot (wo divisions Into Qutnig Trl Province, hVgnulles* of whether they Inlroduen these dlvWons In the DM/ urea, we feel Ihe NVA will still Iry In esihiiul Its HcguW forces In South Vlelnnm, by the deployment of some new emnlmt Infantrylmvever, Ibis may nut result In miy net Increase In the numerical strength of Hegular forte* .since cotilliiulug losse* may fmihei' reduce llu* average unit strength,
aking into einisldeiiillou the esllmaled rules of Infiltration, nnd allowing for tho downward trend In population control by the VC, the rising Communist (iistmllics, and VC recruiting problems, we conclude that the strength of the Communis! military forces and political oi*ga>ligations In Sonlli Vielimm declined In tho last year. The innjnr pi-Hion of this decline has probably lieui felt al the lowest lew-Is,elibenile policy of Mcrilldug tills levelaintain tho structure of political cadre? and the sliength of the lingular mililarvliether this Imid will rniilimie Is dlllicull to estimate, Thcro are Mill importantid variables Involved In meiuirlug tulal liwsrs ngulnst Inputs from recruiting and lulllliulion. Mnretiver. there are alternative Mrntegles. such as avoiding eoinhul for prnlonged perfikk which the Coininuiilsls might iidnpl In reduc" casualties mid loiiS'Tve Ihelr tones. Aliulher opllon. ihnuuh. It-Mi likely, would he for the OmimitiiW"b>ly to rcdim- the vnvngth ol (he ttegulitf
forces, ioto pi cm ivolia-.lieiiglhni the pullUial iippiintllft.
The loniln and elti-iijveiievs of nilemlioiis will alvo have an impoitanl hearing on fnhirt- Cuuimuirist Ions- It-wk; hisses in die uotltu'tn pinviiires midde up nunc icadily llonui'h i'llllti-ilinn than lovte* in tbe Delia, ivbno llu-s mio-einilmnit-
n uiij' case, we ln-licu-ajor ellort "HI In- required to maintain Ule Regular forces and gucirillns al or near prcsenl levck To doll call furf iuflllralion nunh higher (hioi that observed inid hitemive VCti:'incnt as well. Cnnsidciiugall (hi: relevant factors, however, wt-hattiirly guod chance that thi- overall slicnglh anil clfeetisenevi of tho military forces and the political iufi'astnature will continue to decline.
(ft. fofilttleal S'uonor/. Thewill continue to have dillicultici' svith
internal distribution of supplies in South Vietnam that villi cause local shortage* and interfere with Communis! operations from time to time. Their dependence on supplies from external vjiutcs is growing nnd could iuerciive further over Ihe next year, even if (heir strength declines sumcwhnl. Nevertheless, we believe that the Communists will he ulilc lo eiuillmie to meet nl least Ihelr essciilkil stl| rebuilt-menls for the level of forces arid netlvllies Inetiwui d( In this estimate,
'tttutc Hlmlcffj. The Conununists apparentlyhat the eliaiReiomplete mllllory victory buve dtMtppeiucd, and (bey aim Instead at awar. Their oh|cellves In Mils phase of the war tire lond wear down the Allied military lories: to maintain bust' ureas. cNpaud (heftagitatiori and emilrol In contested and CVN ureas, and defeat the III)In pursuit of these objeelIves, their Unties are to combine ami tomdlnnlc closely their inllltiiry operations and political activity,
ur judgment Is ihut the Communists still tvlnlu adeipulii'o support tin's strategy for at least another year. Whether or not Ifatiol does in fact persist svith this slmlegy depends not only on Its capabilities to do so, butumber of political and inleniiiliouiil umsitlcrnllom not lieuti'd In this t'sli-male, such as the state of Smu -Soviet relations, condllloiij Inside China, and Illinois view of US will and delermlniiilon. Kvtn if some tmubliialiuii of cir-cumstmiecH should make il impossible or undesirable for Ihmol In eunllmielarge eonvenllouid lories, ihe Communist* mould stilt Imvo Ihe eiipiihllity to continue some forms- olat greatly reduced levels.
IS iBrtiW.SOriginal document.