Chapter XI: 
Reflecting on the struggles over executive control in business and government Elihu Root concluded: "The natural course for the development of our law and institutions does not follow the line of pure reason or the demands of scientific method. It is determined by the impulses, the sympathies and passions, the idealism and selfishness, of all the vast multitude, who are really from day to day building up their own law." 1
The history of the organization of the War Department since Root's day has amply illustrated his observation. The central issue from 1900 to 1968 has been the nature of executive control-not whether there should be any executive control at all but whether this control should be exercised at the traditional bureau level or at the level of the Secretary and the Chief of Staff or, more recently, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In turn, this struggle has reflected a similar one in the American society at large as the nation evolved from a loose-jointed agrarian federation into a highly industrialized, urban nation. Secretary McNamara in 1963 represented the rationalists, beginning with Root, who sought to apply pure reason and scientific method to military organization. He once remarked:
Some of our gravest problems in society arise not from overmanagement but out of undermanagement . . . . Exploding urbanization has been a fact of life in the Western world for more than two hundred years . . . , but there is no evidence that man has overmanared this problem; there is much evidence that he has undermanaged it.2
A military organization would appear to be far more amenable to centralized and rational management than the process of

industrialization and urbanization of society at large in a democratic state devoted to the principle of free enterprise. Yet it too has been subject to the "sympathies and passions, the idealism and selfishness" both of members of the organization itself and the political representatives of the larger society it serves.
From Mr. Root's institution of the General Staff as a means of controlling the bureaus until 1917, when the United States entered World War I, that agency had to struggle merely for the right to exist in a hostile political environment. At the end of this period Congress, influenced by traditional, agrarian antimilitarism, had all but legislated the General Staff out of existence. In World War I the resultant tiny staff devoted its efforts at first to organizing, partially training, and transporting overseas a huge citizen army. The failure of Secretary Baker, an old-fashioned Jacksonian, to assert effective authority over the bureaus led to an almost complete breakdown of the war effort in the winter of 1917-18. Under the pressure of events and goaded by industry and Congress, a revitalized General Staff under General Peyton C. March established effective control for the first time over the bureaus.
After the war the immediate necessity for these controls disappeared, and the bureaus reasserted their traditional freedom through Congress. In the long armistice that followed the General Staff did not have to struggle for existence. It was practically one bureau among equals, although in the late thirties under the impact of a modest rearmament program it was able to assert itself with greater confidence.
The infinitely greater mobilization required in World War II demanded correspondingly greater executive control, and General Marshall found it necessary to establish control not only over the traditional bureaus but the General Staff as well. He centralized administrative responsibility in three major commands-Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces. This left him free to devote his own efforts to his principal function of advising President Roosevelt on strategy and the conduct of military operations around the world. In carrying out these duties Marshall relied heavily upon a greatly expanded Operations Division of the General Staff, while the rest of the latter body was shunted to one side for most of the war.

General Marshall wanted to establish equally firm executive control over a unified department of the armed forces after the war. The Navy frustrated his plans for unification while the Army staff, led by the traditional bureaus, abandoned General Marshall's tight control over the Army for a decentralized organization similar to the prewar pattern.
After passage of the National Security Act of 1947 and its amendment two years later, effective executive control over the Department of the Army gradually passed from the Secretary of the Army to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of the Defense Comptroller, culminating in the managerial revolution of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. Control over military operations in this period passed from the services to the joint Chiefs of Staff. Within its own administrative sphere the Department of the Army sought to assert increasingly greater control over internal operations through new functional program and command management systems. It made special efforts to develop more effective means of co-ordinating the technical services which led ultimately to their demise as independent commands in the Army reorganization of 1962.
As the pendulum swung back and forth, the protagonists remained the same. On the one side were the traditionalists, both civilian and military; on the other were the rationalists seeking to establish the same kind of executive control over the Army and Navy that had been imposed on some industries by modern, giant corporations.
The traditionalists represented the customary methods of conducting the business of the Executive Branch of the federal government where power and responsibility have been deliberately fragmented among competing .bureaus. As a permanent bureaucracy they possessed intimate, detailed knowledge of how the Army and the War Department operated. Temporary, politically appointed secretaries came and went with little knowledge of these details. They were forced to rely upon the bureaucrats for information, and thus the bureaus more often than not controlled the secretaries instead of the reverse.
Secretary Root intended the General Staff to be a permanent agency whose knowledge could be used to balance that of the bureaus and to supervise their operations. Instead of con-

trolling the bureaus the General Staff adapted itself to their traditional procedures. Before the World War II reorganization General Marshall accused it of the very bureaucratic vices for which Mr. Root had criticized the bureaus. The General Staff in effect became another collection of bureaus.
Except during wartime, when tight controls over their operations were forced upon them, the traditionalists were able to hold their own. After both world wars they reasserted their independence. They were also able to dilute several boldly announced reforms in the process of executing them, notably the Palmer reorganization of 1954-55. Except in the cases of Generals Wood, March, and Marshall, they were successful in sidetracking attempts to reform their methods of reaching decisions through "completed staff actions."
The principal rationalists reflected experience with large corporate enterprises. Secretary Root, his protégé Henry L. Stimson, Robert Lovett, and others sought to establish control by integrating the operations of the department along functional lines. The General Staff was functionally oriented, a pattern first adopted by continental railroads in the United States. Secretary McNamara's program budgets was a management control technique pioneered by DuPont and General Motors after World War I. After World War II a number of large industrial corporations followed their example, including the Ford Motor Company who hired Mr. McNamara and others to revitalize that company's antiquated management procedures.
The principal military reformers were Generals Wood, March, and Marshall. Their civilian allies included industrial management experts and specialists in public administration, particularly Bureau of the Budget officials like Leonard W. Hoelscher, Charles J. Hitch, and Thomas D. Morris. The most prominent spokesman for rationalization along functional lines during World War II was General Brehon B. Somervell, Commanding General, Army Service Forces, and his principal instrument for carrying out these reforms was the Control Division, under Maj. Gen. Clinton F. Robinson.
In 1946 the abolition of ASF and its Control Division was a major goal of War Department traditionalists because of its insistence on functionalizing the Army's supply and administra-

tive services. But the emerging cold war with the Soviet Union did not permit the relaxation of international tensions and a return to the relatively control-free atmosphere of a small peacetime army. New conditions required greater controls over the Army's supply and administrative system, and the new Office of the Army Comptroller picked up where the ASF's Control Division had left off at the end of World War II.
In their efforts to modernize the Army's administration, the rationalists were aided by outside management consulting firms and by special commissions on governmental organization chartered by Congress. The prestige of the members of these commissions, particularly the two Hoover Commissions, greatly influenced Congress and led it to abandon its traditional alliance with the bureaus in the Army and Navy.
The revolution in technology and the consequent mounting costs of new weapons systems also created conditions requiring greater controls over military research and development programs. At the same time, the development of automatic data processing equipment gave managers a device for asserting greater centralized control than had been physically possible earlier, once they learned how to employ them effectively.
The increased employment of industrial management techniques and greater sophistication of statistical and fiscal controls did not solve all the Army's management and organizational problems. From the days of Secretary Root certain problems appear again and again, and there is no indication that they have yet been solved. They all have one feature in common. They are characteristics of large bureaucratic or corporate organizations and testify to the resistance of traditionalists to changes in their accustomed methods and procedures.
Reformers have repeatedly insisted that the Army staff divorce itself from the details of administration. Just as repeatedly, Army staff spokesmen have insisted that it was practically impossible to separate planning from operations. Minutely detailed centralized control over field operations at the bureau and later the General Staff level has been characteristic of the federal government from the earliest days of the republic. Each time reformers succeeded in removing the Army staff from operations through drastic reductions in personnel and other devices, a reaction has set in and in a few years the Army staff

had proliferated again in numbers and functions. The pendulum continues to swing back and forth.
Another problem reformers have sought to eliminate unsuccessfully has been the inability of the Army staff to distinguish between minor administrative details and major policy issues. Decisions over the issuance of toilet paper or belt buckles seemed to critics like Generals Hagood and Besson to receive equal attention with decisions over the development of missiles. An allied factor was the compartmentalization characteristic of bureaucratic organizations where even minor differences of opinion tended to go all the way to the top before they could be resolved. Secretary Root tried to rid himself of this problem by passing it on to the Chief of Staff. Secretary Baker allowed much of his time to be frittered away on such matters. General Marshall delegated authority freely to deal with these details to his three major field commands. Management experts counseled executives to "manage by exception" and avoid immersion in details which prevented them from asserting effective control over their organizations.
Perhaps the most important of the bureaucratic vices that rationalists sought to eliminate was the lengthy delay built into the Army staff's decision-making process by the requirement to obtain concurrences from all agencies with a "cognizant" interest in any issue. The resulting reduction of decisions to the lowest common denominator in order to obtain agreement was a constant frustration. General March disapproved of decisions by committees or boards, saying that boards were "long, wooden, and narrow." General Marshall demanded quick action and quick decisions through his Green Hornets, a method that survived only so long as he was Chief of Staff. Secretary McNamara, in criticizing the committee system, tried to impress on the services the need for prompt decisions. Despite his efforts, the completed staff action still remained the standard procedure for making decisions within the Department of the Army with its traditional delays and compromises.
Brilliant managers and administrators may be relatively rare in the federal bureaucracy, but in both world wars such men arose who met successfully the challenges of the war by asserting effective control over the department's operations. When Mr. Root outlined the administrative mismanagement

of the War Department during the Spanish-American War to the Senate Military Affairs Committee, its chairman, Senator Joseph Hawley of Connecticut, a Civil War veteran who was customarily called General, suggested that General Grant would have solved the problem easily. When reminded that General Grant was unfortunately no longer available, the senator replied that "God always sends a man like him" in time of need.3  
The men who have arrived in time of need have, however, normally stamped their own personalities on the organization and have not necessarily created organizations that fitted the style of their successors. The reorganization of the Army in 1963 seemed in many ways a final triumph of the rationalists over the traditionalists. Yet the undertones of the old struggle did not disappear, and changing technology and conditions have dictated piecemeal changes in defense and Army organization since 1963. The organization on which Secretary McNamara had heavily placed his personal stamp came in for its share of criticism by a "Blue-Ribbon Panel" headed by Gilbert W. Fitzhugh, chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, in 1970. The panel reiterated the standard complaints of reformers since the time of Root about fragmentation of responsibility for decisions, excessive size of staffs, the constant thrusting of minor issues to the top for decision, and the delays in making decisions through committees and staff co-ordination.4
The organization and management of the Department of the Army since the McNamara reforms confirms these observations. Efforts to streamline decision-making by the Army staff were abortive. As a result of the recommendations made by Project 80 and Project 39a, Chief of Staff Regulation 1-13 of 10 June 1963 changed the traditional procedures involved in obtaining concurrences to require that concurrences needed be obtained only from those agencies with "primary staff responsibility" for any proposed action. Five years later, on 9 April 1968, this restriction was diluted by eliminating it so far as the Deputy and Assistant Chiefs of Staff were concerned. The re-

striction applied afterward only to the Army's special staff agencies.
The Blue Ribbon Defense Panel noted that the only means which had been developed within the Defense Department to circumvent the delays inherent in normal staff actions was to pull selected projects of high priority out of the system and place them under project managers or special assistants. As Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard said: "Everytime we want something done in a hurry and want it done right, we have to take the project out of the system. We give a good man direction and authority and let him go-and it works . . . . On the other hand, when we are not in a hurry to get things done right, we over-organize, over-man, over-spend and under-accomplish."5
Within the Army there was an increase in the number of agencies reporting directly to the Chief of Staff, contrary to the recommendation of the Hoelscher Committee. Two of the traditional technical services were restored to their positions as special staff agencies reporting to the Chief of Staff on the grounds that the importance of their functions required it. The former Chief Signal Officer, designated as the Chief of Communications-Electronics but without any field installations under his direct command, became a separate staff agency in 1967, while the Chief of Engineers regained his special staff status formally in 1969.
The increasing use of Army troops in civil disturbances during the 1960s led to the creation of a Directorate of Civil Disturbance Planning and Operations (DCDPO) directly under the Chief of Staff in 1968. At the end of 1970 a Special Assistant for the Modern Volunteer Army (SAMVA) was created directly under the Chief of Staff. By the end of the decade also two project managers had been appointed who reported directly to the Chief of Staff, for the SAFEGUARD missile system in 1967 and for the Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Night Observation (STANO) in 1969.6
Bypassing normal staff and command channels in these instances tended further to centralize authority of the depart-

ment's operation under the Chief of Staff. This was most apparent in the changes after 1963 leading to the creation in February 1967 of an Assistant Vice Chief of Staff responsible for the co-ordinating functions performed before 1955 by the three Deputy Chiefs of Staff. As indicated earlier, after 1955 these co-ordinating functions were placed under the Secretary of the General Staff whose responsibilities in this area increased greatly after 1968. The introduction of sophisticated automatic data processing systems at all levels in the Army and Defense Department, the introduction of cost-effectiveness studies of weapons systems, force requirements, and the new "Program Budgets" categories based upon computers were responsible for this growth in the role of the Secretary of the General Staff and, ultimately, the assignment of responsibility for co-ordinating these functions to the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, a three-star position. At that point SGS reverted to its pre-1956 role of providing administrative, communications, personnel, and management services for the Chief of Staff and the Army staff, including control of staff actions.7
Whatever future changes take place in Army organization and management, they will doubtless reflect the continuing struggle between the rationalists and traditionalists. This development, as mentioned earlier, partially reflects the larger effort of the American people to adapt their traditionally rural outlook, reflexes, priorities, values, and institutions to the requirements of an increasingly complex, urban, industrial society which places increasing restraints on the freedom of action, not only of individuals, but also of the myriad corporate organizations, large and small, public and private, that make up the American federal system of government and free enterprise. These developments also reflect the restless, shifting world environment in which the United States lives where the specific requirements of national security are constantly, often unpredictably, changing. The survival of the United States depends upon its success in adapting itself to these changes.


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