U.S. Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War
CMH Pub 76-3, Paper
2015; 56 pages, illustrations, maps, further readings
GPO S/N: 008-029-00591-3
The U.S. Army Before Vietnam, 1953–1965, by Donald A. Carter, covers the period between the end of the Korean War and the initial deployment of ground combat troops to Vietnam. It describes the organizational and doctrinal changes the Army implemented as it attempted to digest the lessons of one conflict and to prepare the force for another. The pamphlet also discusses the service's efforts to maintain its position in national defense within the parameters of President Eisenhower's New Look strategic policy. A key issue for the Army was the question of how to prepare a force to operate on an atomic battlefield. In order to compete with the Air Force and the Navy for a diminishing defense budget, the Army had to show that it, too, was a modern, forward-thinking organization, prepared to integrate a new family of tactical atomic weapons into its organization and doctrine. The resulting experiment with the Pentomic division forced Army leaders to reexamine some of their most basic assumptions about future conflict. With the increasing influence of Communist China throughout Southeast Asia, the Army also began to pay greater attention toward counterinsurgency and guerilla warfare. President Kennedy's interest in a doctrine of flexible response and his concern for combatting Communist inspired insurrections prompted the Army to increase training in unconventional warfare and to highlight the capabilities of its developing special forces—the Green Berets.
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