Chapter

Measurements without Objectives: America Goes to War in Southeast Asia

Gregory A. Daddis

in No Sure Victory

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199746873
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897179 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746873.003.0002
Measurements without Objectives: America Goes to War in Southeast Asia

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This chapter covers 1962–1964 and argues that a principle reason why MACV could not identify any useful indicators to measure its progress resulted from disagreements over American strategy in South Vietnam. If there was no clear strategy, what should MACV be measuring? This chapter also analyzes how staff officers developed metrics during General Paul Harkins’s tenure as MACV’s first commander. It argues that MACV’s inability to fully conceptualize the intricacies of counterinsurgency, of balancing and integrating the complex problems of security and pacification, led to a reliance on statistical indicators as a substitute for a fuller comprehension of the political-military conflict.

Keywords: MACV; counterinsurgency indicators; strategy; South Vietnam; Harkins

Chapter.  9976 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Relations

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