Military Leadership In Vietnam War

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Military leaders resent McNamara’s intrusion into their services’ business. Countering the resistance of the existing Joint Service Chiefs (JCS), McNamara replaces all them with officers who accept and defer to civilian authority (p. 29). By the time Vietnam starts McNamara transforms the U.S. war command system to one of crisis management with yes-men at the head of the services (p. 30). War leadership runs directly from the president, through the SECDEF to the commander in the field. The service chiefs are at best advisors. To maintain some influence, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) adopts a “Foot in the door” policy with President Johnson. His tactic is to push for what he wants but to accept what he can get (p.49). Still, military leaders are upset at having to fight a war under peacetime procedures. This has a significant impact on operations in Vietnam. The services essentially fight their own wars within their areas of responsibility. The Army concentrates on major combat actions seeking to destroy the enemy. The Marines concentrate their efforts on counterinsurgency actions and the Airforce focuses on deep interdictions. In lieu of guidance,…show more content…
LBJ’s micromanagement, compartmented leadership and consensus building approach resulted in ineffective senior leadership and no unity of effort. Other authors on this subject agree to Herring’s characterization of LBJ. Johnson’s dysfunctional leadership, and his desire to maintain consensus, in order to present a unified front for domestic public appeal caused severe dysfunction within his administration. His compartmented planning, using only three principal advisors caused confusion. NSC members and other staffs did not like the Tuesday lunches meetings because the word did not get captured formally in notes and memos. It was told by word of mouth so it never was delivered accurately (p.

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