ATTACKING THE VIETNAMESE COMMUNISTS' SOUTHERN ORGANIZATION

Created: 3/17/1967

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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MEMORANDUM

SUBJECT: Attacking the Vietnamese Communists' Southern Organization

I. THE TARGET

Communist Insurgency In South Vietnama triumph of organization. Thenot now have any widespread or deep-rootedworking for them as they did in Viet Minnthey were able to capitalize on aof nationalist sentiment and opposition toFrench rule. Nor do the Communists nowmass base of genuine popular sympathy. able to develop.the beginnings ofase

in the earlierIn recent years this base has been eroding rather thanhat the Communists do have is an efficient, flexible, tightly disciplined and usually locally-rootedcarefully built upong period of time (In some areas, over more than twot is this organization which holds the insurgency together and keepH it going. Even if all Northtroops and North Vietnamese logistic support were withdrawn from South Vietnam, the Communists' southern organization (which started the insurgency and through which the insurgency wan exclusively wagedouldotentially fatal cancer within the Vietnamese body politic.

Communists' southern organizationtogether and controlled through ancommittee structure which runsRevolutionary Party, the name used byDong (Vietnamese Coamunlst) Party south of Parallel. At the apex of the southernCommunists have an entity known as thefor South Vietnam hich isCentral Committee of the PRP. Below COSVN,divide South Vietnam into six regions.

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Each region, in turn, is divided into Communist provinces (whose boundaries are not always the same as those of the GVN'sach province into districts and each district into villages. At every command echelon the Communists direct all of their act iv itcal, military, subversive anda PHP committee which isto tin- PHP commit tee controlling the oche-lon above n arid which, in turn, directs the PRP committers controlling the various echelons below It. These directing committees vary in sine and organizational complexity (depending in part on the command responsibilities of the echelon in Question and In part on the degree of Communist control in the area involved). Rvcry committeehairmananoply of subcommittees. The number and designation- oi these subcommittees varies from locale to Locale, but at every echelon there are always subcommittees for military affairs, Front NLF) aifairs, and security.* In thf upper reaches of the Communist structure, these themselves may be large and complex bodies; in the lower reaches (or in areas where Communist control iri weak) they may consist of only one personery small group.

3. The heart of the Communists' southern is their network of provincial and district committees. It is these committees which hold the organization together and maintain the insurgency's essential base at hamlet and villagebase which exerts control over the rural population and provides the local manpower and resourcesood) without which the insurgency would collapse.

chairman of the Military Affairs Subcommittee controls all Communist military activity within his parent committee's area of geographic (At the village and district level, the Military Affairs Subcommittee chairman is usually the commander of the village VC platoon or district VC company.) Similarly, the chairman of the Front Affairs Subcommittee at each echelon directs all NLF activity within his parent committee'sjurisdiction. The Front has anstructure which parallels the PRP structure, and is controlled by it al every echelon.

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The success and even the continuation of theInsurgency depends directly on themorale and effectiveness of these committee cadre, particularly at district and provincial levels. These committee cadre constitute the target group addressed In this paper.

In termsLof numbers, the target we are talk* ing about is relatively small. The activities of all the Communists1 regional, provincial andcommittees throughout South Vietnam aredirected by something less0 people* Virtually all of these are ethnic southerners, though most of them were trained In North Vietnam and Infiltrated back Into the south, usually to their native areas. It is through these southern Party members that the Lao Dong' and Hanoi control the southern insurgency. It is these southerners who would remain even if all North Vietnamese troops should leave the country.

This target cadre group constitutes the Com-munists1 greatest source of strength, but also their area of greatest vulnerability. Losses among this cadreby death, capture or,blows at the vitals of tbe Communist movement. Thus efficient and effective attacks on this target produce maximum results for GVN and allied effort expended.

II. CURRKKT PBOGRKSS

successful attack on theorganization requires (a) preciseand, (b) effective action based on The intelligence requirednames and physical descriptions of theand district PRP committee members,or disguises they employ, where they they work, their movementchoolst professions*friends,he names,locations of their families and relatives,channels of access through which thesecan be reached. The object of alltaken against such target personalities isthem from the Viet Cong organization by

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inducing and accomplishing their voluntary defection (the optimumy captureneitherion nor capture isphysical.

the pastariety ofprograms including ProvincialGVN Police Special Branch activity, Intelligence Organization activityCensus Grievance programs operatodwith Revolutionary Development cadrehave made impressive progress inon the individuals who comprise thedistrict, provincial and regionalin this field Is not uniform throughoutbut in many local areas, notablehave been recorded In obtainingViet Cong leaders operating in thatViet Cong opposite numbers of GVN provincialofficials. The achievements arethey are hard to quantifyationalany meaningful precision, partly becausethe intelligence gleaned remains at province levels (where, at least potentially, the most good) and is not reported in detail

to Saigon, let alone Washington.

the Police Special Branch and, the Special Operations Corps of theIntelligence Organization are ondeavoringpenetrations of the Viet Congdistrict, provincial and regional level,which will not only serve to provideand authenticate intelligenceother sources, but will also providewhich defection operations can be mounted.

A number of such penetration operations have already been Initiated. Efforts are constantly underway to improve them by continued review and assessment of each case and cross-checking of its production with information or intelligence obtained from other sources. On the books, thereoing cases andevelopmental cases which are currently being vetted. This figure is constantly changing, but provides the base from which newdevelop.

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GVN has made considerably morocollecting intelligence on the Viet Congand district organlzational structuretaking effective action against IdentifiedOf that structure. General pressure hason that structure by improved police by the US Marine Corpn' "Court) Pairs" in

I Corps, and by Integratedoperations such as Operation FAIRFAX in the Saigon area. In terms of pinpoint operations, against precise VC organizational targets, the Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs) have proven themselvos an increasingly effective instrument. These units, generally not more than eight to ten (all Intensively trained) both can and do operate In Viet Cong territory. Utilizing intelligenceby other sources such as the Census Grievance Program and intelligence collected by their ownPRU teams are extensively used in operations designed to capture or, whon capture is Impossible, ambush Viet Cong cadre.

Ill- MAJOR OBSTACLES

the present time, there are threeof obstacles which hamper our attack onsouthern organization - First,hasignificant increase ininformation, much of thisimperfectly exploited, analyzed, andAmerican intelligencerewell-coordinated, considerable workbe done in improving the cooperation amongVietnamese military police andwith intelligence collectioninotal intelligence productto Vietnamese action agencies. Theseare more serious In Home areas than othersgenerally more pronounced at districtprovince level, but thoy dopruttent action against the Viet Cong target.

Viet Cong security practicesa formidable obstacle to our efforts tofigures in the Viet Cong organization. Theare past masters in the art of including the use of aliases, clandestine

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meetings, frequent movement, and the wholeparaphernalia of covert activity. The Viet Cong are well aware of the importance of their cadres and the need to protect them against blandishments as well as simple bodily harm. The Viet Cong tend to coddle their important leaders in matters of personal safety and the Communists* invertedof bodyguards reaches impressive numbersrovincial or regional officer is being protected.

12. Thirdly, with the exception of some PRU teams, GVN elements lack the ability to reach importantof the Communist organization- The police, as now constituted, are Incapable of penetrating VC-held areas. Kor, considering the slow growth of Police Field Forces, is it likely they will haveapability on the national scale in the near future. Similarly* efforts to recast elements of the Regional Forces and Popular Forces into aconstabulary are besotariety of obvious difficulties. Military sweeps dohield for the National Police who, when armed with well-drawn black lists providedariety of sources, can screen the population in swept areas and do xome separating of the sheep from the goats. The level of VC cadre apprehended in this manner, however, is rarely much above that ofor village committee. Provincial and district Communist leadership is generally far too wellto be surprised by the ponderous movementsonventional military sweep.

13. Police action, expanded Chieu Hoi programs, and even some military sweeps can make Inroads into the Viet Cong cadre structure at village level and belowace which should accelerate as security grows in the countryside. General governmentand military pressure will also contributeeakening of Communist cadre morale at this level and make such cadre ever more susceptible to GVN blandishments. The district, provincial andCommunist leadership, however, will continue to be another matter. These cadreigherto protect and are more steeped In and subject to Party discipline, which can be counted on to keep the majority in place. Furthermore, the higher one goes in the Communist hierarchy the greater will be

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the sense of outlawry, the greater thefrom or hostility toward the GVN, and the greater the reli... ce to expect conciliatoryfrom the GVN or its agents. In addition, even when cadre at the district or provincial level are disaffected with the Viet Cong movement, they may not know how to disengage or turn themselves over to the government.

JV. RECOMMENDED COURSES OF ACTION

14. ontinuation of all the various forms of pressure now being exerted on the Communists plus continued GVN progress in theDevelopment field and in the creation ofpolitical Institutions should increasingly hamper Communist effectiveness, lower Communist morale and improve the general climate for work against the Communists' southern organization at all levels. ide range of GVN rural actions already in train, particularly if Integrated with anChleu Hoi program, will augment the drain on the lower rungH of the Viet Cong hierarchy. Work against the upperOSVN) level hierarchyifficult, highly specialized task requiringconsideration. Our attack on the district, provincial and regional levels of the Communistcan be considerably enhanced by efficient execution of the actions outlined below.

15. First, we must improve the collation,and exploitation of intelligence already in hand or available through already existingchannels, particularly at the district sector) level. This isore immediately w urgent task than that of acquiring new collection

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does not mean that we shouldto establish duplicate centers inin South Vietnam, Instead, there shouldprovince by province analysis of localproblems and the means best suited to solvethat province and its districts. Since thein each area will be determined by thelocal programs in that area and the calibre ofpeople operating them, whatinrill notthe best solution forr districtshould we devote the same degree of effort in

all provinces. Instead, we should concentratein those areas where the operational climate and assets available (including effective GVNprovide the best environment in which to work.

Secondly, in view of the need for an effective instrument capable of attacking the Vietrovince-by-province basis, it isthat on urgent effort be made to develop anwell-trained constabulary force. Thiswould combine various elements such as Regional Forces, Popular Forces, Police Field Forces, and the PRUsody which could take effective action on intelligence produced by the Police Special Branch, CIO, Census Grievance program and all other collection sources.

Basically, operations aimed at individual VC leaders are appropriately the responsibility of the police, orrovincial constabulary structure such as that sketched above. The PRUs have,oid created by the weakness of the GVNfs present provincial police structure. The PRUs can continue to function effectivelypecialized armrovincial constabularly but they can neveratisfactory substitute for it.

The primary objective of PRU teams Is the capture of selected, identified Communist cadre. Heavy emphasis is placed in PRU training on kidnap techniques and methods of escorting prisoners through hostile territory. This training has produced an expertise which permits PRUs to operate in Viet Cong areas, to ambush when capture is impossible and in

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the process to collect intelligence. This training, however, has produced another critically important capability, namely the ability toeans throughisaffected Viet Cong can becontacted and escorted toeans through which he can defect.

Defection, not capture, of VC leaders should really be our prime objective. The killing or the arrestommunist official can have the effectlosing of ranks for his comrades; but should he defect he leaves behind ripples of doubt andamong his superiors, his peers and his *ub-ordinates.

Defection operations at province andlevel require the closest kind of supervision, coordination and expert local direction. From the wealth of intelligence data that we have, primarily that from Census Grievance sources, we can discover the location of the wife, mother or fatherC leader on whom conventional psychological warfare approaches and showers of Chieu Hoi leaflets might be wasted. We know, or canreat deal about him and his background from his neighbors or boyhood friends. At this point we come to grips with the peculiarities of the Vietnamese psyche. The dlvlslveness, suspicions, and jealousies that complicate our dealings with our Saigon allies,

fortunately, are personality characterises of the enemy as well. The policy of downgradingcadres to district and district level officials to village level cannot help but ruffle feathers among some of those shifted andulcrum for exploitation. Penetration reporting regularly reveals internal Jealousies, antipathies andbackbiting among the Party officials, onrather than ideological grounds. Similarly, the intense sense of family identity tout bridge to use to dissuade the VC relative to return-particularly when the fight is so evidently not goln well. Clergy or friends can be used as go-betweens to either the family or the target himself. In other instances, police or constabulary teamsPRUs) could handle the communications into safe haven and stand willing to see the defector safely into GVN hands. Protection from VC reprisals on the way out hasajor concern in almost every defection engineered in this fashion.

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22. Within each province, all sources ofshould be continually screened and collated to sort out the personality targets of sufficient status and interest to warrant individualtature alone should not be the sole criterion, some reasonable prospect of access or issue formust exist: family relationships, hard data on fixed location or on regular routes of movement, intimations of disaffection, internal Party troubles,

etc.

23. Once the screening process has alid target, however, the decision must then bemade on the optimum Instrument for reaching that target and detaching him from the Communist Then, when the decision is made, it must be translated into action. All of this requires the kind of coordinating staff now seldom foundtaff which can be created within the frameworkonstabulary structure designed for effective provincial operations. advice and support.

24. For security's sake, but also to enhance the chances for success, the staff should be kept small, informal and directly responsible to the province chief. Its nature and composition should be tailored to each province's individual needs and assets. Should such staffs be createdaigon-imposed national directive, their establishmcnt might well resultro forma bureaucratic exercise. They should be createdrovlnce-by-province basis without initial referenceational program. As the executive agent for civil and military matters for his province, the province chief's total support is mandatory; if it is not forthcoming, the staff will not function. We are certain that General Thang, the Minister of Revolutionary Development, would give his blessing and support to such activity* however, knowing it to be generated province by province in much the same way that the Census Grievance program was built.

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