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Cia and the Vietnam War - Effectiveness of the Phoenix Program During the War

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CIA and the Vietnam War, - Effectiveness of the Phoenix Program during the War

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CIA and the Vietnam War, - Effectiveness of the Phoenix Program during the War

The war in Vietnam has a lot of controversy. The war had a devastating impact in the society and people lost trust in the government. Although the US military spent a lot of work force and resources, they lost the war. The US military had the worst military and tactical experience during the war[1]. Vietnam War used a significant amount of government resources until its conclusion. The war resulted in the questioning of the government's authority on all overseas conflict. America witnessed a defeat but gained important lesson useful for today’s warfare. The war provided a tactical framework that has become reference point for future precautionary measures in case of fights. The army attentions after the war shifted to symmetric conflict[2]. William Colby, the then CIA in charge led the Phoenix program. His role was to counter the insurgency caused by the Vietnamese soldiers. The war caused about 25,000 deaths of insurgents’ soldiers. The Australian coordinated the program, but the Americans performed the execution.  

 Scholars concentrated on a fact-finding mission on the war. The American soldiers lay emphasis and strategies on how they would defeat Soviet. The American government has received a lot of critic sighting that they have been trying to start the war again. The army policy through education of its officers and force development strategy has remained focused on conventional conflict[3]. The evidence of their success in traditional battle is evident from their performance in the Iraq war. The American army today faces threats on a global scale. The primary source of the current insurgencies is the Islamic threats. Jihadists have to be a significant threat to the American national security. The focus has shifted to the Afghanistan and Iraq war. The US government believes that the Islamic fundamentalist threatens global peace. America government offers much military training and advisory services for nations like the North Africa, Georgia and Philippines.  

The impact of the Vietnam War was so significant that researchers and scholars hope the war in Iraq will not be similar. The battle lasted for about 20yrs and South Vietnam lost its independence. The American government has provided South Vietnam with security assistance against North Vietnamese (NV). The communist insurgents in South East Asia threatened America's security. The American intelligence had to develop strategies to contain the uprisings before they could invade and acquire South Vietnam territorial land. Currently, the government faces similar challenges it had during the war in Vietnam. Islamic fundamentalist lead insurgencies targeted to cause havoc in the U.S soil. The military and intelligence unit are always prepared to counter any of the impending threats. The war changed from territorial confrontations to terrorism. The US government has to use essential lessons from the Vietnamese war to fight and countercurrent insurgencies. The impact of the war is vital in formulating current conflict strategies.  

The paper focuses on the Phoenix program, its impacts and useful lessons for modern warfare. The paper places a lot of emphasis on the attack of the Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI)[4]. The paper will provide background information, explain contemporary uprising threats and give strategic lessons from the Phoenix program.

Historical context

There is a massive debate on the reasons for America in the Vietnam War. Some argue that American involvement was strategic.[5] On the other hand, others say that South Vietnam (SV) was not crucial to the American[6]. They would receive insignificant benefits from the war compared to the resources it required. The sympathizers cite it as an American commitment to global peace and prosperity[7].

The Americans participated in the war for over two decades. Initially, they supported France efforts for restoring their colonial rule in South East Asia after World War 2. The U.S government at first provided advisory services to the French from 1950.  Conventional forces began in 1965 resulting to the withdrawal of the U.S forces[8]. The Phoenix program implementation began in 1967. The American government initially provided advisory services and equipment to the SV government.  In 1965, the US government decided to introduce ground forces. They wanted to ensure South Vietnam does not collapse and remains a stable, independent state. About 450,000 American troops got deployed in Vietnam. Their mission was successful in preventing the collapse of the South Asian nation. However, their efforts did not manage to contain the insurgency. The insurgent’s presence in SV continued effectively because NV had good attack strategies.

Senior SV, Civilians and American agents met President Johnson to strategies ways of stopping insurgencies in SV. The meeting occurred in 1966 to formulate the best plan and forms of action against the insurgents[9]. They had observed that conventional military forces alone would not guarantee them victory. They needed new strategies, which could be useful in guaranteeing South Vietnam freedom, peace and independence. The American government objective was to end the supremacy of the North Vietnamese Army. The military together with civilians units put together strategies, which they thought, would end the war. However, their efforts remained ineffective and uncoordinated.

A civic body tried to unify efforts made by the civilian population in 1966. The deputy ambassador’s efforts failed because existed no goodwill among parties implementing the coordination structures. The plans constituted a strategic model therefore could only survived for a short period. President Johnson observed the failures and decided to bring all civilian and military level under a single unit of operation. He constituted a body named Civil Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS)[10]. It became a component of Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV). President believed this body would ensure coordination and effectiveness in fighting the NVA insurgency.  Previous efforts had failed miserably due to lack of coordinated efforts by the military and civilians. Members of the general population played an essential part in this war by gathering information and providing necessary resources.  



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