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Diane Publishing Books
Advising Indigenous Forces: American Advisors in Korea, Vietnam, and El Salvador
Robert D. Ramsey III (au); Timothy R. Reese (fr)
The U.S. Army has recently embarked on massive advisory missions with foreign militaries in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the globe. We are simultaneously engaged in a huge effort to learn how to conduct those missions for which we do not consistently prepare. This historical study examines three cases in which the U.S. Army has performed this same mission in the last half of the 20th century. In Korea during the 1950s, in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, and in El Salvador in the 1980s the Army was tasked to build and advise host nation armies during a time of war. The author makes several key arguments about the lessons the Army thought it learned at the time.Among these are the need for US advisors to have extensive language and cultural training, the lesser importance for them of technical and tactical skills training, and the need to adapt U.S .organizational concepts, training techniques, and tactics to local conditions. The author also notes the great importance of the host nationís leadership buying into and actively supporting the development of a performance-based selection, training, and promotion system. To its credit, the institutional Army learned these hard lessons, from successes and failures, during and after each of the cases examined in this study. However, they were often forgotten as the Army prepared for the next major conventional conflict. These lessons are still important and relevant today.
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