Phoenix Program Term Paper

Pages: 75 (19225 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 50  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Military

¶ … Phoenix Program Lessons to Iraq

Scope and Significance


The Phoenix Program in Vietnam

Lessons Learned from Phoenix

Applications for Iraq

Selected Bibliography

APPLICATION of PHOENIX PROGRAM LESSONS to IRAQDownload full Download Microsoft Word File
paper NOW!

TOPIC: Term Paper on Phoenix Program Assignment

It is not at all unusual to hear popular comparisons made between the Vietnam War and the current war in Iraq and though most experts see only a casual relationship still others see a comparison that is not only valid but is applicable to the utilization of historical Vietnam tactics and lessons learned from them to formulate reasonable resolutions to the Iraq War. In a collection of essays analyzing the similarities and differences of the Vietnam and Iraq Wars, ed. David Ryan demonstrates that the two wars are very similar in public sentiment and that Vietnam is likely to remain a standing point of comparison with considerable influence over all present and future international policy issues. Record and Terrill collectively agree that the insurgence that is and will continue to create continued conflict in Iraq does not have the infrastructural external support that the Vietnamese Communists relied upon for success in their unofficial role. Yet, similarly the two groups, the Iraqi insurgents and the Vietnamese Communist insurgents are secondary to official military and civilian development. Lastly, the development of the official Iraqi government has some even greater weaknesses than the official civilian and military development systems in Vietnam, as such systems in Iraq have not attempted to develop collective support from society. This lacking will need significant address by the U.S. And Iraqi officials in the very near future because if the civil and military governments established by the nation are not popularly supported, and like Vietnam are rampant with corruption it will likely fail in the same manner that those structures in South Vietnam did during and post war period. From this historical observation one must come to the conclusion that support for the civilian and military infrastructure must be an aspect of any program built in Iraq that is similar to Phoenix, in addition to the tactical and intelligence decisions to attempt to weaken and destroy the insurgent support. Record and Terrell openly point out that in 2004 at the time of the writing of their work there was no such established plan in action in Iraq.

It is clear that there is no magic bullet that will easily resolve the convoluted conflict in Iraq or leave any lasting peace filled results, without extreme commitment from all parties. It is also clear that there will likely be a draw down of U.S. forces in Iraq, at some point in the near future which will leave the bulk of the responsibility to the newly formed and trained Iraqi police force and military. The resolution, most experts attest will be costly, lengthy and anything but easy, for both the U.S. And other support forces but most extremely for the Iraqis themselves. Some experts have looked back upon lessons learned in Vietnam from a particular tactical offensive known as "Operation Phoenix" as a source of hard learned information for some resolution of the complicated problems in Iraq. The primary focus of this thesis will be to identify key lessons learned from the Phoenix Program on countering Viet Cong Infrastructure (VCI) and apply these lessons to develop an effective strategy for current Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). In a summation report forwarded by the Strategic Studies Institute an expert group that is heavily relied upon by the U.S. administration and military for collective expert strategic analysis of conflict there is an open contrast and comparison between these two conflicts:

U.S. political and military difficulties in Iraq have prompted comparisons to the American war in Vietnam. How, in fact, do the two wars compare? What are the differences and similarities, and what insights can be gained from examining them? Does the Vietnam War have instructive lessons for those dealing with today's challenges in Iraq, or is that war simply irrelevant? In the pages that follow, two highly qualified analysts address these questions. Dr. Jeffrey Record, formerly a civilian pacification advisor in Vietnam and author of books on both the Vietnam and Iraq wars, and W. Andrew Terrill, author and co-author of several SSI studies on Iraq, conclude that the military dimensions of the two conflicts bear little comparison. Among other things, the sheer scale of the Vietnam War in terms of forces committed and losses incurred dwarfs that of the Iraq War. They also conclude, however, that failed U.S. state-building in Vietnam and the impact of declining domestic political support for U.S. war aims in Vietnam are issues pertinent to current U.S. policy in Iraq.

In short the expert analysts conclude that in scale the wars are completely different but in development the lessons of failed Vietnam state building and strategy can play an important role in understanding how the Iraqi war should be approached more effectively. The surrounding information, then on the manner in which the Phoenix Program was developed and administered by the U.S. In both civilian and military circles should be analyzed to determine how these conflicts are similar and how not to repeat the mistakes of the former war in the current war.

Research Question

This work will focus on one overriding research question: How might lessons learned from the Phoenix Program, established during the Vietnam War, apply to the current situation in Iraq? And several secondary questions to help form a developed and comprehensive view of the totality of Operation Phoenix and how the lessons learned from it might assist in OIF:

1. What were the historical lessons (Pre-Vietnamese, French, GVN/U.S.) that led up to the Phoenix Program?

2. How was it conducted in Vietnam?

3. How did the VC respond to Phoenix? How did the NVA (PAVN) respond to phoenix? What were the major differences, if any, in these responses?

4. What were the lessons learned from Phoenix Program?

5. How can the lessons learned from the Phoenix Program be applied to the current situation in Iraq?

The answers to these questions will form the basis for the answer to the main research question and also create a realistic comprehensive view of the positive and negative outcomes of the development and utilization of the Phoenix Program for the CIA, the VC and the NVA. The work will focus on both primary and secondary sources both, current i.e. retrospective and contemporary to the events of the Phoenix Program. There is a significant body of work which is critical to the tactics and events that developed as a result of the Phoenix Program and at least a limited body of work that supports at least some of the tactics that were utilized in an attempt to resolve the conflict created by insurgency activities in the nation of Vietnam. Looking at the good and the bad, beyond the debate, will assist the U.S. military and the Iraqi peoples in the development of a collaborative system that will ease the transition of Iraq back to a state of independence and relative peace.

Scope and Significance

The U.S. military will eventually draw down its operations in Iraq, at which time the security of the Iraqi people will fall on the shoulders of the newly-formed Iraqi security forces. Insurgents and terrorist groups are bound to exploit the opportunity to attack and disrupt the fragile military and police forces. Since the Iraqi militaries and national police will be the primary forces relied upon to conduct security operations to protect the cities and the people, they will need to develop an intelligence network using local and national assets to combat these threats. In the Vietnam War, Phoenix Program was set up by the CIA using South Vietnamese Army and local police intelligence apparatus to fight the insurgency mounted from the inside South Vietnam and the assault from the North. The Intelligence Community could potentially use the lessons learned from Phoenix to aid the current OIF.


The value of the lessons of the Phoenix program in both the positive and the negative is essentially a developed set of standards that have been tried and tested across many venues of conflict, intelligence, insurgency and counterinsurgency. As a result of these lessons, the U.S. military and the Iraqi civilian police and newly developed military can utilize some of these lessons to create an interrelated system, similar to that which was seen in Vietnam, where the U.S. military develops a system of training Iraqis to gain information and from this eliminate insurgency actions and possibly influence. In short the "ideal" of the Phoenix program should be followed again, with tighter controls over the individual actions of the plan.

Thesis Overview

Key lessons learned from the Phoenix Program will assist in developing a strategy for Iraq. There were lessons learned from the Phoenix Program that would seem almost tailor made for Operation Iraqi Freedom, yet it is clear that the pacification movement which Literature Review

The "ideal" of the Phoenix Program can be seen in one of the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

Two Ordering Options:

Which Option Should I Choose?
1.  Download full paper (75 pages)Download Microsoft Word File

Download the perfectly formatted MS Word file!

- or -

2.  Write a NEW paper for me!✍🏻

We'll follow your exact instructions!
Chat with the writer 24/7.

Phoenix Advertising Roanoke Branch 333 Dale Avenue Research Proposal

Past Present and Future Term Paper

University of Phoenix Term Paper

Online MBA Programs at the University Research Paper

University of Phoenix Resource Tools Term Paper

View 200+ other related papers  >>

How to Cite "Phoenix Program" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Phoenix Program.  (2008, June 25).  Retrieved September 17, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Phoenix Program."  25 June 2008.  Web.  17 September 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Phoenix Program."  June 25, 2008.  Accessed September 17, 2021.