national intelligence estimate
Communist Objectives, Capabilities, and Intentions in Southeast Asia
COMMUNIST NORTH VIETNAM'S MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS NETS AND COMMAND STRUCTURES IN LAOS AND SOUTH VIETNAM
Submitted by lha
DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE Concurred in by the
UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD As indicated overleaf2
Copy No. 86
The following intelligence organizations participated in the preparationestimate! r
Ihe Control Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of theof Stote, Defense, Hie Army, the Navy, tho Air Force, The Jointand
Director of Intelligence ond Research, Department of State. Direeter, Defense Infelligenco Agency
. ssiitant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army .
Assistant Chief of Naval Operationseportment of the Navy Assistant Chief of Staff, intelligence, USAF Director for Intelligence, Jointirector of the National Security Agency
The Atomic Energy CommistW Representative to the USIB, and tho Assistant Director/ federal Bureau of Investigation, the subject being outside of 'v
Ihis aoOtmeal contains classified Information affecting the national irmrifr ofwithin themecTflth^^tfjhewplonage laws, US. Ihe law prohibitscontents in any man-
ner to on unaimSorhedto the safety
or interest ofthjJJ^WrTStates or for the benefit of anyTorTP^gavernment to the dctaa^ien'IneU^ited States.
is to be seen only by US personnel especially indoctrinated and authorized to receive
iniormalion; ils security must be maintained in
No action Is to be taken on. anymay be
contained herein, regardless of hSe acJvantoges to be gained, unlets such action isby the Director of Central Intelligence.
Communist North Vietnam's Military Communications Nets and Command Structures in Laos and South Vietnam
Overall Communist operations in Laos and South Vietnam are coordinated andfrom Hanoi. The North Vietnamese Communist leaders probably regard thepolitical and military organizations In both Laos and South Vietnam as integral parts of the North Vietnamese Communist Party (the Lao Dong) and of the People's Army of Vietnamommunistin South Vietnam, the Viet Congre led by members of the PAVN who went underground at the time of the regroupment of military forces called for by the Geneva agreements4 or by returnees from0 PAVN troops who were regrouped in the North. The key leaders of the Neo Lao Hak Xathe Communists' political organization in Laos, and of the Pathet Lao, the Communists' military arm, are members of the Lao Dong.
The above considerations are borne out by the communications networks originating in Hanoi. One of these, controlled by the PAVN High Command, serves both the Pathet Lao and PAVN forces in Laos. Another, controlled by the Lao Dong CentralCommittee, serves the Viet Cong in South Vietnam. In addition, there are intimate command and operational relationshipsthe Pathet Lao and PAVN units in Laos, and in South Vietnam there seems to be no clear or meaningful distinction betweenof the Viet Cong and of the PAVN. Thus. Communist political-military efforts in Laos and South Vietnam appear to be two partsingle campaign under the control and strategic direction of the North Vietnamese Communist leaders and with the directof the Lao Dong and the PAVN.
ince the Kong Le coup in August0 evidence of the presence in Laos of North Vietnamese technicians, cadres, and, moreunits of up to battalion size, has been
of PAVN units of approximatelysize In certain areas of Laos strongly suggests the following PAVN troop strength distribution; (see attached map).
Two0 men each)
and Hqs. One, perhaps two, Bns. One Bn and Hqs. Two Bns and Has. Possibly one Bn. Two Bns and Hqs. Two Bns and Hqs.
nhese PAVN units arelocated astride the significant routes between Laos and South Vietnam. Theseare chosen toaximum of natural advantage for offensive or defensive
operations, and for the movement of units and supplies Into and out of Laos as needed. They are also well located to back up or to support key areas held by Pathet Lao and. or Kong Le and Kham Ouane units. Thealso Indicates that these PAVNinclude such support as engineers, armored cars, field and AA artillery, andcorps troops. InTight amphibious tanks were identified.
thereelationship between groups of North Vietnamese troops 'in Labs' and corresponding PAVNand military region headquartersto them in North Vietnam. Troops ih Muong Sal are connected withth Division at Dien Bien Phu andMilitary Region Northwest, at Son La. Troops and advisors In Sam Neua Province appear to be associated withthDivision. Troops in the area of Xieng Khouang Province, as well as those in tbe Lak Sao and the Nhommerath/Mahaxay areas, appear to be connected with Headquarters Military Region IV, at Vlnh. Troops at Tche-pone.are believed to be connected withth Infantry Division at Vmh Llnh.
he communications networksbeen identified In Laos and Northa long period
of time, provide additional insights into the command structure of the Communist forces hi Laos. (Seehe relevant networks are: (a) the Mainline PAVN network; (b) the operational network firmly identified; and (c) the operational network tentativelyUntilirection for the Pathet Lao and communications for the North Vietnamese "advisors" were providedoint DRV/Pathet Lao network, but as early as1 the control station of this network moved from North Vietnam into Xieng Khouang Province and almostwas surpassed in importanceew network which began to appear Inwith it. This new network is now known as the "operationalhe structure of this communications system clari-fies the pattern of troop dispositions
The "all-arms" nature or the PAVN forces, together wlthp^ preferences to an obviously senior headquarters in areas where more than one battalion is believed to beindicate the presence of some sort of headquarters above the battalion level tothe combined Communist effort. These coordinating headquarters appear toombat group (or task force) headquarters commanding two or more PAVN and Pathet Lao infantry battalions with supporting arms. We believe there are five such combat groups inn Muongn Xieng Khouangn the Nhommerath/Mahaxay arean the Tchepone Muong Phlne area. There la, ineserve element in Sam Neua Province.
The organizational arrangementsabove. I
exmie and efficient means
for directing, supporting, and reinforcing the Pathet Lao military effort in Laos. They also enable the PAVN role in the struggle to be easily and quickly expanded or reduced.
The "neutralist" Kong Le and Kham Ouane forces are dependent upon the Communists for supplies andThey are, at least at times, undercontrol of the PAVN Pathet Lao headquarters, but they appear to be excluded from many operations and areas and into be shunted aside.
For administrative unci operationalthe Communists have divided theof South Vietnam into twoextending fromh Parallel to the borders of old Cochin-China) and Nam Bo (corresponding roughly to the area formerly known asommanding each of these regionsarty organization known as the regionalThe chain of command for both the VC military and political organization extends from the regional committee down lo the in-terprovlnclal. provincial, district, township, village, and hamlet echelons. The VCarm, the National Liberation Front, is organized among ethnic, social, economic, and religious groups. It could provide the nucleusival government.
A staff group of the Lao Dong Party Committees -the Military Aflairs Section-known to exist at least down to the District Committee echelon. Is the channel through which orders for all major VC militaryare passed and Implemented. Thedetails of the operations are left up to the discretion of the local VC commanders, who may or may not be members of theAffairs Committee. The VC divide their forces into three specific categories which they call concentrated forces, guerrillas, and self-defense militia. The VC appear to regard the concentrated force, which may exist anywhere from the village to the regional command echelon, as their most effective striking force. The guerrillas are less well equipped and trained. The self-dcfcnsc militia are home-guard troops, responsible for village defense. Most of these are poorly equipped and only partly trained. The largest unit ["
Is the battalion.
within the geographic limits of the partyjurisdiction. In this sense, the Regional Committee's and the Interprovlnclalbattalions may operate anywhere within the boundaries or the Region and Intcrprov-ince. respectively. As such, the VC can send its interprovlnclal forces to assist provincial forcesiven operation and provincial forces to assist district units. Each province has what the VC refer to as "concentratedand "base platoons" with the former believed to be mobile striking forces and the latter base defense units Included In the province's military apparatus are such special services as Intelligence, quartermaster,andetwork of couriers, operating under the Communications andSections of the Purty Committees,is the vehicle through which theVC tactical operations In South Vietnam are coordinated. Overlapping both theand political aspects Is the Armedunit which conducts sermons atamong the local population. Theof the VC military establishment isby meansenerous sprinkling of members of the Party itself or Party-affiliated groups among the various military units.
he Viet Cong communications system within South Vietnam has expanded greatly in scope and sophistication since9 and now comprises at leasttations andommunications links. Mast of thishas been In the Nam Bo area.
Military units of the above three types are probably subordinate to the various party echelons and probably may operate anywhere tivities in South Vietnam are subject to the direct control of the Central Executiveof the Lao Dong Party in Hanoi.
lateral communications also exist between theegional committee and the nam bo regional committeen addition, there are extensive communications within each of the two major subdivisions.
the vc have also setetwork of broadcast stations, identified as liberation news agency (lna) stations, which serve as organs of information for the national front for the liberation of south vietnam. the first of these stations became operational on or about1 and subsequently identified itself as the main office of the lna. this station was found to be co-located with the nbhc and appears to be in control of all lna stations presently active. since1 five additional broadcasting stations have been activated, four of which are serving branches of the lna and are co-located with the major vc headquarters in southixth station, which was activatedas not as yet been identified. all transmissions of these lna stations are in plain languagewith the exception of the main office, which also transmits information in french.
an early1 messagethat the vc high command wasto unify the organizations of the nam bo region andy settingentral office in the south which would be in direct control of all sectors and inter-provinces in south vietnam. more recent evidence suggests that this office may have been set up.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY / DISSEMINATION NOTICE
his estimate was disscminoted by the Central Intelligence Agency. Thisor the information and use of the recipient and of persons under his jurisdictioneed to know bash. Additional essential dissemination may be authoriied by the following officials within their respective departments:
c. Director of Intelligence and Research, for the Department of 'State '
Defense Intelligence Agency, for the Office of the Secretary of
Chief of" Staff for Intelligence, Department of theif.lliii .Ai.liiy r
Chief Of Naval Operationsor the Department'V- 'ifce Navy.
; Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, USAF, for the Department of
for Intelligence, Joint Staff, for tho Joint Staff ;
of Intelligence, AEC, for the Atomic Energy;.h- Assistant Director, FBI, for the Federal Bureau of Investigation";
. .'. i. Director of NSA, for the National Security Agency :
j. Assistant Director for Current Intelligence, CIA, for any other
hls copy may be retained, or destroyed by burning In accordanceregulerltoru, or returned to the Central Intelligence AgencywffrT'Hhe^Offioc of Corront Intelligence,
When an estimateoverseas, the overseas recipients may retain'fteriod not in oxccssen^aneyear. At the end of this period, the estimote should either be destroyed,fce_forwarding agency, orshould be requested of tho forwardingtaln it in accordance >'
The thie of this estimate when used separately from the text shouldb^^las-sifiodt CiftrUT
Notional Security Council '
Department of Slate
Deportment of Defense
Atomic Energy Commission...
Federal Bureau of InvestigationOriginal document.