The Eisenhower Reorganization
After World War II the United States abandoned its prewar
isolationism and assumed global responsibilities in international affairs
that vastly increased the commitments of its military establishment and required
new patterns of defense organization. The World War II Army of over eight
million was reduced by mid-1947 to approximately one million (including the
Army Air Forces), but was still five times greater than the Army of the 1930s.
This force was no longer deployed solely in the United States and its possessions
but was widely dispersed in occupation and other duties in Europe and Asia.
The Army could no longer be viewed as a virtually independent. entity but
as one interrelated in complex patterns with the other elements in the defense
establishment, including after 1947 a separate Air Force. The pace of technological
advance illustrated most dramatically by the appearance of the first atomic
bomb at the end of the war introduced further complications into the management
of defense and Army affairs. Between 1945 and 1950 Congress and the Executive
Branch wrestled with the problems of establishing a new defense organization
to fit the new circumstances. Within the Army itself these events produced
crosscurrents of opinion that led to a new phase in the long struggle between
rationalists and traditionalists over the nature of the organization of the
General of the Army George C. Marshall repeatedly asserted
he could not have "run the war" without having radically reorganized
the department to provide centralized, unified control through decentralized
responsibility for administration. The essential features of his reorganization,
he strongly advised, should be retained after the war and the armed services
should be unified or integrated along the same lines.1
approach was preferable to continuing the unsatisfactory extemporaneous wartime
organization of the joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) . The JCS operated on the
traditional committee system, which, Marshall told Congress, made the development
of balanced national defense policies and effective control over the armed
services impossible. "Committees," he said, "are at best cumbersome
agencies." They reached agreement only after interminable delay. Their
decisions represented compromises among the competing interests of individual
agencies rather than rational calculations based on the interests of the nation
as a whole. They wasted time, men, money, and matériel.2
Marshall's basic proposition was to integrate the services
into a single department along the same lines as his wartime organization
of the Army. A civilian secretary would be responsible for the nonmilitary
administration of the services, a role similar to Secretary Stimson's during
the war. Under him would be a single Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces directing
the military activities of four operating commands: the Army, Navy, Air Forces,
and a Common Supply and Hospitalization Service patterned after Army Service
Forces. Overseas theater commanders would report directly to the Chief of
The Joint Chiefs of Staff would continue as a top-level planning
and co-ordinating staff, with no administrative responsibilities, under a
"Chief of Staff to the President" like Fleet Admiral William D.
Leahy. The new Chief of Staff would present the views of the JCS to the President
instead of the reverse as Admiral Leahy had done. The JCS would also continue
to report directly to the President rather than through the civilian secretary.
Its vital function would be to recommend to the President military programs
which integrated military strategy and policy with the budgets required to
National military policies should be balanced against the
resources available to meet them, Marshall insisted. Otherwise the services
would find themselves again unable to carry out their assigned responsibilities.
He also sought to prevent the services from bypassing the Chief of Staff and
the Secretary as the technical services had done in obtaining
their own funds
directly from Congress. Thus General Marshall's plan also
involved a radical reorganization of the nation's defense budgets along rational
Even before Pearl Harbor General Marshall realized the importance
of planning ahead to avoid the kind of chaotic demobilization which followed
World War I. On 18 November 1941 he recalled to active duty Brig. Gen. John
McAuley Palmer, with whom he had served under Pershing, as his personal adviser
on the postwar organization of the Army. On 24 June 1942 he also appointed
a Post-War Planning Board to advise General Palmer on postwar organization
matters. Its members, including the G1 and G-3, were too preoccupied with
current operating responsibilities to pay much attention to postwar problems.
Eventually they agreed on the need for a special staff agency that would devote
its entire time to problems of demobilization and postwar planning.
General Marshall then asked General Somervell on 14 April
1943 to initiate preliminary studies on demobilization planning. Accordingly,
General Somervell set up a Project Planning Division within the Office of
the Deputy Commanding General for Service Commands to define the problem in
the light of American experience in World War I and recommend a proper organization
and procedures for dealing with it.
Assisted by General Palmer, the Project Planning Division
submitted a Survey of Demobilization Planning to General Marshall on 18 June
1943. Based on these recommendations, Under Secretary Patterson on 22 July
1943 directed creation of a Special Planning Division as a War Department
Special Staff agency to develop plans for demobilization, universal military
training, a single department of defense, and the postwar organization of
Taking over the personnel of ASF's Project Planning Division,
the Special Planning Division (SPD) was. a group of approximately fifty people
under Brig. Gen. William F. Tompkins and later Maj. Gen. Ray E. Porter. Col.
Gordon E. Textor became deputy director, and General Palmer
continued to serve as adviser. Collectively, they had sufficient rank to command
respect from the other War Department agencies and commands with whom they
had to work. 4
The Special Planning Division's internal organization consisted
of five functional branches: Organization; Personnel and Administration; Service,
Operations, and Transportation; Materiel; and Fiscal. Three other branches,
Legislative and Liaison, Administration, and Research, provided administrative
The Organization Branch developed the War Department's Basic
Plan for the Post-War Military Establishment and the Army's positions on unification
and universal military training along the lines outlined by General Marshall.
The Personnel and Administration Branch prepared the Army's demobilization
program together with the Readjustment Regulations governing its operations.
The Service, Operations, and Transportation Branch, the Fiscal Branch, and
the Materiel Branch, which were combined in 1945 as the Supply and Materiel
Branch, concentrated on planning the Army's postwar supply organization and
industrial demobilization. The Research Branch collected and evaluated reports
from other staff agencies and prepared the division's periodic progress reports.
On military matters the SPD reported to the Chief to Staff and on industrial
matters to Under Secretary Patterson.5
The Special Planning Division followed traditional Army staff
action procedures. It assigned problems for investigation to appropriate staff
agencies or commands, reviewed their reports, and then submitted them for
comment and concurrence to all interested agencies. After adjusting conflicting
views, SPD submitted the final results to the General Staff, General Marshall,
Under Secretary Patterson, and Secretary Stimson for
approval. In September 1945, two and a half years after it
had begun operations, the SPD had completed action on about one half of the
150 problems initially assigned. Those remaining generally concerned Army
supply and administrative organization, the subject of heated debate between
ASF and the Army staff. While the Special Planning Division continued to exist
until May 1946, the Under Secretary's Office absorbed the functions of the
Materiel Branch in. September 1945, while the Patch-Simpson Board on the Postwar
Organization of the Army removed that function from the Organization Branch.6
A primary responsibility of the Special Planning Division
was the detailed planning required to carry out General Marshall's postwar
programs for unification of the armed services, universal military training
(UMT), and the postwar organization of the Army. Before any detailed planning
could be undertaken the SPD and the Army staff had to agree on certain operating
assumptions concerning the nature of the postwar world and likely U.S. military
commitments in that period.
The SPD's Basic Plan for the Post-War Military Establishment,
dated 9 November 1945, assumed for planning purposes the existence of some
kind of international security organization like the proposed United Nations
"controlled by major powers," including the United States. Control
over the sea and air "throughout the world" would be the "primary
responsibility of the major powers, each power having primary control in its
own strategic areas." Finally, the "total power" of the world
organization would be sufficient to deter any aggressor, including one of
the major powers.
Within this framework the SPD and the Army staff made the
following planning assumptions concerning the nature of the next war. The
United States would have recognized the possibility of such a war at least
a year ahead and have undertaken some military preparations. The conflict
would be a "total war" begun without any declaration of war by an
"all-out" attack on the United States as the initial objective of
the aggressors. The war would last five years, and the United States would
be without major Allies for the first eighteen months.
Additional assumptions were that the United States would
be able to mobilize 4,500,000 men within one year and that the maximum rate
of production during the war would be that of 1943.
Given these assumptions the armed services should be strong
enough to maintain "the security of the continental United States during
the initial phases of mobilization," "support such international
obligations as the United States may assume," hold those "strategic
bases" required "to ensure our use of vital sea and air routes,"
and be able to expand rapidly through partial to complete mobilization.7
In summary, Army plans assumed the next war would be much
like the last, complete with another Pearl Harbor. Basing them on these assumptions
the Army submitted two versions of General Marshall's unification proposals
to Congress. General McNarney introduced the first version to a special House
Committee on Post-War Military Policy headed by Congressman Clifton A. Woodrum,
Democrat of Virginia, on 25 April 1944. The committee took no action because
of strong Navy opposition. A JCS Special Committee for Reorganization of National
Defense recommended certain changes in the Marshall-McNarney plan in the summer
of 1945. As a result the Army staff modified its earlier proposals, and Lt.
Gen. J. Lawton Collins, Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff, Army
Ground Forces, presented the second and final War Department proposals, the
Marshall-Collins plan, to the Senate Military Affairs Committee on 80 October
The basic features of these two plans followed General Marshall's
concept of unification. They also paralleled Marshall's wartime organization.
The new Secretary of the Armed Forces and his principal assistants would be
responsible for those nonmilitary functions Secretary Stimson and his staff
had handled-research and development, procurement, industrial mobilization,
legislative liaison, and public information. (Chart 11) The services together
with a separate Directorate of Common Supply would be autonomous operating
agencies like the Army Ground Forces, Air Forces, and Service Forces reporting
directly to the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces rather than
THE MARS HALL-COLLINS PLAN FOR A UNIFIED DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMED FORCES,
19 OCTOBER 1945
Source: Thomas Committee Unification Hearing, p. 156.
through separate civilian secretaries. The Secretary of Defense
would supervise and direct the services through an integrated functional staff
rather than through a more traditional, service-oriented one. The Joint Chiefs
of Staff would be responsible for co-ordinating policies and programs with
the men and resources required, much as OPD had done for the Army during the
Both General Marshall and General Collins in their Congressional
testimony stressed the integrating and co-ordinating functions of the JCS
more than any other feature of the Army's proposals. One feature they did
not discuss was the assignment of land-based air forces to the Air Forces
without any reference to land-based Marine Corps aviation. The omission was
significant because the role of Marine Corps aviation caused the most bitter
interservice disputes in the ensuing Congressional battles on unification.8
The second part of Marshall's postwar program which the Special
Planning Division worked on was universal military training. From the
beginning it was hobbled by a renewal of
the old Army dispute over whether the United States should
rely for its defense upon the Uptonian concept of a large standing army or
continue to rely upon a trained militia. Remembering that Congress had twice
rejected the Uptonian approach in the National Defense Act of 1916 and again
in 1920, Marshall did not believe Congress would support a permanent peacetime
army larger than 275,000. Consequently he, General Palmer, and Secretary Stimson
supported the traditional policy of relying upon trained Reserves against
the determined opposition of practically the entire Army staff which favored
the Uptonian view. Marshall proposed the UMT program as the most practicable
means of providing a trained militia. As developed by the SPD in agreement
with the Navy, the UMT plan proposed that every able-bodied male between seventeen
and twenty would receive a year's military training followed by five years
of service in the Organized Reserves or National Guard. UMT would be for training
only, and trainees would not be considered part of the armed forces available
for normal peacetime military operations. The peacetime military establishment
would be "no larger than necessary to discharge peacetime responsibilities"
because UMT would provide the forces needed in the event of a national emergency.
Paragraph II of War Department Circular 347 of 27 August
1944 instructed the War Department to follow the traditional American policy
of relying upon trained National Guard and Reserve forces as the basis for
its postwar planning. Despite General Marshall's directive the Army staff
continued to oppose reliance upon the militia right down to his retirement
in November 1945. A War Department Special Committee on the Strength of the
Permanent Military Establishment appointed in August 1945 under Brig. Gen.
William W. Bessell, Jr., initially proposed a million-man army. This figure
included the Air Staff's proposal for a seventy-group air force. Marshall
informed the Bessell Board that this total was unrealistic because Congress
would not provide the funds needed to maintain such a large force and because
without universal military training or the draft the Army could not obtain
the volunteers needed. The board then revised its estimates downward to about
550,000, but General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, who succeeded Marshall
as Chief of Staff, rejected this
figure as inadequate. The cold war soon made these internal
Army disputes academic, while UMT was pigeonholed in Congress.9
The last part of Marshall's postwar program tackled by the
Special Planning Division was the future organization of the War Department
and Army. By the end of the war the Army staff had been unable to reach agreement
on this subject, and the SPD assumed "for planning purposes only"
the continued existence of the "Air Forces, Ground Fqrces, and Service
Forces." At this point the Board of Officers on the Reorganization of
the War Department under Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch took over this function
The War Department's basic plan assumed that the Air Forces
would be organized into "a headquarters and such Air Forces, Commands
and other elements as may be provided," that the Ground Forces would
similarly be organized into a "headquarters and such Army and Corps headquarters
and separate commands as may be provided," but concerning the Service
Forces it assumed only that they would be "organized administratively
to support the requirements of the Ground and Air Forces." The omission
of any reference to ASF headquarters was deliberate. The postwar organization
of the Army was to be heavily influenced by the bitter opposition provoked
within the Army staff by General Somervell's wartime proposals to reorganize
the Army's supply and administrative systems along functional lines.10
General Somervell and his industrial management experts in
the Control Division under General Robinson made four
proposals between 1948 and 1946 aimed at rationalizing the
Army's supply and administrative systems.
The first, made in both April and June 1943, would have established
General Somervell formally as the Chief of Staff's principal adviser on supply
and administration, replacing G-1 and G-4. The opposition of the Army staff,
including OPD, killed this plan. The next three proposals made in the fall
of 1948, the summer of 1944, and late 1945, all would have "functionalized"
the technical and administrative services out of existence as autonomous commands.
Secretary Stimson himself vetoed the first, Under Secretary Patterson the
second, while the third effort, disguised as logistics "Lessons Learned"
in World War II, remained buried in the files of ASF and its successor agencies.
General Somervell was not satisfied with his informal status
as General Marshall's chief adviser on supply and administration. With his
passion for organizational tidiness and clear-cut command channels he wanted
to make this position formal, resurrecting the dual position held by General
Goethals in World War I. In his view there was no need for G-1, G-4, or the
Logistics Division of OPD, and in April and June 1943 he proposed to abolish
them. His argument was that separating operations from planning was impractical.
G-1 and G-4 were unnecessary because ASF was actually performing their functions.
"The enforcement of policy inevitably tends to become the actual operation
of that policy with all of the extra administrative detail and personnel required
for an additional agency to do the work of another." 11
Going one step
further Somervell argued that the Operations Division ought to absorb G-3
functions, leaving as the General Staff only OPD and the Military Intelligence
Service, both essentially operating agencies. Thus the General Staff would
be eliminated as a coordinating or supervising agency. Summarizing this concept
several years later as one of the lessons learned in the war, General Robinson
The commander of the logistic agency must be recognized as
the adviser to and staff ofcer for the Chief of Staff on logistic matters.
The General Staff should be a small body of direct advisers
ants to the Chief of Staff, concentrating its attention primarily
on strategic planning and the direction of military operations. The Chief
of Staff and the General Staff should not be burdened with the coordination
and direction of administrative and supply activities, procedures and
Without commenting one way or another, General Marshall submitted
these proposals to the General Staff and other interested agencies that almost
unanimously opposed them. G-1 and G-4 remained, and their staffs and functions
actually increased during the rest of the war, probably as a reaction to General
Somervell's projected plans. 13
General Somervell's next campaign was to integrate the operations
of the technical services along functional lines. (Chart 12) This was the
heart of a proposed wholesale reorganization of the Army Service Forces from
the top down known as the Long-Range Organization Plan for the ASF prepared
in the Control Division. The reorganization of ASF headquarters actually carried
out was that in November 1943, which centered on a Directorate of Plans and
Operations. The headquarters of the several service commands were to be realigned
The offices of the chiefs of the technical services were
also to be reorganized on parallel lines as the first step toward their complete
functional ization. In the last stage they would be divested of their field
commands and combined with the staff of ASF headquarters into a single functional
staff for procurement, supply, personnel, administration, fiscal, medical,
utilities, transportation, and communications. The field activities of the
technical services were to be transferred to six instead of nine service commands
and their various field operating zones realigned to correspond to the latters'
geographical boundaries. There would be no more Class IV installations or
"exempted stations" except for certain special installations such
LONG-RANGE ORGANIZATION PLAN FOR ARMY SERVICE FORCES, OCTOBER-NOVEMBER
Source: Control Division, ASF, Report No. 56, OCt-Nov 43. Dir, SSP,
"Briefing Book: "The Pros and Cons of a Logistic Command,"
of embarkation and proving grounds which would report directly
to ASF headquarters in Washington.14
General Marshall and General McNarney supported General Somervell's
plan, which they both recognized would wipe out the traditional technical
and administrative services. Secretary Stimson, Under Secretary Patterson,
and Mr. McCloy, on the other hand, realized the opposition and resentment
this would provoke among the technical services. The Secretary doubted that
the game would be worth the candle. General Somervell, "whose strong
point is not judicial poise," the Secretary confided in his diary, reminded
him in many ways of General Wood, especially "in his temperament."
He recalled for General Marshall how Wood's efforts to reform the Army back
in 1911-12 aroused such opposition that Stimson had all he could do to prevent
Congress from abolishing the position of Chief of Staff altogether. General
Marshall, whose experiences under General Pershing had taught him the political
power of the technical service chiefs, yielded at this point to the Secretary's
judgment. General McNarney, although overruled, continued to believe "washing
out" the technical services was a sensible idea.15
As if to underline Secretary Stimson's arguments, opponents
of General Somervell's plan within the Army leaked information about it to
the press, which in turn stirred up a hornet's nest in Congress, just as the
Secretary feared it would.16
One of those most strongly opposed to functionalization
was the resourceful Chief of Ordnance, General Campbell, who complained to
Bernard Baruch, a member of his Industrial Advisory Committee. Mr. Baruch
protested to President Roosevelt personally and also wrote Mr. Stimson. The
Secretary in reply said: "I stopped the foolish proposal in respect to
the Technical Services when it first reached me several weeks ago." 17
General Somervell was abroad on an important political mission for General
Marshall during all these events. Surveying the
damage on his return, he ordered all papers and studies on
the whole project destroyed.18
Undaunted, General Somervell and the Control Division continued
to press for consideration of their plan to functionalize the technical services.
Responding to a request from the Special Planning Division, the Control Division
on 15 July 1944 resubmitted a combined and revised edition of its earlier
proposals .as a Plan for Post-War Organization of the Army Service Forces.
This included its recommendations to confine the General Staff to strategic
planning and the direction of military operations, to make the Commanding
General, ASF, the Chief of Staff's adviser on supply and administration, and
to create a "single, unified agency for all supply and administrative
services for the Army," including the AAF. In addition to abolishing
G-1 and G-4, the report requested restoration of the War Department's budget
function to the ASF because "all fiscal operations should be placed in
one organizational unit," suggested abolition of the New Developments
Division because it duplicated and complicated the research and development
work of ASF headquarters, and asked that the civilian personnel functions
be transferred from the Office of the Secretary to ASF on similar grounds.
Complaining that the AAF was attempting to make itself completely
"self-contained and independent," the report recommended that ASF
should be responsible for most AAF housekeeping functions and for "the
procurement and supply of all items of supply and equipment, including those
peculiar to Army Air Forces. There is no more reason for making the present
exception for aircraft than for making an exception for tanks or radio or
artillery." Under the ASF there would also be one transportation system
for land, sea, and air, except for elements organic to tactical units.
ASF's mission, the Control Division argued, was "to
integrate in an economical manner all the supply, administrative, and
service functions of the Army." The continued existence in law of the
technical and administrative services as semiautonomous agencies was inconsistent
with this principle, and the National Defense Act should be amended accordingly.
The law ought only to provide for the principal officers of the department:
the Secretary, Under Secretary, and assistant secretaries, the Chief of Staff
and the General Staff, and the three major commands. The detailed subordinate
organization of the department should be left "for administrative determination"
by the Secretary of War. Similarly the commissioning of officers in the separate
arms and services was inconsistent with the organization of the Army into
three major commands. The law should provide for commissioning and assigning
all officers only in the "Army of the United States," and branch
insignia should be abolished.
The report again recommended abolishing the distinction between
Class I and Class IV installations and the adoption of a single organizational
pattern along functional lines under the service commands for all field activities
within the zone of interior.
The chiefs of the technical and administrative services would
continue to exist in this plan, unlike the previous one, but they would serve
simply as a functional staff and command no field agencies. Under this scheme,
the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, organized internally along commodity
lines, would be the staff agency responsible for procurement and production,
including research and development and maintenance and repair. (Chart 13)
The Quartermaster General's Office, also organized on a commodity basis,
would be responsible for storage, distribution, and issuance of all supplies
and equipment. The Office of the Chief of Engineers would be responsible for
all construction, real property (including national cemeteries), mapping,
and its traditional "civil functions," the Office of the Surgeon
General for all medical activities, the Office of the Chief of Transportation
for all types of transportation and the Army postal system, and the Office
of the Chief Signal Officer for signal communications and for photographic
POSTWAR ORGANIZATION, ARMY SERVICE FORCES, PROPOSED BY ASF HEADQUARTERS,
15 JULY 1944
(1) Primary duty of co-ordinating all planining and programing.
(2) Number of service commands would vary from time to time depending upon
(3) Staff organization parallels that of headquarters.
Source: Control Division, ASF, 020 Organization, 1944 file, Organization
of the Army Service Forces in the Post War Military Establishment,
Headquarters, ASF, 15 July 1944.
and motion picture services. The only office abolished would
be the Chief Chemical Officer.
The Judge Advocate General would be responsible for all legal
activities currently performed in the technical services. The Office of the
Provost Marshal General would be assigned responsibility for civil defense
in addition to its other duties. All fiscal activities of the technical services
would be transferred to the Office of the Chief of Finance, and The Adjutant
General's Office would be responsible for all personnel functions, publications
and records, personnel services, and labor relations. The National Guard Bureau
and the Office of the Executive for Reserve and ROTC Affairs would be abolished
and their functions assigned to the ASF Chief of Military Training and to
The Adjutant General.
The Control Division advocated organizing the supply and
administrative services of overseas theaters and commands on the same pattern
as the ASF and the service commands. All supply and service troops not organic
to a subordinate tactical unit would be placed under a single service of supply
whose commander would bear the same relation to the theater commander as General
Somervell did to General Marshall. Within tactical units from armies down
to regiments a single service troop commander would replace the special staff,
G-1 and G-4.
The Control Division concluded its report with a recommendation
that in any proposed single department of the armed services there should
be a separate Service Forces agency for common administration, supply, and
These "reforms" were so radical and comprehensive
that they affected nearly every agency in the Army, the Navy, and the Air
Forces. To the extent that they were known throughout the Army they added
fuel to the existing animosity toward the ASK Under Secretary Patterson vetoed
the plan, saying that roles and missions of the technical services and the
service commands should be left unchanged. Consequently the proposal was not
submitted to the Special Planning Division, but General Robinson presented
a copy of it to the Patch Board a year later as part of his testimony.19
The final proposals developed in the Control Division for
inclusion as Chapter 16 of General Somervell's final report retained the same
basic organization proposed earlier with the following exceptions. The Chief
of Ordnance and the Quartermaster General would administer and control major
field activities including arsenals, large procurement and storage depots,
and major maintenance and repair facilities. The plan developed in some detail
the procedures by which the Army's supply system would operate under this
pattern of organization. Second, it proposed separate seacoast commands to
control ports of embarkation, holding and reconsignment points, distribution
depots, staging areas, and personnel replacement centers. Finally the report
offered a detailed war mobilization organization plan for the federal government
in which an Allocations Board would ration scarce resources, production facilities,
labor, and transportation among government agencies in a manner similar to
the Controlled Materials Plan of World War II.
These proposals, submitted to General Somervell in November
1945, were deleted from his final report, which was published in 1948 as "Logistics
in World War II: The Final Report of the Commanding General, Army Service
Forces," because the War Department reorganization of May 1946 and the
National Security Act of 1947 had overtaken them.20
The Army staff's opposition to continuing Army Service Forces
after the war stemmed from animosity engendered by General Brehon B. Somervell's
aggressiveness and the huge size of his headquarters as well as from opposition
to his various reorganization proposals. The opportunity to abolish ASF came
with General Marshall's retirement as Chief of Staff and his replacement by
General Eisenhower after the war. The latter's impending appointment was common
knowledge, at least in the higher echelons of the department, in the summer
In August 1945 Brig. Gen. Henry I. Hodes, Assistant Deputy
Chief of Staff, asked Maj. Gen. Ray E. Porter, Director of the Special Planning
Division, to recommend an appropri-
ate course of action on reorganizing the department. General
Porter replied by suggesting the appointment of an ad hoc board of high-ranking
officers representing the General Staff and the three major commands to assist
the Special Planning Division in developing a proper organization for the
department and the Army in the immediate postwar period.
Consequently General Thomas T. Handy, the Deputy Chief of
Staff on 30 August created a Board of Officers on the Reorganization of the
War Department, headed first by General Patch, and, after his death in November,
by Lt. Gen. William H. Simpson. Handy made the board itself rather than SPD
responsible for recommending a suitable organization, and appointed representatives
from the technical services instead of the three major commands, flatly rejecting
a personal request from General Somervell to appoint General Robinson. The
board included one representative each from OPD and SPD, the Chief Signal
Officer, and a veteran Ordnance organization and management expert, Maj. Gen.
Charles T. Harris, Jr. As head of a blue-ribbon Committee on the Post-War
Organization of the Ordnance Department Harris had recommended continuing
the department's division along commodity lines with responsibility "from
design to obsolescence" assigned on this basis, a concept directly contrary
to General Somervell's functional approach. Of all the members of the Patch-Simpson
Board General Harris was the only one with much experience in organizational
planning. General Patch himself, a blunt combat veteran with no General Staff
experience at all, was frankly baffled by the complex organization, procedures,
and vernacular of the department and relied heavily upon the judgment of his
colleagues. The end result was a committee deliberately weighted against the
Army Service Forces.21
The Patch Board based its recommendations on approxi-
mately seventy-five personal interviews and other communications
from War Department officials, civilian and military, and from General Eisenhower,
already selected as General Marshall's successor, and his European Theater
of Operations staff.
There was a small group of veterans who had been responsible
for the operation of the War Department during the war and who favored continuing
the Marshall organization. Besides General Marshall these included Mr. Patterson,
Mr. Lovett, General Somervell and his staff, Maj. Gen. Russell L. Maxwell,
the G-4, and General Joseph T. McNarney and the three members of his 1942
Reorganization Executive Committee, Brig. Gen. William. K. Harrison, Jr.,
Maj. Gen. Laurence S. Kuter, and Maj. Gen. Otto L. Nelson, Jr. The latter
were questioned primarily on the background and rationale of that reorganization.
General Marshall and - General McNarney emphasized the need to keep the General
Staff out of operations because its procedures delayed action too long. General
McNarney went further and recommended abolishing the technical services entirely.
The second and largest group consisted of representatives
from the technical services and General Eisenhower's staff who opposed ASF
because they regarded a separate supply command as violating the principle
of unity of command. General Handy was only formally neutral on ASF, while
Dr. Bush, Dr. Bowles, and Brig. Gen. William A. Borden were interested primarily
in the future status of the Army's research and development program.22
Knowing General Eisenhower would be the next Chief of Staff,
the Patch Board paid particular attention to a rough plan suggested by him
for dividing the Army staff into a small planning and co-ordinating staff
at the top and a series of functional operating "directorates" for
"technical coordination and supervision." Below these staff elements
the Air Forces, Ground Forces, and the technical services would exercise "command
functions." The board found it difficult to determine just what General
Eisenhower intended by having a planning and co-ordinating staff as well as
a system of directorates, and
his reference to the former as a "General Staff"
added to the confusion. General McNarney thought Eisenhower's plan was "a
more or less bastard conglomeration of the War Department General Staff and
the Naval System of Bureaus" with two of everything. To him it meant
a return to the prewar organization with the General Staff thoroughly involved
in operational matters, and everything bogging down. Why, he asked, go back
to an "outmoded" organization which was incapable of running the
department in an emergency. The only improvement he could see was that it
did not propose to resurrect the old combat arms chiefs.23
Where General Marshall had insisted that the General Staff
must stay out of operations, the Patch Board came to the opposite conclusion.
In its report it asserted that the "old theory that a staff must limit
itself to broad policy and planning activities has been proved unsound in
this war." It blamed the Marshall reorganization for stripping the General
Staff of its operating functions so that it could not perform its missions
properly. On the other hand, it stated that the General Staff "should
concern itself primarily with matters which must be considered on a War Department
level." Authority to act on all other activities must be "delegated
to the responsible commands." What the General Staff should do when these
commands disagreed among themselves the Patch Board did not say.
The board's proposed reorganization represented a return
to the prewar Pershing pattern with two exceptions. It did not recommend resurrecting
the old combat arms chiefs, and, second, it suggested that all officers should
be commissioned in the Army of the United States rather than by arm or service.
By comparison the Navy had been organized in this manner since 1889.
The Patch Board plan divided the department and the Army
into four echelons: the Office of the Secretary of War, the General and Special
Staffs for staff planning and direction, the administrative and technical
services restored to their prewar autonomy, and an operating level, the Air
Forces, Ground Forces, and Overseas Departments.
Within the Secretary's Office it proposed a new Assistant
Secretary for Research and Development aided by a civilian advisory council
and a separate Research and Development Division. These proposals reflected
recommendations by Dr. Bush, Dr. Bowles, and General Borden. They had insisted
that research and development must be removed from the control of procurement
and production officials because these two sets of functions were antithetical.
The General Staff divisions were designated Directorates
instead of Assistant Chiefs of Staff, emphasizing that they were not merely
staff advisers but would have "directive authority" as well. The
Operations Division was abolished and its functions parceled out among other
divisions. The control over overseas military operations went to the new Directorate
of Operations and Training. The Strategy and Policy Group became the nucleus
of a revived WPD known as the Plans Division. In restoring the technical services
the Patch Board recommended legislation to make the wartime Transportation
Corps a permanent agency. This was a major change from the interwar period
when transportation was fragmented among several services.
In the zone of the interior (ZI) the board recommended abolishing
the service commands and transferring their installations and housekeeping
functions to four Army commanders under AGE The Military District of Washington
would continue to operate under the direct jurisdiction of the department.
The technical services would be supervised by the new Directorate of Service,
Supply, and Procurement, which would combine G-4 with allied functions of
ASF headquarters. All other ASF administrative functions it would transfer
to appropriate General or Special Staff divisions. "Thus there is no
need for an Army Service Forces headquarters organization," the board
Of the combat arms it recommended abolishing the Cavalry
arm and its replacement by an Armored arm and a merger of the Coast Artillery
with the Field Artillery into a single Artillery arm. These changes would
require Congressional action.
The whole organization, the Patch Board asserted, would be
more simple, flexible, and "capable of carrying out the
Chief of Staff's orders quickly and effectively." It
would have a single "clear-cut," continuous command channel from
top to bottom.24
The report, submitted on 18 October, was circulated among
all interested agencies within the department, among the three major commands,
and overseas. General Eisenhower approved the report, but added that he wanted
to limit procurement to only three or four services. General Marshall, not
wishing to tie his successor's hands, also approved.25
In a vigorous valedictory General Somervell dissented from
the report in principle and in particular. Although largely ignored at the
time, the objections he raised were important. They involved problems either
created or unsolved by the Patch Board and the ensuing reorganization that
would come up again and again in the next two decades.
The Patch Board's recommendations amounted to returning to
the prewar organization of the department, General Somervell asserted, repeating
the errors made after World War I and ignoring the lessons of World War II.
The ideal organization for supply and services was to place all command authority
and responsibility for such operations in one agency which would also act
as the Chief of Staff's adviser on these functions. General Goethals had managed
to develop such an organization which might have been more efficient than
the one ultimately adopted.
The basic organizational pattern might be functional, commodity,
geographical, or staff and line, but major industrial corporations had found
that combining more than two of these patterns resulted in "diffusion
of responsibility, crossing of lines of authority, and general confusion."
The Patch Board proposed to combine three or four different patterns and so
did not provide the same simple, clear-cut command channels it recommended
in the case of AGF. The logic of eliminating
the chiefs of the combat arms while retaining the chiefs
of the technical services Somervell found hard to follow.
If the Patch Board report were approved, General Somervell
suggested certain specific changes in its recommendations. He thought Congress
should be requested to amend the National Defense Act of 1916 to permit the
Secretary to change the internal organization of the department at his discretion
by administrative regulation.
Second, he objected strongly to the separation of research
and development from procurement and production. Instead he would place the
proposed Assistant Secretary under the authority of the Under Secretary who
was responsible for procurement and the proposed Research and Development
staff agency under the new Directorate of Service, Supply, and Procurement.
During the war, he asserted, it had been difficult to "reconcile conflicts
between the desirability of introducing improvements and the requirements
of mass production. Only if one agency included responsibility for both research
and procurement could the inevitable conflicts, . . . be settled expeditiously
so that deadlocks do not delay or prevent the procurement of adequate weapons
in the necessary quantities..."
Concerning the technical services he said there ought to
be a single command and communications line from the Director of Service,
Supply, and Procurement (SS&P) to all the technical services as there
was from the Director of Personnel. The many functions performed by the technical
services as autonomous commands-personnel, training, intelligence, planning,
and operations as well as supply-should pass through the Director of SS&P
and be co-ordinated by him with other General Staff divisions. Any other organization
would result in confusion, duplication, and overlapping of authority.
He also disagreed with the proposal to make the AGF and AAF
responsible for housekeeping and similar Army-wide services throughout the
zone of the interior. The ZI organization should have a permanency during
emergencies and mobilization which tactical organizations would be unable
to provide. Army Air Forces and Army Ground Forces were primarily tactical
and training organizations and should not be burdened with service and supply
functions not organic to their units. At
the least all service and supply functions should be assigned
to the technical services under the Director of Service, Supply, and Procurement
When General Patch died the board was reconvened in December
under General Simpson to consider changes suggested by various agencies and
to recommend a final reorganization plan. In its report submitted on 28 December
the Simpson Board singled out General Eisenhower's suggestion to limit procurement
to three or four services for special comment. Admitting that there was considerable
duplication among the services in procuring identical items, the Simpson Board
defended the existing conditions with each technical service doing its own
procuring. This was, it said, not an organizational but an administrative
matter to be dealt with by reviewing such cases item by item.
The board made several changes in the original plan. It proposed
placing research and development under the Under Secretary instead of adding
a separate Assistant Secretary, but it retained a separate division on the
General Staff. After protests from the Operations Division against splitting
responsibility for planning and operations the board reduced the number of
directorates by merging the Directorate for Plans with that of Operations
and Training and suggested six rather than four field armies. It also kept
the Civil Affairs Division and a new Historical Division, created on 17 November
1945, as special staff divisions.
These changes were relatively minor. More important was a
shift in emphasis. While the General Staff must operate and at the same time
decentralize operating responsibilities, the board said, it should also act
to eliminate duplication. While there should be greater autonomy for the AAF,
it should be granted without creating unnecessary duplication in supply, service,
and administration. "The only workable procedure for removing and preventing
duplication," it concluded, "lies in the good faith and friendly
collaboration of the using commands and services under the monitorship of
the appropriate General Staff director." Friendship, co-operation, persuasion,
and teamwork, as General Eisenhower himself said, would solve
On 23 January 1946 General Handy approved a final version
of the Simpson Board report with minor changes. Again, after comments from
the Operations Division the proposed Directorate of Operations, Plans, and
Training was split into separate divisions for Plans and Operations and for
Organization and Training. The former inherited OPD's principal responsibility
for integrating plans and operations. At the same time, General Handy appointed
five directors for the new organization. A few days later General Eisenhower
placed General Simpson in charge of executing the Simpson plan with authority
to decide all questions "that cannot be resolved by the interested parties"
and to "monitor and direct" the reorganization itself. 28
Originally set for 1 March the effective date of the reorganization
was postponed three months because certain problems required further study.
One concerned the relations between the Air Forces and the rest of the Army.
Until this matter had been finally settled, the Simpson Board decided not
to request formal legislation making the Transportation Corps a permanent
agency. As a result General Eisenhower found it necessary to reaffirm on 6
February the War Department's intention to request permanent status for the
Transportation Corps at some later date.
Pending Congressional action on a separate air force, the
relationship between the AAF and the AGF was based on the principle of granting
greater autonomy to the AAF. The Air
Forces would provide 50 percent of the officers assigned
to the General Staff as it theoretically had done under the Marshall reorganization,
while the number of technical and administrative service officers assigned
to the AAF would be decided by mutual agreement between the latter and the
individual technical services concerned. 29
Two attempts were made to establish greater General Staff
control over the technical services than that provided for in the Simpson
plan. General Lutes, General Somervell's successor and the first Director
of Service, Supply, and Procurement, requested that responsibility for supervising
"strictly" technical training be transferred to the Director of
Service, Supply, and Procurement from the Director of Organization and Training.
General Hodes rejected this proposal. The whole purpose of
the reorganization, he said, was to reduce the large War Department overhead.
That was why the Patch and Simpson Boards had recommended abolishing ASF headquarters
and the service commands in the first place. Under the new organization no
functions should be performed at the General Staff level if they could be
delegated to the administrative and technical services. Consequently the Director
of SS&P "must decentralize his activities" to the appropriate
services and "avoid duplicating and overlapping organizations on the
General Staff level." General Eisenhower and the Simpson Board intended
that the training of technical service troops not assigned to tactical air
or ground units should be "under the General Staff supervision of the
Director of Organization and Training." Thus were the basic principles
of the Simpson Board report spelled out in practical terms. Decentralization
and avoiding duplication meant that effective operational control over the
Army's supply and administrative systems would return to the chiefs of the
technical and administrative services. As a practical matter, on technical
training the services would
also have to report to the Director of SS&P. The General
Staff divisions thus had to deal with eight headquarters instead of one.30
General Simpson reiterated his and General Eisenhower's determination
to restore effective control over operations to the technical services once
more after a committee Simpson had appointed on the Territorial Sub-Division
of the Zone of the Interior proposed to transfer control over the assignment
of officer personnel from the services to the Directorate of Personnel.
The committee, headed by Brig. Gen. George L. Eberle, Acting
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, suggested that "personnel functions should
not be vested below the War Department." Following the pattern established
for officer personnel of the combat arms (and by the Navy in 1889) , he proposed
establishing a Central Officers Assignment Division under the Director of
Personnel and Administration to be staffed by senior field grade officers
from each arm and service selected by mutual agreement among the chiefs of
the services, AGF, and AAF. They would advise the Director of Personnel and
Administration on policies and procedures governing the assignment of officers.
They would also direct the assignment of officers, except general offfcers,
"to and from special details and assignments directly under the War Department"
and on the transfer of officers among the arms and services.
General Simpson rejected the Eberle Committee's proposal
that control over personnel not be delegated below the General Staff level.
There would be no changes "in the functions, duties, and powers"
of the chiefs of the technical and administrative services, and they would
continue "to exercise appropriate officer personnel ftfnctions. Further
centralization of authority in the War Department itself, he said, was "entirely
contrary to the principles of the Simpson Board." 31
The research and development functions of the War Department
received special emphasis on 29 April 1946 when General Eisenhower directed
the establishment, effective 1 May, of the Research and Development Division
as a General Staff division ahead of the general reorganization of the War
Department itself. In addition to his responsibilities as adviser on research
and development matters to the Secretary and the Chief of Staff, the Director
of Research and Development would also be responsible for supervising testing
of new weapons and equipment and for the development of tactical doctrines
governing their employment in the field. This proposal would have centralized
supervision over what became known later as "combat developments"
for the first time in a single General Staff agency.
The following day General Eisenhower issued a policy statement
on Scientific and Technological Resources as Military Assets, which stressed
the importance of research and development to the whole Army. World War II
could not have been won, the general stated, without the expert knowledge
of scientists and industrialists. In the future the Army should promote close
collaboration between the military and civilian scientists, technicians, and
industrial experts. The Army needed the advice of civilians in military planning
as well as for the production of weapons and should contract out to universities
and industry for this assistance. Such experts require "the greatest
possible freedom to carry out their research" with a minimum of administrative
interference and direction. In considering the employment of some industrial
and technological resources "as organic parts of our military structure"
in national emergencies, he thought there was little reason "for duplicating
within the Army an outside organization which by its experience is better
qualified than we are" to do this work.
The Army itself, he said, should separate responsibility
for research and development from "procurement, purchase, storage, and
distribution" functions. Finally, he believed all Army officers should
realize the importance of calling on civilian experts for assistance in military
planning. The more the Army can rely upon outside civilian experts in such
fields, "the more
energy we have left to devote to strictly military problems
for which there are no outside facilities." 32
Formal proclamation of the Eisenhower reorganization required
Presidential action. Under the First War Powers Act of 1941 (55 U.S. Statutes,
838) President Truman in Executive Order 9722 of 1$ May 1946 amended Executive
Order 1082 of 28 February 1942 by calling for "decentralization"
within the War Department. It "authorized and directed" the Secretary
of War within thirty days "to reassign to such agencies and officers
of the War Department as he may deem appropriate the functions, duties and
powers heretofore assigned to the services of supply command and to the Commanding
General, Services of Supply."
Carrying out this directive War Department Circular 138 of
14 May 1946 prescribed the new departmental organization effective 11 June
1946. (Chart 14) Formally abolishing ASF and the service commands,
it also provided greater autonomy for the AAF. At the General Staff level
greater emphasis on research and development had already been provided for
by removing this function from procurement and supply and making it a separate
General Staff directorate.
The reorganization directive explained that
The necessary degree of efficiency and initiative in the
top echelons of the War Department can be attained only through the aggressive
application of the principle of decentralization. Thus no functions should
be performed at the staff level of the War Department which can be decentralized
to the major commands, the Army areas or the administrative and technical
services without loss of adequate control by the General and Special Staffs.
The General and Special Staffs will "plan, direct, coordinate,
and supervise. They will assist the Chief of Staff in getting things done."
The AAF, it added, should be permitted the maximum degree of autonomy without
creating unwarranted duplication in the areas of supply and administration.
The reorganized General Staff was still functional in nature
with six instead of five divisions, renamed directorates to indicate their
directive as well as their advisory nature. The
ORGANIZATION OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT, 11 JUNE 1946
Source: War Department Circular No. 138, 14 May 1946.
changes made in addition to the new Directorate for Research
and Development were the demotion of OPD from its wartime position of a top
co-ordinating staff to theoretically one among equals. The reorganization
directive also called for "adequate means for carrying on . . . intelligence
and counterintelligence activities." In September 1945 a new field command,
the Army Security Agency, was established under the direct supervision of
G-2 and separate from the Military Intelligence Service.
The Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, became the Director of
Personnel and Administration and G-2 Director of Intelligence. G-3 became
the Director of Organization and Training, with responsibility for War Department
as well as Army-wide organizational planning added as an afterthought because
the Patch-Simpson Board had neglected to consider this subject. G-4 became
the Director of Service, Supply, and Procurement with responsibility for logistical
planning, a function previously shared with OPD and ASF headquarters.
The Operations Division became the Directorate of Plans and
Operations, inheriting OPD's role as the Army's representative with the joint
Chiefs of Staff and its various committees, simply identified as "appropriate
joint agencies" because JCS as yet had no legal status. Except for the
Historical Division created in November 1945, the special staff agencies were
the same as those existing at the end of the war. By that time the Information
and Education Division, National Guard Bureau, and the Executive for Reserve
and ROTC Affairs had been removed from ASF headquarters and made separate
Having abolished the service commands, the Eisenhower reorganization
transferred their functions to six zones of interior armies under the Commanding
General, AGF, on the principle of unity of command. Ground and Air Force officers
in the United States and the ETO had resented their lack of control over the
resources required to train troops and carry out military operations. The
friction between Ground and Air Forces commanders in the zone of interior
and post and installation commanders under the service commands had been paralleled
in the ETO. For example, Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower's chief
of staff, had complained that ASF was "a blood-sweating behemoth."
In the Eisenhower reorganization installations or activities
under the traditional command of the chiefs of technical services were exempted
from control by the AGF armies as was the Military District of Washington
which continued to operate directly under the Deputy Chief of Staff. When
technical or administrative service activities were located on installations
under AGF or AAF control, AGF and AAF were to perform approximately forty,
later sixty housekeeping or community service functions for their tenants.
These functions also included responsibility for national cemeteries, induction
centers, counterintelligence, and "action in domestic emergencies."
Finally a separate Replacement and School Command was set up distinct from
the ZI armies themselves and under the Commanding General, Army Ground Forces.
To add geographic to the existing functional decentralization of Army operations
the reorganization directive announced that Headquarters, Army Ground Forces,
would move to Fort Monroe, Virginia, as soon as practicable.
The Eisenhower reorganization was a victory for those favoring
a return to the Pershing organization based on the experiences of a single
operational theater command, such as the AEF in World War I, and Eisenhower's
ETO in World War II. It was a victory of the General Staff and the technicalservices
over the Army Service Forces, of Army Ground Forces and Army Air Forces over
the service commands, and for those insisting on separating research and development
from production and procurement.
The victory of the technical services was the most important.
In destroying ASF, they had re-established the traditional principle of vesting
effective executive control over the Army's supply and service activities
with the bureau chiefs. They had also knocked down an effort by combat arms
officers to place the assignment of officers under the Director of Personnel
and Administration. Internally they kept their own research and development
functions, which remained subordinate to production and procurement almost
by definition since the technical services were themselves commodity or service
commands. They had eliminated the ASF service commands in the zone of the
interior but retained their traditional exemption from control by Army field
The War Department again became a "loose federation
of warring tribes" with "little armies within the Army," as
Mr. Lovett said to the Patch Board. In abolishing ASF and its agencies, the
department could not avoid the management problems which General Somervell
and General Marshall had solved by establishing firm executive control at
the top. The lack of effective control by the functionally oriented General
Staff over the multifunctional agencies and commands they were supposed to
supervise and direct remained an unsolved problem. General Eisenhower's view
was that teamwork, cooperation, and persuasion were better than tight executive
control as a management philosophy. He stated:
Each bureau, each section, each officer in this War Department,
has to be part of a well-coordinated team. Our attitude one toward the other
has to be that of a friend expecting assistance and knowing that he will get
it. If we will always remember that the other fellow is trying to fulfill
our common purpose just as much as each one of us is, I think no more need
to be said about teamwork. But I will insist on having a happy family. I believe
that no successful staff can have any personal enmities existing in it. So
I want to see a big crowd of friends around here.34
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