Created: 8/3/1967

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

special national intelligence estimate



Problems of Viet Cong Recruitment and Morale


The following intelligence organizations participated in Ibe preparation of this estimatet

The Control Intelligence Agency ond the intelligence orgoniiotions of theof Slote ond Defense, ond the NSA.


Or. Edward W. Proctor, for the Deputy Director, Central Intelligence Mr. Thomas L. Hughes, the Director of Intelligence ond Research, Department of State

Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Carroll, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency It. Gen. Marshall S. Carter, the Director, National Security Agency


Mr. Howard C. Brown,he Assistant General Manager, Atomic Energyand Mr. William O.or the Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the subject being outside of their jurisdiction.


Defense of the United States. the trans-son is prohibited.

any manner to an

subject: problems op viet cqhg

recruitmeot akd morale

stiiaatereliminary treatment of this subject which will be worked out more fully in hieoon to be published. accordingly we are distributing it only to mr. rostov, who requested it, and fin two copies each) to the members of USIB.


acting director national estimates




To assess the nature and extent of the recruitment and morale problems confronting the Viet Cong.


Although Viet Cong (VC) difficulties in recruiting personnel,qualified cadres, and maintaining morale in South Vietnam are likely to increase, they are not likely to lead to an early collapse of the VC effort These difficulties are least evident in the VC Main Force units and most conspicuous among guerrilla and self defense forces, but they do not yet appear to have seriously weakened overall VC guerrilla warfare capabilities. The VC infrastructure, despite some weakening, appears to remain generally strong. The operations of Communist regular forces are becoming an increasingly Northshow and North Vietnam probably has sufficient manpowerto support the war in the South at least for the next year or so.



1 Figuresdministrative serviceuerrillas, self defeasend politicalre not provided la thU tsBmstc because new estimate* on these strengths ate in the proem of being formulated. They will be published in tbe forthcoming, "CapibulUa of the Vietnamese Communists for Fighting tn South Vietnam."

The Communist organization in South Vietnam is made up of North Viet* namese and Viet Cong (VC) regular farces, administrative service units,self defense forces, and political cadres.

Horth Vietnamese and VC regular forces are composed of NorthArmy (NVA) units. VC Main Forces (units directly subordinate to Central Office Southr regkms ornd VC

Local Forces (units directly subordinate to provincial or district party commithese regular forces totalen;0 are in NVA units0 In VC Main and Local Force units. The VC Main and Local Forces, once composed almost entirely of southerners, have increasinglytheir replacements from the North.

3 Administrative service units are composed of military stab's and rear service technical units (ordnance, signal, medical,rom COSVN to district level.

Guerrillas are largely full-time forces organized into squads and platoons which do not always stay in their immediate home areas. In addition to combat operations, their missions include terrorism, sabotage, the protection of village party committees, propaganda, and tax collection. Self defense forces are paramilitary forces which do not leave their home areas, and members generally perform their dutiesart-time basis. Their duties includethe construction of fortifications, and village and liamlet defense. Units are only partly Grained, and few members arc armed.

The political cadres arc tbe command and administrative personnel of the VC infrastructure, the instrument through which the VC conirol or seek tothe South Vietnamese people.

ii. communist recruitment and morale problems

1 NVA Major General Tran Do laidpccch at COSVN headquarters inOur difficulties are those of growing op. If we did notliable mainc certainly would no* Have to worry about replacement personnel. It is precisely because our main forces are strong and big that there are difficulties."

efector is definedC who leaves his unit and comes over to theeserter leaves his unit with intent not to return.

General. Although our intelligence coverage is uneven, the burden of evidence from all sources in South Vietnam indicates increasing VCin recruiting personnel, developing qualified military cadres, andmorale. The gravity of these problems varies considerably from region to region and with the type of unit. Difficulties are least evident in the reguLir forces and most conspicuous among the guerrillas and self defense forces.

These problems are not new. They Iiave been apparent5 when, in hopes of quick victory, the Communistsapid expansion ol their forces. As the Cornmonist forces grew, so did theirhese were compounded by Allied military pressures which increased casualties, defections, andn addition, the increased intensity of military action resulted in large-scale emigration from VC-controlfed areas, draining oil potential recruits.

Recruitment. Recruitment problems throughout the VC structure have been evidenced by unfilled recruiting quotas, reduced recruitment standards {age, physical condition, and politicalnd greater employment of women and youth. They have been particularly severe in areas of intense Allied military pressure, but have not been totally absent elsewhere.

military operationseavy Bon* of refugees to Alliedhave reduced the manpower pool available to the VC. Capturedindicate that, sincehe Communists have lost controlone millionefugee groups generally contain somewhatthe normal proportion of men of military age. Recruiting willdifficult if the South Vietnamese Revolutionary Development (RD)further restricts VC access to the population. The Communiststhe potential seriousness of thb threat.

In order to maintain its strength, the VC Main Force has, sincerawn heavily upon the guerrillas and self defense forces for replacements. With greater losses in the past year. VC Main and Local Force units have also come to rely increasingly on North Vietnamese as replacements.esult, some VC Main Force units, particularly in the north, are probably now composed largely of North Vietnamese. Local force units have had greater difficulties in maintaining strength than the Main Farce units, but like them continue to draw on guerrilla and self defense units far replacements.

The difficulties in recruiting have affected the guerrillas and self defense units most direcdy. avo not been able to meet their recruiting quotas.

The overall availability and quality of VC political cadres at the lower levels have also declined in many areas where losses have been heavy andgenerally inferior.

Morale. The general state of VC morale cannot be judged with any degree of certainty; the factors affecting it are numerous and the informatioa is spotty. The defector rate, whichtatistical indicator of VC morale, is running currently at about double last year's rate. Virtually all defectors are low ranking Soulh Vietnamese, and the rate of defection Ls highest among guerrilla and self defense forces. There is good evidence to indicate thatalso is recognized by the Communistserious problem, and one which seems to be increasing. These facts pointecline in VC morale;VC troops continue to fight well and there have been no mass or unit defections.


'We estimate tlie number of people In South Vietnam remaining under some degree of Comma not control at throe to four million.

Responses. Evidence from prisoners and capturedthat the VC have been acutely aware of their growing recruitmentproblems and are attempting to take corrective action. Theare trying to reinforce and tighten their political control apparatuscountryside by dispatching experienced, higher level cadres to lowerby using more North Vietnamese cadres in VC units, and bystreamlining. The VC have increased their propaganda and

other pressures on youth to enlist and are relying heavily on conscriptionbtain recruits.

Prospecta. Allied military prewiu-e* will continue to impair VCand morale, particularly in areas of major military operations and where US and Free World forces arc stationedere or less permanent basis Successes achieved by the RD program will add to tbe VCs problems, at leastocalized basis, and it is possible that the GVN's National Hexorsctliiboa program and its progress toward popular government will promote additional detections. Some of tbe Communist countcrmeasures may prove ineffective. Cadres may Ise disappointed by their seerning demotionower level, and an increased number of North Vietnamese in direct contact with southerners could raditional regional frictions.

Although the VC problems of recruitioeiit and morale arc likely tothey art? not likely to lead to an early collapse. Counting heavily in favor of the VC is the continued effectiveness and good morale of their middle and upper echelon leaders. Tbe VC infrastructure, despite sonic israkening, appears to remain generally strong Furthermore, it would Dot be prudent to assume that the VC cannot improve leadership at lower levels.

Meanwhile, the operations of Communist regular forces are becoming an increasingly North Vietnamese show. This will reduce demands on guerrilla and self dnfense forces for replacements. North Vietnam probably has sufficient manpower resources to support the war in the South at least for the next year or to.



hii document was disseminated by the Central Intelligence Agency. Thb copy ii for the information ond use ot the recipient ond of persons under hii Jurisdictionecd-to-know boils. Additional essential dissemination may be authorised by the following official! within their respective departments:

of lr*efCgenoe and Research, for the Department of State

Defense Intelligence Agency, for lhe Office of the Secretary of

Defense ond the organ aolion of the Joint Chiefs ofssistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Deportment of the Army, for tho Deportment of the Army

Chief of Naval Operationsor the Department of tho


Chief of Staff, Intelligence. USAF, for the Department of the Air

Force AEC. for the Atomic Energyn

Director, FBI, for tha Federal Bureaurum Ration

of NSA, for the National Security Agency

i. Director of Central Reference, CIA, tor any other Deportment or Agency

TWimay be retained, or destroyed by burning In accordance with opplicobln irnvrn^^egu lotion i, or returned to ihe Central Intelligence Agency by arrangement with the Offic**ji^entral Reference, CIA

When thisH*enuna^ts>ttVapver*eas, the overseas recipients may retain ileriod not in excess of onei the end of this period, the document ihould either be destroyed, returned to thegency, orshould be requested of the forwarding agency te retain llirTI with

The title of this document when used separately from Ihe toxt should be das-sifed: r I1M QUIT


White House National Security Coundl Department of State Deportment of Defense Atomic Energy Commission Federal Bureau of Investigation

Original document.

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