Robert Komer, Vietnam, and American Cold War Strategy
By Frank Leith Jones
(US Naval Institute Press, Hardcover, 9781612512280, 401pp.)
Publication Date: March 2013
List Price: $52.95*
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The author highlights Komer's activities during the three years he strove to fulfill the president's vision that Communism could be repelled from Southeast Asia by economic and social development along with military force. Known as "Blowtorch" for his abrasive personality and disdain for bureaucratic foot dragging, Komer came to be seen as the right person for managing that effort, and in 1968 was rewarded with an ambassadorship to Turkey. The book analyzes Komer's work during the Carter administration as special adviser to Secretary of Defense Harold Brown and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and credits him for reenergizing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's conventional capability and forging the military instrument that implemented the Carter Doctrine in the Persian Gulf--the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force. It also explores his final role as a defense intellectual and critic of the Reagan administration's defense policies. The book concludes with a useful summary of Komer's impact on American policy and strategy and his contributions to counterinsurgency practices, a legacy now recognized for its importance in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.