The Office of Civil Operations and Rural Support (CORDS)
CORDS was organized on May 28, 1967. The office, under the direction of Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (COMUSMACV), was responsible for providing military and civil support of pacification in Vietnam. Generally, the hierarchy consisted of the Deputy for CORDS (DEPCORDS), the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, CORDS, and twelve directorates. The headquarters office and its directorates oversaw the CORDS programs in the four U.S. military regions in South Vietnam. Each military region had its own office which basically mirrored the hierarchy of the headquarters office.
- Military Region I, located in northern South Vietnam, contained the following provinces: Quang Tri, Thua Thien, Quang Nam, Quang Tin, and Quang Ngai.
- Military Region II, located in central South Vietnam, contained the following provinces: Kontum, Binh Dinh, Pleiku, Phu Bon, Phu Yen, Darlac, Khanh Hoa, Quang Duc, Tuyen Duc, Ninh Thuan, Lam Dong, and Binh Thuan.
- Military Region III, located in south central South Vietnam, contained the following provinces: Phuoc Long, Long Khanh, Binh Tuy, Binh Long, Binh Duong, Bien Hoa, Phuoc Tuy, Tay Ninh, Hau Nghia, Gia Dinh, and Long An.
- Military Region IV, located in southern South Vietnam, contained the provinces: Kien Tuong, Dinh Tuong, Go Cong, Kien Hoa, Kien Phong, Sa Dec, Vinh Long, Vinh Binh, Chau Doc, An Giang, Phong Dinh, Ba Xuyen, Kien Giang, Chuong Thien, Bac Lieu, and An Xuyen.
The Deputy for CORDS was responsible to COMUSMACV for carrying out all military and civil actions in support of the Government of Vietnam's pacification efforts.
Assistant Chief of Staff (ACofS) for CORDS
The Assistant Chief of Staff (ACofS) for CORDS was the lead staff assistant to COMUSMACV on US civil/military support for the Government of Vietnam's pacification program. This program included the military, para-military, political, economic, and social process of establishing or re-establishing a local government that the people would support.
Executive Director for Civil Operations
The Executive Director for Civil Operations had responsibility under the ACofS, CORDS for coordinating all civil aspects of pacification and development. He also served as ACofS, CORDS representative and liaison with other US agencies and GVN authorities.
The Executive Secretary to ACofS and Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff (DACofS), CORDS headed the Executive Secretariat and established administrative policies and procedures for the internal operation of the Office of the ACofS, CORDS. These responsibilities included: monitoring and coordinating the administrative actions of the staff and the Directorates; instituting appropriate coordination of actions; and assuring conformance with MACV policies.
The Pacification Study Group had the responsibility for evaluating the effectiveness of and conducting or coordinating studies of various aspects of the Pacification Program under the direction of DEPCORDS/MACV and the ACofS, CORDS.
The Plans, Policy, and Programs Directorate (PPD)
The PPD advised and assisted the Government of Vietnam (GVN) Central Pacification and Development Council (CPDC) and other GVN agencies in the development of pacification plans, policies, and concepts. It was also responsible for conducting CORDS review and approval of pacification programs and contributed to plans and policies developed by other MACV staff sections. Additionally, the directorate negotiated with USAID and GVN on all resource levels, and coordinated with US and GVN field commanders regarding the implementation of programs.
The Community Development Directorate (CDD)
The CDD advised and assisted the GVN Ministry of Rural Development (MORD), the Ministry for Development of Ethnic Minorities (MDEM), and the Ministry of the Interior (MOI). The Directorate recommended MACCORDS input to U.S. Mission policies and programs for Community Development. It coordinated MACV supported community-oriented programs and policies with other U.S. agencies, including the Embassy and USAID. Additionally, it supervised the administration of MACCORDS Assistance in Kind funds. The Directorate also provided support and advisory assistance to the National Training Center for Cadre at Vung Tau.
NARA has the records from the Office of the Director , the Ethnic Minorities Division, the Rural Development Cadre Division, the New Life Development Division, and the Local and Village Development Division
The Chieu Hoi Directorate (CHD)
The CHD provided U.S. assistance to the over-all National Chieu Hoi Program. The Chieu Hoi ("Open Arms") Program was directed primarily toward those Vietnamese people who had given military, political, or economic support to the Viet Cong, offering an opportunity to rally to the GVN. The program also tried to induce members of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army to come over to the side of the GVN. The program would then attempt to convert these ralliers into useful citizens, through reindoctrination and training. The program also attempted to collect information to be used for intelligence and psychological operations purposes. Ultimately, the goal of the program was to weaken the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army by loss of military and civilian personnel and weapons while simultaneously strengthening the GVN.
The War Victims Directorate (WVD)
The WVD developed policy proposals, goals, objectives, and guidelines for U.S. assistance to the GVN refugee, social welfare, war veterans, and youth affairs programs. NARA has records from the Refugees Division and the War Veterans Division.
The Reports and Analysis Directorate (RAD)
The RAD operated a broad range management information system for MACCORDS. It developed computer programs (such as the Hamlet Evaluation System and the Territorial Forces Evaluation System) in support of MACCORDS directorates and GVN pacification objectives as well as controlling all MACCORDS field reporting. The Directorate conducted analyses of the pacification processes to define problems and recommend solutions. Additionally, the Directorate provided staff support services to the ACofS, CORDS, and MACCORDS directorates relating to reports, graphics, briefings, and management information systems.
The Management Support Directorate (MSD)
The MSD supervised and coordinated activities and developed plans, policies, and procedures in management and administrative areas. These included manpower planning, manpower development, management analysis, provision of administrative support to CORDS, translation and publication of U.S. versions of GVN pacification-related publications, air operations (including managing Air America), and security. NARA has records of the Administrative Division and the Translation and Publications Branch of the Administrative Division.
The Territorial Security Directorate (TSD)
The TSD advised and assisted the GVN Joint General Staff (JGS) in relation to the Regional Force and Popular Force (RF/PF) and the GVN Ministry of Interior relative to the Peoples Self Defense Force (PSDF). NARA has records of the TSD as well as the Regional Forces/Popular Forces Division of the Territorial Security Directorate.
The Phung Hoang Directorate (Known as the Phoenix program by the Americans assisting in the program) was designed to support the GVN Phung Hoang Plan for intelligence coordination and exploitation. The Directorate's goal was the neutralization of the Viet Cong infrastructure. It provided day-to-day staff direction, training, coordination, and support to field operations.
The Public Safety Directorate (PSD)
The PSD developed and recommended policy proposals, goals, objectives, and guidelines for the U.S. public safety program in support of the GVN National Police; and advised and assisted the GVN National Police, Combined Telecommunications Directorate, and Directorate of Corrections. Additionally, the Directorate evaluated PSD programs and personnel, compiled management reports and other research projects, and prepared material to illustrate the PSD program. NARA has records of the Directorate, the Field Operations Division, the Communications and Records Center, and the Telecommunications Division.
The Saigon Civil Assistance Group (SCAG)
SCAG managed and directed U.S. civil assistance to all governmental elements under the jurisdiction of the Prefect (Mayor) of Saigon, and coordinated all U.S. mission programs and projects having impact upon the social and economic life of Saigon residents. The Director, SCAG reported to the Commanding Officer, Capital Military Assistance Command for security matters and to the Assistance Chief of Staff, CORDS for non-security matters. The Group defined U.S. objectives and the methods and requirements for meeting them. Additionally, the Group prepared the Saigon Sector Strategy Plan, coordinated and reviewed program submission and implementation, developed information programs and psychological operations and was responsible for the Chieu Hoi advisory program.