Intelligence Support


As the Military Assistance Command intelligence organization grew, we sought managerial tools that would facilitate supervision of our many programs. On 30 August 1965 the formation of a management division was directed.

First, we sought to overcome the lack of continuity within the intelligence staff that resulted from the policy of one-year tours. Two courses of action were followed. First, we produced directives and memoranda to cover recurring functions and enjoined every officer to keep a functions manual that could be passed to his successor, insuring a ready reference designed to answer questions about his job. For those functions that crossed divisional lines, a directive was published. Next, we promoted continuity by encouraging key people to extend, and many at all levels did.

The Comprehensive Intelligence Program, developed to provide a means for keeping abreast of the status of J-2 staff actions, was first initiated at a time when more than 150 major projects were under way, and management problems were many. The program centered around production of a review and analysis chart maintained by each action officer for each of his projects. The chart briefly described the project and its objectives, status, trend, analysis, and actions. From this record a graph reflecting monthly activities plus a brief synopsis sheet was produced. Later redesignated the Review and Analysis Program, the Comprehensive Intelligence Program provided summarized data by which the progress of all J-2 functions could be assessed. This important management tool enabled us to foresee possible problem areas and prescribe corrective action before intelligence capabilities suffered.

Repetitive measures for improving the efficiency of the Military Assistance Command intelligence organization and the J-2 staff were necessary. In May 1966 a management survey was initiated in J-2 to identify those areas in organization, functions, and staffing that required modifications to accomplish assigned func-


tions. Through this medium the soundness of the J-2 organizational structure was insured, the delegation of responsibilities and assignment of functions were facilitated, and the incidence of duplication of effort among the divisions and branches was reduced.

One of the most perplexing problems faced by the military intelligence organization in Vietnam concerned the timeliness of reports. We sought to instill in intelligence officers at all levels an appreciation of the importance of getting information to field commanders in sufficient time for them to act upon it. I required that every information report include a timeliness block. Each officer who initiated a report had to record the time he made the information available to the commander who could act on it. My special assistant, Captain Strachan, monitored these actions and notified me when they were not timely-a procedure which precipitated an admonishment to the responsible officer. Rapid transmission of intelligence information proved always a matter of prime interest, and the J-2 staff grew very proficient in the expeditious dispatch of "hot" reports.

Of all the techniques, procedures, or managerial tools employed by Military Assistance Command J-2 in the continuous campaign to improve efficiency, speed up processing, and expedite dissemination of intelligence, automation undoubtedly was the most valuable. The unlimited potential of computers presented a real challenge to the imaginative and innovative spirit of the intelligence staff, and maximum effort was devoted to adapting intelligence functions to these machines.

As G-2 of U.S. Army, Pacific, I had conducted an extensive educational program on automation for my staff in Hawaii. I had also become familiar with the FMA storage and retrieval system. I wanted to establish automation as soon as possible. My requests for equipment, trained personnel, space, and funds fell on unsympathetic ears. I received no help. I knew what I wanted, so I requested Pacific Command to survey my needs. They supported my requests, but it would take many months to fill them.

However, I discovered within the J-2 staff Lieutenant Lilly, who was enterprising in addition to being IBM trained. After a general discussion about the desired capability he set out to accomplish his mission. The first obstacle he encountered was the refusal of the Adjutant General's office to accept intelligence input because of classifications. However, the visit to the Adjutant General's office was fruitful in another way; Lieutenant Lilly salvaged a card punch machine that had been damaged in shipment. He repaired the machine himself, then trained an operator, and the


J-2 staff at least could punch its own cards. Later he discovered a computer van being used in conjunction with imagery interpretation. He arranged its transfer to Tan Son Nhut where, placed in a shed at the Combined Intelligence Center, it became the J-2's first computer facility. Little by little, additional equipment fell into our hands, much of it scrounged, enough so that in February 1966 the automatic data processing system began operating. Some months later, plans were included for the acquisition and installation of a computer within the J-2 area of the new Military Assistance Command headquarters under construction near Tan Son Nhut. After ascertaining the special construction necessary to install the equipment programmed for use by the intelligence staff, Lieutenant Colonel Edward M. Gudely was detailed to co-ordinate with the engineers and insure that the computer requirements were incorporated into the plans for the building. The J-2 area within the new headquarters was built to accommodate the modern equipment on order that would contribute so importantly to the accomplishment of the intelligence mission in the years to come.

The fiscal accounting and supervision of Intelligence Contingency Funds was another Management Division concern and one which I considered extremely important. Before 1 January 1966, this support for Military Assistance Command was provided by the U.S. Navy. These funds were identified by the Navy as Collection and Classification of Information funds, and their use was limited to the support of the Military Assistance Command intelligence advisory activities of the Republic of Vietnam. U.S. Army and Air Force intelligence activities were provided funding support by their parent organizations at the theater level. Control and administration of Collection and Classification of Information funds left much to be desired from both an administrative and an operational point of view. I had no control over the Intelligence Contingency Funds support for Army and Air Force intelligence activities since their reporting channels were to their parent organizations located outside the Republic of Vietnam. Responsive fund support slumped behind in the rapidly changing operational situation, encumbered as it was by extremely long lines of communication to the support base. Centralized control over intelligence operations was inadequate because each operating intelligence unit funded its own operations. This, in many cases, contributed to the lack of effective co-ordination of intelligence operations.

I knew that the most effective means to control intelligence operations was to control the purse strings. To this end I requested the assignment of Lieutenant Colonel (then Major) Autmer


Ackley, Jr., to my staff to set up an Intelligence Contingency Funds Class B Agent account. Colonel Ackley was appointed the Class B Agent, and the account was activated on 1 January 1966. At the same time a standing operating procedure was published which provided for the administration, supervision, utilization, and control of Intelligence Contingency Funds within the Republic of Vietnam. A similar standing operating procedure applicable to the Collection and Classification of Information funds was published at the same time, and supervision of these funds also came under the direct control of Colonel Ackley. The advantages of this centralized control were readily apparent: all intelligence operations required J-2 staff approval before funding support could be provided. In addition, funds were now immediately available to me for the fullest exploitation of targets of opportunity such as high-level defectors and the Volunteer Informant Program.

Fund support of all intelligence activities in the Republic of Vietnam was now under my direct control with the exception of those activities sponsored by the Air Force, which maintained an independent fund support channel. A higher degree of professionalism as well as a more rapid response to intelligence requirements resulted from this centralized control of fund support.

In addition to the problem of decentralized fund control, the acquisition of intelligence equipment of all types, from small cameras to extremely expensive intelligence production equipment, presented major obstacles. In practically every case, intelligence units arriving in Vietnam came equipped with items of intelligence equipment completely unsuited to their missions there. It was necessary that the right equipment be obtained and issued to using units as rapidly as possible. I directed Colonel Ackley to establish an intelligence equipment control point which had as its mission the control over procurement and distribution of all intelligence equipment in the Republic of Vietnam. This activity was established on 1 February 1966, and through it we were able to shift equipment between units to use it to the fullest and to satisfy operational requirements.

The operational influence provided by the Intelligence Contingency Funds and the Collection and Classification of Information funds and by intelligence equipment resources being directly under my control allowed a more rapid and effective response to tactical requirements. Specialized equipment could be-and was in some cases-procured in a matter of hours and placed in the hands of the user. The primary lesson to be learned from these operations was that provisions for Intelligence Contingency Funds and special


equipment support should be established in the joint command headquarters as early as possible. As long as operational control is retained at joint staff level, fund and equipment control must be located at that level also. I owe much to the dedication, perseverance, and expertise of Colonel Ackley in establishing and managing this vital program.

Finally, a daily staff conference to facilitate coordination of efforts within the military intelligence community for avoiding duplication and to keep me advised of the current intelligence situation was necessary. The conference served as a forum to air problems and elicit the expertise of the intelligence staff in resolving these problems. The Military Assistance Command science adviser, Bill McMillian, at my invitation became an enthusiastic daily participant in these conferences and attempted to have implemented many ideas for new equipment and techniques that arose there.

The J-2 concept for the organization of the Military Assistance Command Intelligence Data Handling Systems was based upon the requirement for two separate facilities because of security restrictions. These facilities would be mutually supporting. The first was for production processing of releasable data using automatic data processing equipment at the Combined Intelligence Center and the use of FMA Filesearch equipment for the automated storage and retrieval of documents at the Combined Document Exploitation Center. The second was for processing of sensitive data from all sources within J-2 using both automatic data processing equipment and the FMA Filesearch equipment.

The development of the J-2 Intelligence Data Handling Systems began in the fall of 1965 when an FMA Filesearch automated document storage and retrieval system was requested to provide a rapid means to retrieve data from interrogation reports and translated captured documents. This equipment was put into operation at the Combined Document Exploitation Center and by June 1965 had the largest microfilmed data base of any FMA system in the intelligence community. Over 9,000 feet of microfilmed documents were included and on file at the Combined Document Exploitation Center.

This system was highly successful, and the usage factor indicated that a second set of the same equipment was needed. A set was ordered in January 1967 with delivery expected in May. This equipment was put in operation at the Combined Document Exploitation Center as an interim location until it could be moved to the J-2 area of the new Military Assistance Command head-


quarters. The two sets of equipment would make J-2 able to handle releasable documents at the Combined Document Exploitation Center and nonreleasable or sensitive documents within J-2.

To be able better to disseminate and exploit this indexed microfilm, a 16-mm. reproduction camera was ordered. This would enable us to copy the FMA indexed microfilm and disseminate 16-mm. film cartridges to field units and other intelligence users. Thirty-five 16-mm. reader-printers were also ordered for distribution to these users.

In February 1966 automatic data processing operations started with borrowed electrical accounting machines installed in expandable vans parked next to the Combined Intelligence Center. The first equipment used was the basic punch card accounting machines. Twelve files were initially selected for machine operations that would provide the most immediate payoff.

In August 1966 the Combined Intelligence Center received an IBM 1401 card computer and additional peripheral equipment. In January 1967 a second small card computer, an IBM 1130, and a 1627 plotter were added to the equipment. Also in May 1967 the IBM 1401 computer was upgraded to a 16K memory with six magnetic tape drives. This more than doubled the center's production capacity. At the same time the IBM 1131 computer was upgraded to a magnetic tape system that could provide machine listings and plot simultaneously.

We chose to provide automated support to the nonsensitive data base at the Combined Intelligence Center first since it had the greatest application that could be disseminated to the most users.

In the area of automatic data processing support for J-2 and the sensitive data, the Commander in Chief, Pacific, and the Defense Intelligence Agency concurred in a second computer facility for J-2 in the new Military Assistance Command headquarters building to process nonreleasable and sensitive data. An IBM 1401 computer was the minimum equipment that would meet J-2's immediate needs. However, this would provide for only limited expansion. Therefore it was anticipated that the Defense Intelligence Agency would approve a larger computer, either an IBM 1410 or an IBM 360 model.

Within the J-2 Management Division there was an Intelligence Data Handling Systems branch with two sections, an FMA section for automated document storage and retrieval and an automatic data processing section. In the Combined Intelligence Center there was an automatic data processing branch. The Intelligence Data Handling Systems Branch of the Management Division pro-


vided guidance to Combined Intelligence Center automatic data processing and Combined Document Exploitation Center FMA. The future J-2 Intelligence Data Handling Systems organization contemplated a division with an automatic data processing branch of two sections, one for J-2 and one for the Combined Intelligence Center, and an FMA branch with two sections, one for J-2 and one for the Combined Document Exploitation Center.

The Management Division also was responsible for supervising the construction projects for various Military Assistance Command J-2 and Joint General Staff J-2 activities. The construction program for J - 2 encompassed approximately $6.7 million. Of this amount $3.7 million was programmed for the construction of eighteen combined interrogation centers. The balance of $3 million was programmed against the Combined Intelligence Center complex. The eighteen combined interrogation centers were located from as far north as Hue to Bac Lieu in the south. The program encompassed three different-size facilities. The largest, the Combined Military Interrogation Center, was funded at $450,000 and was located in the Saigon area. This facility, which had sixty-one permanent detention cells, including two temporary holding cells, became operational on 30 November 1966. Final cost for the structure came to $1 million.

In addition to the Combined Military Interrogation Center, three corps-size facilities were programmed for Bien Hoa, Pleiku, and Da Nang. The corps center was somewhat smaller than the combined center in that it had only a 26-man cell capacity. The cost of these facilities was programmed at $246,000 each. The corps center at Da Nang, near Marble Top Mountain, was to be completed by late August of 1967.

The remaining fourteen interrogation centers were division size and were referred to as combined division interrogation centers. The capacity of each center was to be an 18-man cell block. The facilities were costed at $182,000 each. The center at Ban Me Thuot was completed and officially accepted by the joint General Staff on 26 April 1967. Construction started on the center at Hue on 1 April 1967. The remaining twelve centers were in various stages of construction-design or acquisition of real estate, for instance-in June 1967.

The Combined Intelligence Center complex construction started in late January of 1966, and the facility was occupied on 10 December of that year. A photo lab in the rear of the center was under construction. In addition we requested that the Com-


bined Document Exploitation Center be expanded by approximately 4,500 square feet.

Future J-2 combined construction requirements envisioned the construction of a Military Security Service complex. The request along with the basic plans was submitted and approved.

Plans and Training

Two principal duties were assigned to the Plans and Training Division. The first was the J-2 input to the Combined Campaign Plan which set forth the priorities, goals, and objectives of Military Assistance Command, the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces, and Free World Military Assistance Forces for the conduct of the war. Within J-2 we recognized the Combined Campaign Plan as an excellent vehicle for promoting the combined intelligence concept, and the Intelligence Annex was prepared in a combined effort by Colonel Loi's and my staffs. The professionalism and excellence reflected by the Intelligence Annex elicited high praise.

A second function of the Plans and Training Division concerned mapping, charting, and geodesy. The scope of Military Assistance Command interest in mapping and charting extended to Army topographic maps, Air Force aeronautical charts, Navy hydrographic charts, and survey control data (an Army responsibility) as well as numerous related products necessary to support combat forces such as terrain studies, flight information publications, gazetteers, and tide tables. In area, the primary concern was the South Vietnam land mass and its immediate tactical zone, although all of Southeast Asia was included in the program.

With the relatively sudden increase in tactical units, the demand for maps skyrocketed. An initial stock of some three million maps and charts was obtained from the map depot in Japan and was combined with the maps on hand in the Military Assistance Command Training Aids Section. At the same time, two Engineer topographic units, the 569th Engineer Company (Topography) (Corps) and the 547th Engineer Platoon (Map Depot), were brought to Vietnam to develop the Military Assistance Command charting, mapping, and geodesy capability. In the interim, direct air shipments from the United States together with continued support from Japan enabled map requirements to be met.

By October 1966, map stockage met the needs of the command. In April 1967, the new 1:250,000 Joint Operations graphic map series began arriving, with coverage of North and South Vietnam, Laos, and most of Cambodia by the end of May. This map was


received in two versions, one for ground use and the other for air operations. In mid-1966, the very popular pictomap started to arrive in Vietnam. It was a photo-based, color-intensified map supplement produced at a scale of 1:25,000, intended for use by the small unit leader. Captured maps were particularly important since Viet Cong place names often varied from the South Vietnamese government designations. Because of their value during interrogations, Viet Cong maps were reproduced in monochrome print and distributed to selected users in the intelligence community.


Meteorological services were provided to Military Assistance Command by the Southeast Asia Joint Operations Weather Center via three media: oral briefings, including a weekly briefing for General Westmoreland; a daily written and pictorial weather forecast for South Vietnam and all of Southeast Asia; and specific daily weather forecasts for individual ground operations in the Republic of Vietnam. Weather support for major combat operations was provided by U.S. Air Force combat weather teams of the 5th Weather Squadron that prepared tactical forecasts. The excellence of the over-all meteorological program evoked praise from General Westmoreland to the effect that "no other U.S. military commander ever had the advantage of the outstanding weather support which I had at my disposal."

In the early days we had a serious problem in trying to get sufficient weather data to permit the preparation of accurate forecasts and to maintain data on current conditions throughout the country. The solution was surprisingly simple but extremely successful. We again called upon the Special Forces to provide a service vital to the command-weather reporting. The A detachments deployed within all corps were ideally suited for submitting weather data. It was a relatively simple task to train the Special Forces personnel in gathering the information, and their excellent communications facilities permitted rapid submission of reports.


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