At that time there was no difficulty in finding either the NVA or VC. As Ambassador Komer of CORDS later observed, the attrition strategy appeared to work during the offensives because the enemy "abandoned his hit and run strategy" and more or less met the allies on their own terms. Through at least the first nine months of 1968, pacification took a back seat until the Communists apparently reverted to their concept of protracted war at the end of the year. s"
Still, there were other reasons for the lack of contention between MACV and III MAF over strategy and emphasis on pacification. With the establishment of the Marine base at Khe Sanh and the beginning of the building of the barrier along the DMZ in 1967, the depletion of Marine troop strength from the populated coastal areas, especially around Da Nang and Chu Lai, dashed any hopes that the Marines may have had to push a strong population control strategy. Even the commitment of the Army's Americal Division to I Corps in 1967 did not provide III MAF with the density of troop strength it required, especially in the Da Nang area. General Cushman, the III MAF commander, later commented that "the threat in the north . . . drained the resources from pacification. I would say it prevented us from doing more pacification."40
Personality also was a consideration. While General Cushman professed to support the pacification concepts of General Walt, he was less the crusader and evangelical believer than his predecessor. According to Major General Norman J. Anderson, the 1st MAW commander, from his perspective, "there was a lessening of emphasis upon the population during the period I was in the III MAF area. I think that General Cushman was very skeptical of that idea."* To be fair to the III MAF commander, in 1968, there were several issues that competed for his attention, not the least of which were Khe Sanh, the Tet Offensive including the battle for Hue, the insertion of Army units under his command, the establishment of MACV Forward later to become XXIV Corps, and Single Manager.41
Another factor that played a role in lessening tension over pacification with MACV was the expanding role that CORDS began to play in pacification. With the advent of CORDS in May 1967, Henry Koren, an experienced foreign service officer and diplomat, became the CORDS chief in I Corps. With the CORDS organization now part of the military chain of command, Koren reported directly to Cushman as well as through the CORDS administrative network. According to the III MAF commander, Koren served as "my advisor so to speak-staff officer [on pacification] ... he was always at briefings every morning and worked right in with us." Under Koren, there was a CORDS advisor in each of the five provinces who worked directly with the South Vietnamese province chief in support of the local Revolutionary Development program. Cushman described the I Corps CORDS organization as relatively effective: responsible for logistic and policy support of Revolutionary Development, "it went side by side" with the III MAF Combined Action program and "you could get down to province capitals with supplies and so on and advice."42
This cooperation in support of Revolutionary Development continued for the most part with Keren's successor, another civilian, C. T. Cross, through 1968, although questions remained about coordination on the local level, especially with the Combined Action Program. The CORDS organization in I Corps reflected the new intermixture of the military and U.S. civilians in the pacification program. For example, in October 1968, the New Life Development program, Revolutionary Development, Psychological Operations, Public Safety, and Refugees were all run by civilians. The Assistant Deputy for CORDS, L. D. Puckett, was also a civilian. U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel H. W. Naushuetz, the commanding officer of the 29th Civil Affairs Company, and U.S. Army Major R. D. Becker, who headed the Chieu Hoi advisory office, both came under the I Corps CORDS organization. Of the U.S. five province senior advisors, three were military and two were civilian.43
While the CORDS organization may have been a combination of both military and civilian personnel, the new structure actually enhanced General Cushman's authority in I Corps. As the I Corps Senior Advisor together with his responsibility as Commanding General, III MAF, Cushman already controlled all the U.S. military forces in the Corps sector. Now with the CORDS organization under him, he combined in his person both the U.S. military and pacification responsibilities for the northern five provinces.
*General Earl E. Anderson, who as a brigadier general served as the III MAF Chief of Staff, disagreed with Major General Norman Anderson, and contended that General Cushman supported Marine pacification efforts especially the Combined Action Program, "even though III MAF had to contribute quite a bit of infantry to the program, he thought that it was well worth the effort." Gen Earl E. Anderson, Comments on draft, dtd 18Dec94 (Vietnam Comment File), hereafter E. E. Anderson Comments. Lieutenant General Krulak on the other hand agreed with Major General Norman Anderson that General Cushman was "more skeptical" about the possibility of pacification than General Walt. Krulak Comments.