THE WHITE HOUSE
April 11, 1962
TO THE UNITED STATES ARMY:
Another military dimension -- "guerrilla warfare" -- has necessarily been added to the American profession of arms. The literal translation of guerrilla warfare -- "a little war" -- is hardly applicable to this ancient, but at the same time, modern thread. I note that the Army has several terms which describe the various facets of the current struggle: wars of subversion, covert aggression, and, in broad professional terms, special warfare or unconventional warfare.
By whatever name, this militant challenge to freedom calls for an improvement and enlargement of our own development of techniques and tactics, communications and logistics to meet this threat. The mission of our Armed Forces -- and especially the Army today -- is to master these skills and techniques and to be able to help those who have the will to help themselves.
Pure military skill is not enough. A full spectrum of military, para-military, and civil action must be blended to produce success. The enemy uses economic and political warfare, propaganda and naked military aggression in an endless combination to oppose a free choice of government, and suppress the rights of the individual by terror, by subversion and by force of arms. To win in this struggle, our officers and man must understand and combine the political, economic and civil actions with skilled military efforts in the execution of this mission.
"The green beret" is again becoming a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom. I know the United States Army will live up to its reputation for imagination, resourcefulness, and spirit as we meet this challenge.
/s/ John F. Kennedy
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