An Institutional Profile of the South Vietnamese Officer Corps
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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An analysis is presented of the social origins, career patterns, and political structure of the officer corps to determine its ability to assume responsibility for the war, which is central to the success of Vietnamization. The ethnic homogeneity of the officer corps, coupled with the urban orientation that the educational requirement fosters, isolates the RVNAF officer from the society he is charged with defending and from the men he commands. Professionalism has not been developed, and political loyalty--not battlefield performance--has dominated the promotion system. Unless this system is regularized and given immunity to the vagaries of general officer politicking, President Thieu may well be opposed by a growing coalition of fighting officers. The military has the materiel but lacks the skill to effectively govern South Vietnam. A professional rather than a political army is required, and the question is whether professionalism can be stimulated by reform.
- Humanities and History