191. National Security Action Memorandum No. 2831


  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Attorney General
  • The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • The Director of Central Intelligence
  • The Administrator, Agency for International Development
  • The Director, United States Information Agency


  • U.S. Overseas Internal Defense Training Policy and Objectives

This supersedes NSAMs 131 and 163.2

I. General

The President has noted with approval the considerable progress made in the Government’s internal defense/counterinsurgency training effort and would like to be assured that this effort is sustained in the future. He desires that personnel of each of the addressees with or to be assigned foreign affairs responsibilities (hereinafter foreign affairs officers) continue to receive comprehensive instruction on U.S. policy and strategies, and on the resources and techniques available to the United States in assisting underdeveloped countries cope with the problems of development and internal defense.

II. Training Policy and Objectives


U.S. Officer Personnel

The President has directed that all career-development training programs offered by each agency with major foreign affairs interests include study of the U.S. Overseas Internal Defense Policy. This instruction will be tailored in accordance with the specific overseas internal defense role and mission of the particular agency as well as to the career level of the officers receiving training.


U.S. Officers With Internal Defense/Counterinsurgency Responsibilities

In addition to this broad training for all foreign affairs officers, the President has approved specific training objectives for those officer-grade [Page 423] personnel indicated below who are scheduled for relevant assignment to the underdeveloped world or to headquarters or instructor positions related thereto.

For officers of the ranks GS-9 through 13 (FSO–8 through 4, 2 Lt (Ensign) through Lt. Colonel, Commander USN):


A comprehensive understanding of the history of insurgency movements, especially those in which the U.S. interest was involved. This will include instruction on the background and environmental factors—political, economic, social and psychological—of subversive insurgency, the means utilized to prevent, deter or defeat such movements, and the related problems of economic development.


The Threat

A basic knowledge of communist ideology, organization, goals, and the strategy and techniques employed by communists in the underdeveloped world, including the doctrinal approaches of the Soviets and Red Chinese to political power. Particular emphasis will be placed on the various problems of development and communist methods of exploiting these problems.


U.S. Policy, Strategy, and Programs

A basic knowledge of the U.S. Overseas Internal Defense Policy, its strategy of employment, U.S. internal defense (civilian and military) resources and programs, and the techniques and methods through which these programs are implemented.


Departmental Tactics and Techniques

A thorough understanding of the tactics and techniques of the parent department, agency or military branch which have an application in detecting, combatting and defeating insurgency.

Officers of the ranks GS-14 (FSO–3, Colonel, Captain USN) and above will receive training in addition to instruction required by paragraphs A and B above, to prepare them for departmental, command, and staff responsibilities. At this level, special attention will be given to the unique resources and capabilities of all U.S. Government departments and agencies and of the need to combine these assets into effective programs.

Situation Assessment and Evaluation

Develop an ability to identify the critical factors in internal security analyses of underdeveloped areas; how to recognize manifestations of dissidence and subversion.


Program Planning

Detailed knowledge of the resources and capabilities of the parent department/agency or military branch which contribute to the overall [Page 424] USOID effort; the methodology of program development and internal defense planning to include inter-agency coordination of planning at the national level and abroad.


Program Implementation

A thorough knowledge of the methods and techniques of implementing and executing programs of the parent department and related agencies; techniques of cooperation with the host government and third countries.


Officers Assigned “Key Positions”

All officers assigned to “key positions” (as determined by the Special Group (CI)) in the underdeveloped world or in headquarters positions related thereto, will receive special instruction at the National Interdepartmental Seminar. This training will be considered as a prerequisite for assignment to designated “key positions” although it will be available to other selected personnel on a case by case basis. Exception to this training as a prerequisite to such assignment may be made only by the head of the department or agency concerned.

While this training will include coverage of those items outlined in paragraph B above, emphasis will be given to the problems faced by the U.S. in assisting in the development and internal defense of the underdeveloped countries. Additional coverage will include:

The growing interdepartmental nature of U.S. foreign policy problems and programs.
The development and coordination of policy and program implementation.
The concept and operation of the Country Team.
The Washington organization for overseas internal defense.


Official Personnel of Foreign Governments

It is in the interest of the U.S. to provide training corresponding to the above to selected officials, both civilian and military of foreign governments. While emphasis should be placed on training officials from those countries actively threatened by an active subversive threat, our efforts should be aimed at influencing and gaining the support of USOID policies and programs from as many official personnel as possible throughout the underdeveloped world. To the extent practicable, this training should be given in the following places:

In facilities operated by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency which are available to foreign nationals.
In special facilities operated by the Department of Defense, the Agency for International Development, the Department of State, and other available U.S. Government training centers operated for the benefit of foreign nationals.
U.S. MAAGs/Missions and USOMs in underdeveloped areas.
At private U.S. institutions, where feasible.

III. Action Responsibilities



The Department of State will be responsible for developing and conducting such courses as may be necessary for officials of State, AID, and USIA and when appropriate for other civilian agencies with limited foreign operations. Each of the other addressee agencies will be responsible for the organization of appropriate training programs for its own officers. Each of the responsible departments and agencies will seek to coordinate its training programs and to the extent practicable and necessary, make available spaces for the cross-training of personnel from other U.S. agencies with development and internal defense responsibilities. While the Foreign Service Institute will be responsible for the administration and presentation of the National Interdepartmental Seminar, each of the addressee agencies will provide financial, faculty and student support to it.


National Interdepartmental Seminar

The National Interdepartmental Seminar will be the inter-agency training center for those officers assigned to “key positions”. In performing this function, the Seminar will undertake research, develop case studies, and offer instruction on the manifold problems of development and internal defense and improve the U.S. capability to assist underdeveloped countries overcome these problems. In addition, the Seminar will serve as the focal point of the U.S. overseas internal defense training effort. Accordingly, it will undertake to assist other more specialized U.S. Government institutions engaged in related training activities by developing instructional materials on the non-technical aspects of internal defense and counterinsurgency.


Special Group (CI)

It shall be the responsibility of the Special Group (CI) to oversee and support this entire training effort, and to report to the President periodically upon the degree to which the training objectives outlined above are being achieved. The inter-agency Subcommittee on Training, established by the Special Group (CI), will assist the latter in overseeing and supporting this training effort.

Further, it is desired that the Special Group (CI) determine the adequacy of the effort we are making to train selected foreign official civilian and military personnel in the problems of development, internal defense and counterinsurgency and seek to insure the effective coordination of these programs. Where deficiencies are determined to exist, the Special Group (CI) will direct appropriate corrective action.

McGeorge Bundy
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/PC Files: Lot 70 D 199, National Security Action Memos (NSAM). Secret.
  2. Entitled, respectively, “Training Objectives for Counter-Insurgency,” March 13, 1962 (ibid., S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM No. 131); and “Training Objectives for Counterinsurgency,” June 14, 1962 (ibid., NSAM No. 163).