128. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Special Group (Counter-Insurgency) (Johnson) to President Kennedy 0


  • Progress in the Counter-Insurgency Program

The last progress report on counter-insurgency activities of the United States Government was presented to you on July 30, 1962,1 and included both a review of Special Group (CI) activities and a full report from each department and agency on their respective achievements in this area since January, 1961. Since then, the Group has continued to encourage establishment of new programs by the departments and agencies, as appropriate, to monitor implementation of Internal Defense Plans for those countries specifically assigned to the Group, to keep under review the senior counter-insurgency training programs, to encourage expansion of civic action programs, and to push police support programs, both in Washington and abroad.

The Group continues to function as a high-level committee whose purpose is to maintain global surveillance of the Communist insurgency threat and to insure that immediate action is taken to counter the threat. Implementation of the Group’s decisions continues to be the responsibility of the departments and agencies whose heads are represented on the Group. To avoid bureaucratization, and the proliferation of paper work, [Page 465] the Group has no institutional substructure except for a Subcommittee on Training, whose duty is to keep the broad interdepartmental training effort in counter-insurgency under continuous review, and the Special Group Assistants, who are senior departmental officers responsible for staffing the principals of the Group. It is the latter which is responsible for rapid implementation of policy, as exemplified in the emergency program of riot control and internal security assistance to Latin American countries during the Cuban crisis.

The following paragraphs are intended to supply you with current information relating to the major efforts of the counter-insurgency program.

Doctrine. During the summer the Group approved a national doctrine for counter-insurgency entitled “U.S. Overseas Internal Defense Policy.” It was subsequently issued under a National Security Action Memorandum as national policy2 and was disseminated to all diplomatic and consular posts abroad, to major military commands and within the Government’s school system. Its purpose is to furnish policy and doctrinal guidance to all United States activities concerned with internal defense of less developed countries.
Internal Defense Plans. In order better to organize United States Government operations in the field for the purpose of countering the insurgency threat, Internal Defense Plans have been prepared for all the countries you have assigned to the Group (Bolivia, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Iran, Laos, Thailand, Venezuela, and Viet-Nam) with the exception of Laos, where, owing to the unique situation, an Internal Defense Plan is not considered to be useful at this time. In addition, a number of other posts have voluntarily initiated Internal Defense Plans in response to the above-mentioned policy paper.

Training. In response to your wishes expressed in NSAM 131,3 training programs on counter-insurgency have been established by each department and agency concerned with foreign activities abroad. Under these programs instruction has been given to over 22,150 military and civilian officers since the July progress report.






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In addition, within the military services alone, it is planned that counter-insurgency training will reach over 24,000 officers during the next four months. In general, the training program has been carried out through the inclusion of counter-insurgency instruction within the context of regular career courses.

In addition, counter-insurgency training has been included in over twenty-seven major military exercises which have taken place during the last six months. Military mobile counter-insurgency training teams have been deployed to forty countries, representing an increase from seventy-nine to one hundred fourteen teams.

Police training was provided to foreign police officers from twenty-nine countries through training programs in the United States, and at the Inter-American Police Academy in Panama. One hundred twenty-one Latin American police officers received instruction at the Academy, while two hundred seventy-two trainees from various parts of the world received instruction in the United States.

At the senior level, the new Interdepartmental Seminar on Problems of Development and Internal Defense was established at the Foreign Service Institute last June to provide training for senior personnel going abroad to responsible positions in crisis areas. The Seminar will offer five sessions of five weeks each during 1963. Two hundred seventy-eight personnel from State, Defense, AID, USIA, and CIA have graduated from the Seminar to date.

Review of Paramilitary Assets. As you are aware, in June, 1961 it was decided to make a review of the paramilitary assets of the United States and of the likely requirements for their use. The completed report indicated that in some cases our resources are inadequate. Action is being taken by the responsible departments and agencies to overcome the deficiencies. A six-months study to identify research and development areas in need of emphasis was completed in December. A report will shortly be submitted to the Group, setting forth what has been done by the two agencies concerned to overcome the deficiencies noted in the study.
Civic Action. In the field of civic action the Group has continued to encourage expansion, both within the areas of large scale activities such as Latin America and Southeast Asia, and in the yet untapped areas of the Near East and Africa. In Africa civic action programs are planned for Senegal and Liberia. In the Near East programs are under way in Jordan, Iran, and Pakistan. In Southeast Asia a significant program has recently been initiated in Indonesia, where it is believed that the planned civic action program can make a significant contribution to the economic development of the country and the productive employment of the military forces. In all, civic action programs currently being funded total over $72 million, of which $40 million are for South Viet-Nam.
Police Assistance. An expanded and reinvigorated program of police assistance to underdeveloped countries has been initiated during the past six months. The worldwide level of this program has increased from about $14 million in FY 1962 to about $30 million in FY 1963. We currently provide advice, assistance, and equipment through police advisory missions to thirty countries and have centralized the administration of the program in a new Office of Public Safety located within AID. New missions are being planned for eight other countries.

Summary. Recognition has been obtained throughout the United States Government that subversive insurgency is a major form of politico/military conflict. Necessary adjustments have been made within the organizations of the several departments and agencies. Counter-insurgency doctrine has been developed, and issued as national policy. Emphasis has been given to counter-insurgency throughout the Government’s school systems concerned with foreign affairs. Research and development activities of the military and intelligence services have been reviewed and adjusted to counter-insurgency needs. Paramilitary resources, civic action programs, and police support programs have all been expanded. Internal Defense Plans have been prepared for the countries assigned to the Group.4

U. Alexis Johnson
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group 7/3/62-5/20/63. Secret. Drafted by Thomas W. Davis of the White House Staff and Charles W. Maechling, Jr., Director for Internal Defense in the Office of Politico-Military Affairs, Department of State. NSAM No. 204, November 7, 1962, designated U. Alexis Johnson as Chairman of the Special Group (CI). (Ibid., NSAM 204)
  2. Document 102.a
  3. See Document 105 and footnote 2 thereto.
  4. In NSAM No. 131, dated March 13, 1962, and signed by McGeorge Bundy, the President directed several measures to increase government-wide training objectives for counter-insurgency. (Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 131)
  5. A June 25 memorandum, signed for Taylor by Goodpaster, reports on military counterinsurgency programs (including civic action) from December 1962 to June 1963. (Ibid., Special Group (CI) Files: Lot 68 D 451, SG(CI) 6/20/63-8/1/63)
  6. Printed from a copy that indicates Johnson signed the original.