Chaos, Clausewitz, and combat: a critical analysis of operational planning in the Vietnam War, 1966-1971

dc.contributor.advisorMoran, Daniel
dc.contributor.advisorEyre, D.P.
dc.contributor.authorWomack, Scott Ellis
dc.contributor.departmentNational Security Affairs (NSA)
dc.dateDecember 1995
dc.description.abstractWhat can theory tell us about war and the role of planning therein? This thesis attempts to answer that question by using Carl von Clausewitz's theories on war and the mathematical theory of chaos to analyze war in general and the Vietnam War in particular. It offers a critical analysis of operational planning conducted by the United States Military Assistance Command - Vietnam (MACV) during the years of greatest involvement by American forces, 1966-1971. Viewing war through the dual lenses of Clausewitz and chaos theory, it argues that war tends toward one of two ideal types, conventional or popular. This typology of war is the result of the interplay of its essential components, which are described by Clausewitz and correspond to a characteristic of a chaotic system. Conventional and popular wars are qualitatively distinct and require qualitatively differentiated responses. The thesis further argue that the Vietnam War displayed the characteristics of a popular war during the 1966 - 1971 time frame. Lastly, it argues that the operational planning conducted by MACV failed to account for the popular nature of the Vietnam War and exacerbated the deteriorating situation facing it by pursuing policies more suited to a conventional war.en_US
dc.description.serviceU.S. Army (USA) authoren_US
dc.format.extent151 p.en_US
dc.publisherMonterey, California. Naval Postgraduate Schoolen_US
dc.rightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.en_US
dc.titleChaos, Clausewitz, and combat: a critical analysis of operational planning in the Vietnam War, 1966-1971en_US
etd.thesisdegree.disciplineNational Security Affairsen_US
etd.thesisdegree.grantorNaval Postgraduate Schoolen_US
etd.thesisdegree.nameM.A. in National Security Affairsen_US
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