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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Learning from the CIA's Village Defense Program in South Vietnam

Local defense forces and counterinsurgency in Afghanistan: learning from the CIA's Village Defense Program in South Vietnam

Jon Strandquista*
pages 90-113
Article Views: 190


This research note makes the case that if the US and its international allies are to successfully use ‘Local Defence Forces’ (LDF) to overcome counterinsurgency constraints in Afghanistan, current initiatives need to be significantly modified. A key issue is that the Village Stability Operations/Afghan Local Police (VSO/ALP) LDF program is unlikely to be effective in filling security gaps in rural Afghanistan because, much rhetoric to the contrary, it is essentially focused on militarily combating the insurgency rather than fully developing local communities as counterinsurgency resources by winning their support for the Afghan central government. The CIA's Village Defense Program in South Vietnam, a counterinsurgency program that has thus far received cursory attention in current LDF literature, provides a useful counterpoint. Through a comparison of the VDP and VSO/ALP operational patterns, implications are drawn for current and future US counterinsurgency practice employing LDF components.


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