Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate on Low Intensity Conflict Policy


December 16, 1987


Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)


Conflict in the Third World can pose serious threats to our security interests. Low intensity conflicts, which take place at levels below conventional war, but above routine peaceful competition among states, can be particularly troublesome.


The attached report, prepared pursuant to section 1311 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 1987, responds to legislation passed by the Congress in 1986. It describes actions taken, and ongoing, as a result of our experience with low intensity conflicts over the last several years and highlights a broad-range effort to address problems associated with low intensity conflict and our Special Operations Forces. In that regard, in June of this year, I approved a new national policy and strategy for low intensity conflict and established a Board for Low Intensity Conflict that is chaired by my National Security Adviser. The essential elements of our low intensity conflict policy and strategy are described in the report.


We have also activated the new Unified Command for Special Operations, improved our special operations capabilities, and established the office of the new Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict.


More work lies ahead. The United States must continue to respond to challenges arising from low intensity conflict -- to defend our interests and support those who put their lives on the line in the common cause of freedom. For the United States to be effective in this most important undertaking, there must be public understanding and strong congressional support. I hope this report will contribute to a broader understanding of low intensity conflict and the support that our policy requires.




Ronald Reagan


Note: Identical letters were sent to Jim Wright, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and George Bush, President of the Senate.