Accession Number : ADA406063


Title :   The U.S. Marine Corps Combined Action Program (CAP): A Proposed Alternative Strategy for the Vietnam War


Descriptive Note : Student research paper


Corporate Author : MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA


Personal Author(s) : Williamson, Curtis L , III


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a406063.pdf


Report Date : May 2002


Pagination or Media Count : 57


Abstract : The Vietnam War was a war against an insurgency sustained by the resources drawn from the South Vietnamese peasant. The CAP offered a viable alternative to the strategy taken in Vietnam, challenging the sustaining infrastructure of the guerrilla, while providing security for the largely agrarian populace. Discussion: Taking a lesson from Mao Tse-tung's insurgent rise to power in an agrarian setting, Ho Chi Minh and General Vo Nguyen Giap implemented a guerrilla-based strategy to liberate and unify Vietnam. Placing heavy reliance on the populace of South Vietnam to provide both men and food for the NVA and VC, the village represented a center of gravity for the Communist movement. Incapable of viewing Vietnam as anything but a conventional battleground, General William C. Westmoreland applied the unsuccessful strategy of search and destroy, and wholly ignored the insurgent underpinnings of his enemy and their grip on the populace. Possessing a belief that the war was among the people, the Marines spawned combined action, that of combining a Marine rifle squad with a platoon of South Vietnamese Popular Forces who cohabitated together within a particular village. Never growing beyond 2,500 men and 114 platoons, the program achieved unsurpassed% success towards providing security for the populace, threatening the guerrilla infrastructure, empowering the local and regional leaders to govern, and killing the enemy. Additionally, all attempts by senior Marine leaders to convince General Westmoreland of the CAP's validity as a fitting strategy for all ground forces failed to overcome his conventional inclination towards the nature of the war.


Descriptors :   *MILITARY STRATEGY , *MARINE CORPS PERSONNEL , *VIETNAM WAR , WARFARE , MARINE CORPS , LEADERSHIP , INFANTRY , COMMUNISM , VIETNAM , PLATOON LEVEL ORGANIZATIONS , GUERRILLA WARFARE , INSURGENCY , SOUTH VIETNAM , INFRASTRUCTURE


Subject Categories : Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE