This April, 1962 symposium was held at a time when Kennedy Administration officials were focusing increasingly on the growing communist insurgency in Vietnam and on the verge of radically expanding the numbers, roles, and types of US military forces in that country. The purpose of the symposium was to distill lessons and insights from past insurgent conflicts that might help to inform and shape the US involvement in Vietnam and to foster the effective prosecution of other future counterinsurgency campaigns.
To gather these lessons and insights, Rand brought to the same conference table twelve US and allied officers and civilian officials who had expertise and a proven record of success in some aspects of guerrilla or counterinsurgency warfare. As their biographies will testify, the accomplishments and backgrounds of the symposium's formal participants gave their views significant credibility. Each participant could claim firsthand experience with guerrilla or counterinsurgent operations in one or more of the following post-World War II conflicts: Algeria, China, Greece, Kenya, Laos, Malaya, Oman, South Vietnam, and the Philippines. Three of the participants had led or operated with anti-Japanese guerrilla or guerrilla-type units in Burma and the Philippines during World War II.
During five days of meetings, the participants exchanged views on a wide spectrum of topics relating to the political, military, economic, intelligence, and psychological measures required to defeat insurgencies. Convinced that the fundamental verities of effective counterinsurgency policy and practice that were elucidated by the participants remain as valid today as they were 44 years ago, Rand decided to republish the symposium proceedings.
Among the insights that emerged from the discussions, the reader will find a number of counterinsurgency best practices that seem especially germane to the insurgency challenges confronted today by the United States and its allies.
Charles T.R. Bohannan, Lieutenant Colonel, AUS-Ret.
Wendell W. Fertig, Colonel, USA-Ret.
David Galula, Lieutenant Colonel (French Marine Corps)
Anthony S. Jeapes, Captain (British Army)
Frank E. Kitson, MBE, MC, Lieutenant Colonel (British Army)
Edward Geary Lansdale, Brigadier General, USAF
Rufus C. Phillips, III
David Leonard Powell-Jones, DSO, OBEY Brigadier General (British Army)
John R. Shirley, OBE, Colonel (British Army-Ret.)
Napoleon D. Valeriano, Colonel (formerly with the Armed Forces of the Philippines)
John F. White, Colonel (Royal Australian Army)
Samuel V. Wilson, Lieutenant Colonel, USA
Counterinsurgency: A Symposium, April 16-20, 1962 - Rand report.