U.S. Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War: Buying Time, 1965-1966

U.S. Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War: Buying Time, 1965-1966
U.S. Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War: Buying Time, 1965-1966
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The U.S. Army Center of Military History is pleased to present a new pamphlet in its U.S. Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War series.

Buying Time, 1965–1966, by Frank L. Jones, begins with President Lyndon B. Johnson’s decision to commit the U.S. military to an escalating role in the ground war against the Communist government of North Vietnam and its allies in South Vietnam known as the Viet Cong.

Beginning in 1965, William C. Westmoreland, the commanding general of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), sent large numbers of soldiers on search-and-destroy missions against Viet Cong forces. His strategy in Vietnam depended on the superiority of U.S. firepower, including intensive aerial bombardments of regular enemy units. The goal was to inflict more losses than the Communist forces could sustain.  During 1966, the United States gradually built up not just its forces, but also the logistical and administrative infrastructure needed to support them. Pacification, which took a lesser role during the military buildup, remained central to the allies’ approach to the war, with the White House taking additional measures to elevate its importance.

As 1966 drew to a close, General Westmoreland was in position to launch the type of large, sustained military campaign that he hoped would both cripple the enemy and enable the South Vietnamese to make substantial progress toward pacification. The tide had been stemmed, yet no one was under the illusion that the task ahead would be either easy or quick. Indeed, the events of 1965 and 1966 had shown the enemy to be a dangerous and able foe, unshaken despite heavy losses in his own pursuit of victory. The true struggle had just begun.


Frank L. Jones holds a Ph.D. in political science from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, and a master of public administration from the University at Albany, State University of New York. He served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army from 1973 to 1977. He is a professor of security studies in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. In 2006, he retired from the Department of Defense, where he held a number of positions in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. These included his appointment as deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations policy and support, and principal director for strategy, plans, and resources in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense. He has authored several articles and book chapters on national security policymaking, homeland security, and terrorism. His most recent work is Blowtorch: Robert Komer, Vietnam, and American Cold War Strategy (2013).

Related products:

The Greene Papers: General Wallace M. Greene Jr. and the Escalation of the Vietnam War, January 1964-March 1965 is available here: https://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/008-055-00267-2?ctid=512

Knowing The Enemy: Naval Intelligence in Southeast Asia is available here: https://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/008-046-00298-3?ctid=512

Dust Off: Army Aeromedical Evacuation in Vietnam --Print Paperback format can be found here: https://bookstore.gpo.gov/products/sku/008-029-00435-6?ctid=512

Vietnam War resources collection can be found here: https://bookstore.gpo.gov/catalog/us-military-history/battles-wars/vietn...


High school students, military personnel, especially Veterans, and historians may be interested in this work.

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Defense Dept., Army, Center of Military History
  • Jones, Frank L.
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  • Center of Military History Publication 76 2
  • Vietnam War
  • Army History
  • Military History
  • United States Army Campaigns of the Vietnam War
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