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BILL

for additional defense items. I must now go to Armed Services and

Chairman ELLENDER. I read Admiral Moorer's statement as well as yours, Mr. Secretary. It is all based on what you think are the Russian

Senator Young, Mr. Chairman, I am wondering if we couldn't have a short briefing on what is going on in Laos and in North and South Vietnam. All we hear on the television and read in the newspapers deals with withdrawal. I wonder if we could have that briefing now. noon to hear the Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of

Mr. Chairman, I will not be able to attend the meeting this afterStaff. I have arranged for a meeting of a delegation on model cities this afternoon, so I will not be able to be here. this morning. That was the reason I came over here. If we could take

Senator SEMINGTON. I was wondering if that was going to happen for a long time. This is most important for proper management o

would. It is serious indeed when you hear on the news that American

couple of minutes to do it, if the Chair would approve, I hope we troops have refused to obey the orders of their commanders. that opportunity. We can start out today with a briefing on that,

Secretary LAIRD. Mr. Chairman, we would be delighted to have and Admiral Moorer and I are prepared to give such a briefing should

Chairman ELLENDER. Suppose you proceed that way and give us lateness in the authorization and the appropriation process to submit

Secretary LAIRD. Admiral Moorer, why don't you use the charts

ADVANCE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

many of these reprogramings until mid-January. But if we can have

our bill earlier, if we can manage our programs based on appropriaChairman ELLENDER. As has been the past custom and in the interest tions provided prior to the start of the fiscal year, we can do a better of saving time, I have asked the staff to prepare pertinent questions job not only for the Department of Defense, but we can do a better related to the budget and to submit them to the Department of Defense

job for our country. for proper response

. Senator Young has also submitted similar ques Chairman ELLENDER. As I said, we will bend every effort to have tions for reply by the Department. These questions and answers will this bill enacted in the latter part of July or early August assuming be found in the record at appropriate places.

a timely enactment of the authorization bill. That is about the best we can do. By the time the House sends it to us, as I said, we should have all of these hearings behind us, and I would judge that in not

more than 2 or 212 weeks we would have the bill in conference. Mr. Secretary, I note that your statement includes 258 pages

. I assume you will submit the entire statement for the record and highlight

SOUTHEAST ASIA PRESENTATION BY ADMIRAL MOORER it for the committee. However, I think it would be desirable if you would read your requests dealing with the Safeguard ABM system Senator Symington. Mr. Chairman, I have to leave. Can I say a

word? and our commitments to NATO. Admiral Moorer, you briefed the subcommittee on the military situa

Chairman ELLENDER. Yes, sir. tion in Southeast Asia on March 2. However, I wish you would take Senator Symington. First, I am very much impressed with the way a few minutes today to bring us up-to-date, especially on the current Admiral Moorer gave the briefing. For the first time since Admiral operations in Laos and Cambodia.

Radcliff

, we see not only what we have but also what it is estimated

the enemy has. AUTHORIZATION LEGISLATION AND EARLY ENACTMENT OF APPROPRIATION This seems very important when we look at the requests for funds

I hope to get back. Mr. Secretary, I want to assure you that the members of this sub

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. committee are aware of the problems caused by the late enactment of this bill during the last fiscal

year. I am hopeful that we will be able to have the authorizations enacted as soon as possible, because last year, as I recall

, a good deal of the delay was caused by delay in the authorization bills. This year I hope we shall all be able to work together in both the

WAR ACTION IN LAOS, NORTH VIETNAM AND SOUTH VIETNAM authorization stage and the appropriation procedure in order to proces a bill from the House of Representatives, I can assure you that this committee will conclude its deliberations and report this bill to the Senate. I would even hope to have it within a few weeks after we re

That is about the best we can do. I can assure you that we will do our best to have it enacted at the earliest opportunity.

REPROGRAMING PROCEDURES Secretary Lair. Mr. Chairman, that is the best news we have had the Department of Defense. I realize the difficulties that were encount tered in the last session of Congress. But, as you know, we did not get our appropriations until the 11th day of January. With the Congress not coming back into session until the latter part of January, this has caused certain problems as far as our reprograming proves dures are concerned. than there was in the last fiscal year

. We were unable, because of the There has been less reprograming so far in the current fiscal year

You may proceed.

.

this committee desire.

the highlights.

that you have

Chairman ELLEN DER. Do you want this presentation off the record ?
Secretary LAIRD. No, it will be on the record.
Admiral MOORER. Anyway you would like it.

Secretary Laird. This will be on the classified record, and we will release as much of it as we can, of course.

Chairman ELLENDER. Admiral, you may proceed.

OPERATION IN LAOS : LAMSON 719

Admiral MOORER. Mr. Chairman, as you know, sir, there are two operations taking place today associated with the overall effort to disrupt the supplies and disrupt the overall capabilities of the North Vietnamese. Now, most of what you have seen in the press has concerned the operation in Laos, what we call Lamson 719. This operation, started 6 weeks ago on February 8, was designed primarily to disrupt the flow of supplies through this area (indicating). This is the “key“ portion of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

INTERDICTION OF FLOW OF SUPPLIES The operation was part and parcel of an overall effort since the beginning of the dry season to interdict the flow of VC and NVA supplies coming into South Vietnam from the three passes up in the North (indicating] down into Laos, where they feed into various routes going to South Vietnam.

The operation did proceed as far west as Tchepone. The tactics of the operation required the establishment of landing zones and fire support bases on both sides of Highway 9 [indicating), which runs all the way down from Danang to Thailand.

From these landing zones and fire support bases, the South Vietnamese were able to spread out, sweep the area, disrupt the NVA supply lines, and destroy those supplies which they were able to find.

NORTH VIETNAM VIOLENT REACTION : TROOP AND EQUIPMENT INCREASES

At the beginning of the operation the North Vietnamese had 13,000 combat troops plus a very large number of support forces; namely, those that actually transport materials down through this area.

When the operations was initiated, the North Vietnamese reacted violently. They put in a total of 11'regiments, about 33 battalions, they brought in some artillery and used tanks quite extensively for the first time. As a matter of fact, they have a total, I believe, of about [deleted] tanks and they brought over 100 into this general area, despite the fact that it is quite hilly.

B-52 TACTICAL AIRCRAFT AND HELIGUNSHIPS ATTACK ON CONCENTRATIONS

It is quite mountainous and it is most difficult to maneuver tanks there in the accepted sense. Since February 8, then, we have seen a concentration of North Vietnamese troops in the area, and therefore the South Vietnamese have been able to use the concept of forcing the North Vietnamese to mass and then calling in air, B-52's, tactical air, and heligunships, to work on these concentrations of North Vietnamese.

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I think it is significant to note that the North Vietnamese had not concentrated their forces before this operation and they had not made such massive attacks on defensive points since the Tet operation in 1968. As a result of their massing, they have suffered a continually high loss rate. Today it is estimated that they have lost over 13,000.

General Abrams estimates they have lost the equivalent of about one-third of the maneuver battalions that they had in there. Further estimates indicate as many as half of the enemy maneuver battalions involved are now considered ineffective.

Chairman ELLENDER. Killed!

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OPERATION PHASES

Admiral Moorer. The number killed runs in the same proportion to that which I have just given.

As you know, sir, the operation was divided into three phases from the very outset last fall, when they began their planning. The first phase was to maneuver into the area, the next phase was to search the area, and the third phase was to move back into South Vietnam.

The South Vietnamese are now conducting the third phase. It was recognized at the outset that a withdrawal when in contact with the enemy, would be a difficult military operation; it was also recognized by the South Vietnamese that the fighting was going to have to be in close quarters and very severe. Still they were prepared to stand in there and accept the anticipated losses.

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The overall objective was, of course, to disrupt the supply operation in here (indicating] and to force the North Vietnamese to concentrate their troops

. Generally speaking, the operation in terms of the estimates has worked out as anticipated. The reaction of the North Vietnamese has been just about as heavy as they could possibly lay on.

SOUTH VIETNAM AND NORTH VIETNAM DEPLOYMENTS

During the past week, in particular, we have had the most intense fighting. These colors that I show here, noting that this is the LaosSouth Vietnamese border, indicate generally how the South Vietnamese have positioned their forces. The dark blue are the marines, the green is the 1st Division, the armored cavalry (in orange) was in the vicinity of the road, and the airborne division and the rangers are shown in yellow. Note where they formed a blocking position against the forces that were brought down from North Vietnam. I should point out that the 304th, the 308th, and the 320th North Vietnamese Divisions were brought into this area before and during the Khe Sanh fighting. These three divisions normally are part of the key defense of North Vietnam. They were deployed down into this area (indicating) and they have been rather heavily mauled.

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NORTH VIETNAM DIVERSION OF SUPPLIES AND AMMUNITION EXPENDITURE

I think another factor that must be borne in mind is that the North Vietnamese have been forced to divert their supply effort—which had been aimed at a throughput—to supplying the very large number of forces that they have committed in this area. So most of their logistics effort, then, was focused on stopping this operation and the expenditure of ammunition on the part of the North Vietnamese has been intense. [Deleted.]

SOUTH VIETNAM CAPTURE OF FOOD AND EQUIPMENT

Incidentally, almost 3 million pounds of food, mostly rice, has been captured or destroyed by the South Vietnamese in this general area. In addition to that, more than 4,700 rifles, and-individual weapons and well over 1,000 of what we call crew-served weapons-mortars and machine guns—have been captured. Over 200,000 gallons of NVA POL have been lost.

This pipeline which I have drawn in here has been disrupted in several places. Thus, a very large amount of the logistic capability of the North Vietnamese has been absorbed in this operation.

PRESENT SITUATION

Today the situation is as follows:

South VIETNAM CASUALTIES AND NONDISRUPTION OF TACTICAL INTEGRITY

The South Vietnamese have 11 maneuver battalions in Laos, plus some armored cavalry units and some engineer units along with them. They have been making an orderly movement to the East, although they have been in some very intense battles. For instance, the marines reported, during a 72-hour action just completed, over 1,000 enemy killed. In no case has the South Vietnamese tactical integrity been disrupted.

It is true there have been isolated incidents with platoons or companies where they have not fought as well as we would have hoped. General Abrams, with whom I spoke on the telephone last night, is well satisfied with the way they fought on an overall basis.

This was the first time the South Vietnamese have been on their own without American advisers. They had to make all the decisions. They had to call for all their support. They had to arrange for their logistics and they have done it all very well.

We feel that the overall effect of this operation is going to be a definite plus.

CONTINUED FIGHTING: BASE AREA 611

It is not over yet. There is still some further activity in this area [indicating] in what we call base area 611, one of the key points from which the North Vietnamese mount their effort into South Vietnam. Although it is not over yet, I think it is very imporant to point out to you, sir, how the situation has already changed overall.

NORTH VIETNAM FIGHTING ACTIVITIES

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Today the North Vietnamese are fighting in five places. They are fighting here in Southern Laos, they are fighting here in Northern Laos, they are fighting here in Cambodia west of the Mekong; they are fighting heavily against the South Vietnamese in what we call the Chup Plantation area, and they are continuing to conduct guerrillatype warfare inside South Vietnam.

The point is obvious that they are spread very thin on a wide front, and this will cause a degrading of their overall capability, particularly in the logistics field. We are confident the current operation Lamson 719 will have a very serious impact on their capability in the future to mount “main force operations," and, hence, we expect the overall impact of the operation to facilitate Vietnamization and our with

I think when you read accounts of this operation, it is quite easy to see how people would be quite disturbed, because no one has shown a TV picture of an interview with a North Vietnamese, as to how they are making out. In other words, the other side of the picture doesn't get into focus at all.

But I assure you that they are taking some very severe punishment, if not the most severe punishment they have taken since this war started. For the first time they have chosen to concentrate at a level which we have not observed before.

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drawal program.

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We have laid on very heavy air attacks -B-52's, tactical air, and the heligunship variety. Whenever a target shows itself in this general area, it gets hit. I think what will happen is that the South Vietnamese will continue to consolidate their position in here (indicating), on both sides of the border.

As you know, we are using Khesanh, which is right here [indicating] as the prime logistics base to support these operations. We have blocking positions up in here to stop any move from the northwest. I think there is another

Chairman ELLENDER. Those are mostly Americans, aren't they? Admiral MOORER. The green shows the South Vietnamese and the blue are Americans.

I think there is another point that should be made here. That is that we have some evidence that the North Vietnamese were preparing a large-scale move into Military Region I, and now it is doubtful that they will be able to conduct such operations on a large scale, as a result of what has happened here.

Also, I think it is significant that their very key units, those three divisions I mentioned--the 304th, 308th, and 320th-have been very severely damaged. The fighting is not over. There is going to be more fighting. But the South Vietnamese are staying in there.

OPERATION EVALUATION

Secretary Laird and I have said many times when this operation started that we did not expect the South Vietnamese to win every

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