Vietnam: A Hiatus for the Operational Art?
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MIL ITARY STUDIES
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This monograph analyzes the American practice of the operational art during the Vietnam War. It focuses on Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV from 1965 to 1968. This question provides valuable relevant lessons to current military operations because of the difficulty in practicing operational art during the Vietnam War. The monograph is organized into four parts. The first part is the introduction. The second part discusses what the operational art is according to current doctrine. It finds that operational art is the critical link between strategy and tactics. Operational art has two major components, linkage and design. For the operational art to be adequately practiced, both must be present. The third part analyzes MACVs conduct of the war. It traces U.S. strategic interests to tactical employment of military forces and reviews MACVs objectives and strategy. The fourth part is the conclusion. It compares MACVs conduct of the war from part three with current doctrine for the conduct of the operational art from part II. The monograph finds that MACV did not adequately practice the operational art from 1965-1968. It determines that although there was linkage between U.S. strategic objectives and the tactical employment of troops, operational design lacked synchronization and integration. The monograph concludes that this failure to practice the operational art by MACV was a major contributing factor to the U.S. military failure in Vietnam, and subsequently U.S. strategic failure.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics