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89. Memorandum From Dean Moor of the Operations Staff of the National Security Council to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • CIA Memorandum on GVN Manpower Shortages
[Page 273]

CIA has prepared a detailed assessment of the RVNAF ability to obtain the manpower necessary to fill gaps and expand its armed forces in the near future (Tab A).2 It concludes that, at present rates of loss both through casualties and desertions, Saigon will not be able to do the job with the available personnel. Its only alternative would be to raise the draft age to a level which would significantly impair the quality of the manpower. Among the factual highlights of the memorandum are:

  • —In 1968, losses from all causes amounted to about two-thirds of total accretions in manpower.
  • —Desertions, after dropping somewhat in late 1968, have remained above the 1968 average during 1969.
  • —Desertions from regular units are running at an annual rate of about one-third the strength of those units.
  • —Given the available manpower pool, it appears that Saigon will be 50,000 men short of filling its needs during 1969.
  • —As the combat role of the RVNAF increases, the manpower problems are likely to worsen rather than improve.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 138, Vietnam Country Files, Vietnam, Vol. VII, 6/17/69–6/30/69. Secret; Sensitive. Sent for information. Sent through Sneider. A note on the first page of the memorandum reads: “HAK saw.”
  2. Tab A, Intelligence Memorandum ER IM 69–86, June 1969, “South Vietnam: Growing Manpower Squeeze” is attached but not printed.