“pacification and protection of the South Vietnamese population-a clear-and-hold approach-was more appropriate than the search-and-destroy attrition strategy. As the saying goes, if the people were for you, you would triumph in the end. If they were against you, the war would bleed you dry, and you would be defeated.” (Kopets, 2002)
Hence, notwithstanding its problems in execution, CAP proved a viable strategy for providing local security in South Vietnam. There are skeptics though, who argue that the final outcome of the Vietnam War would not have changed even if CAP was implemented on a larger scale. But, when one considers how CAP-style organization continues to be incorporated in contemporary war operations, its validity as a tactic is reinforced. For example, in the War on Terror operations in Afghanistan (which began in the wake of September 11, 2001 terror strikes on American soil), combined action began having an effect immediately. Firstly, corruption dropped. The reason is that “it is hard to be dishonest when you live and work with a partner who is not dishonest. Corruption isn’t gone, but CAP has been a big part of reducing it.” (Combined Action in Afghanistan, 2010) Secondly, the management of overall operations improved drastically. The following observation from a contemporary marine officer underscores the relevance and importance of CAP for current and future military endeavours:
“When my Soldiers and the Afghans moved into the same CPs [command posts] and TOCs [tactical operations centers], we opened a new world for them. It was right before my eyes for years, but I never realized that my Afghan partners did not have a current ops or CHOPs [chief of operations] capability. Finally, the ANSF combat support systems improved – pay, maintenance, logistics and more. I am not trying to overstate this. There is still a lot of room to grow. My point is: combined action yields results quickly.” (Combined Action in Afghanistan, 2010)
“Prescriptions from the Front.” The Washington Times (Washington, DC) 22 Feb. 2011: B04.
Clark, Gregory R. Words of the Vietnam War: The Slang, Jargon, Abbreviations, Acronyms, Nomenclature, Nicknames, Pseudonyms, Slogans, Specs, Euphemisms, Double-Talk, Chants, and Names and Places of the Era of United States Involvement in Vietnam. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1990.
“Combined Action in Afghanistan.” Army Aug. 2010: 69+.
Hemingway, Al. “Author Seeks to Help Complete Vietnam Puzzle.” VFW Magazine Mar. 2001: 14+.
Kopets, Keith F. “The Combined Action Program: Vietnam.” Military Review 82.4 (2002): 78+.