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Buon Enao Experiment

A village defense experiment in the small village of Buon Enao in the highlands of Central Vietnam was the predecessor of the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG). The initial concept was developed by a U.S. aid worker and members of the Central Intelligence Agency. This experiment, started in late 1961, required the approval of the U.S. 'country team' and the leaders of the South Vietnamese government. The experiment was a combined effort of the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Army Special Forces. They were assisted by a South Vietnamese Special Forces team composed of Montenards. The CIA conducted the initial negotiations and coordination and a Special Forces team from the 1st Special Forces Group on Okinawa conducted the initial weapons and tactical training of the villages.

The villagers were part of the Rhade tribe - a group of 'highanders' that inhabited this area. These 'mountain people' were ethnically different from the Vietnamese who inhabited the coast and lowland areas of Vietnam and were somewhat autonomous from the Vietnamese government. The villagers were recognized as a critical asset in the counterinsurgency effort against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese government.

Village Defense Program (VDP). The experiment was initially called the Village Defense Program but it soon was referred to as the Civilian Irregular Defense Group.

Papers and Reports about Buon Enao

Harris, Dr. J.P., The Buon Enao Experiment and American Counterinsurgency, Central Library, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, 2013. Sandhurst Occasional Papers No 13.

References about Buon Enao

Civilian Irregular Defense Groups. macvsog.cc

"Beginnings of the Civilian Irregular Defense Group Program", Chapter II.



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