the Relations With the AAF:
Position of ASF in the War Department
Army Service Forces Office of the Commanding General Washington 25, D. C.
6 August 1945
MEMORANDUM FOR THE CHIEF OF STAFF
SUBJECT: Position of ASF in the War Department
1. The purpose of this memorandum is to invite attention to certain aspects of the current relationship between the War Department General Staff, the Army Air Forces, and the Army Service Forces, which place the ASF in an undesirable position.
2. The current problems in relationship go back to Change 13 to AR 170-10 (Tab A) which transferred supervision of certain Army-wide service activities at Class III installations from service commands to Army Air Forces. This transfer resulted from an investigation ordered by the Secretary of War into the complexity of the flow of funds in the Army; the ad hoc committee directed that funds for the performance of repairs and utilities, fixed signal communications, etc., at Class III stations should flow through Air Forces channels and, since responsibility and funds had to flow together, directed the change in responsibility.
3. Because of the uncertainty of respective ASF and AAF responsibility and authority, on 28 December 1944, the Deputy Chief of Staff addressed a letter to the three major commands, subject: Service Responsibilities (Tab B). Despite this letter, differences of opinion between Air Forces and Service Forces have continued.
4. Even prior to Change 13 to AR 170-10, the lines of authority of The Surgeon General over the Air Surgeon and medical activities of AAF were not clear. Early this year, this Headquarters proposed a War Department circular which would clarify the responsibility of The Surgeon General, acting under the Commanding General, ASF, over all medical activities of the Army. Considerable difficulty was encountered with this circular. It finally appeared as War Department Circular 120 (Tab C). Paragraph 3 of that circular for the first time established the rule that The Surgeon General could communicate directly with the Chief of Staff and that such communications would be merely "forwarded through" the Commanding General, ASF, who, in turn, would forward the communications "with such remarks and recommendations" as he might desire. In other words, the Commanding General, ASF, was no longer fully responsible for nor had full authority over the activities of The Surgeon General.
5. As a result of Change 13 to AR 170-10, War Department Circular 388, 1944, was
published, which required - Headquarters, ASF, to prepare and, after co-ordination with AAF, to forward to the War Department General Staff necessary revisions in Army regulations and War Department circulars. In compliance with that responsibility, this Headquarters has had continuous difficulty in reaching agreements with AAF and on several occasions has been forced to submit directives to the General Staff for determination of opposing ASF and AAF views.
6. One of these problems was the insistence by AAF that War Department Circular 388, in referring to "commanding generals of service. commands, ASF (division engineers)", required all ASF-AAF contacts on repairs and utilities to be through division engineer offices. This matter was submitted to G-4 and, it is understood, subsequently submitted to the Chief of Staff. Determination was made on 24 April 1945 (Tab D). It is believed that this determination was a satisfactory answer to the current problem of relationships between ASF agencies and other agencies of the War Department outside ASF.
7. Subsequently, the Commanding General, AAF, submitted to the General Staff a staff study alleging that War Department Circular 388 in providing technical inspections by ASF elements of the technical sufficiency of operations at Class III stations was intended to be only temporary in nature, and requesting transfer of authority of all technical inspections at Class III stations to AAF. Determination on this issue was made on 17 July (see Tab E). It is to be noted that this determination picked up bodily certain language from Circular 120 on the position of The Surgeon General.
8. This Headquarters since 1944 has been attempting to obtain a republication of AR 100-80, Repairs and Utilities. Draft of this regulation was completed just prior to Change
13 to AR 170-10 which necessitated its complete revision. Then followed all the discussions with AAF indicated above, further delaying publication of the draft. Following the determination of 17 July with reference to technical inspections, this Headquarters on 18 July received a further directive from G-4 with reference to publication of this regulation (see Tab F). Paragraph 2b of this directive goes further than any of the previous directives in attempting to distinguish between functions of ASF elements. It is stated that the Chief of Engineers has "technical supervisory responsibility to the Chief of Staff" (apparently without reference to the Commanding General, ASF) and has "supply and service responsibilities" under the Commanding General, ASF. In the minutes of the General Council meeting of 23 July 1944, this language was changed to provide that "the chiefs of technical services, in addition to their other duties, will act as chief technical advisers to the Chief of Staff and the War Department." The General Council Minutes omitted recognition of the "supply and service responsibilities of technical services under the direction of the Commanding General, Army Service Forces." This attempt to separate technical from service activities is not clear and in practical application has little meaning. This directive further modifies the organizational principle established in paragraph 2a of directive of 24 April 1945.
9. The same position was taken by the General Staff in a further directive (Tab G) with reference to publication of AR 105-5 and AR 105-20 setting forth responsibilities of the Chief Signal Officer.
10. It appears to this Headquarters that the War Department General Staff is attempting to view its mission as not merely dealing with the ASF as a whole but as dealing with the separate elements of the ASF independently of the authority of this Head-
quarters. Under this new concept, a chief of a technical service is apparently being viewed as being an adjunct of the War Department General Staff independent of the Commanding General, ASF, for certain responsibilities, while for other responsibilities he is under the command of the Commanding General, ASF. This Headquarters is unable to distinguish clearly between the respective areas of responsibility for which a chief of a technical service is under the command of ASF or independent of ASF.
11. The above developments have reached a stage at which their continuation threatens the stability of the ASF. Clarifying action is urgently needed. It has always been the understanding of this Headquarters that the reorganization of the Army in 1942 made this Headquarters responsible for those supply and service activities, common to the Army as a whole. The accomplishment of the ASF mission is hindered by steps which have the tendency to raise a question as to the extent of the authority of the Commanding General, either over his own subordinate units or with respect to the Army-wide supply and service activities with which he is charged. If this tendency is continued, it can only result in three independent self-sufficient commands-each with its own supply and service functions, each duplicating the overhead of the other. Such a development would result in lack of cohesion and non-uniformity unless a very large and cumbersome General Staff is created to co-ordinate and standardize policies and certain related supply and administrative procedures of the major commands. Such an organization might be subject to criticism for being unnecessary.
12. It is accordingly recommended that:
a. The attached draft of a statement of War Department policy to clarify the organizational position of the ASF (Tab H) be sent to the three major commands and be published in the Minutes of the General Council.
6. The directives of 17 and 18 July 1945 (Tabs E and F) be withdrawn and rewritten in accordance with the policy statement attached.
8 Incls. BREHON SOMERVELL
Tabs A-H, incl. General, Commanding
Proposed Statement To Be Sent to the Three Major Commands and for Insertion in Minutes of the General Council
1. It is the purpose of this statement to clarify relationships within the War Department among the three major commands and between those commands and the War Department General Staff. This statement does not modify, but rather reinforces, the principles governing the organization of the War Department as outlined in Circular 59, 2 March 1942.
2. The following excerpts from WD Circular 59 are pertinent:
a. The WDGS "is specifically charged with the duties of providing such broad basic plans as will enable the commanding generals of the Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces and Services of Supply (now Army Service Forces), defense commands, task forces, and theaters of operations to prepare and execute detailed programs."
b. "The mission of Army Ground Forces is to provide ground force units properly organized, trained and equipped for combat operations."
c. "The mission of Army Air Forces is to procure and maintain equipment peculiar' to the AAF and to provide air force units properly organized, trained and equipped for combat operations."
d. "The mission of the Services of Supply
is to provide services and supplies to meet military requirements except those peculiar to the AAF."
e. "Supply arms and services and War Department offices and agencies will come under the direct command of the Commanding General, SOS, as indicated below;" (there follows a list of agencies now under Army Service Forces).
3. A common supply and service organization is essential. Except with respect to materiel peculiar to Army Air Forces, the Commanding General, ASF, is responsible for supplies and services common to the Army and will act as the chief technical adviser to the Chief of Staff and the War Department. The Commanding General, ASF, is responsible for preparing, and after co-ordination with the other major commands, submitting to the Chief of Staff for publication policies, procedures, methods and standards affecting such common supply and service functions. The Commanding General, ASF, is fully responsible for and has command over the various organizational units of that command including all of the Army-wide functions of the technical and administrative services (other than civil work of the Chief of Engineers).
4. At all types of installations, the Commanding General, ASF, through the appropriate subordinate agencies of that command, will inspect the technical sufficiency of the operation and performance of the common supply and service functions for which that command is responsible.
5. Agencies of the WDGS have responsibility for co-ordinating and approving War Department-wide policies and directives initiated by any one of the three major commands. However, in accordance with AR 10-15, no War Department General Staff agency will engage in duties or operations for the performance of which an agency exists within one of the major commands. Subordinate organizational units of the major commands are neither instrumentalities nor adjuncts of the War Department General Staff but are a part of the major command to which they are subordinate.
a. Communications on major policy matters will be:
(1) Directly among the three major commands.
(2) Between the General Staff agencies and the commanding generals of the three major commands.
b. Communications on matters of a routine technical nature are authorized between agencies of the General Staff and subordinate agencies of the three major commands.