Documents on the Relations With the AAF:
Relation of Supply and Service Agencies to Combat Forces
War Department, Washington 25, D. C.
27 November 1944
MEMORANDUM FOR THE CHIEF OF STAFF:
SUBJECT: Relation of Supply and Service Agencies to Combat Forces.
1. Pursuant to your Memorandum dated 26 October 1944, the Commanding Generals, Army Air Forces, Army Ground Forces, and Army Service Forces have met and considered "the over-all question of service and supply functions and responsibilities together with their relation to command." Throughout our examination of the subject, the necessity of demonstrating within the Army unity of purpose and action within itself and a satisfactory relation of service agencies and combat forces, as well as between combat forces themselves, was considered desirable for securing the acceptance of a single Department of National Defense. The Army Air Forces, however, have felt that no relation can be satisfactory that prevents either combat force from operating at maximum efficiency, and also that if the desired objective of a single Department is to be realized, the overall organization must be designed to fit the not dissimilar problems of the third combat force, the Navy. The commanding generals have been unable to resolve certain fundamental differences of view as to functions which should be performed for the Army as a whole by a common service agency, and those which should be performed for itself by the combat force.
2. It is the view of the Commanding General, Army Air Forces, that the basic command responsibility of the air combat force is and must be to maintain quantitative and qualitative superiority in the air; that this responsibility extends far beyond employment of aircraft in combat and training of personnel to fly and maintain aircraft; and that successful performance of this responsibility requires ability to maintain most continuous operations from bases both in the zone of interior and the theater of operations. The administrative, supply and service functions related to maintenance of air superiority are and must be so completely integrated with combat and training operations of the Air Forces that their performance by a distinct command produces fatal divided responsibility. Such a relationship transfers from the Commanding General, Army Air Forces, duties and responsibilities, with accompanying command authority, which are essential
to effective operations of the Air Forces. The Commanding General, Army Air Forces, recognizes, however, that there are certain supply and service activities, common to the Army as a whole, which in the interest of economy and uniformity must be performed by a central service agency.
3. The Commanding General, Army Ground Forces and Army Service Forces, believe that the primary purpose of the War Department and the components thereof should be to maintain quantitative and qualitative superiority over the forces of the enemy and that the decision with regard to the role which the Air Forces are to play should be a War Department decision and not the responsibility of the commanding general of the Army Air Forces. They believe further that the system proposed by the commanding general of the Army Air Forces would, to all intents and purposes, create a separate Air Force within the framework of the War Department with direct command over its activities extending into the theaters of operations. The original paper on this subject submitted by the Commanding General, Army Service Forces, was submitted to secure a decision whether this is indeed the policy of the War Department. Commanding Generals, Army Ground Forces and Army Service Forces, are further of the opinion that:
a. The system adopted for the organization of supply and services should be such as to most effectively promote the maximum combat effectiveness, the efficiency and welfare of the Army as a whole, as distinguished from that of any individual component.
b. The establishment of a single agency within the Army to provide supplies and render common services is vital to avoid duplication and in the interest of economy.
c. Uniformity in the supply and service system of the Army is highly desirable and the relationship between the Ground and Service Forces and between the Air and Service Forces can and should be made substantially identical.
d. The combat forces should be relieved to the maximum extent possible from supply and service functions to permit them to devote their time to training and combat; combat units should be organized to perform only those supply and service functions essential to their internal operations to meet their combat missions; all supply and service functions not so organic to combat units should be performed by a common service agency; unity of command and authority commensurate with responsibility within the combat forces is assured when a combat commander has authority over his unit and the supply and service functions organic thereto.
4. Proper definition of the functions and responsibilities which should be performed by a service agency on an Army-wide basis is not a simple matter. The Commanding General, Army Air Forces, believes the definition of paragraph 3d to be so uncertain as to be impossible of practical application and to beg the question. The Commanding Generals, Army Ground Forces and Army Service Forces, believe that this definition is based on the same principle of "economy of force" historically and properly used in the Army in the organization of tactical units, provides a satisfactory basis for assignment of responsibilities and authority for supply and services, and will result in a system which will tend to weld the Army into one force and promote the efficiency and welfare of the Army as a whole, whereas the system proposed by the Air Forces will tend to separate the combat forces of the Army. The basic
differences, described above, are best illustrated by the main specific differences set forth in Tab A. Consideration and resolution of these specific differences in relation to the command responsibilities of the respective combat forces should pave the way for a sound determination of the Army-wide functions of the common service agency.
5. There are attached as Tab B and Tab C respectively, statements submitted by the Commanding General, Army Air Forces, and by the Commanding Generals, Army Ground Forces and Army Service Forces, in further development of the views set forth in the foregoing and in Tab A.
H. H. ARNOLD
General, U.S. Army
Commanding General, Army Air Forces.
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
Commanding General, Army Ground Forces.
BREHON B. SOMERVELL
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
Commanding General, Army Service Forces.
AGF and ASF are of the opinion that
1. Development, design and procurement of all mat6riel (to requirements of the combat forces) should be performed by the ASF, except that during this war procurement of aircraft and spare parts therefore should be done by the AAF.
2. Maintenance, salvage and disposal of mat6riel, except that performable by personnel and facilities organic to tactical units of AGF or AAF, should be performed by the ASF, except that during this war maintenance, salvage and disposal of aircraft and spare parts therefore should be done by the AAF.
3. Storage and distribution of all materiel, except that performable by personnel organic to tactical units of AGF or AAF, should be performed by the ASF, except that during this war storage and distribution of aircraft and spare parts therefore should be done by the AAF.
AAF is of the opinion that
1. Development, design and procurement of mat6riel of a type of peculiar utility to AAF or in which its interest is predominant should (as at present) be the responsibility and under command control of AAR ASF's function in this regard must be correspondingly limited as at present.
2. All maintenance of mat6riel utilized by AAF which is of peculiar utility to AAF, or of a type in which its interest is predominant and all maintenance of all mat6riel performable at AAF stations should (as at present) be the responsibility and under command control of AAF. ASF's function in this regard must be correspondingly limited as at present.
3. All distribution of all mat6riel utilized by AAF of peculiar utility to AAF or of a type in which its interest is predominant, and distribution at AAF stations, whether by personnel organic to AAF tactical units or not, of all mat6riel should (as at present) be the responsibility and under command control of AAF. ASF's function in this regard must be correspondingly limited as at present.
AGF and ASF are of the opinion that
4. On posts utilized by the combat forces in the zone of interior, the Service Force should perform supply and service activities not organic to tactical units utilizing the post. This can take the form of:
a. A service commander on the post responsible for such activities and under the supervision of the commanding general of the ASF Service Command. This method relieves the tactical command of direct responsibility and provides the maximum amount of time and freedom for the command and training cf his combat unit.
b. A tactical commander being responsible to the commanding general of an ASF Service Command for the performance of these activities. For this method the tactical commander would be furnished the necessary station complement. Such an arrangement provides full command supervision over supply and services at the station level and will permit tactical troops to leave a station without disturbing station activities.
5. Establishment of Army-wide technical standards, techniques and procedures for all phases of supply and service activities not directly connected with training and preparation for combat of troops organic in AGr or AAF should be the responsibility of the ASF.
6. Except for that "organic to tactical units of the combat forces at various echelons, and to the requirements of the combat forces as approved by the War Department," the ASF should perform the following service functions for the Army. Transportation of troops and supplies by rail, water, air and motor vehicles; operation of fixed signal communications; procurement and disposal of real estate; construction, maintenance of structures, and fire protection; care of the sick and wounded, hospitalization, sanitation, and veterinary services; fiscal services; accounting, disbursing, auditing; personnel services, procurement, classification, assignment, discharge, recreation, and welfare; legal services, litigation, claims, contract law, military justice; and other service activities such as exchanges, laundries, publications and blank forms, insurance, mapping, military police, prisoners of war, files and records.
AAF is of the opinion that
4. Administration of all AAF stations and of all services and facilities thereon should (as at present) be the responsibility and under command control of AAF. Full command control of AAF stations and of all facilities and administrative, supply and service activities continuously required thereon is essential to effective operation of AAF units. Because of the inherent nature of Air Force operations, these activities are all interdependent and must be fully available and integrated under one command.
5. Establishment of technical standards, techniques and procedures for supply and service activities of peculiar utility to AAF or in which its interest is predominant should (as at present) be the responsibility and under command control of AAF, ASF's function in this regard being limited to establishment of technical standards, techniques and procedures for certain supplies and services of Army-wide utility.
6. Performance, as at present, of all administrative, supply and service functions continuously required either at AAF stations or by AAF organizations, and control of personnel and funds required therefore should be the responsibility and under command control of AAF, recognizing, however, that certain administrative, supply and service functions which are of Army-wide utility and are not continuously required at AAF stations or by AAF organizations (such as construction of fixed facilities, storage of materiel of Army-wide utility prior to distribution, factory overhaul or quantity repair of such materiel, review of court martial proceedings, establishment of procurement regulations in co-ordination with AAF and others of like nature) should be the responsibility of ASF, and should be so designated from time to time by the Under Secretary of War or the Chief of Staff.
AGF and ASF are of the opinion that
7. In order to secure maximum economy and efficiency of the Army, the degree of dependency of the combat forces (A9F and AAF) on the service agency (ASF) for administration, supplies and services should be substantially identical on whatever basis established.
8. ASF should act as the staff agency of the Chief of Staff and the Under Secretary of War for supply and service activities throughout the entire Army; i. e., there should be only one Surgeon General who should act as The Surgeon General of the Army.
9. No direct command responsibilities below the Chief of Staff should be exercised by any agency in the zone of interior over any supply and service activities in overseas theaters. The theater commander must have command over and be responsible for all Army activities in his theater. Each theater of operations should have a service force for the performance of supply and service functions not organic to the combat elements in the theater. In theaters of operations, all supply and service activities are the responsibility of the theater commander. The air and ground forces should have organic units to perform supply and service functions back to the same tactical level-army for ground, and air forces for air. In the rear of this level a theater service force should support ground and air alike.
10. AGF and ASF believe that the principles advanced by it, and illustrated by the above examples, afford a satisfactory and practical basis for the creation of a single agency for a Department of National Defense.
AAF is of the opinion that
7. AAF, while recognizing the value of uniformity within appropriate limits, is of the opinion that uniformity is not an end in itself, and should be applied only to the extent that it promotes the effectiveness of the combat forces; and that the relationship advocated by AGF and ASF, if conducive to the effectiveness of AGF, is detrimental to AAF effectiveness and should not be applicable as between AAF and ASF.
8. The AAF believes that all of the activities of the ASF should be subject to general policies laid down by the General Staff as now constituted, that the requirements of the combat forces should be determined and adjudicated by a General Staff in no respect subject to one of the major commands, and further that many staff functions now performed for the Army by ASF should be restored to General Staff level, ASF to retain necessary operating functions subject to General Staff direction. The AAF disagrees with the view that a service agency under independent command should act as a staff agency for the Chief of Staff and Under Secretary of War for administrative, supply or service activities.
9. Except as to supply and service functions and activities which are of a world-wide or intertheater nature (such as weather service, airways communications air transport including delivery of aircraft), no direct command responsibilities below the Chief of Staff should be exercised by an agency in the zone of interior over such functions and activities in overseas theater. Subject to the above exceptions, the theater commander must have a service agency for performance for the theater ground force and theater air force of all supply and service functions other than (a) those of peculiar utility to the air force, (b) those continuously required at air force stations and (c) those in which its interest is predominant. These functions should be performed by and under command control of the air force, subject to the theater commander. A relationship apparently considered appropriate as between the ground force and service agency has no applications to the air force and would be detrimental to the effectiveness of theater air operations.