National Security Action Memorandum No. 131, "Training Objective for Counter-Insurgency," McGeorge Bundy, 13 March 1962

Source: The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 2, pp. 667-669


March 13, 1962


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

SUBJECT: Training Objectives for Counter-Insurgency

1. The President has approved the following training objectives for officer grade personnel of the departments and agencies indicated above who may have a role to play in counter-insurgency programs as well as in the entire range of problems involved in the modernization of developing countries.

a. The Historical Background of Counter-Insurgency

Personnel of all grades will be required to study the history of subversive insurgency movements, past and present, in order to familiarize themselves with the nature of the problems and characteristics of Communist tactics and techniques as related to this particular aspect of Communist operations. This kind -of background historical study will be offered throughout the school systems of the responsible departments and agencies, beginning at the junior level of instruction and carrying forward to the senior level.

b. Study of Departmental Tactics and Techniques to Counter Subversive Insurgency

Junior and middle grade officers will receive instructions in the tactics and techniques of their particular departments which have an application in combating subversive insurgency. This level of instruction will be found in the schools of the Armed Services at the company/field officer level. In the case of the Central Intelligence Agency, this kind of instruction will be offered at appropriate training installations. The State Department will be responsible for organizing appropriate courses in this instructional area for its own officers and for representatives of the Agency for International Development and the United States Information Agency. Schools of this category will make available spaces in agreed numbers for the cross-training of other U.S. agencies with a counter-insurgency responsibility.

c. Instruction in Counter-Insurgency Program Planning

Middle grade and senior officers will be offered special training to prepare them for command, staff, country team and departmental positions involved in the planning and conduct of counter-insurgency programs. At this level the students will be made aware of the possible contributions of all departments, and of the need to combine the departmental assets into effective programs. This type of instruction will be given at the Staff College-War College level in the Armed Services. The State Department will organize such courses as may be necessary at the Foreign Service Institute for officials of State, Agency for International Development and United States Information Agency. All schools of this category will make available spaces in agreed numbers for the cross-training of other U.S. agencies with a counter-insurgency responsibility.

d. Specialized Preparations for Service in Underdeveloped Areas

There is an unfulfilled need to offer instruction on the entire range of problems faced by the United States in dealing with developing countries, including special area counter-insurgency problems, to middle and senior grade officers (both military and civilian) who are about to occupy important posts in underdeveloped countries. A school will accordingly be developed at the national level to meet this need, to teach general (including counter-insurgency) policy and doctrine with respect to under-developed areas, to offer studies on problems of the underdeveloped world keyed to areas to which the students are being sent, and to engage in research projects designed to improve the U.S. capability for guiding underdeveloped countries through the modernization barrier and for countering subversive insurgency. In addition, this school would undertake to assist other more specialized U.S. Government institutions engaged in underdeveloped area problems (i.e., those conducted by the Foreign Service Institute, Agency for International Development, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Services, including the Military Assistance Institute and the Central Intelligence Agency) to develop curricula on the nontechnical aspects of their courses of instruction.

e. Training of Foreign Nationals

It is in the interest of the United States to provide counter-insurgency training to selected foreign nationals, both in the United States and in their own countries. The emphasis should be placed on those countries with an actual or potential counter-insurgency problem. This training will be given in the following places:

(1) In facilities operated by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency which are available to foreigners.
(2) In special facilities operated by the Department of Defense and the Agency for International Development in Panama for the benefit of foreign nationals.
(3) U.S. MAAGs/missions and USOMs in countries with counterinsurgency programs.

2. It is desired that the Special Group (Counter-Insurgency) explore ways of organizing a school of the type described in paragraph 1 d above as a matter of urgency and develop appropriate recommendations. The Special Group (Counter-Insurgency) should also examine the possibility of setting up interim courses at the Foreign Service Institute and/or at the National War College to fill the gap during consideration of a new school.

3. It is desired that the addressees examine the counter-insurgency training which is currently offered in their departments and agencies, and to report by June 1, 1962 upon the adequacy with which it meets the training objectives above. If any deficiencies are determined to exist, the responsible department or agency will report its plan for correcting them.

/s/ McGeorge Bundy

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