The Wowing intelligence organizations participated in the preparation'
V. The Conirolgency and tho intelligence wganltatlons of tho Do paontt of State and Defense.
'. J. Smith, for tho Deputy Director of Central
Mr.ughes, tho Director of Intelligence and Research, Department
-hVGen. Joseph F, Carroll, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency'It. Con. Marshall S. Carter, Director, National Security Agency
. Dr. Charles H. Rolchcrdt, for tho Assistant General Manager, Atom* Energyand Mr. Som.Papich, for the Assistant Director, Federal Bureau of . Irrvrntigation, the subject being outside of their jurisdiction.
REACTIONSERTAIN US COURSE OF ACTION
To estimate probable Communist and Free World reactions to the establishment of an anti-hifiltration system in South Vietnam and Laos.
This paper does not assess the degree of effectiveness of the anti-infiltration system. It merely assumes, for tlie purpose of estimating reactions, that the system will be sufficiently effective to require the North Vietnamese to take countermeasures.
its present level the Communist war effort in Southdependent on arms, ammunition and combat personnel movingVietnam through Laos and the DMZ. The Vietnamesewould take direct and vigorous militaryall elements of any system designed to impede thissuch efforts they could count on technical and materialthe USSR and Communist China, but not on their active
Cornmunists would probably harass the mannedin South Vietnam intensively in order to tie down largein the area. They wouldajor effort to keepmoving along the roadnet and men along the trails. Inthey would recognize the key role of air operations inmonitoring tie airdropped portions of the system as well asair strikes. Therefore they would move to increase theirin the DMZ area and in Laos.
theirneffective or too costly,would be forced to attempt to extend theirwest into Laos or resort to alternative routes. All ofwould impose additional burdens on the Communists,balance, the US move in itself would probably not causechange its political and military strategy toward the conductwar in South Vietnam.
intensity and nature of the Communist politicaldepend on the effectiveness of the system and theaccompanied its emplacement. Aside from propagandathe US with widening the war in Laos, the main Communistbe directed at the Laotian Government. Theprobably exert pressures on Souvanna to prevent anyactivities in Laos. It is unlikely that the Soviets wouldGeneva Agreements, demand on-site inspection, or withdraw
relations with non-Coiruriuiiist countries, with theof Laos, are unlikely to be changed by the emplacementsystem. Some countries would see it as escalation, others asmove. The hope would be expressed that the bombingVietnam would no longer be necessary, androcess ofeven negotiations, might begin. Souvanna, despiteLaos not become actively engaged in the war, would probablythe installation of the system.
1 See tbe frontispiece map for the Communlit roadnct and the foot trait. Infiltrating personnel are not tracked over the roadnet; they walk over the trail system, usually inof company size, starting from1 In North Vietnam (just above the northwest comer of theithin North Vietnam they either walk or are trucked to the vicinity ofhere they undergo filial reparation* for Infiltration.
1 See the center spread mapiagram of where the proposedtem would be rmplaced. The airdropped portion* of the system consistomplex combination of mines aodhe mines to be used la the antivehicular sector ore designed to damage trucks as well as to inhibit clearing of tbe semen which would be cmplaced near theo lb* antipersonnel sector several types of muses are employed to preventfrom walking through the fields and woods and restrict them to find (mils. In addf-boo, small "button bombteis" would be senttcred along the trails. These are designed not to injure bul toufficient noise when stepped on to activate the acoustic sensors, which would be dropped by parachute and are designed to hung in trees near the trails. Seismic sensors would be droppedarachute, in order to bury themselves in the ground. Other types of sensors, eg. infrared and magnetic, would bo Implanted along tbe trails by special teams. All of the sensors contain radio transmitters, and when activated, theirwould be picked up byircraft which would monitor the systemhour basis. Circling near the infiltration area. These aircraft would relay lhe signals to lhe project control center which would evaluate the tensing* and call in strike aircraft.replacement of mines and sensors would be necessary because of their short life, and because many would be destroyed by the airr enemy action. Tentative plant are for lhc headquarter* of the Infiltration Surveillance Center, and bases for the* aod other aircraft, lo be in Thailand. Other components would be based In South Vietnam.
The Laotian corridor is the primary route (or infihratioorsonnci, ammunition, weapons, and equipment to Communist forces in Southtoad network for suppliesetwork of trails forhe entire system is controlled by the North Vietnamese Mirustry of Defense in Hanoi Theth Transportation Croup, currently based north of Tchepone In' Laos, operates the logistic network and supplies the storage depots used by troops moving through the Laotian corridor, inhe North Vietnamese also began to move military units and their supplies directly across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) into Quang Tri Province.
The AnlUInfUtralion System. The proposed anti-infiltration system isto impede movement through Laos and the DMZ into South Vietnam. The system would extend from the eastern coast along the northern border of South Vietnam and into Laos. It would have three parts: In themile wire and minefield barrier defended by ground troops; in the center, anantipersonnel system composed of mines and sensors, extending someiles across the rest of South Vietnam and someiles or so further into Laos; and in the west, an airdropped antivehicular system also composed of mines and sensors, straddling the truck routes fromoiles insidet is presently planned that the airdropped portions of the system would be cmplaced during an eight day period in earlyhe physical
enlargement of llie "Kv barrier" now beingbeat that time. The central and western sections of tbe system would rely on air strikes to Httack tbe targets. Small teams, including some Americans, would be involved in omplacing certain types ot sensors in Laos.
II. POLITICAL REACTIONS
A. Communist Attitudes
Although the US action would not comeurprise to the Communists, they would criticize the US for widening the war In Laos, killing innocent people, and violating tho Geneva Accords; these things they could do without referring to North Vietnam's own activities in fhe area. Hanoi, however, would have some reasons to limit Its reactions since it has never admitted publicly to the presence of any of its forces in South Vietnam or Laos. Hanoi might also be concerned that tlie US action would lead to tbe introduction of Allied ground troops into the Laotian corridor. The Communists therefore probably would sock to put pressure on the Laotian Govern ment and to play on Souvanna's fearsider war.
The intensity and nature of the Communist response would depend inpart on the effectiveness of the anti-infiltration system and the publicity which accompanied its emplacement. If it proved to be Ineffective, there would be little or no reaction, particularly from Hanoi. If the system wereCommunist pressures on Laos would be more severe, and the attempt to condemn the US before international opinion would be more vociferous. Wc think the Communists would also try to obtain somo advantage Irom the situation by renewing arguments that US bombing of North Vietnam should be stopped. On balance, we believe the US move in itself would probably not cause Hanoi to change its political and military strategy toward the conduct of the war in South Vietnam.
Peking would be noisier than Hanoi in its propaganda. The Chinese might send technical advisors to assist the North Vietnamese in work against the system in Laos. We doubt that they would send any large number of Chinese personnel into Laos or North Vietnam. If the system proved to be effective, Peking would probably attempt to help expand supply channels throughas an alternative system, making use of the Chinese population and other assets there. The reaction of the Soviets would be Influenced by their role as co-Chair man of the Geneva Agreements. Ihey would exert pressures on Souvanna,s unlikelyould denounce the Geneva Agreements,on-site inspection, or withdraw as co-Chairman. Moscow might also te-cmphasize its argument that the US should give up the bombing of North Vietnam.
B. Non-Communist Attitudes
fl. Non-Communist reactions would be mixed but would generally follow along established tines. Ihey would also be determined by the degree of
publicity concerning the system and. in the long run, by its effectiveness. Some non-Communist governments would see the action as escalatory and criticize the US with such terms as "Berlinthers would see the system asdefensive and would hope, particularly if the system proved to bethat the US would stop the bombing of North Vietnam androcess of de-escalation, even negotiations, might begin. Except in the possible case of Laos, which we discuss below, wc do not believe that the reactions would be likely to change US relations with any country in any significant way. The Thai would accept the installations required for the airborne aspects of the system but would expect to be compensated for the additional burdens imposed on them. Sihanouk might interpret the US move as evidence of increasedto isolate VC/NVA forces in South Vietnam and he would probably fear that the next US move would be against Communist forces enjoying sanctuary in Cambodia. He would fear new Communist pressures for greater use of Cambodia and would be concerned that smuggling from and through Cambodia to the Communists would increase in any event, thus embroiling Cambodia deeper in the war.
The Laotian Government would be directly affected and Souvanna would have various fears and reservations about the action. He would be mostthat there be no publicity and certainly no acknowledgment from any official US source, of US operations in Laos. This would permit him to deny responsibility for any incidents and to maintain his posture under the Geneva Agreements
Souvanna might fear that if the manned physical barrier in South Vietnam turned out to be the most effective part of the entire system, pressures would mount to extend it across Laos, with supporting ground troops. He would probably oppose this in the belief that it would involve Laosider war and would revive the traditional separatism in the southern part of the panhandle. Further, Souvanna would be concerned that if the systemhole proved effective, tbe Communists would attempt lo go around it to the west and possibly increase military pressures elsewhere in Laos. Despite these concerns, and given assurances of no public acknowledgment, we believe Souvanna would not oppose the installation of the system.
III. VIETNAMESE COMMUNIST MILITARY COUNTERMEASURES A. General
the past several years North Vietnamese movement ofthe Lao corridor appears to have exceeded the externalCommunist forces in Laos and South Vietnam, and some stockpilingDuring the construction and installation of the barrier portion ofwe would expect efforts to increase such stockpiling.
the remainder of the anti-infiltration system was emplaced, theof course, would have to determine how it worked. Theysomewhat surprised at its extent and form. They are already familiar, how-
ever, with some of the equipment which the system would employravelnd would quickly identify the othei types ot mines employed. They would also soon realize the critical role ol aircraft in tho system. The sensors would probably be their greatest problem, not only because they would beto locate, but because of their technical complexity and the number oftypes. The North Vietnamese would probably seek Soviet and Chinese Communist assistance In devising countermeasures.
specific countermeasures the Communists might employ wouldon the sector involved, the effectiveness of each system, andCommuniit experience with crjuntermeasures. In general,are likely to fall into throe basic categories: (a) measuresto impede the installation snd exploitation of the system; (b) attemptsthwart or breach the system; and (c) attempts to use alternativewithin or outside of Laos.
he Physical Barrier
Communists would probably regard the manned physical barrierthe most effective part of the system. They would attempt toprevent its construction by harassing work forces both from across thebom the rear. Thoy are even now employing those tacticsnce tlie barrier was installed, the Communists wouldto achieve limited penetrations, but would probably not wish toleases fn order to breach itrood front In any event, theyto harau the system. These actions would I* taken with the hopedown large US forces in defensive positions.
C. The Antipersonnel Sector
trail network to be covered by the centra! antipersonnel sectorsystem is of great Importance to the North Vietnamese. Due to thethe target, it has not been attacked extensively; the US has insteadthe truck routes.
H. Defensive Measures. The Commiuilsts would prolwibly recognize the key role of air support in the operation of the system and would probablyajor eflort to increase their air defense in the area. Communist AAA fire in the Laotian Panhandle hasteady increase in the last year, although there does not appear to haveignificant increase in the number of AAA units With continued supplies from China and the USSR, ft is withincapabilities to augment substantially conventional AAA forces in the DMZ and Laos. The entire sector is well within the present rone of their CCI radar net. Depending on the location of the orbits of the aircraft winch monitor the system, they might be vulnerable to Mlg orttack. The North Vietnamese abeady have somen tbe vicinity of the DMZ and we think It likely they would Increase the numliers of SA-Ss Ihere and deploy them nearer the northwest comer of the DMZ. It is also possible, but less likely, that they would deploy
n Laos. Hanoi could attempt to use Migs if other measures to foil or breach the system failed, but wc think this is least likely. Tbe Communists attempt to harass the control center in northeast Thailand.
Thwarting and Breaching the System. For some time, Hanoi wouldto move forces through the sensor zone, accepting the risk of losses and delays, until the effectiveness of the system was thoroughly tested. Hanoi would try to sweep some of the sensors and mines, and develop an ever shifting and expanding maze of concealed traib. The Communists would depend on the burgeoning number of trails and on unpredictable use patterns to complicate the US efforts to replace sensors and mines. They would probably also move in smaller groups, widely separated and at night, and to the extent possible concentrate infiltration in times of bad weather. The anti-lnflltration belt through which they would have to pass is aboutiles deep, andoiles wide Thus, tofutrabhg troops could be dispersed so that they would present only low density targets.
Eventually, the Communists would probably also resortariety of noisemaklng devices including rifles, mortars, and artillery, to activate tbe acoustic sensors and to call in US strike aircraft on false alarms. With Chinese or Soviet help tliey might in time develop several effective jamming techniques. Because the acoustic sensors near the foot-trail system are triggered by the noise of the button bomblets when stepped on, the Communists would probably devote some effort to making trails clear and hard-packed, so that button bomblets would be easily visible and avoidable. They would also take additional steps to camouflage such trails.
Alternatives. Should Hanoi's efforts to breach the antipersonnel sector turn out to be ineffective or too costly, it could develop infiltration traib furtlter west, as far as the Mekong River if necessary, although probably not intoThis would not be easy, for the present system has been long established, has experienced local guides, supply depots geared to both the trail and road system, and farms along the route which supply some of the food consumed by the infiltrators. To duplicate this system wouldajor undertaking, and would require clearing the area of Lao army troops, thus widening the ground war in Laos.
We think it quite unlikely that the Communists would use the Se Bang Hieng tributaries, the onlyhe area, for the movement of personnel. Hanoi would probably not rely on its helicopters to move troops over the anti-infiltration system. The route by sea is not feasible for large-scale Infiltration of personnel because of Operation Market Time- Wc think that for political reasons Cambodian ports and routes could not be used by the Communists for the infiltration of any significant number of personnel.
In sum, we think the major effort would bedevoted to breaching thesector rather than going around it This might require some increase in total Communist forces deployed in the infiltration Tones, in order to work against the system and provide greater protection from air strikes.
The overall Communist roadnet in Ijos conns Is ofiles of routes crtending from Mu Cut Pass to the tri-border area of Cambodia. Laos, and South Vietnam. During the dry season,rucks areon thisherefore, the number of trucksiven pointhour period is very km. and most movements take place during hours of darkness.
The new elements for the Communists to cope with along the roadnet would be the mines and the intensive use of sensors to detect truck movements. The system would still rely on air strikes to destroy the trucks, and theresponse would probably be to strengthen existing air defense measures and conduct extensive mine clearing operations. This would probably involve increased requirements in the daily tonnage of supplies, particularlyand food, and in manpower.
he road system already includes bypasses, truck parks, turnouts,hideaways and overhead trellises to hinder air detection. These would almost certainly be increased. The Communlsis would continue to rely on tlie movement of small convoys at night or during bad weather, with considerable space between vehicles. Since it is difficult to create new routes for truck traffic and because the sensors would be more effective in detecting the truck movements than personnel movements, the Communists would probablyonsiderable effect to thwarting the sensors along tbe truck routes than along tbe trad system. Should these countermeasures be ineffective or too costly, the Communists would be forced to attempt to extend the roadnet farther west In Laos or resort to other means.
Routes and Sources of Supply
River Traffic in Laos.os Itself, one alternative for thewould be increased use of river traffic, but although this is more feasible for moving supplies than personnel, it has drfmilc limitations. The only river lhat might be used through parts of Ihc antivehlcular sector is the Se Dang Hieng, which flows west and south from tho western DMZ. At present, tho only access to the river from North Vietnam, however, is via the trail network in Laos, but North Vietnameseould probably be extended to the river.
Sea Routes. Wc believe thai Infiltration by sea has been greatly reduced since the begijining of the Market Time Operation earlyevertheless, if the Communists were willing to risk substantial losses, they would probably be able to infiltrate some weapons and ammunition by sea. The use of sea routes would be uncertain, and considering the present disposition offorces in South Vietnam, it would present them with new problems in the distribution and delivery of materiel, particularly ammunition. We believe that, while the Communbts would attempt to increase the use of sea routes as the
cost of using the Laotian corridor increased, (hey would not view itotal solution to their problem, and would have to seek additional alternatives
Cambotlui. Cambodia has beenource of food, providing the bulk of tbe Communists1 external rice requirement, as web* as some other items, such as medical supplies and radios.till no firm evidence that any substantial quantity of weapons or amm uniteing obtained by thefrom or through Cambodia.
The capacity of Cambodian potts, roads, and waterways is far in excess of any likely Communist needs in South Vietnam. But the overt use nf these facilities to ship arms and ammunitionhe Communists in Souih Vietnam would clearly involve Cambodia in tho war, sxwnethlng Sihanouk desperately wants to avoid. Nevertheless, given some time to make tbe necessarythrough additional use of commercial channels and clandestine means, the Communists could probably procure enough ammunition and weapons from or tlitough Cambodia to make it an important alternate route.
outh Vietnam. Communis! forces operating in South Vietnam can obtain much of Uses logistical support locally, with the critical exception of arms and ammunition. For example,ons of their total dailyofons of ammunition is supplied from outside South Vietnam, most of it hy truck thiough Laos. Although the VC might expand their modest production capability somewhat, it would be virtually impossible for them to develop Ibe ability to produce the arms and ammunition needed by the Communist forces in South Vietnam.
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