The United States Army's long march from Saigon to Baghdad: The development of war-fighting doctrine in the post-Vietnam era

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


David H. Bennett


American studies, History, International law, International relations, American history

Subject Categories

Military and Veterans Studies


This study, The United States Army's Long March From Saigon to Baghdad: The Development of War-Fighting Doctrines in the Post-Vietnam Era, examines, in very broad terms, the post-Vietnam tactical war-fighting doctrines of the Army--Active Defense (1976), AirLand Battle (1982), Airland Battle (1986), and AirLand Operations (1993)--and some of the factors that appear to have influenced the development of these doctrines. More specifically, it looked for, in general, changes in the US Army's war-fighting doctrines since Vietnam, who instituted the changes, and some of the factors (internal and external) partially responsible for the forms doctrine took between 1973 and 1993.

The research methodology was a historical survey using document reviews, written inquiries, and personal interviews. Because there is little written outside the Army on the internal development of its war-fighting doctrine, much information came from private correspondence, personal interviews, professional military journals, and the author's eighteen years of military service. Sources included many unclassified publications and individuals who were directly involved with the development of the Army's war-fighting doctrines since the end of the Vietnam War. The cutoff date for information is 14 June 1993--the publication date of the Army's latest war-fighting doctrine: Field Manual 100-5, Operations (AirLand Operations).

This study concludes the United States Army's organizational culture, though subtle, nevertheless remained influential in the Army's development of its post-Vietnam war-fighting doctrines--Active Defense (1976), AirLand Battle (1982), Airland Battle (1986), and AirLand Operations (1993).


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