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12th Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam

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The 12th Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam (Bộ Chính trị Ban Chấp hành trung ương Đảng Cộng sản Việt Nam Khoá XII) is the current Politburo of the ruling Communist Party in Vietnam. It was selected by the Central Committee of the Party at the 12th National Congress of the CPV on January 27, 2016, and is expected to serve until the 13th National Congress, tentatively scheduled for early 2021. The 19-member committee comprises 12 newcomers and seven returning members.[1] Within Vietnam's one-party political system, the Politburo de facto occupies the apex of the political system, with important government positions (president, prime minister, chair of the National Assembly) and leadership of the military and security forces almost always held by its members.

Since the incumbent president, prime minister, and chair of the National Assembly (Trương Tấn Sang, Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, and Nguyễn Sinh Hùng, all members of the 11th Politburo) were not selected to partake in the 12th Politburo, they were expected to retire when the National Assembly confirmed their successors in late 2016. The incumbent general secretary of the CPV, Nguyễn Phú Trọng, was re-elected to his post.

At the 11th session of the 13th National Assembly, a number of members of the new Politburo were confirmed as new leaders of state institutions.

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Transcription

I'm David Ferriero the Archivist of the United States and it's a pleasure to welcome you here this evening and I'm very pleased as you could join us whether you're joining us here in person joining us on our YouTube station or a special welcome to our C-Span audience. At the end of this month we mark the 50th anniversary of one of the key events of the Vietnam War the Tet Offensive tonight we'll hear from a panel of experts about its consequences in Vietnam and in the United States our partner for this program is the US Army Center of Military History and we thank them for their support we're honored to have former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel as our keynote speaker for today's panel discussion of the Tet Offensive and following the discussion Eric Villard will sign copies of his book Combat Operations but before we start I want to tell you about two other programs coming up here soon tomorrow at noon constitutional professor Gerald Magliocca will be here to talk about his new book the Heart of the Constitution how the Bill of Rights became the Bill of Rights and on Thursday February 1st at 7:00 we will partner with the US Association of Former Members of Congress for a program called Meet the Better Half Congressional Partners and Spouses and Families to learn more about these on all of our public programs and exhibits consult our monthly calendar of events at archives.gov and another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives foundation the foundation supports all of our education and outreach activities and there are applications for membership in the lobby or at archivesfoundation.org and a little-known secret that I keep telling everyone no one has ever been turned down for membership in the National Archives Foundation. Tonight's program is part of a series of discussions, films, lectures and other programs that tie into our current special exhibit Remembering Vietnam in the Lawrence F O'Brien gallery the exhibit is a fascinating collection of newly discovered and iconic original documents, images, film footage and artifacts that illuminate 12 critical episodes in the war that divided peoples of both the United States and Vietnam one of those episodes focuses on the Tet Offensive documents and photographs from the National Archives and its presidential libraries described the attacks and their consequences a particular blow to American public opinion of the war was the Vietcong infiltration of the US Embassy in Saigon represented in the exhibit by a map of the defense of the embassy and a memo describing the breach. If you haven't already gone through the exhibit I encourage you to come back and spend some time there Remembering Vietnam explores the war not only through documents but also through interviews with American and Vietnamese veterans and civilians and first-hand experience of the war's events now I ask all Vietnam veterans of any or any United States veteran who served on active duty and the US Armed Forces at any time during the period November 1st 1955 to May 15 1975 to stand and be recognized Veterans as you exit the McGowan theater this evening National Archives staff and volunteers will present each of you with the Vietnam veteran lapel pin on the back of the pin is embossed a grateful nation thanks and honors you the United States of America Vietnam War commemoration is a national initiative and the lapel pin is the nation's lasting memento of thanks. To get our discussion started I'll turn the lectern over to Charles F. Bowery, Jr. who is the executive director of the US Army Center of Military History Department of the Army, a retired colonel Charles Bowery was commissioned to the aviation branch of the US Army in 1988 he's seen service in the Pentagon and also served overseas in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan he's taught history at West Point from 2001 to 2003 and serves as the chief of doctrine and lessons learned at the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence ladies and gentlemen please welcome Charles Bowery jr. [Applause] Well good evening and I'll also extend my welcome to the National Archives and I'd like to begin by thanking David Ferriero and the staff of the National Archives for partnering with the Center of Military History to host this great event all of us historians see the National Archives is our personal Nirvana it's the place where we go much of our research as done here and I would also commend their outstanding Vietnam exhibit to you if you haven't seen it tonight we celebrate the release of the 12th volume in the CMH's official history series the United States Army in Vietnam in Staying the Course Dr. Erik Villard chronicles the US Army operations across Vietnam from October 1967 to September 1968 including of course the period of the Tet Offensive on the morning of 28 January 1968 the North Vietnamese Ministry of Defense notified its southern front commands via an encrypted radio transmission that the general offensive was to begin at midnight of between the 1st and 2nd days of Tet the Vietnamese Lunar New Year and a national holiday attacks across the country began the next day and continued for three weeks or more engulfing South Vietnam in savage fighting that left thousands dead on both sides and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese rendered homeless and destitute By any measure the Tet Offensive was one of the most significant events of the 20th century and the publication of this book at the 50th anniversary of Tet serves two purposes first it adds to our continuing national conversation about Vietnam and it helps us to remember the service and sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Army soldiers this is significant in that our chief historian John Hoffman writes in the book's forward half of the US population now is too young to have a direct memory of the Vietnam War the spirited discussion and strident critiques surrounding the recent Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam tell us that these are not mere historiographical debates and that this is a teachable moment for our nation to come to a reckoning with the costs of making the war. Second and equally important from me personally this event demonstrates that the US Army is a learning organization committed to interrogating its past in the pursuit of a more effective future force we will continue this process in March with the My Lai at 50 symposium at the Pentagon co-hosted by CMH the Army's Judge Advocate General and the Center for Army Professional Ethic at West Point. The Vietnam War still has much to say about our current army and as I listened to Mr. Ferriero talk about the exhibit and the the Tet artifacts contained in it I would I had a moment to think about another fringe benefit of my job which is being in charge of the Army's museums and I'll highlight a piece in our collection that has a direct relationship to Tet. If you visit the Army's Military Police Corps museum at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri you'll see a jeep in the collection at Fort Leonard Wood in the MP Corp Museum and that jeep is present in many of the iconic photos about that depict the fighting around the US Embassy in Saigon that Jeep carried the military police quick reaction force that reacted to the attack on the embassy so that that that vehicle is sitting in our museum at Fort Leonard Wood as a as a tangible reminder of army service during the Tet Offensive. It gives me great pleasure now to introduce our keynote speaker this evening Chuck Hagel served as the 24th Secretary of Defense from February 2013 to February 2015 and he's the only Vietnam veteran and first-ever enlisted combat veteran to serve as our Secretary of Defense secretary Hagel also served two terms in the United States Senate representing the state of Nebraska secretary Hagel has also chaired the Atlantic Council the u.s. Vietnam War commemoration Advisory Committee and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund corporate Council. Beginning in late 1967 secretary Hagel and his brother Tom served together in Vietnam in the second battalion 47th Infantry Regiment part of the 9th Infantry Division the photo on the cover of Staying the Course depicts secretary Hagel's company in action in May 1968 Secretary... [Applause] Thank you and thank you for your service to our country Mr. Ferriero thank you for hosting this event and all that the National Archives do for our country National Archives is truly a national treasure that affects and reaches into every home in our country as well as telling the story to the world of who we are as a people and as a nation so thank you for what you and your colleagues do every day for our country. Dr. Villard, congratulations on your book it's I don't know five thousand pages but I know the scholars will appreciate it but rummaging through it a little and getting a sense of what you cover it's a pretty masterfully written and historic document that I know will make endless contributions to educational institutions across this country for years to come so I congratulate you on a terrific accomplishment. To our veterans here who have already been recognized thank you for your service to our country and your families what your families have contributed often I think the spouses of our military get left out in the families and the children get left out in recognition and they shouldn't they make as many or maybe more sacrifices than the active duty people who serve our country so to all of you thank you. My assignment tonight and I know it's risky having a former senator up here and not put some time limits on him but I will adhere to the strict guidelines that they've asked me to make some comments about certainly the Tet Offensive 1968 because I was there so I will share some of my my thoughts maybe initial thoughts at the time and then how over the years I've come to assess what happened. First it is my opinion that the Tet Offensive was probably the most defining event of the Vietnam War I think also 1968 was probably the most defining year of that war and when you review as Dr. Villard does in his book many publications many shows the Ken Burns documentary which I think is brilliantly done and very fair we now understand a lot what happened what didn't happen why it happened and so it leads us at least it does for me to the conclusion that this event 1968 that year really defined the course for the rest of the war and the end of the war and in many respects how it ended which was a pretty inglorious ending and the sacrifices made by over 56,000 Americans who lost their lives in the hundreds of thousands of individuals who were wounded and those all who served were as we known never really given much recognition for an assignment that they didn't choose but they served and they serve honorably they served their country and did what their country asked them to do. And I think that's a part of this story that needs to be told more often in that our Vietnam veterans came back they didn't view themselves as heroes they viewed themselves like all of our veterans of all of our wars they did the job that their country asked them to do it wasn't their decision but it it was their country and they did it honorably they did it in a way that sustained them as all wars are sustained by the camaraderie of the individual looking out for each other believing in each other and yes believing in your in your mission and believing in your country. That's an untold story in many ways now there's more recognition of course today the whole welcome-home effort but it it is a story that I think threads throughout every dimension of what happened in Vietnam and not just 1968. The morning of January 31st my unit was a mechanized infantry unit that was assigned to the Michelin rubber plantation security because intelligence had showed that the Vietcong had a significant number maybe battalion size of fighters in that area and using the plantation as a refuge and we were alerted at about 5:30 in the morning of January 31st to assemble and put our tracks on the road and head for Long Binh. Long Binh at the time was the largest ammunition depot in the world. MacVee under the command of general Westmoreland had a major office there across the street from that facility was a place called widow's village and it was set up by the Vietnamese government South Vietnamese government for the widows of fallen South Vietnamese soldiers and their families the VC had gotten into that village the night before and slaughtered all of the people and used that village as a staging area for the next morning to attack the Long Binh ammunition depo.t And so as as my tracks were moving into that area at 6:00 between 6:00 6:30 in the morning the explosions were things that we had never ever heard before seeing before it was like it must have been like somewhat of an atomic explosion and we didn't know where we were going really or what truly the assignment was or what was happening. And that really personified Tet in many ways certainly for the first few weeks until we started to intelligence and assess strategies and what was happening and why but nobody knew and this was happening across Vietnam for three weeks but initially the shock of all this during a truce and probably also the shock of completely under estimating the strength of the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong and all of that came together which resulted in a terrible terrible loss of life. Although part of the story that rarely gets told too is that our military actually did pretty well in fact very well considering and it was seen as and broadcast as a great loss for America and a great win for the VC and the North Vietnamese. It was certainly not militarily a win for the VC and the North Vietnamese but it was certainly a win for them with attitudes with the people of South Vietnam and in the end as we all know that's all and that counts because in the end wars are determined certainly the wars post-world War two are determined not by military might but it it's the support of the people and the support of the recognition of what kind of life do we want what kind of life the people deserve. And the United States found itself on the wrong side of that and it wasn't just Tet it wasn't just the military side of that but every documentary now out Ken Burns if you've seen the recent movie The Post or any other movies they all tell that same story and there's a lesson obviously in that lesson for today in Afghanistan in Iraq in all these these regional and localized conflicts that without the support of the people you will not win regardless of the strength of your military and you put your military in a very unfair position when you load it onto the military as it's the military's responsibility to win over the people. And we tried that in Vietnam through all the different actions and we did try that but in the end it is it is the culture the people and their attitude toward the forces that are involved in the conflict. That morning I was a young 21 year old private first class who had been in Vietnam two months and so I was not thinking grand geopolitical thoughts, I didn't think many grand geopolitical thoughts at my year in Vietnam but like all soldiers and we have many here and you think of survival and how you protect each other. And what it is that that threads that camaraderie together in America's case and now after I've had some wonderful privileges in my life experiences in different jobs it's as clear to me as any one thing that the decency of America is is always the, I speak of defining things, defining dynamic in in who we are and that showed as much as anything as I have reflected so many times over so many years on those days in Vietnam with people that my brother and I served with that we didn't know. And in those days you went to Vietnam independently you didn't go in a unit and that made it more difficult because you you were thrown in with people from the time you got on that plane at Oakland Travis Air Force Base to go to Tan Son Nhut in Vietnam you didn't know anybody you didn't train with any of the people and we were separated into different units but but you soon bonded because of the decency that I think it's so part of who we are. We're imperfect we make mistakes I've never believed that we're God's chosen few maybe we are we'll all find out someday I'm in no hurry but there is something special about the American soldier and I think as I end my comments here that's one message that I wanted to impart and everyone here who has worn the uniform of the United States military regardless of the service understands that and every family member understands that. And what I had the great privilege of leading the Pentagon I saw that up close there wasn't a decision I ever made a secretary of defense or United States Senator that I didn't think about my experience in Vietnam. Some were big decisions some were not big decisions but I always tried to reflect on on the experience that I had in Vietnam the people that I learned so much from in Vietnam people who were from all over the country many uneducated many came from very tough backgrounds but you learn something from everybody every day and I'll end this way, an old First Sergeant Vietnam once said to me when we were talking about a number of things he was from Lake Charles Louisiana, Sergeant Rose he said just always remember Chuck that every human being in life no matter where they're from or their station in life has a story to tell and every human being has a book in them about their life and he said that in regard to service in Vietnam and in 68 you recall so much was going on here in the United States, the assassinations of King and Kennedy the riots everything was turned upside down. Institutions were being questioned like never before and I've never forgotten that that wisdom that sergeant Rose imparted with with me and to me because it was a very strong message about how we interact with other people I know when you're in war you're in war but you can't ever forget that dimension that advice that sergeant Rose said that everyone deserves respect and everybody wants respect in their life and I do and I do want to end this way. When I said 1968 was I think the defining year of Vietnam it also was the defining year in this country it defined an entire future dynamic that was instilled in and affected every institution in our country every institution was changed by Vietnam and it was changed and 68 defined it it was changed because it was the first time in our history that the American people started really questioning their government and really started questioning their leaders and now we understand but that was the defining dynamic of 1968 that the Tet Offensive really began it really started and from that point on we know the rest of the story how every institution was turned upside down and changed and yes it's imperfect it didn't all come out right but I think after reviewing it for 50 years and looking where we are today with all our problems all our issues it changed the country for the better because what it did it opened up a process. So many things in so many areas of social injustice that hadn't been swept under the rug for so long it opened all that up all of that so I leave you with that thought at least coming from me so many people who served like my brother and I did came away with a lot of different thoughts and different opinions but because I was asked tonight to share some of mine doesn't mean it's right and doesn't mean that my observations are better or more knowledgeable than anyone else's, not at all, but I offer those because it is where I am today in my own mind and my own heart. And it's also maybe a little informed not just because of my experience in Vietnam with my brother but also because of the other jobs that I had the privilege of holding in my life and that Vietnam experience affected every one of them thank you very much [Applause] Before I introduce our three panelists this evening I'd like to mention that in your program is a blank sheet of paper in the middle if you have a question that comes to you during our presentations that you'd like to ask to the panelists our two colleagues from the Center of Military History or stationed on the aisles and you can pass those questions over to them and we will read them out in the Q&A period at the end of the presentations. Our first panelist this evening is Dr. Erik Villard the author of Staying the Course. Erik earned his PhD in history from the University of Washington and currently serves as the digital military historian at CMH. Erik is the founder and president of the Vietnam War History organization a Facebook Vietnam veterans group that touches tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans and involves them in their past and serves as an advisor to several historical and veterans groups. Gregory Daddis is an associate professor of history and director of Chapman University's Master of Arts program in War and Society, a retired US Army Colonel Greg earned his PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served as the chief of the American history division in the Department of History at the US Military Academy. Greg is a veteran of operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom and as a published author on the Vietnam War and the Cold War era. Merle L. Pribbenow the II served in the CIA for 27 years as a language officer, operations officer and staff officer including five years in Saigon during the Vietnam war. He retired in 1995 and is now an independent researcher and author specializing in the Vietnam War. Dr. Villard. >> Well again, I'd like to say thank you for being here being a part of this this is really the culmination of a dream of mine I mean I knew I wanted to be a Vietnam war historian since forever pretty much. And I got my wish. So this is a really special occasion and again thank you everyone and mr. Hagel and Mister Bowery and mr. O'Keefe. Mr. Ferriero for being a part of this. I just wanted to say a few things about what I thought were maybe some of the big takeaways from the research of my book. I've been working on it a long time and I could not have done it without National Archives most of the primary documents that I have I got up at College Park the other college a National Archives branch and from Merle Pribbenow who taught me more about the Vietnamese Communist way of thinking and their sources than than anyone so with those two sources in mind I just want to walk through about five of what I consider the some of the big takeaways from the volume. First takeaway you may some of you may have heard this argument that the so-called border battle thesis that in the autumn of 1967 North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces launched a series of major battles on the periphery of South Vietnam starting at Con Thien in northern I Corps and then going down to Dak To into Corps Son Bay and Lok Minh men in three Corps with the intention of drawing away American forces from the cities prior to the Tet Offensive so that the communist forces would be better positioned to succeed when that happened. No, actually that's not true and I know this because of the sources from the National Archive things that you've given me the real story is I think more interesting if you understand how the communist military system worked and how it was really very different from the Americans in a lot of respects. What you come to understand is that their process is actually very slow and so these campaigns these big battles that were taking place in you know September October November of 67 wer,e in fact, regional campaigns that had been planned you know back in the spring in summer of 1967 because the Communists had regional commands they had they had their local objectives. In fact when the Americans are fighting at Dak To and Lok Minh the North Vietnamese Politburo still hadn't made up its mind whether it was going to do this thing called Tet the general offensive or exactly how it was going to happen or when it was gonna happen so these choices were still being made, and also what you think about it always bugged me I think why would you launch a major operation in early November if you think that you're gonna launch your big attacks what at the end of January three months. You know how the Americans can move around that's that's not a smart way of drawing forces away. What turned out to be the truth is the actual diversion operations worked Khe Sanh as most of us know but also Dak To, this is mid-january 1968 when those operations take place and their intent was not to draw the American forces away, who can move around as fast so they wanted to, but the South Vietnamese joint general reserve forces those paratrooper battalions and marine battalions that were the only mobile reaction forces the South Vietnamese had those of the troops that were best positioned to turn back in attack against the cities and that's what they were trying to draw in. A second point it's been asserted that General Westmoreland was wedded to this notion of the victory through attrition right, that the way to succeed was to kill enough of the enemy that you crossed this imaginary threshold and you could just kind of grind your way towards success. Also, I with due respect to my friends who have argued otherwise, I don't think so Westmoreland deserves far more credit than he has gotten in my view he was a very shrewd person who understood the value not just of combat operations and killing and body count but also pacification you know you see this in his support for Robert Comer and Cords but also I think the neglected thing is how he understood that interjecting North Vietnamese supply lines was a key to success because there are different ways to reduce combat effectiveness killing a person that's one way but if you cut off his supplies he doesn't have the bullets or the weapons or the medicine then those are ways that you also reduce combat strength. And so this explains much of what Westmoreland was doing a 67 including this secret operation called Southpaw El Paso that he would that he helped the launch in early 68 he was building up in northern I Corps to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail that's what Khe Sanh was about he wasn't just hanging the Marines out to dry that was going to be the jumping-off point through southern Laos. Dak To same thing, that's why those battles took place in late 67 because of the North Vietnamese knew that was a threat so Westmoreland deserves more credit. Tet itself, it's been argued that Tet is a turning point there's arguments for that but on the whole I would argue for continuity I would say that US policy military policy actually doesn't change very much, in fact military press policy had already been established before Tet. President Johnson had already confided to General Westmoreland in December 67 that he was not going to run again not surprising you know Johnson was a sick man at that point he had already served for one and a half terms and you can't run for reelection and also try to solve a war. He had already set the troop limit back in April of 67 effectively. Westmoreland already had a plan from 65 that there'd be two years of buildup two years of maximum effort and then a drawdown so all those things were in place but it was the optics and that was that's true that's different you know the conditions upon which US policy proceeded from that point proceeded under the cloud of the Tet Offensive. The pictures and images of burning cities and and so forth so in terms of public opinion there was some effect but again the US policy didn't really change a great deal. And also say one more thing in my view general Abrams had he taken charge in April 67 when he came over to Vietnam very little would have changed. Abrams in Westmoreland were actually very sympathetic saw many most things the same way and the fact is if you look at the war you look at what's going on ninety percent of the American military effort is already committed, there's things you have to do you have to defend your bases, lines of communication, support pacification, do the interdiction operations there's not a lot of you know room to maneuver around the edges a little bit but not not a lot so I think what happens in when when Abrams takes over is the war had changed the war is beginning to change but you don't actually see a major change in the war until the middle of 69. Final point, Tet Offensive we think of 30 31 January well the first Tet goes from 30 January to 5 March, 3 phases not 2, 3 phases then there's a second one May June, third one August September 68, the fourth one right Tet 69 only after Tet 69 after the exhaustion of the communist forces and after Vietnamization began to take hold that's when both sides changed policy but really you look at the year after Tet Abrams is still wants to cross the border still wanting to fight the big battles still doing all the other things that Westmoreland had done. So those are some of the takeaways and again I can't say enough about how great the National Archives is if you can get out here and get around in the sources it really is amazing and I just say thank you again so much for having me here and pass it over my friend Merle who can tell you more about the Vietnamese communists sources. >> okay thank you. Well first of all I think it's important to remember that the sources that we study when studying the what the Vietnamese we're thinking about the the kind of documentation that we get to learn what the Vietnamese strategy and tactics and what they did in throughout the period of Tet are written and produced by citizens of dictatorial one-party communist state so you have to look at at that material with a bit of a jaundiced eye. As Reagan said you know trust but verify you have to collate everything you have to compare it with the information that comes from the American side and see and see what how it stacks up. What I have found in looking for the last 20-some years ever since I retired at the Vietnamese sources is that there's a great deal of propaganda in in the sources however the Vietnamese also have a great love of history and a great desire to kind of across the board for them to tell their children and their grandchildren what they did and why they did it. And there's a lot of individuals that push this you know there's the party on one side but a lot of individuals you know generals and Colonels even lower-level people that want to pass on their experiences and explain you know kind of why they did what they did and why their families made the kind of sacrifices that they had to make. So surprisingly in a lot of the publications if you kind of get through the propaganda and kind of put that aside you'll find some very frank and very honest discussions of what happened why it happened the problems that they had the mistakes they made and you know we talk on our side we have focused so much in the history of the Vietnam War on what happened with the Americans and we have forgotten that you know how ever screwed up we felt our our army was our commanders were we weren't prepared we didn't know this was going to happen there was no planning etc if you look at it from the Vietnamese side they were doing they were saying exactly the same thing. Again and again you in Chi Tien, the attack on Hue military region commander there first you know and this is discussed and he discussed it in in a big forum that the Vietnamese had back on around 20 years after theTet offensive to discuss the Tet Offensive and he said when he first heard the plan he said well gee maybe somebody up there knows what they're doing you know I we're just a secondary theater you know you say we're supposed to go in and take the city everybody else is going to be doing it I guess we can give it a shot - you know we're not going to do it for very long and and they were very skeptical. And these things come across in in Vietnamese publications for instance their military history journals they write there's several big histories of the war that are that were produced for the general public there are smaller histories of divisions of regiments provinces military regions all that have a great deal of detail on individual battles and you know again you have to push past the the the propaganda and you'll what you do you will find a lot of things that make sense that that track with what the Americans saw happening. And I think that helped to explain why in many respects the Americans didn't believe such a thing could happen because you know the Vietnamese didn't have that capability. A lot of the Vietnamese felt exactly the same way. They felt exactly the same way and there are some some really telling memoirs that have been written at least portions of the memoirs are very telling by various generals various generals military commanders kind of across the board. We knew on who commanded the first division when Com Ton who commanded sub region three which was the attack into Saigon from the south into into chilon and a general named -unintelligible- who commanded 24th regiment in the attack on on Khan Toum and let me let me read something that that that he said with regards to that attack because he got various orders about what he was supposed to do. On the 27th of January, January you know like three days before the attack he received orders to attack the problem the capital from the east. A couple days later he was told no you're gonna attack it from the north then they told him just before the attack okay we want you to send half of your officers and NCOs back to the rear so that we can form a new regiment. He's got an attack coming immediately and this is what he writes: After I received this message I discussed it with my regimental political commissar I said the regiment has been ordered to a to launch an attack into the city our precise target is unclear we do not have a clear picture of the enemy situation we are attacking pursuant to orders from higher authority and now they have ordered us to pull out half of our cadres how in the world is the regiment's supposed to be able to accomplish its mission. Well it didn't he was relieved of command reduced in rank it took him a couple of years to get back into the into the into his career path and he ended up as a as a general. But you know he clearly he was very bitter about how he was treated and how is his unit was treated because he lost a lot of people a lot of people. There's another memoir by the militant by the sub-region 3 commander now his was especially poignant because not only did he lose a lot of men he lost his son. His he was a negative southerner who did not go to the north came up through the ranks, his son wanted to follow his father from the age of 14, to protect his son he brought him into his security detail to to protect his his headquarters. As they are on the outskirts of Saigon in but you know between the first the second the third wave of the Tet Offensive and they were not allowed to pull back they were told to hold their positions on the outskirts of Saigon and stay there his son was killed in an artillery attack on on the headquarters. And this is what he writes: Even today every time I recall these events my mind is still filled with confusion from a purely military standpoint it would have been impossible to reach the decision to attack and seize Saigon as seize control of Saigon with the tactics and forces that were actually employed without the military attack being coordinated with a general uprising but why did the political part of the offensive never materialize, what were the conditions among the masses and the students of Saigon that led our people to reach the conclusion that millions of people were boiling over with revolutionary zeal and were prepared to sacrifice everything for the cause of independence and freedom. When we entered Saigon we found that this assessment was incorrect for me Tet 68 was the most anxious period in my entire career as a combat commander my tension was caused not by the ferocity of the fighting but was instead the result of the impossible task of trying to resolve the contradictions between the requirements of the mission and the forces and methods that were to be used to accomplish the mission. In this situation the commander's hands were tied he said once I said to my political officer let's just go ahead and pull our forces back to the rear to regroup them so that we can then recapture the liberated areas the political officer replied if we do that not only will we lose sub region 3 you and I will also lose our heads. So the 304th division was one of the divisions assigned to the siege of Khe Sanh they sat on the outskirts and they were there the longest they were there from January through May just almost to June they took horrendous casualties. Right from the start there's a there's a memoir by a general who at the time at that time was a was a battalion commander in 66 regiment of the 304th division they lost 300 men in a b-52 strike essentially about the time this the siege started they were they were marching into position they were hit by two b-52 cells as they're in march formation that took out one battalion and part of that part of the regiment headquarters and then as men went in to try to pick up the pieces and get the wounded another 52 strike in and took out even more of them. They talked about problems in discipline and they had units refuse their orders units fell back without authority one of the a company that was holding Lon Bey which had been the old long vague camp which was outside of the Lon Bey that was overrun without permission pulled back and didn't tell anybody the the Americans moved in took that position and Vietnamese artillery didn't even know how you know didn't know that it happened so they couldn't even shell shell the Americans because they thought their own troops were still there. After the after the siege was over the three Oh forth pulled back into North Vietnam and they did a big review of their performance and assessed you know who come in to issue commendations and disciplinary, you know punishment that kind of thing this is what what is written in the 304th division history this is in the division history it talks about a problem that arose during the campaign and that received serious serious attention from the division involved a number of incidents that revealed the combat resolve of our troops was neither high nor uniform and that combat discipline was not sufficiently strict. The lack of a consistently high spirit of resolve and combat discipline throughout the division was also demonstrated in a number of incidents of desertion and self-inflicted wounds the division instituted disciplinary proceedings proceedings against a total of 399 individuals including proceedings against 186 party members and 85 cadres from platoon level upward. Disciplinary measures carried out included expulsion for the party reprimands, warnings removal from command positions and demotion a number of these cases were presented for prosecution in military courts. And something that's in in one of their campaign studies which is after the war the Viet the Vietnamese did just what the US Army does they did tactical reviews they did battle studies they did reviews of campaigns to learn lessons from them to assess how they had performed what their weaknesses were what their strengths were and everything else. In the Tet 68 Saigon campaign study it right it says the following in lessons learned about strategic guidance the reason we set strategic goals that were too high was primarily because our assessment of the situation was incorrect the assessment did not truly reflect the actual situation the Central Committee's assessment underestimated the capabilities of the puppet army and puppet government that's the South Vietnamese Army in government the assessment underestimated the response of American military forces the assessment overestimated the capabilities of our political forces and especially our political forces in the cities and that was a conclusion that was reached by the Party Central Committee itself in an assessment that it made five years mmm yeah five years after the Tet Offensive in 197s. And one of the reasons for for their problems they said was because their subordinate you know because because they weren't getting the truth told up through the chain of command we have talked you know in in our history of the war we talked about you know the the problem of body count and inflation of of the body count and you know reporting things that maybe were grossly or over optimist the Vietnamese had exactly the same problem. They wrote in one of their lessons learned the realities of the spring sixty-eight strategic offensive reveal that reports from lower levels to lot higher levels generally did not accurately or even closely reflect the realities of the situation they usually exaggerated accomplishments and did not report mistakes and shortcomings this led these authorities to make policy decisions that were not in line with the situation and to set goals that were too high. And this this part I'll just end with this one because I I think it applies on our side as well as on theirs higher-level authorities must be willing to listen to the opinions of subordinates they must encourage subordinates to express their own independent thoughts in an open and sincere manner especially those ideas that differ from or that are opposed to their own views a leader must be willing to look truth in the eye to hear subordinates out completely and to encourage subordinates to tell them the truth. A leader must not be afraid to hear bad things and he must not only want and he must not only want to hear good things he must not be over overbearing and domineering to toward the ideas and opinions of his subordinates when those subordinates are simply speaking the truth. Well thank you all for coming tonight I want to especially thank the National Archives for hosting this event and for the Center for Military History for bringing us out here this evening Chapman University is about 10 15 minutes away from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Archives and we have the distinct privilege of taking our students there and I can tell you that the National Archives is quite simply a national treasure pun intended as we're in the Rotunda upstairs a friend of mine we're trying to figure out how Nicolas Cage actually got in there to steal the Declaration of Independence we'll work on that a little bit later it's also privileged to see me sir to be with secretary Hagel and I want to congratulate Eric on this monumental accomplishment I know for scholars like me of the Vietnam the Center for Military History series is an invaluable resource and I also want to publicly thank you Merle for being a resource like you and John Carlin in the audience and and Erik's work there are quite literally hundreds and hundreds of scholars that mention Merle and and rely on Merle for his insights from the Vietnamese perspective which i think is an incredibly important part of the story that too often Americans tend to forget that at the end of the day that this was a Vietnamese conflict as much as it was if not more so than an American one so the story of Tet, I believe, is often painted as a military victory turned political defeat often times that storyline is depicted as one in which it's the Americans fault that it is it is a triumph forsaken if you will and I there are certain elements of that story that I think are important but I'd like to talk about tonight is what happens when we assume and since we're on c-span I'll leave just leave it at that but I want to talk a little bit tonight about how the Tet Offensive is really I think a tutorial in in flawed assumptions especially when it comes to developing strategy and in one part I believe in large part strategy is an aspirational art. We aspire to accomplish things when we plan and strategy is also I think a balancing act between means and ends and in one sense I think you can calculate means but the ends are in a sense aspirational, you desire to accomplish those objectives you hope that the means will be applied in a way that will accomplish your ultimate political objectives. And I think what you see in Tet on all sides is a historical case study of flawed assumptions. From the beginning of this storyline which I think really starts almost in the spring if not earlier of 1967 is a fundamental assumption on all sides that the Vietnam conflict is stalemated and there are repercussions that come out of those assumptions on the American side there is a year-long nearly year-long salesmanship campaign that is orchestrated by the Lyndon Johnson White House to help ensure that the United States home front is aware that in fact the military command in Vietnam and the South Vietnamese allies are in fact making progress that the war is not stalemated there is an assumption among senior military commanders not only in Washington DC but just as importantly in Saigon that because the war stalemated they are going to lose public will and public supported at home and that's going to have a long term if not short term and long term deleterious effect on not only planning strategy but accomplishing those political objectives that are laid out as part of that strategy. And there are also repercussions on the Vietnamese side because of the assumption that the war is stalemated in 1967 ultimately the Hanoi Politburo by this point led by Le Duan comes to the conclusion that the war has to be broken and the stalemated war has to be broken and ultimately this will be achieved by a general offensive and general uprising and this general offensive is assumed to accomplish what Le Duan calls a decisive victory and this decisive victory will not only occur simultaneously but hopefully will also lead to a general uprising among the South Vietnamese population we're all already sort of alluded to this right that there is this assumption that just bubbling below the surface is this revolutionary spirit among the South Vietnamese population that is as soon as this general offensive takes place it will crack the surface and allow this revolutionary spirit to bubble up and this general uprising will occur not just in the rural countryside but also in the urban cities. It will prove to the vietnamese it will prove to the Americans it will prove to the world that this Vietnamese conflict is about independence and the Saigon regime is illegitimate and the true independence is be is best served by coming together and unifying under the Hanoi government. There's also an assumption I think on the on the North Vietnamese side that the Saigon political regime is racked by instability and corruption and there are certain elements to the truth to that but those assumptions don't play out as well as we can see by how the the Tet Offensive unfolds that there are certain elements of a political stability that start to play out coming out of the 1966 elections in South Vietnam. Yes, the Saigon regime is still still dealing with corruption yes there's still tenuous relationships between the local population and the Saigon government that still need to be worked on and that's the part of as Erik was mentioned earlier this comprehensive American campaign that is trying to meld combat operations with pacification and this aim of pacification yet another assumption I would argue of American strategy of Americans coming from the outside in and helping the South Vietnamese build bonds political bonds and build loyalties between themselves and their local government is part of this holistic strategy I think that as Erik has found and I have as well in my own scholarship that Westmoreland does not in fact get quite enough credit for for planning now that there are clearly issues in terms of implementation of this holistic strategy often times because of other assumptions that are made in issues then and I would argue now of counterinsurgency and a nation-building as they're related to military operations that there are difficulties of this holistic strategy of military operations working at cross-purposes if not sometimes undermining nation-building efforts that military operations will oftentimes destabilize the country side will cause social dislocation will increase refugee population that will all further destabilize the social political fabric and tear away at those threads of Saigon political community that will work against this larger political objective of nation-building. There are also assumptions from an operational standpoint as both Merle and Erik have alluded to especially as we move from 1967 and into 1968 when Westmoreland staff, especially the intelligence staffs, make certain assumptions about what the enemy is capable of achieving in late 1967 and 1968, that in part there is a focus on Khe Sanh because there are also historical assumptions that we are being made that many in the Johnson White House and many in the Saigon Military Command especially American officers in Westmoreland's Command see a historical comparison between the French garrison at Dien Ben Phu in the French Indochina war which ultimately that garrison will be overrun and will lead quickly to the Geneva Accords that there is a concern an assumption that there are parallels between the Marine garrison at Khe Sanh being overrun and having political repercussions that will like Dien Ben Phu lead to a swift turn around at the enemy or swift turnaround of the strategic calculation that calculations that are being made in late 67 in early 1968. And there are also assumptions being made as I mentioned in terms of not only what the enemy is capable of but what the enemy consists of that there is large debate in 1967 that leads into 1968 and into 1969 of what the enemy actually consists of. This debate known as the order of battle debate that occurs between Mack v headquarters and CIA and elements of the White House and the SEC the Department of Defense get all involved in this larger debate of simply counting your enemy how do you develop a strategic plan how do you make solid assumptions about your strategic context when you can't even come to a consensus about how many enemy you're confronting. Clearly a difficult proposition as you're trying to to craft not only a sensible strategy but also one that is achievable. And these debates will continue throughout 1967 and I would argue into the Tet era as well that will have repercussions not only in the development of Westmorland strategy from the American side but will also have repercussions in terms of of how this salesmanship campaign lays out in 1968 because the American public themselves are also making assumptions based on the propaganda campaign that is being led by the Johnson White House. When General Westmoreland comes home in 1967 on numerous occasions when ambassador Ellsworth Bunker comes home as well and says that we are making progress when the Johnson White House says we are making progress there are certain expectations and assumptions that are made based on those progress reports and those expectations get burst when this offensive begins in late nineteen in January 1968 and early nineteen sixty I'm Jan uary in early February of 1968. So I think it's important for us all to think about Tet not only as a military victory turned political defeat defeat but also a tutorial for us to think about how we make certain assumptions when it comes to war, whether it's the revolutionary spirit of the South Vietnamese whether it's the political instability of the South Vietnamese whether it's what we can accomplish when we employ military force. Now all those many of those assumptions I would argue and I think as EriK's study not only goes through the Tet phase but also leads you into 1969 as well many of those assumption that Erik lays out very very well in his history are shown to be false flawed assumptions. The problem is now after the war as we begin to write our history of the American experience of Vietnam we start we have to start squaring those circles of those assumptions as we start to write our history and I would argue that many of the myths that we continue to embrace in Vietnam come from those assumptions and our inability to reconcile squaring those circles as we come to figure out what this event meant for us all. One of them I would suggest is an assumption that the American media was to blame there's a strand of that that is important for us to consider but I would argue that that's not the whole story and I would suggest to you all that we should be careful of one word assumptions and explanations when trying to come to a decision about what happened in Tet and what happened and the larger overall American experience in Vietnam. That if we can conclude that an incredibly complex and complicated war that the reason for the results of that war are because of the American media that maybe we're coming to too simplistic of a an explanation for why the outcome and glorious outcome as secretary Hagel mentioned perhaps that's too simplistic and too reductive of an answer and maybe we should look for other narratives that all impinge upon this that history is a is more than just a search for simplicity and reduction and simple one-word answers to understanding a complex historical case study. There's also an assumption I believe based on this attempt to square the circle with what happened in Tet and Erik's alluded to this that there is this savior general that comes in after Tet and completely turns the war around and again I would argue that we need to be careful with that not only the context of what happened in 1968 but also as we think about our own experiences more recently about assuming how much one general one American general can turn a war around on a dime that includes so many other things local issues of political ,military, economic, developmental aspects of a complex war that is both local and regional that is about identity that has oftentimes many things to do not at all with the American foreign policy in the Cold War era. So we should ask ourselves how we might think about this portion of the story and these assumptions about how much impact a major modern general has on the course and conduct of war. And I think we also need to be careful of certain assumptions about how we think about history writ large of assuming that history is a search for blame and oftentimes in in in the aftermath of Tet in the aftermath of Vietnam many Americans in particular wanted to use Vietnam and the history of Vietnam as a search for blame and I would suggest as a historian that that may not be the best value of history that history isn't an opportunity for us to place blame that rather it's an opportunity for us to gain perspective. I think one of the best things that we can take out of the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary is an opportunity for us to empathize with folks with whom we might disagree that one of the beauties I think of that documentary is to see this complex conflict through the eyes of so many different people that disagreed, anti-war activists, journalists fighters from the National Liberation Front propaganda officers, South Vietnamese officers and civilians American military commanders young Marines, families who lost their sons, women who served as nurses and in the Red Cross and many of these voices often times during the war itself were in conflict with each other and the value of history is we are farther and farther removed from those events is to empathize with those voices not to seek blame and I think that's an important thing for us to consider as we look back on Vietnam. The last thing I would like to suggest is as we look back at this episode 50 years on as we try to gain perspective from this larger offensive is that perhaps we should not assume too much for from what war can offer, that these participants in 1967 and 1968 assumed that military action would give them something, would offer them a path oftentimes a decisive path to achieving political objectives. And so we should challenge those assumptions today we should challenge our own assumptions about the efficacy of military power leading in the most direct way as a shortcut if you will to achieving our political objectives because perhaps one of the perspectives we can gain from looking back 50 years on from Tet is that perhaps sometimes military action if we don't over assume might in fact not be the best tool in all situations for us to achieve the political objectives we desire, thank you [Applause] all right well I think we will we've got about 15 minutes for some questions and answers I think I'll begin and an interesting question I'll begin and I'll and and I think well the way we'll proceed with these is that we'll ask them to the panel as a whole and we'll let you gentlemen react and kind of interplay with them and our first question is what are the parallels between Vietnam and the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq? I think we should those all look right. >> My answer would be I think these eminent historians gave the answer especially your last comments that use of the military has to always be framed and connected to a larger diplomatic strategic objective and if you disconnect the use of your military from that you're going to fail you're going to fail and I think the Afghan Iraq situation is somewhat parallel to Vietnam and it always is going to go back to and revert to the fact that it is the people of that country that region that will determine outcomes if for no other reason than in a democracy like the United States of America the people of America are not going to allow their country to continue in a never-ending war with casualties and billions of dollars being spent and without the support or enough support and enough ability of the countries we're trying to help do it to at least find some semblance of responsibility to take over from the United States and I think of Afghanistan and Iraq I was in the Senate when those wars started I remember in the committee hearings in the Foreign Relations Committee and we would ask the secretaries the deputy secretaries the generals it all gave the same answers we'll be out of there in a year we'll be out of there in two years I mean we had the Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz testify that it wouldn't Iraq wouldn't cost the American people $1 because of the Iraqi oil and so when you when you start to see a disconnect between your leaders as to what they're telling representatives of the people in the Congress not unlike what we know about Vietnam and I don't think it's an intentional malicious kind of thing that's a parallel and and I think you could draw other parallels as well each is separate each is different different parts of the world to start with different cultures different histories different dynamics absolutely but there are parallels. >>Sort of turn that 90 degrees to make a pitch for the value of history center military history and all that good stuff tell you one thing from my point of view because I got to CMH in 2000 and so when Iraq and Afghanistan started from my point of view the thing that really struck me is the fact that we had not retained the lessons of Vietnam right when you suddenly have thin-skinned Humvees getting blown up by IEDs in heavily urbanized areas these people go on whoa wait a minute have we been through this sort of thing do we have, Vietnam gun trucks, you know manuals of IEDs I mean this information is available but just hadn't been put in the right hands. Abu Ghraib, I spent six months writing a special paper on detaining operations you know based on history but particularly Vietnam War, Geneva Rights, how we handle prisoners because of that again it's not a new story we don't seem to be very successful at retaining those lessons but again it's a plea that we probably ought to because on the ground if nothing else I think it's gonna it's gonna save some American lives if we we understood what has come before you know the geopolitics that it's important to but I'm thinking in terms of those soldiers and when I went over to Afghanistan in 2010 and saw a 22 year old first lieutenant wave to his troops they drove off and their strikers like a mom to their kids going to school I mean that's that's what it's about. So great thank you and if I could actually I'm gonna I'm gonna do a synthesis of a number of questions here that I've got in front of me and they really relate to intelligence and the Tet Offensive so really just a summarizing one one of these is really really well written and and kind of sums it up the Tet Offensive has often been described as an intelligence failure do you agree with this analysis, what role did that order of battle controversy play in establishing the conditions that led to the offensive and then looking to Tet what were the intelligence points that were either known but not plannedfor or missed completely and why. >>In terms of intelligence I think clearly it was an intelligence failure because we were because there was a nationwide surprise on the other hand and there had been efforts by both Saigon station analytical office there and NSA to put out a warning that something big was coming coming and it was going to be very big and that was not accepted because A- it was politically inconvenient and B people felt it was impossible in other words these people you know the Vietnamese wouldn't be crazy enough to do something like that. Well we didn't understand the Vietnamese we put the Vietnamese you know you know in our shoes they were in their shoes and we have to make sure that we try to understand that the situation and see the situation from the enemy's perspective and not from our own. And that's where we failed. >> I'll tell you another thing that struck me earlier is the amount of the operational secrecy on the side of the Communists it's pretty extraordinary I mean they're they're they're they're a disciplined a bunch of folks as it as it should normal course of action but the compartmentalization of information was so severe that literally I mean this this I sort of when I first read this I kind of had to laugh imagine this the one of the sub-region commanders basically you might think I'm like you know a two star three star general attacking Saigon gets the word that that his forces were supposed to attack the city in like you know 24 hours he gets this out of the blue he's thinking oh we're gonna attack in March or April you know when we get our act together no it's gonna be tomorrow so he goes running off to find his subordinate commanders he finds one of his battalion commanders roaring drunk you know on Tet wine completely useless finds you know another executive officer who's you know with his family doesn't know where the troops are so part of the reason that there was an intelligence failure to some extent or to a major extent it's the fact that communists were actually so good at keeping a secret, their own people didn't know which of course led to a lot of problems when the actual attack happened I mean there's story after story of communist units you know getting there late or the guides ran off and it crossed the wrong river or you know it's just like Keystone Cops out there so they sacrifice their execution for their operational secrecy now that's one of the trade-offs. >> And that's you know that's a theme that goes across the Vietnamese accounts in just case after case units get the word get the word that they're supposed to launch an attack you know without any time to even make it to to their assembly point, one of there's a a memoir by a general who ended up is chief of the General Staff in Hanoi at the time of Tet he was a company commander with the 9th division and they he was with a regiment that was supposed to attack the quantum training center outside of Saigon which is big South Vietnamese training center and they were going to overrun it and then move down into Saigon they get to you know they get the word at the last minute they get to a river there were only enough boats for one company to cross the river so his company is the first company across they get to Quan Chi Quan chim they make the attack they got one company you know training center this probably got ten thousand soldiers and you know they they hit the headquarters they're there for a while and they have to pull out you know and they lose people all over the place nobody else makes it okay so they were there they were their own worst enemy in that and and that just goes across the board in you know there there is a reason you know that you have you have to balance operational secrecy with operational rationality and Tet in many respects was a big miss on there was a big unbalance in in that equation all right. >> Well I think we've reached the end of our question-and-answer time I'd like to first of all thank secretary Hagel and our panelists for a great evening and I'd like to thank you all again for coming tonight out in the front area Erk will be signing copies of the book which are available for sale we've also got a CMH display of our remaining Vietnam history publications and i encourage you to stick around and ask more questions as we wrap up the night thank you all [Applause]

Members

Name Portrait Member Period Duration Position at Start of 12th National Congress Current Party Position Current State Position Note
Nguyễn Phú Trọng
Nguyen Phu Trong.jpg
29 December 1997
-
present
21 years, 141 days
  • General Secretary of the CPV (party position)
  • General Secretary
  • Secretary of the Central Military Commission
  • Chair of the Central Steering Committee on Corruption Prevention and Eradication
Trần Đại Quang
Tran-Dai-Quang-TTXVN.jpg
19 January 2011
-
21 September 2018
7 years, 245 days
  • Minister of Public Security (state position)
  • Chair of the Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform
Died in September 2018. Succeeded by Đặng Thị Ngọc Thịnh as acting President, then by Nguyen Phu Trong.
Nguyễn Xuân Phuc
Vietnamese Prime Minister Phuc.jpg
19 January 2011
-
present
8 years, 120 days
  • Prime Minister (state position)
  • Secretary of the Government Party Leadership Committee
Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan 2012.jpg
11 May 2013
-
present
6 years, 8 days
  • Deputy Chair of the National Assembly (state position)
  • Chair of the National Assembly*
Ngô Xuân Lịch
Army (VPA) General Ngo Xuan Lich Đại tướng Ngô Xuân Lịch (DOD photo 170808-D-GY869-123 SD meets with Vietnam's defense minister).jpg
27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Deputy Minister of National Defence and Chief of the General Political Department (state position);
  • Secretary of the Central Committee (party position)
  • Deputy Secretary of the Central Military Commission
  • Minister of National Defence*
Tô Lâm
Bộ trưởng Tô Lâm.jpg
27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Deputy Minister of Public Security (state position)
  • Secretary of the Central Public Security Party Committee
  • Minister of Public Security*
Nguyễn Thiện Nhân
Nguyen Thien Nhan 2.jpg
11 May 2013
-
present
6 years, 8 days
  • Chair of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front (state position)
  • Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee (from 10 May 2017)
  • Chair of the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front
Nguyễn Thiện Nhân was assigned to take over as the party chief in Ho Chi Minh City in May 2017, after the then-Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, Đinh La Thăng, was removed from his post for discipline violation.
Đinh Thế Huynh
Dinh The Huynh 2012.jpg
19 January 2011
-
present
8 years, 120 days
  • Chair of the Central Propaganda and Education Commission (party position);
  • Secretary of the Central Committee (party position)
  • Executive Secretary of the Central Committee (on leave)
On official leave for medical reasons since August 2017.
Phạm Minh Chính 27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Deputy Chair of the Central Organization Commission (party position)
  • Chair of the Central Organization Commission
Tòng Thị Phóng 19 January 2011
-
present
8 years, 120 days
  • Deputy Chair of the National Assembly (state position)
  • Permanent Deputy Chair of the National Assembly
Vương Đình Huệ
Vương Đình Huệ.jpg
27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Chair of the Central Economic Commission (party position)
  • Deputy Prime Minister*
Trần Quốc Vượng 27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Chief of Staff, Office of the Central Committee (party position)
  • Chair of the Central Inspection Committee
  • Acting Executive Secretary of the Central Committee
Assigned by the Politburo to act as Executive Secretary while Đinh Thế Huynh is on medical leave.
Phạm Bình Minh
Phạm Bình Minh APEC 2013.jpg
27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister and Foreign Affairs (state position)
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Trương Thị Mai
Trương Thị Mai.jpg
27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Chair of the National Assembly Committee on Social Issues (state position)
  • Chair of the Central Popular Mobilization Commission
Trương Hoà Bình 27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court (state position);
  • Secretary of the Central Committee (party position)
  • Executive Deputy Prime Minister*
Nguyễn Văn Bình 27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days Governor of the State Bank (state position)
  • Chair of the Central Economic Commission
Võ Văn Thưởng 27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Deputy Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee (party position)
  • Chair of the Central Propaganda and Education Commission
Đinh La Thăng 27 January 2016
-
7 May 2017
1 year, 100 days
  • Minister of Transportation (state position)
  • Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee (until 10 May 2017)
  • Deputy Chair of the Central Economic Commission (since May 2017)
Đinh La Thăng was removed from the Politburo by the Central Committee in May 2017 for misconduct and negligence during his tenure as the chair of the state-owned oil company, PetroVietnam. Since the Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee by convention has to be a Politburo member, he was reassigned to the Central Economic Commission as the deputy chair.
Hoàng Trung Hải
Hoang Trung Hai 2009.jpg
27 January 2016
-
present
3 years, 112 days
  • Deputy Prime Minister (state position)
  • Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee

A "*" indicates that the position was confirmed at the 11th session of the 13th National Assembly, convened from late March 2016.

References

  1. ^ "New politburo unveiled by Vietnam's Communist Party". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
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