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Intelligence Operations In Small Wars: A Comparison Of The Malayan Emergency And Vietnam War

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Technical Report

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Air Command And Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States

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For over the past 10 years the United States US has been continuously involved in large scale counter-insurgency operations. Military strategists have frequently struggled to determine what conditions lead to the success or failure during counter-insurgency operations. Military history focuses a significant amount of effort on military tactics and weaponry used to achieve the results in warfare, but intelligence operations are sometimes only given cursory consideration. In reality, intelligence operations can be key contributors to success or failure of counter-insurgency operations as was the case in both the Malayan Emergency and Vietnam War. Both the British and US intelligence operations were not successful at the beginning of the Malayan Emergency and Vietnam War respectively but, weaknesses in operations were identified by leadership and rectified to enable defeat of the guerrilla forces encountered. However, the British were successful at achieving unity of effort in their intelligence operations whereas the US operated using several discrete intelligence efforts which were less efficient.

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