Chapter 4: Building Victory's Foundation: Infrastructure

Hugh Conway and James E. Toth

World War II brought with it a surge of American construction which changed forever the face of the nation and its ability to influence events far from its shores. By any measure, it was an extraordinary effort. It generated a strategic impact in the context of its time that compares favorably with the impact of the Roman military road and camp system--except it was achieved in hundreds of days rather than hundreds of years.

This construction effort was the critical path for expanding industrial productivity. For example, the construction of steel mills for an additional 10 million tons of annual steel production capability (approved in 1942) was estimated to require 2.25 million tons of steel (it takes steel to make steel) and 2 years time.1 Accordingly, the construction industry had to mobilize more rapidly than most; indeed, by the end of 1941, 75 percent of our capability had already shifted to war work. By the end of the war, some 5 million men and women were committed to this endeavor.2 H. E. Foreman, then managing director of the Associated General Contractors of America, observed:

A sense of urgency prevailed throughout the war construction program. Work drove ahead through all kinds of weather and obstacles. Projects of unprecedented size and complexity were


completed at speeds which surprised even the industry. The speed cost money, but to the extent that it shortened the war, it saved lives.3

As Lieutenant General Eugene Reybold, USA, wartime Chief of the Corps of Engineers, concluded:

By the war's end it was evident that the American construction capacity was the one factor of American strength which our enemies most consistently underestimated. It was the one element of our strength for which they had no basis for comparison. They had seen nothing like it.4

At home, Americans built railroads, roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, airfields, electrical power and fluid distribution systems, factories, arsenals, depots, shipyards, training centers, military bases, even towns and cities. All this--focusing on speed of construction and speed of production--contributed to a vast new network of infrastructure which revised the correlation of American labor, raw material, transport, and electric power across the land. The result was a far more extensive, cohesive, flexible, and dynamic pattern of production than anything the world had previously known. It revolutionized the capital underpinnings of the American economy not only for war but also for the peace in the aftermath.

Overseas, the allies developed bases, roads, harbors, airstrips, and other installations essential to the projection and support of burgeoning United Nations military power, equipped and supplied in large measure by the rapidly expanding American industrial base. These installations--intermediate and advanced bases across the World Ocean, major lines of communication constructed in Asia to keep the Russians and Chinese in the war, and innovative facilities devised to enable major invasions and subsequent military


operations--conferred the United States with something she had never had before: strategic reach.5

This chapter tells that story, first on the home front and then overseas. The term "infrastructure" describes installations, fabrications, and facilities--both civil and military--necessary for the conduct of war. This chapter traces the determination of requirements in coordination with grand strategy on the one hand and military, strategy on the other. Then it highlights those efforts which were truly exceptional both in challenges for construction and contributions to the war effort. Finally, we offer insights which may be of use to strategists and strategic logisticians confronted with the awesome aims and obstacles of major war in the future.

The Domestic Picture

Pre-war Isolationism and Defense Related Construction

Logistically speaking, it is difficult to ignore the precedent position of construction activity in a large scale mobilization effort. Before troops can be trained, cantonments must be built; before guns or planes can be made, factories have to be built; before Navy vessels sail or aircraft fly, naval and air bases have to be constructed. The U.S. Army and Navy faced the challenge of the building prerequisite in the months preceding and following Pearl Harbor.

From the mid-1930s on, hostile events across both oceans signified growing world tension and discord. The signals were ominous to U.S. military leaders and others in the executive branch. Unfortunately


and frustratingly, the prevailing sentiment among the American people was captured in the one word, "isolationism."

In April 1935, Congressional action, reflecting the mood of the people, took the form of the Neutrality Act. This law forbade financial assistance to any country involved in war. It stated further that there would be no protection extended for American citizens entering a designated war zone.6 This latter provision was as much a reflection of the limitations of our military to protect U.S. citizens, as it was a statement of political conviction. By the mid-1930's, the Army was seriously deficient in almost every item of war equipment. "Specifically it lacked motorized equipment essential to rapid transportation of troops: the Army still moved almost entirely on foot. Its mechanized combat equipment was limited principally to tanks, and these (with the exception of a handful of test units) were the obsolete World War I stocks with a maximum speed of 4 to 5 miles per hour and highly vulnerable armor. The infantry rifle was still the Springfield 1903 bolt action model: as of 30 June 1934 the Army possessed only 80 semiautomatic rifles."7 By 1938 Navy shore facilities were inadequate to service its skeletal peace-time sailing fleet.8

Infrastructure projects at the time were primarily designed to create employment and counteract the effect of the Depression. The various public works agencies established during the first administration of President Roosevelt succeeded in putting in place some basic economic infrastructure, including dams, roads, bridges, sewage treatment plants, hospitals, and various land reclamation projects. In at least two areas, roads and dam building, these public works projects provided an essential infrastructure base needed for a successful mobilization and war effort. During the pre-war period the


transfer of some public works money and building services represented an essential lifeline to our defense preparedness. "In the years 1935 to 1939 when regular appropriations for the armed forces were so meager, it was the WPA worker who saved many 'Army posts and Naval stations from literal obsolescence."9

Infrastructure and Public Works in the 1930s

The Public Works Administration (PWA), The Works Progress Administration (WPA),and the Civil Conservation Corp (CCC) were created between 1933 and 1935. During the same period Congress also created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to control floods and produce electric power along the Tennessee River. Under the WPA, money was spent on labor intensive projects designed to alleviate unemployment and stimulate the economy; the PWA focused primarily on larger scale, more capital intensive projects. Each program contributed in a significant way to the country's infrastructure and resource development during the pre-war period.

By 1939 the WPA had completed a building program that included 166,000 buildings, 78,000 bridges, and hundreds of thousands of miles of roads and streets nationwide. The PWA invested in public works projects in the form of grants and loans to build roads, schools, county buildings, dams, sewage treatment plants and hospitals. By mid-1939 it had completed 25,000 projects at a cost of $3.8 billion.10

Before it was discontinued by Congress in 1942, the CCC had expanded to about 2,600 camps across the country. At its peak, 50,000 young men participated in the conservation program activities at one time; approximately 3 million participated in the program over its nine year life.11 In combination with PWA and WPA programs, the CCC helped to create a pool of trained manpower. By 1940, construction manpower totaled over 2.6 million workers, with about half of this number actually employed (Table 1).


As a result of public works expenditures in the 1930's, by 1940, when the motor vehicle population had reached 34 million, ". . . the


TABLE 1. Construction Workers in the United States, June 1940
Classification Number
Total 2,627,157
Masons 137,934
Carpenters 697,479
Electricians 266,880
Engineers 58,091
Painters 352,127
Plasterers and cement finishers 73,120
Plumbers and steam fitters 213,634
Sheet metal workers 68,789
Laborers, building 372,092
Laborers, road and street 259,523
Apprentices 40,105
Truck and tractor drivers 87,383
Source: Fine and Remington, The Corps of Engineers: Construction in the United States, 121.

U.S. had 1.34 million miles of paved roads, about twice as much as it had in 1930."12 While the nation's existing railroad network was the principal means of transporting defense related personnel and equipment throughout World War II, (approximately 85 percent of both were transported via rail) the newly created roads were essential in relieving demand for railroad service during peak periods. For example, the nation's mobilization effort resulted in the movement of more than 15 million Americans to war production centers around the country.13 Many of these travelers were transported by bus over newly constructed highways.

Considerable change had taken place in die domestic transportation industry, of the United States between the first and second World Wars. The railroads, which had carried almost the entire


load in the earlier conflict, still handled the bulk of the traffic, but great progress had been made in transportation by highway. . . . This wider distribution of traffic provided a certain amount of insurance against a repetition of the grave difficulties in the movement of military supplies which had been encountered in 1917-1918 because of congestion on the railroads.14

Between 1940-1945, an index of passenger and freight traffic in the United States recorded a 300 percent increase in rail miles compared with a 200 percent increase for inter-city motor. Over the same period, freight-ton-miles almost doubled for both railroads and inter-city motor.15

Dams and Electric Power

The 1930's dam building activity, was shared among several Federal agencies, including the Public Works Administration's Bureau of Reclamation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Army Corps of Engineers. "By the end of 1940, 98% of the concrete for the Bureau of Reclamation's Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River had been placed, making it what is still the world's largest concrete structure. "16 By the same year, the Tennessee Valley Authority had completed four dams and locks and four more were under construction.

When the Army Corps of Engineers contracted for work to begin on the Bonneville Dam in September 1933,17 ". . . no one foresaw the need for the huge amount of power that the war effort would require." During World War II electricity generated by the dam's plant supplied power to the shipyards of Portland, Oregon and the


Puget Sound, and aluminum plants and airline factories near Seattle.18

The aluminum industry became the first new industry attracted to the Pacific Northwest by the cheap power from Bonneville. ALCOA opened the region's first aluminum plant near Portland in 1940. Reynolds Metals Company began producing aluminum the following year in Longview, Washington. Although the first two aluminum plants represented private investment, the federal government built the next four plants as part of the war effort and operated them through contractors during the conflict. These plants accounted for a significant portion of the nation's aluminum production. By 1943, the Pacific Northwest manufactured 622,000 tons annually. . . . Much of this aluminum was used in building military airplanes. In all, the aluminum plants, powered by electricity from Bonneville and Grand Coulee dams, produced material to fabricate 50,000 warplanes. Electricity from Bonneville also powered the shipyards at Portland and neighboring Vancouver, Washington. Using 35,000 kilowatts of electricity, the Henry Kaiser shipyards turned out a Liberty ship a day for an extended period. . . . In all, the three Portland-area Kaiser shipyards built 750 ships for the war effort.19

And it was electricity supplied by the Bonneville Dam that provided the necessary energy for the development and operation of DuPont's plutonium plant, a part of the Manhattan Project.

During the early period of project development, Manhattan's administrative and engineering staffs devoted considerable attention to procuring electric power for the proposed atomic installations, especially for the site(s) that would house the major production plants. Preliminary site investigations in Tennessee and later in Washington State occasioned talks with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The objective of these talks was to obtain assurances from the power agencies that sufficient power would be


available when needed, or could be developed from new generating facilities under construction.20
By 1942, the TVA had 12 dams in service and a large coal-steam power plant under construction. Anticipating a need to raise its operating capacity from 1.4 to over 2.5 million kilowatts by 1945, dam construction on the Tennessee and connecting rivers continued throughout the war years.21

Public Works Spending and Defense

The strong isolationist sentiment of the 1930s resulted in chronic under funding of defense. The resulting effect on military preparedness was captured in a quote attributed at the time to Lt. Gen. William R. Desobry:

When it came to learning road marches, the Tank Battalion would go out on a road march without tanks. You would see a five-guy tank crew marching down the road 50 yards behind them five more guys walking down the road. They represented tanks and they kept their inner walls and issued orders as if they were in a tank. When they came to a crossroads and they wanted to turn left, hell, they would give the arm signal and turn left.22

From the mid-1930s on, public works money was directed to the military to provide some measure of relief. In 1934, a grant of $10 million from the Public Works Administrations was used to buy motor vehicles for the Army. In June 1935, a total of $100 million of PWA funds was allotted for the War Department; of this amount $68 million was for military construction.23 By June 1940, the Works Progress Administration alone had spent $432 million in cooperation with civilian and military sponsors on such national defense projects as airports, highways, bridges, rail lines, harbors, Navy yards,


and the refurbishment of several military bases. The amount represented 4-5 percent of all WPA expenditures.24

WPA and the War Department in Hawaii

Following the 1937 Japanese attack on China and the December 1937 bombing of the U.S. gunboat, the USS Panay, anchored in the Yangtze River above Nanking (40 wounded), concern with the inadequacy of our Pacific defenses increased. Shortly thereafter, President Roosevelt ". . . undertook several small, surreptitious steps aimed at strengthening the nation's outer defense network. One such move brought the Hawaiian WPA under War Department control, assuring the military that its projects would receive top priority in the allocation of relief funds and labor."25 The transfer took place on April 1, 1938.

Change was immediate. Both air and land facilities in Hawaii were enlarged and modernized. Key access roads were upgraded to handle heavy military traffic. Airport construction work began at Hickam and Wheeler Fields. From 1935 to 1940, about one-third of Hawaii's WPA expenditures went to military defense work.26

Perhaps inspired by this activity, Harry Hopkins, the WPA chief, proposed in the fall of 1938 that the WPA "...construct several government-operated airplane factories."27 That suggestion drew fire almost immediately from an interest group representing a vital segment of the U.S. construction industry,28 and the idea was subsequently dropped.

As the perceived threat of war increased, the Hawaii WPA experience proved a forerunner to other transfers. Major projects in the continental United States, initially involving New Deal agencies, were eventually taken over by the Corps of Engineers. Examples include the Godman Field at Ft. Knox (WPA), airfields in the Galveston


District (CAA), the Connellsville Airfield, Pennsylvania (WPA), and Portland District airport projects (WPA).29

WPA, PWA, and General Contractors

By the late 1930s the construction industry included about 112,000 contractors. Most of them were small in size. "Nearly 80,000 functioned as subcontractors, while 17,000 more were small general contractors whose business had amounted to less than $25,000 in 1939. Some 10,000 firms were in the $25,000 to $100,000 bracket and 5,000 were in the $100,000 to $1,000,000 category. At the top of the industrial pyramid were 500 big concerns whose individual gross receipts had exceeded $1,000,000 during the previous year."30 Representing the largest contractors was the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) with a paid-up membership of 2,300 at the end of 1938.31

From the inception of each program, the AGC supported the mission of the Public Works Administration and criticized the Works Progress Administration. The latter organization, with its emphasis on labor intensive public works, was criticized by the AGC leadership for excluding private sector contractors from competing on WPA construction projects. "Officials of the WPA seem determined to push the general contractor completely out of the public works picture. The agency's regulations and endless red tape were greatly delaying highway construction."32 The AGC perception was that government officials running the agency were intent on excluding the private sector from public works projects. " was evident that the officials in charge planned to set up a large and permanent day labor organization. "33 This was interpreted as "the socializing of industry."34


The AGC made it plain that it much preferred the mission and approach of the Public Works Administration. Administering larger, capital intensive projects, the PWA relied on general contractors to construct and build its projects. The controversy highlighted two polar approaches to managing and conducting public construction. One approach relied upon strong government administrative control; the alternative was to decentralize and give maximum latitude to private industry contractors to do construction. Both before and after the construction surge of 1941-1942, defense-related construction spending was characterized by the first approach. During the surge, when a massive amount of building had to be done in the shortest possible time, decentralization with maximum latitude to private contractors through the cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, prevailed.

Defense Construction 1940-1941

On April 9, 1940, Germany invaded Norway and Denmark. Within two months this was followed by the capture of the Low Countries, the evacuation of Dunkirk and the fall of France. In May 1940, President Roosevelt, responding to the unfolding crisis, requested Congress to authorize production of 50,000 military aircraft per year. In addition to this $900 million request, one month later he requested $1 billion for other national defense projects. With the fall of France in June 1940, the Munitions Program of 1940 was launched.

Thus, by mid-year 1940, the great shift into defense-related construction was in process. During the crucial 18-month period from mid-1940 through 1941, primary responsibility: for U.S. Army industrial preparedness resided with the Quartermaster Corps. Theirs was the initial, daunting job of building troop cantonments, munitions and ordnance plants, supply depots, hospitals and a myriad of other defense-related buildings, under the critical eye of a tight-fisted Congress and wary American public. The atmosphere fomented internal intrigues and personality rivalries which distracted and usurped the energies of some military leaders in charge of construction during this period.35 As a result of Congressional action which preceded Pearl Harbor,


all construction responsibility was transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers in December 1941. From November 1940, the Corps of Engineers had been given responsibility for all construction at Army Air Corps Stations (except Panama). In October 1940 the responsibility for planning and building civilian air fields had been delegated to the Engineers by the Civil Aeronautics Authority. On the Navy side, the immense job of planning and building advanced bases, aeronautical facilities, shipbuilding and repair facilities, ordnance plants, storage depots and training facilities was the responsibility of the Navy Department's Bureau of Yards and Docks and its administrative arm, the Civil Engineer Corps. Before and during the war, the Bureau exercised uninterrupted control of all building and construction of the Navy's shore establishment.36

Conscription and Troop Requirements

The country's first peacetime conscription act (The Burke-Wadsworth Bill) became law on September 16, 1940. Under the original act, all males 21 to 35 had to register for military service. Registration began in October 1940 and the first draft was conducted on October 29.37 Military manpower strength escalated thereafter.

In the case of the Army, logistical requirements for new conscripts (referred to as "initial issue") ". . . consisted of all types and quantities of equipment needed to outfit the expanding Army in its growth from barely 200,000 men at the beginning of 1940 to over 8,000,000 in 1945. It included standard allowances of post, camp, and station equipment in the United States as well as personal and unit equipment for organized components of the Army as these were activated and moved into overseas theaters of operations."38

Initial issue requirements were dependent upon the size of the active duty force, the "troop basis" in mobilization parlance. The fundamental building block was the Army division. The number of divisions was revised upwards in response to the growing perceived threat: ". . . the Munitions Program of June 30, 1940 established


TABLE 2. Military Manpower--World War II
  US Army* US Navy US Marines Total
1939 189,839 125,202 19,432 334,473
1941 1,462,315 284,427 54,359 1,801,101
1945 8,267,958 3,380,817 474,680 12,123,455
* Army figures include the Army Air Force
Source: Peppers, History of United States Military Logistics, 54.

basic procurement objectives for forces of 1 million, 2 million, and 4 million men in terms respectively of essential items, critical items, and the creation of industrial capacity. As the Munitions Program got under way and the danger of war increased, the various Protective Mobilization Plan (PMP) force requirements were successively raised to levels above those in the Munitions Program."39 At the beginning of 1940, Army training was provided at about a dozen military camp sites.

The enlisted strength of the Navy doubled between June 1939 and June 1941. An increase to 369,000 was planned by June 1942. "Immediately after our entry into the war, however, this figure was increased to 1 million and was to be raised steadily throughout the war."40 The expansion translated into a need for personnel training. "At the time the training of recruits for the Navy was carried out at four widely separated establishments, all of which had been in existence since World War I, or before--the naval training stations at Newport, R.I., Great Lakes, Ill., Norfolk, Va., and San Diego, Calif."41 In addition to the expansion of these existing facilities, three new training stations would be needed to train wartime recruits.

The Marine Corps was similarly affected. A sharp rise in the number of Marine recruits in 1941 necessitated the expansion of existing camps (at Quantico, Virginia, Parris Island, South Carolina, and San Diego, California) and the construction of new camps in


1942 (Lejeune, North Carolina; Dunlap, California; and Pendleton, California).

Building Military Installations Through 1941

The escalating war threat translated into increasing troop strength requirements throughout 1941. The few cantonments retained after World War I were completely inadequate to meet the expanding need. Under the leadership of the prescient General Charles D. Hartman and the hard-driving General Brehon B. Somervell, the Construction Division of the Quartermaster Corps rose to the occasion. By December 1941, new housing and training facilities for 1.3 million troops had been completed and 19 general hospitals had been built over a 15-month period (Table 3).

Exercising its responsibility, for Air Corps construction work, the Corps of Engineers managed some $400 million in project development in the United States and its territories in 1941.

In the continental United States during 1941, the Corps of Engineers developed 42 new airfields, complete with housing and

TABLE 3. Summary of Quartermaster Projects Completed and Under Way
5 December 1941
Projects Completed Under Way Value of Work In Place
Total 371 220 $1,828,268,053
Camps and Cantonments 61 -- 623,532,764
Reception Centers 47 -- 8,640,794
Replacement Tng Centers 25 4 110,665,861
Harbor Defenses 37 8 26,549,331
Misc Troop Facilities 113 87 148,009,863
General Hospitals 19 6 24,716,258
Ordnance Plants 20 40 663,865,631
Ordnance Ammo Storage Plants 2 2 72,859,862
Misc Ordnance Facilities 6 20 38,327,548
CWS Plants 7 4 26,815,370
Storage Depots (excl. Amino) 9 23 76,512,266
Misc Projects 29 11 7,772,505
Source: Fine and Remington, The Corps of Engineers: Construction in the United States, 409.


technical facilities, and added similar facilities to an equal number of municipal airports which the Air Corps had arranged to use. The largest of the new fields, on each of which the Corps spent $13-15 million in the year before the United States entered the war, were the Keesler and Sheppard fields in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Wichita Falls, Texas, respectively, each of which was designed to house more than 24,000 troops. The engineers expanded facilities at 25 existing Air Corps stations. They also built new aircraft assembly plants at Fort Worth, Tulsa, Kansas City, and Omaha, and an Air Corps Replacement Center at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.42

Navy planning proceeded from the recommendations of the Hepburn Board and Greenslade Board established in 1938 and 1940, respectively. Recommendations of the latter board were necessary to implement the July 1940 Congressional mandate for a "two-ocean" Navy. Prior to December 1941, the planning of public works by the Navy had as its goal the building of a shore establishment to meet the needs of the two-ocean Navy that had been authorized by Congress.43 From July 1940 through 1941, over $1 billion was appropriated through regular and emergency budgetary procedures for naval public works expansion.44

Activity centered on building bases in the Atlantic and Pacific; at home, shipyard construction and expansion became a top priority. "In 1939 we had only 10 yards with a total of 46 ways capable of turning out ocean-going vessels 400 feet long or longer. Building more yards and ways in record-breaking time was the first job."45 Over a two-year period our shipyard base expanded to 70 and the number of ways increased to 330.46

Financing Industrial Expansion

Building Army supply depots and manufacturing plants presented problems from the start. "It was soon found that private capital


was unable to finance the expansion on the scale and with the speed originally planned. The government thus had to assume financial responsibility and general leadership for the undertaking."47

Government financial assistance took four forms: (1) private financing with the aid of tax amortization; (2) reimbursement of private capital outlays (the Emergency Plant Facilities (EPF) contract); (3) government ownership with private purchase option (Defense Plant Corporation financing); and (4) outright government ownership. The tax law of 1940 permitted the War Department to issue "Certificates of Necessity" that allowed companies to amortize the cost of a new plant over a five year period for income tax purposes. From 1940 through 1943, certificates covering the cost of $4.9 billion were issued, predominately for facilities expansion for petroleum, mining, aircraft and other transportation. Less than 8 percent of the dollar value covered the cost of plant expansion for guns and ammunition manufacture.48

Defense Plant Corporation (DPC) financing was relied on for the expansion of basic industries including aircraft, aluminum, magnesium, synthetic rubber, and steel. Organized in August 1940 as a subsidiary of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, DPC built plants and leased them to private companies to operate. About $3 billion was spent by the DPC on building and new construction. Development of an ordnance industry fell directly on the government. "This class accounted for 60 percent of the value of all War Department owned, sponsored, and leased industrial facilities by the end of the war."49 The value of the War Department's ordnance industry exceeded $4.3 billion by 1945; facilities included powder and TNT plants, all manner of shell making plants (armor-piercing, high explosive, incendiary, fragmentation, chemical, flashless tracer, etc.), weapons manufacture, and storage facilities. The cumulative effect of the government's direct and indirect spending to build an industrial base capable of supporting a total war effort, was that plant expansion in the three years ending with 1943, was equal


to half the investment in manufacturing facilities during the preceding 2 decades.50

Reliance on Contract Construction

The Army's Construction Division (under the Quartermaster General up to December 1941 and the Chief of Engineers from December 1941) and the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Decks ". . . had the responsibility for letting and supervising contracts for private construction firms who performed the actual work. The contractual arrangements for large projects typically involved an architect-engineer contract and a construction contract with separate firms."51 The architect-engineer contract usually required that all plans and engineering design drawings be furnished as well as daily supervision of construction contractors to insure that actual construction followed the engineer's specifications. Construction contracts were either fixed price or cost-plus-fixed-fee agreements (CPFF) ". . . both of which permitted and relied upon extensive subcontracting."52

About 80 percent of the value of construction managed by the Quartermaster Corps was let under CPFF contracts. Under the Corps of Engineers, CPFF, contracts declined to about one-half.53 The pattern of reliance on CPFF contracts up to 1942 and subsequent shifting to lump-sum competitive bid contracts was also followed by the Bureau of Yards and Docks. Under the CPFF contract the importance of large general contractors rose; construction from mid-1940 through 1942 was dominated by the 200-300 largest U.S. firms. Intermediate firms worked as subcontractors to the very large firms; small individual contractors became project managers or supervisory employees to large and medium-sized firms. All projects involved civilian skilled craftsmen and laborers for the actual construction work.

Location of Facilities

From the beginning of the build-up in construction activity, responsible mobilization planning and control agencies (beginning


with the Advisory, Commission to the Council of National Defense up to the War Production Board) sought to insure that certain economic and social objectives were satisfied as part of the expansion. The objectives included ". . . wide geographical dispersion of new facilities, avoidance of tight labor areas, prevention of duplication and over expansion, and conservation of materials and other resources by limiting both the type and volume of expansions."54 In contrast to overseas military construction, land acquisition was not a major obstacle; military-related construction was done primarily on government-owned land while land for industrial expansion was leased or purchased at prevailing market rates.

In determining the site of a camp, airfield or plant ". . . Great emphasis was placed on the physical nature of the site, its proximity to transportation and power facilities, its vulnerability to possible enemy attack, and the availability of raw materials. Also important was its proximity to existing plants that could produce military items."55 The site selection process soon attracted the interest of local interest groups and their representatives in Congress.56

However, ". . . because of the strictly military and often confidential nature of the War Department's command facilities, relatively little external control was exercised over their creation."57 On the other hand, industrial facility expansions not only involved political lobbying . . . but intimately related questions of financing, competition among private firms, and the extent of control by military agencies over the development of the economy."58 The speed with which construction mobilization was accomplished largely negated the potential disruptive influence of national and local political lobbying efforts on facility site selection. Where clusters of war-related industrial plant facilities were found, it generally satisfied the need for ". . . strategic grouping of related manufacturing facilities into self-sufficient areas. . . . the prevention and avoidance of congested


areas, and the availability of productive resources and transportation."59

Construction on the Verge of WW II

During 1941, spurred by the demand for defense related building, total construction volume reached a record high $11 billion. While the building of military plants accelerated, spending on the nation's highway system and other civil works projects slowed to a trickle. The increase in demand began to have an impact on material availability. "By the middle of die year [1941], all common metals and building materials and equipment manufactured from them were obtainable only with an authorization from the Office of Production Management called a priority."60 The first signs of the impending "feasibility crisis" had appeared on the construction scene.

World War II Construction: Accomplishments and Controversy

December 1941 marked the entry, of the United States into World War II, and the start of the largest episodic surge in construction activity that the country has ever experienced. If an official start date of the surge was adopted, it would probably be January 6, 1942, the day President Roosevelt ". . . announced to Congress and the world his new "Must" program for obtaining astronomical quantities of certain crucial weapons of war--planes, tanks, machine guns, merchant shipping."61

The "Must" program itself was a testimony to the fact that planning in World War II ". . . ran from requirements to strategy, not strategy to requirements."62 World War II was primarily a technological war, with the odds in favor of the side possessing the greatest abundance of technical and material resources. Victory would represent a triumph of superior military power, consisting basically of a general and marked superiority of equipment and supplies in the hands of trained men.63


To train troops required training facilities; to provide the equipment to support trained troops required plants.

Construction Surge--1942

In 1942 facilities expansion and military construction peaked. "Military, construction almost tripled from 1941 in dollar value, and expansion of industrial facilities was twice the value put in place in 1941."64 Total construction spending approached $18 billion with defense-related construction accounting for a lion's share of total work.

By 1942 construction contractors employed 2.17 million civilian workers, up from 1.15 million in 1939. Construction material shortages grew. Welding became more popular since it used less steel than riveting. Laminated wooden arches were substituted for steel in airplane hangar construction and a minimum of reinforcing steel was used in concrete structures.65

Army construction work was administered by the Corps of Engineers through its decentralized network of division, district, and area operating units. By the end of 1942, 11 divisions managed construction. "They decentralized the work to 60 district engineers who either performed the duties or further decentralized them to some 840 area engineers. Although districts were set up or abolished in accordance with work demands, this field organization remained generally unchanged throughout the war."66

The key to the Corps of Engineer's success in managing its huge portfolio of construction projects during the surge was its reliance on decentralized decision making. Its division engineers were given


Monthly Value of Work Put in Place
July 1940-December 1942

authority to execute contracts up to $5 million and approve nearly all plans and specifications; district engineers had contract approval up to $2 million and could prepare most designs.67 Decentralized decision making was a major administrative factor contributing to the success of Army construction during the 1942 surge period.

During 1942, the Corps of Engineers administered the financing and work of private construction contractors in completing 2,100 projects valued at $5 billion. Chart 1 graphically presents the sharp rise in the value of defense contracted work put in place during 1942.

The construction surge was equally dramatic for the Navy. Whereas pre-war authorized appropriations for "Public Works, Bureau of Yards and Docks" from July 1940 up to December 1941 totaled less than $1.3 billion, authorized spending for the first eight months of 1942 rose to $3.1 billion.68 Virtually all classes of facilities underwent expansion, particularly naval air stations. The destruction


of battleships during the attack on Pearl Harbor increased the importance of aircraft carriers. By 1942, the Navy's air arm included 27,500 planes. Related to this growth in hardware was the pressing need to train flight personnel. "During the building program which followed, 80 air stations and numerous satellite fields were constructed, 38 of them at a cost of over $10,000,000 each."69 The largest training facility was Corpus Christi, Texas, which eventually spread to over 40 square miles and cost $90 million.

By the end of 1942, the WWII construction program had moved past its peak and spending declined. The job of building the infrastructure for war was largely completed; ". . . emphasis moved from construction to production and from home front to overseas."70 In place was a vast network of newly built installations ". . . a tremendous and lasting monument to the construction industry."71

WW II Construction Spending

By war's end, the value of Army construction put in place in the United States exceeded $13 billion (Table 4). The largest subcategory, Command Installations, accounted for over one half of this total. The money bought almost 3,000 installations of varying sizes and complexity, including 948 Air Force tactical and training installations, 231 Ground and Service Forces training camps and 137 ports of embarkation and staging areas. Conscientious rationing and the substitution of less scarce for more scarce building materials, was standard practice for all construction. In the case of the Pentagon, the substitution of cement for steel resulted in the savings of 43,000 tons of steel, enough to construct one Navy battleship. On the Navy side, the Bureau of Yards and Docks purchased about $5.5 billion in construction work during the war years (Table 5).

According to one source, the total value of defense-related construction work was $49 billion between mid-1940 through the end of war in 1945, with the Federal Government accounting for slightly less than one-half of this total and the private sector accounting for


TABLE 4. Army Construction In The Continental United States
1 July 1940-31 August 1945
(in billion of dollars)
Type of Installation Cost
Industrial $ 3.2
- Aircraft assembly, ordnance, and other plants  
Command 7.5
- Air 3.2
- Ground 2.8
- Storage and shipping 1.0
- Miscellaneous 0.5
Manhattan District 2.0
Civil 0.8
- Total $13.5a
a This figure excludes approximately $3 billion expended for real estate and maintenance.
Source: Adapted from Fine and Remington. The Corps of Engineers: Construction in the United States, Appendix.

TABLE 5. Navy Bureau of Yards and Docks, Value of Work Done by Facilities Type, Continental United States,
July 1940-September 1945 (in millions of dollars)
Facilities Type Value of work done
Aeronautical facilities $1,601.4
Shipbuilding and repair facilities 1,097.8
Ordnance facilities 774.5
Structures for Naval Personnel 556.5
Storage facilities 486.8
Fleet facilities 226.0
Marine Corps facilities 183.4
Hospital facilities 182.8
Defense Housing 83.8
Radio facilities 34.9
Structures not otherwise classified 227.5
Total $5,455.4
Source: Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 59.


slightly more than one-half.72 This sum represented about two-thirds of the value of all construction done during the years 1940 through 1945. In addition to War Department spending listed in Tables 4 and 5, a variety of civilian agencies bought construction activity during this period, which contributed to the Federal Government's share. Major purchasers included:73

Special Projects

Within the plethora of statistics and data used to convey the size and complexity of the WWII construction achievement, certain projects stand out. These include the Navy Shipyard Superdocks, the ALCAN and Pan American Highways and the Manhattan Project. For each, the distinguishing construction characteristics were their very large scale, their engineering complexity, and the very short time it took to build them.


Authorization of the two-ocean Navy in July 1940 presented an immense shipbuilding challenge to West and East Coat Navy Yards. Because of the limited dry dock capacity and potential need, expansion


of the West Coast Puget Sound Navy Yard was undertaken in 1938. In 1940 dry dock expansion at Mare Island California began. But the bulk of the Navy's shipyard expansion took place in East Coast yards.

"Construction was begun on the first two superdocks, at Norfolk and Philadelphia in June 1940. These docks were 1092 feet long and 150 feet wide. In 1941, a second shipbuilding dock was started at Philadelphia and two similar docks were undertaken at the New York Navy Yard."74 These docks were constructed in 17 to 21 months, compared with prior times of 3 to 8 years.

Examples of engineering solutions to problems encountered during the construction of the superdocks included the insertion of slotted pipes into the core of sand piles to facilitate the drainage of water-logged riverbed marl (sand, silt, or clay); "aerating" 6-foot concrete slabs through a series of pipes in order to reduce the hydrostatic pressure from riverbed seepage; and fabricating huge perpendicular floating gates designed to seal out water from the shipway during construction and to rise vertically and float away after construction was completed.75

The superdocks in turn allowed the berthing of super-battle-ships of the Montana class (London Treat), displacement of 58,000 tons and a true displacement of 70,000 tons) and aircraft carriers of the Midway class. A large number of carriers and other small vessels were built in these docks in time to play an active part in the Navy's fleet operations in the last 2 years of the war. The swift increase in shipbuilding across all Navy shipyards allowed the fleet in commission to expand from 1,050 ships in July 1940, to more than 10,000 ships, exclusive of small landing craft, by mid-1945.

Alaska and Pan American Highways

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the vulnerability of Alaska to Japanese attack was a major military concern. Alaska was on the shortest route from Japan to the United States. During the month following Pearl Harbor, merchant ships leaving West Coast ports were attacked; enemy submarines and surface vessels were spotted


off the West Coast and Alaska on 41 separate occasions during January 1942.76

In February 1942, the War Department directed the Corps of Engineers to construct a highway that would connect a string of airfields located in British Columbia and the Yukon Territory in Canada. The Highway would eventually provide an uninterrupted land link between the continental United States and Alaska, through the rugged mountainous terrain of Western Canada. In March 1942, the Canadian government agreed to the highway construction.

In the same month, two U.S. Army Engineer regiments were sent to the Yukon Territory, and two others to British Columbia. "A two phase construction program was outlined. Because the engineer units could get to work much more quickly, they would build the initial pioneer road. Civilian contractors working for the U.S Public Roads Administration (PRA) would then upgrade this road into a permanent highway."77 Shortly after arriving in British Columbia, survey and locating crews, some working for the Army and some for the PRA, were working with native guides to lay out the road route.78

The Alcan Highway was begun at the town of Dawson Creek in British Columbia and was extended to the northwest for 1,428 miles across the Yukon territory, to Big Delta, Alaska. The pioneer roadway was completed on November 20, 1942 in a little more than 7 months. This roadway was used during the winter of 1942. By August 1943, when the Japanese were driven from the Aleutians, improvements on the Alcan Highway were approximately 70 percent complete. The highway continued to serve as a supply route for the airfields during the remainder of the war.79

While its military importance was diminished with the reduction in the threat of a Japanese invasion, the construction and completion of the Alcan Highway was a major propaganda success story. News


officers and 10,100 enlisted men) and 7,500 civilian workers as they cut through ice hills and muskeg swamps in a race against time. The project ". . . evidencing something of the early American pioneer spirit . . . captured the American imagination in a way that few other projects did in the early summer of 1942. . . ."80

. . . following the Japanese occupation of the islands of Kiska and Attu in the Aleutians, the progress being made along the Alaska Highway was a hopeful sign to Americans. With little other war news to cheer about, the ALCAN story was a natural for superlatives and patriotic hyperbole. Here were weary, dust-covered soldiers manning giant machines and racing to construct a supply road to Alaska's beleaguered defenders through the most rugged terrain and horrendous weather conditions imaginable. Only the gory excitement of actual combat was missing.81

It would be difficult to exaggerate the physical hardship endured by the troops and the brute force exercised by the combination of men and machines on the rugged Canadian landscape. Weather temperature fluctuated 80 degrees between day and night; black flies and mosquitoes were a constant torment; exposed permafrost became a quagmire routinely trapping and immobilizing heavy construction equipment.

There was no time to make detailed surveys on the ground; the location of the existing string of Canadian airports determined the ground route. Planes were indispensable in laying out the project. For the most part the planes used in aerial reconnaissance were the small, single-motor "bush hoppers," piloted by local men who knew the country.82 Skis replaced pontoons, depending on the weather. Mountains formed a 7,000-foot natural barrier separating parts of the planned roadway.


The mechanical mainstay of the road clearing operation was the very large 23-ton Caterpillar D-8 bulldozer accompanied by medium size Caterpillar D-4 bulldozers. Each regiment eventually had 20 D-8 big "Cats" and 24 D-4s. Ten to twelve D-8s could clear 2-3 miles of 100-foot right-of-way through solid forest in a day.

Each regiment, composed of three platoons, operated a three-shift schedule. Work was conducted using the leap-frogging or train methods.

In the former, a company was assigned a specific sector of 5 to 15 miles behind the D-8s of a clearing task force. Working as fast as it could, living in tents, and fully mobile, the company would complete all the work on that particular sector from clearing away timber to placing culverts and grading the road. As it prepared this section, the companies that it had leap-frogged would finish their sections and move ahead to new sections. When the company was finished, it leap-frogged to the front of the column again, and the process started all over.

In the train method, the regiment was broken up into companies that were assigned to specific tasks--the clearing crew, then the company which built log culverts and small bridges, followed by the ditching and rough grading crew, which also placed corduroy if necessary. Then came the rest of the regiment strung out over 30-40 miles of road widening, graveling, smoothing, and cutting grades and curves.83

Black troops in all black regiments were involved in the highway project. Of the seven U.S. Army engineer regiments assigned to the project by the summer of 1942, three (93d, 95th, and 97th Engineer General Service Regiments) were black. Reflecting the social mores at the time, black troops were commanded by white Corps of Engineers officers, Despite a chronic lack of adequate living accommodation, inferior machinery, and equipment, black engineers on the Alaska Highway accomplished all road construction assignments on


TABLE 6. Alaska Highway: Sector Responsibilities
(mileage as built)
Regiment Sector Mileage
341/95 EGSR Fort St. John--Fort Nelson 256
35 ECR Fort Nelson--Lower Post 337
340 EGSR Lower Post--Teslin 188
93 EGSR Teslin--Jake's Corner
Jake's Corner--Carcross
PRA Jake's Corner--Whitehorse 54
18 ECR Whiehorse--Beaver Creek 298
97 EGSR Beaver Creek--Tok Junction
Slana Cutoff
PRA Tok Junction--Big Delta 119
Total Built Fort St. John--Big Delta 1543
Already Completed Dawson Creek--Fort St. John
Big Delta--Fairbanks
Total Dawson Creek--Fairbanks 1685
Source: Greenwood, Builders and Fighters, 134.

schedule and made a total contribution to the success of the project. (See Highway sector responsibilities, Table 6.)

The ultimate contribution of the Alaska Highway to the Allied victory in WWII was that it provided the avenue for fuel delivery, to the Canadian inland air bases, which it connected. "Of the 14,000 U.S. combat aircraft turned over to the Soviet Union under the terms of the lend-lease program, nearly 8,000 were flown to the Soviets via the airfields of the Northwest Staging Route, a massive undertaking made possible by the existence of the Alaska Highway."85

The fate of the Pan-American Highway tracks closely with that of Alcan, from initial high potential strategic value, to eclipse as the Japanese threat in the Pacific receded. Jungle construction activity, began in 1942, with U.S. contractors responsible for completing 900 miles of roadway needed to link existing highways and provide an uninterrupted road to Panama. At the peak of road building activity,


25,000 men, including 1,500 from the United States, worked on the project.86 Before the War Department cancelled the project in October 1943, U.S. contractors had cleared the right of way for 758 miles of highway and surfaced 331 miles of this length.87

The Manhattan Project

By the summer of 1943, the government had all the munitions plants, plane factories and military bases it needed. Continuing construction demand became concentrated on the $2 billion effort to create the atomic bomb.88 The project was not one, but several geographically dispersed projects. Construction involved building three top-secret cities and production facilities needed to make atom bombs: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico. Since the large-scale production facilities for isolating U-235 and making plutonium were at Oak Ridge and Hanford respectively, these locations required the greater construction effort than the testing laboratories at Los Alamos. All construction (with the exception of some Los Alamos construction) was carried out by private contractors for the Army Corps of Engineers. Overall project leadership was exercised by the indomitable General Leslie R. Groves. Under Groves' supervision, in less than 3 years an array of factories and laboratories was put in place ". . . as large as the entire automobile industry of the United States at that date."89

Multiple sites for the Manhattan project reflected the fact that several U-235 separation methods were to be developed simultaneously (electromagnetic, thermal and gaseous diffusion), along with the U-235 enrichment processes (transmitting uranium into plutonium). Each process was theoretically possible; but no one process guaranteed the production of sufficient quantities of the U-235 isotope to satisfy atomic bomb requirements.

According to one key Manhattan Project military leader, duplication


and redundancy in the bomb's development was consciously pursued.

Redundancy was at the heart of the heart of the Manhattan Project. Each of the uranium processes we built at the CEW [Clinton Engineering Works] served as a backup for the others. In fact, all the CEW U-235 enrichment plants were backups for the plutonium effort at Stanford or vice versa. Redundancy unquestionably increased the cost of the Manhattan Project, but we did not feel we dared take a chance concentrating on only one production plant, or even one type of bomb.90

Site selection of Oak Ridge and Hanford were largely influenced by the nearby sources of large amounts of continuous electric power and large quantities of water for cooling and processing.91 At both sites, contractors provided the entire infrastructure of a city: roads, housing, schools, libraries, sewage systems, and water supply.

From the time construction began in 1943, technical problems were routinely encountered and overcome at Oak Ridge.

In the summer of 1943, Stone and Webster excavating crews discovered unfavorable subsoil conditions under the building location of the enormously heavy electromagnetic plant. To overcome the problem, 6-foot concrete mats were poured to reinforce the foundation.92

Under contract to the M.W. Kellogg Construction Company, the Kellex Company designed, engineered, and supervised construction of the gaseous diffusion plant at the Oak Ridge, Clinton Works. "The great weight of the buildings that would house the cascade and its complicated, interconnected equipment made exceptionally


stiff foundations necessary."93 To save time on the project, Kellex introduced the novel method of compacted fill. Foundation footings were poured directly on top of the compacted fill. "In spite of the abnormally rainy weather in the fall of 1943, the K-25 worker's use of innovative constructive techniques enabled them to complete laying down the foundation far more quickly than would have been possible with more traditional methods."94

An unusual feature of the gaseous diffusion plant was the need to maintain exceptionally high house-cleaning standards. Workers wore special clothes and lintless gloves. "Because even minute amounts of foreign matter would have highly deleterious effects on process operations, construction workers had to cleanse all pipes, valves, pumps, converters, and all other items of equipment thoroughly before installation."94

Also, at the gaseous diffusion plant, 100 miles of pipe without flanged joints was installed "...with welds that had to meet tightness specifications more severe than any ever encountered before in commercial construction."96 Very stringent welding tolerances were also standard practice at DuPont's plutonium plant at Hanford, Washington.

Peak construction employment on the Manhattan Project was reached in June 1944; 84,500 construction workers were employed building fissionable material production plants. Although construction employment steadily declined after this point, problems in recruiting and holding workers were severe at both Oak Ridge and Hanford construction sites throughout 1944 and 1945. "Many of the skills the atomic project required were in chronic short supply; location of the major production plants in relatively remote areas with limited housing, inadequate transportation, and sparse population compounded existing manpower procurement obstacles: and the increasingly stringent requirements of the Selective Service System threatened to take away virtually irreplaceable technically


trained workers at the most critical juncture in the project operation."97

Shortages elicited positive recruitment efforts by the Building and Construction Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor and the United States Employment Service.98 Chronic shortages of electricians prompted an appeal to Under Secretary, of War, Robert P. Patterson:

Out of this appeal came an agreement know as the Patterson- Brown plan (Edward J. Brown was president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). It provided for the payment to employees of round-trip transportation and subsistence, a guarantee of no loss seniority rights and a job on return to their former employers "after completing at least ninety days' service at the project. Provision was also made for the official recognition of employers who released men in response to our appeal. This plan was a lifesaver, as was the co-operative attitude of Al Wegener, an official of the Brotherhood.99

The plan provided Manhattan with the needed supply of skilled labor. "In a few months, this novel solution supplied the electricians needed to meet both Hanford and Clinton construction deadlines."100

In order to insure harmonious labor relations, the Corps of Engineers and the Building and Construction Trades Department had agreed to a closed-shop policy from the beginning of construction. The policy succeeded in producing industrial peace. Work stoppages on the Manhattan Project were few and brief in duration.101


From 1940 on, a succession of federal agencies had responsibility for assigning a priority to defense-related construction and manufacturing


activities. Concern centered on the proper allocation of resources; for construction this meant insuring that priority projects were able to get sufficient quantities of steel, aluminum, copper and lumber. And in order to protect defense related projects, the War Production Board (WPB), from 1942 on, began issuing construction "stop orders." "Highway and reclamation projects were among the first to be brought to a halt on orders from the War Production Board."102 Despite the use of "stop orders," demand for scarce resources mushroomed during 1942, eventually giving rise to the "feasibility dispute."

From late 1940 up to 1942 the cost-plus-fixed-fee form of contract construction predominated. But Congress, reflecting popular opinion, became increasingly suspicious that this form of contracting encouraged fraud, waste and abuse among contractors. The Army and Navy adopted negotiated fixed-price contracts from 1942 on. Dissatisfaction with the placement of industrial facilities was a refrain throughout the war years. Targeting labor surplus areas was honored in the breach; practically, it became difficult to find labor surplus areas as mobilization continued and the military, expanded troop strength. Given the demonstrated ability and willingness of labor to move to where the jobs were, the appropriateness of the policy was questionable.

Feasibility Dispute

At the center of the problem was the "Must" program demanded by the Commander in Chief, which was not to be challenged on the ground of either feasibility or balance: "Let no man say it cannot be done. It must be done . . . and we have undertaken to do it."103 The feasibility dispute aligned military professionals, intent on carrying out the President's order, against civilian bureaucrats and professional economists equally intent on carrying out the order. The military interpretation of the President's directive translated into a very, ambitious building program outlined early in 1942. Initial plans projected a need for $16.3 billion worth of construction, an average monthly rate of about $1.4 billion compared with the


actual peak of less than $800 million attained in 1942.104 Military construction planners had taken an aggressive opening position in the early months of 1942.

The problem with the construction schedule was the scarcity of resources. "Early in 1942 the War Production Board, particularly its Planning Committee headed by Robert R. Nathan, became convinced that total military procurement objectives for 1942 and 1943, when added to the needs of the civilian and industrial economy were greatly in excess of the nation's capacity. The problem was aggravated by the fact that proposed construction programs for both military, and industrial facilities accounted for a substantial portion of the entire war production program."105 Essentially, if all military construction were to go forward as planned there would not be enough material left to produce arms, munitions, and other vital military supplies and equipment; " facilities themselves would be forced to remain idle or operate at a fraction of capacity for lack of raw materials."106

The issue produced a formal confrontation between General Somervell (at the time Commanding General of the Army's Services of Supply) and Leon Henderson, (Director of the Office of Price Administration) in October 1942. But even before the October confrontation, appreciation of the problem was evolving. That is, the very size of the planned construction program was not digestible; the planning, administrative and operational apparatus of the defense construction industry was not sufficient to put in place $1.4 billion in monthly construction spending. In the absence of new facilities, necessity forced the conversion of existing structures to satisfy military production requirements. As the scope of mobilization needs became better understood, downward revisions in the size of projected armament and munitions needs were made. This combination of Factors reduced the requirements for new construction. By the end of 1942, military, and civilian war agency administrators had agreed to a truce on the "Feasibility Issue":


After coming to a head in October 1942, the controversy over feasibility rapidly subsided, and its resolution marked the widespread acceptance of one of the most significant lessons to be learned from the World War II industrial mobilization experience. This was the painful but unavoidable conclusion that even the U.S. economy, great as it was, could not undertake widely unattainable production objectives without slowing down production all along the line. The resolution of the Feasibility Dispute was soon followed by the successful adoption of the Controlled Materials Plan and collateral measures to ration the nation's industrial capacity for the achievement of balanced procurement objectives.107

Cost-Plus-Fixed-Fee Contracts

General Hartman, influenced by his experience in the World War I construction program, was instrumental in securing Congressional approval for the cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPFF) form of contract arrangement, prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.108 From mid-year 1940, the CPFF negotiated contract was the preferred contract arrangement of the Quartermaster Corps' Construction Division and the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks. The reason for the preference was the time savings it produced over traditional design-bid-build contracts. The latter require the development of detailed architect and engineering plans followed by a competitive bidding-award process followed by the actual conduct of construction. CPFF negates the sequencing. Contractors could be pre-selected for a project and contracts could be signed at the beginning of the design work. Thus, construction work could begin before all design work was completed without any competition/award period.

In contrast to the low bid, lump sum contract amounts of traditional design-bid-build, no fixed construction dollar amount was set at the start of a project. Contractor costs were paid by the government as they were incurred. At the start of a project, only a profit was "fixed" at a set dollar amount, generally in scale with the size


of a project (in contrast to a percent of project value, the more controversial practice followed in World War I).

In July 1940, the Construction Division awarded its first fixed-fee contract. From that point through December, 1941, 80 percent of the value of contracts let by the Quartermaster Corps were CPFF. The Navy awarded the bulk of its 458 CPFF contracts over the 1940-1942 period. While CPFF contracts accounted for only 6 percent of the 7,427 naval construction contracts awarded during the war years, they represented almost three quarters of the value of all contracted work.109

Any evidence of waste or apparent excess in construction invoices from contractors doing CPFF work drew immediate media attention with attendant public outcries and Congressional inquiry letters. Absent the spending constraints inherent in lump sum contracts, suspicion constantly surrounded contractor spending decisions under CPFF. The fact that money was spent to buy speed was little appreciated. By 1942, unfavorable and often one-sided publicity had made cost-plus-a-fixed-fee synonymous in the American mind with favoritism, extravagance, and waste. Despite the fact that CPFF received staunch support from military leaders,110 the mounting threat of Congressional investigation (Senator Truman's Committee) gradually dampened enthusiasm for its use. By January 1942, Engineering News Record reported that the Under Secretary for War wanted "--most, if not all, military construction done under lump sum or unit price contracts."111

The policy change was made when the Corps of Engineers took responsibility for construction management from December 1941. Reliance on CPFF dropped to about 50 percent of work awarded in 1942. For the duration of the war both the Army and Navy relied upon the negotiated fixed-price contract.

Plant Location and Project Termination

Following passage of the National Defense Act of 1940, the criterion for locating industrial facilities in labor surplus areas was articulated


by the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense. "Despite this announcement most defense orders continued to be placed with customary suppliers, and an estimated 75 percent of defense contracts in 1940 were concentrated in areas containing only about one-fifth of the nation's population."112 The practice of ignoring this particular criterion was followed throughout the war.

In retrospect, the criterion was admirable in principle, but unworkable and unnecessary in practice. Major projects like the Pentagon and Manhattan had to be built in unique or unusual locations; in the case of Manhattan, a prime consideration (in addition to the availability of electric power supply) was the need for isolation. The willingness of labor to move (evidenced by the migration of about 15 million workers to war production centers) ultimately made the criterion irrelevant.

Finally, beginning with pre-war construction and continuing throughout wartime building, a persistent problem was the inability to cut projects off once they were underway. The problem first surfaced in 1941, when CPFF contractors were reluctant to place the last brick and close-out contracts on newly built camps.113 Long after any serious threat to Caribbean air bases had passed, construction of large garrisons continued.114 Construction modernization of U.S. harbor and seacoast defenses were consuming scarce resources well past the point when their employment seemed likely.

Commenting on the phenomenon, one distinguished military. engineer attributed the failure to close on the nature of contractors who would "...continue their organizations at greater strength than necessary in anticipation of the assignment of additional work."115 What was true 50 years ago also applies today; the typical contractor wants nothing more than the opportunity to work and to build. At the time of greatest vulnerability, that motivation served the country well.


The Overseas Picture

The age of discovery and colonization brought with it overseas naval and military installations for the administration and defense of distant dependencies and their associated sea trade. The Portuguese adventurer Alfonso Albuquerque was the first to recognize the need for a network of bases to attain control over seaborne commerce. By his death in 1515, he had established such a network centered on Goa, conferring practical control of the Indian Ocean to Portugal. By the 18th century, Britain had expanded this concept to global proportions with the seizure and establishment of bases at the key choke points on the world's trade routes such as Gibraltar, Aden and Singapore, which matured to worldwide empire in the 19th and 20th centuries. Conflicts among the colonial powers--Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Britain--demonstrated the utility of such establishments in overseas contests for the more lucrative colonies. As sail gave way to steam in the nineteenth century, naval bases served as coaling stations as well as refit and overhaul facilities. Indeed, the lack of reliable enroute bases around the periphery of Eurasia and Africa contributed heavily to the tortuous transit and eventual destruction of the Tzar's Baltic Fleet by Japan in 1905 at a place history remembers as Tsushima.

The Japanese victory over Russia was an extraordinary event by any strategic measure. In less than 40 years following the Meiji restoration, the Japanese people had metamorphosed from a feudal society armed with swords, armor, and matchlocks to a nation competent at fielding and wielding modern field armies and fleets. The vigor, adaptability, and discipline necessary to achieve all that have made Japan a force with which to be reckoned throughout the twentieth century, war and peace.

Once exposed to the world beyond her shores, Japan steadily expanded her extent and reach. First the Ryukyus and Bonins (1870s) then Taiwan and the Pescadors (from China, 1895), then South Sakhalin (from Russia, 1905), Korea (1910), and from Germany (WWI, 1914) the Marshalls, Carolines, Marianas, Palaus, and Truk provided the foundation for a strategic network of bases to expand Japan's defense in depth on the one hand and to threaten


U.S. lines of communication to Guam and Philippines on the other. These events--beginning at Tsushima--presaged the possibility to some U.S. strategic planners of eventual military conflict with Japan. Those presentiments and the preparations they engendered were to have a decisive impact on the outcome of this story.

American extension into the Pacific came as a second wave to the "Manifest Destiny" vision which had inspired continental expansion since the War of 1812. Growing U.S. overseas interest after the Civil War induced the purchase of Alaska and claim to Midway Island, as well as annexation of Samoa and Hawaii. To these beginnings of empire, the results of the Spanish-American War added possession of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. Wake Island, which was uninhabited, was claimed in 1899.

So by the end of World War One, Japan and the United States had established a network of overseas possessions and bases as their opening moves on the vast Pacific chessboard across which both were about to play out a contest of power and strategic reach. Bases--their establishment, seizure, and defense--were to be the foundation for extending and denying reach by sea, air and land forces in their various operational combinations, however, unlike the Japanese base network which afforded limited reach within the context of a relatively cohesive framework for an interior lines defense, U.S. expansion into the Pacific conferred transoceanic--and tenuous--reach at the expense of defensive vulnerability. This provided a continuing challenge to the War Department responsible for the defense of the Philippines as well as the Department of the Navy charged with providing the seaward shield.

These events left their mark on the U.S. military Services. Mindful of the hard lessons of first-time overseas combat operations in Cuba and the Philippines, the Army began to adjust to the possibilities of twentieth century warfare under the far-reaching leadership of Elihu Root, Secretary, of War (1899-1904). Among other things, Root proposed the establishment of a nation-level General Staff for war and force planning as well as an army war college; Congress approved. Later, the war college was supplemented with a family of schools for professional military education. Another significant change was the restructuring of the militia into a National Guard


patterned after and training with the Regular Army.116 Upon these underpinnings, a modern Army--and later, Air Force--were to evolve.

The Navy had seen to its strategic education in 1884 with the establishment of a naval war college; its second commandant, Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, promulgated the fundamental strategic concepts which underlie its course of instruction today and which, in the opinions of some, crystallized American support for maritime expansion in general and participation in the Spanish-American War in particular. After that war, the Navy Department also recognized its need for a strategic planning body to provide advice on policy matters and to that end, the Secretary of the Navy established a General Board in 1900.117

But the Spanish-American War gave birth to another finding: major transoceanic military endeavor required some formal foundation for conjunct collaboration of the military Services. In the near term, this conclusion led to the establishment of a Joint Army-Navy Board in 1903 to ensure interservice coordination and cooperation. Among other things, the Joint Board prepared and revised war plans which came to be known as "color plans" based on the color codes assigned to affected nations, e.g., Great Britain (blue), Germany (black), Mexico (green), and Japan (orange).118 Plan ORANGE, as it evolved, was to establish the general outline for the U.S. conduct of the war against.Japan. Also in the longer term, the Joint Board was to develop the fundamental assignment of functions to the military Services in 1927. This seminal joint division of work was the foundation for joint planning and execution in World War II and the forerunner of the Service roles and functions as they exist today in law and executive order.

Predictably, the Joint Board served as a forum for interservice contention as well as cooperation. The extraordinary pace of


change--strategic, organizational, technological--required a great deal of developmental effort within each Service, and it is not surprising that some of the solutions to problems and initiatives pursued by one could be viewed as functional trespass by another. That occurs today, even with the existence of a Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and defense staff as ostensible "honest brokers." And none of that integrating structure existed before World War II.

The subject of bases was one of the sources of friction. Although a newcomer to the overseas regime, the Army was quick to stake out a role in fixed base defense which they saw as an extension of their coastal defense responsibilities. Although the Navy's natural venue was oceanic, it was the transition to coal (and later, oil) as ship motive power coupled with the acquisition of western Pacific dependencies--hundreds of miles from potential threats to their security and thousands of miles from home--that accelerated naval interest in bases. Given the priorities and limited resources of the Army and the necessity of locating and operating such bases as adjuncts to fleet operations, the General Board view was that the establishment and defense of advanced bases (which would multiply in wartime) should be integral to the Navy.119

The controversy was sharpened by events in the Philippines (1900-1909) where the Army had developed its base and defensive establishment oriented on Manila while persuading Congress that a major naval base in Subic Bay (the Navy's preferred site; Cavite at Manila was not deep enough) would be too hard to defend. This was not the only basing problem facing the Navy. Although Congress was willing to fund warship construction, it was consistently unenthusiastic about investing either in logistic support shipping or a network of permanent overseas bases.120 Without one or the other, the fleet would be closely tethered to home waters and the Philippines and Guam--even Hawaii and Alaska--would be vulnerable to naval attack and isolation, even invasion.

This drove the Navy to to two significant decisions. First, the primary


Pacific base would be established at the intermediate position of Pearl Harbor at Oahu. Second, the Navy would prepare for the construction and defense of temporary advanced bases where and when required. Among other things, this latter gave rise to a major transformation of the role of the Marine Corps within the naval service. Both decisions were to prove fortuitous.

Prior to this time, the Marine Corps furnished detachments of Marines for service on capital ships (frequently used as the sharp edge of diplomacy) and barracks for the security of naval bases. For significant expeditionary requirements, fleet or squadron commanders could pool available Marine detachments and request reinforcement from the various Marine barracks. It was one of these barracks-sourced battalions that the Navy's North Atlantic Squadron employed to secure a temporary base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Given the strategic basing problem and the Guantanamo experience, it is not surprising that the General Board came to view the Marine Corps as part of the solution and they were able to so persuade the Secretary of the Navy in 1900.121

At first, this was a project for which the General Board had greater enthusiasm than the Marine Corps leadership. Progress was initially slow. Resources were limited; doctrine was nonexistent; and initial exercises were, at best, disappointing. However, by 1914 specific Marine units had been organized, trained, and equipped as a standing advanced base force. And in the process, enthusiasm for the concept began to mount within certain sectors of the Marine officer corps. One of these was John A. Lejeune, a Naval Academy graduate, who was later (1920-1928) to become one of the Marine Corps' most far-seeing and influential Commandants. Another was a young captain, Earl H. (Pete) Ellis, who, while a student at the Naval War College (1912-1913), deduced that advanced base requirements would demand the ability to seize, as well as defend, such locations. Nevertheless, the Marine Corps commitment to the advance base force project was distracted by expeditionary service in the Philippines, China, Hispaniola, and Nicaragua; World War I brought it to a standstill.122


After the war, U.S. military strategic attention again returned to the western Pacific vulnerability of the Philippines and Guam, now exacerbated by Japanese possession of the Marshalls, Carolinas, and Marianas lying astride the U.S. lines of communication. Among other things, the Five Power Treaty of 1922 provided that the parties (including Japan and the U.S.) would not permanently fortify their western Pacific bases. So once again, expansion and defense of the overseas base foundation for fleet logistics was deferred to post-attack reaction rather than prewar preparation. Strategic studies as early as 1919 by the General Board and the Naval War College confirmed that fleet operations in the defense of the Philippines would require not only forces to defend U.S. advanced bases established in the course of a naval campaign but also the capability to seize Japanese bases--that is, amphibious assault.123

When Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels appointed General Lejeune as Major General Commandant of the Marine Corps in the summer of 1920, the stage for change was set. No stranger to getting along with the Navy, the Army, and the Congress, he steered the Marine Corps into an associate role with the Navy for the conduct of naval campaigns. This included formal recognition by the Joint Board and approval by the Secretaries of War and the Navy of an overall Service division of work for military and naval operations including base establishment and defense. Thus, the Marine Corps was assigned functions "for land operations in support of the fleet for the initial seizure and defense of advanced bases and for such limited auxiliary land operations as are essential to the prosecution of the naval campaign."124 Interestingly, this Joint Action of the Army and Navy the first ever in the United States--was generally effective and future-oriented; subsequent efforts have been less broadly gauged and prescient, even with increasingly centralized overarching authority.

The next step was to develop concepts and relationships for amphibious assault, and, to the degree that funding permitted, associated training and equipment development. The Marine Corps took


the lead, and in association with the Navy during the 1920s and 1930s, studied, devised, and revised concepts for amphibious operations based largely on dissection of the abortive Gallipoli landings in World War I. The result was a Tentative Manual for Landing Operations promulgated by the Marine Corps in 1934. This was revised and issued by the Navy as Fleet Training Publication 167 in 1938. Although lacking forces, equipment, and shipping, the Navy and Marine Corps were confident that they could seize advanced bases, given the requisite resources. And they were right. This was the U.S. doctrinal foundation--in fact, it was to become the first battle-proven joint operational doctrine--both for amphibious seizure of advanced bases and amphibious lodgment for the initiation of extended continental campaigns. So the Naval Service had come up with a way to acquire the real estate of their choosing upon which to build bases. It remained to determine how rapidly to build and operate these bases. But peace was running out; that would have to be solved once the war began.

The period between 1936 and 1939 witnessed increasingly grave political and military events worldwide, including the Italian annexation of Ethiopia (May 1936); the Japanese abrogation of the Washington and London naval limitation treaties (December 1936); the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939); the Japanese attack of U.S. and British gunboats in the vicinity of Nanking, China followed by the rape of that city (December 1937); German annexation of Austria (March 1938); the Munich compromise and subsequent German annexation of part of Czechoslovakia (September 1938) ; and on the first of September 1939, the German invasion of Poland, precipitating declarations of war by France and Great Britain.

To American political observers, the Munich compromise gave question to the requisite political will in Europe to redress the balance of peace significantly and consistently challenged by Hitler's strategic audacity and Germany's growing military and economic strength. The time had clearly come for America to look to its own defenses, notwithstanding the prevailing domestic antipathy for "foreign wars." As it relates to the base network necessary for defense, President Roosevelt's first step toward mobilization took place during a November 1938 meeting with his military and civilian advisors. At that meeting, the President focused on America's comparative


weakness in air power and, with the ostensible purpose of defending the Americas from attack without entanglement in a possible European war, established objectives of a 10,000-plane Air Force and an aircraft production capacity, of 10,000 aircraft per year. These goals were reduced to a feasible expansion program submitted to Congress in January 1939; it included $62 million for air base development, with priority of effort aimed at the Panama Canal Zone.125

The first Army step toward mobilization of a wartime construction effort was to unify responsibility for its direction under the Corps of Engineers. This included land acquisition for depots, training areas, garrisons and the like which came to encompass some 38 million acres for 3,500 installations contracted, purchased, and leased--some as large as 3 million acres (50x90 miles). Initially, the land acquisition task was managed by the Quartermaster Corps reinforced by experts from the Justice Department and from the commercial sector. At that time, the Quartermaster Corps was also responsible for construction of cantonments, storage depots, and industrial facilities, while the Corps of Engineers was responsible for overseas bases and airfields. Initially put into question in the spring of 1939, responsibility for all Army Air Corps construction except for Panama was transferred to the Corps of Engineers in November 1940. By December 1941, Congress turned over all domestic military construction to the Army engineers; that included both military construction (e.g., military air bases, military conversion of civil air bases), government-owned industrial facilities (e.g., small arms and ammunition plants), and civil housing for personnel working at remote war production plants.126

While the responsibility for defining the requirement and determining the location of facilities lay with the using agency, final approval authority for major projects was retained by the Under Secretary of War, to whom requests were screened through the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, Army Service Forces. The


Chief of Engineers was responsible for actual land acquisition and construction. Whenever possible, public land was used, and was leased rather than purchased. The Chief of Engineers was authorized to acquire land any way he saw fit and the right of eminent domain was broadened. Deployment and employment of armed forces depended upon war production plants and training bases that had to be built on land that had to be acquired; land acquisition was the critical path for mobilization and force generation. Actual construction was performed to minimum standards agreed by the Services and the War Production Board--and usually before actual title to the land had been cleared. Planning and construction proceeded concurrently. Because of the pace, accurate cost estimates were out of the question; as a result, most jobs were contracted as cost-plus-fixed-fee. Contracting for domestic Army construction hit its peak in July 1942 when $720 million worth of contracts were let.127 And the overseas efforts were additive; more about that later, but first we return to the Department of the Navy to outline the beginnings of their part in this effort.

Naval expansion began with the 1934 Vinson-Trammel Act to build the fleet to the limits imposed by the Washington and London naval treaties. Then, two months after the German occupation of Austria, passage of the Vinson Bill of May 17, 1938 authorized a 20 percent increase in ships and expansion of naval aviation to 3000 aircraft, which went far beyond the capacity of the Navy's basing establishment, largely ignored since World War I. To that end, the Hepburn Board was convened in June 1938 to report on requirements for additional naval bases in the United States, its territories, and possessions. After comprehensive analysis of naval strategic needs against existing resources, the Board reported out in December of that year, recommending expansion to provide three major air bases on each coast; one in the Canal Zone; one in 1lawaii; outlying air bases in the West Indies, Alaska, and Pacific Island possessions; major expansion of the Pensacola air training facility: establishment of a new air training facility at Corpus Christi; new submarine bases in Alaska and the mid-Pacific; expansion of the destroyer bases in Philadelphia and San Diego; and other facility expansions as well


as a schedule of construction priorities based on estimated completion of the Vinson Bill ship and aircraft production effort. The Hepburn Report was well received and approved both by the President and Congress, and work commenced immediately in accordance with the priorities established by the Hepburn Board and the Shore Station Development Board (more about that below). Admiral A.J. Hepburn stayed on in Washington to serve as chair of the Navy Department's General Board throughout the war.128

Naval force and operational planning was initiated annually with an estimate of the situation developed by the Chief of Naval Operations which outlined operational expectations and direction for the coming year. Based on this, each bureau prepared plans and budgetary requirements. Planning and approval of naval construction projects began with identification of requirements by the responsible bureau (Bureau of Aeronautics, air stations; Bureau of Personnel, training stations; Bureau of Ships, shipyards; etc.) to the Shore Station Development Board. This board, first established in 1916 and restructured in 1939, comprised permanent membership from the Office of Naval Operations (OpNav), the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Shore Establishment Division), the Bureau of Yards and Docks (BuDocks), and representation from the affected bureau. The Board's purpose was to craft a master shore station development program under continuous revision from which an executive board (Chief of Naval Operations, Director of the Shore Establishment Division in the Assistant Secretary of the Navy's Office, the Senior Member of the Shore Station Development Board, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, and Director of the War Plans Division of OpNav) would select projects for submission in the public works budget request. Responsibility for approved projects then devolved upon the Chief, BuDocks for presenting justification to Congress both for authorization and appropriation legislation and ultimately for design and construction of the project. After July 1942, BuDocks assumed full responsibility for all real estate acquisition and management. A central figure in this effort throughout the war


was Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Ben Moreell (CEC) USN who served as the Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks from December 1937 to November 1945.129

On June 10, 1942, the Secretary of the Navy abbreviated the project approval process by cutting out the Shore Station Development Board step, requiring BuDocks to coordinate with the Assistant Secretary of the Navy's Office, the Office of Defense Transportation, the Army and Navy Munitions Board and the War Production Board before submission to OpNav and final approval by the Secretary of the Navy constituted authority for expenditure of funds.130

In addition to shore establishment expansion, BuDocks was planning for advanced base construction. As early as the summer of 1939, planners were studying opinions for standardized, prefabricated base components which could rapidly be transported and assembled. Since little of this was commercially available, Bureau designers developed concepts and specifications for standardized barracks, warehouses, aircraft hangers, ammunition magazines, floating dry docks, pontoons, portable power plants, fresh water distilleries, and the like. This work was done primarily within the Advanced Base Division of the Construction Department which was one of five major departments within BuDocks. Later in the war (January 1944), the Advance Base Department was separately organized as the sixth major subdivision. As overseas endeavor and demand for material burgeoned, advance base depots were established at Davisville, Rhode Island; Port Hueneme, California; Gulfport, Mississippi; and Tacoma, Washington.131

There were several construction projects that helped shape the eventual form and method for advance base construction.132 The first was for an air base at Quonset Point, RI in the summer of 1940; this contract was expanded in September to include an air base at Argentia, Newfoundland, which was part of the U.S.-U.K. ships-for-bases


deal.133 The following year when Lend-Lease was in full swing, BuDocks developed plans for two bases in Scotland and two more in Northern Ireland using civilian contractors and Davisville as a mounting base (prior to the war, advance bases were built under civilian cost-plus-fixed-fee contract; after December 7, 1941, advance bases were built by Sea Bees). Plans; purchases and fabrication; marking, crating, and ship loading were all arranged for orderly, sequential offload and construction. Another 1940 project was preparation for air field construction in the Galapagos Islands for defense of the Pacific approaches to the Canal Zone. This required planning, packing, and staging the components for a base in the Canal Zone for construction at some time in the future. Together, these projects helped smooth out the prefabricated, mix-and-match, by-the-numbers approach to facilities construction which later was to characterize the advance base program.

By January 1942, as the U.S. and its allies were reeling under the multi-prong Japanese attack against the U.S. fleet and its bases in the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Malaya, Burma, and Hong Kong, BuDocks had systematized its approach to advance base construction for the eventual transoceanic offensive. While capable of generating variations to meet the need, there were four basic formats: the LION, the CUB, the OAK, and the ACORN.134


By 1943, a "Catalogue of Advance Base Functional Components" was promulgated listing some 200 field activities (hospital unit, ship repair unit, communication facility, road building unit, etc.) defined as "functional components" together with a compilation of materiel and equipment necessary for each. Every month, CNO published a schedule of estimated advance base requirements for functional components. The bureau responsible for the functional component (e.g., BuMed for hospitals) ensured an adequate number for advanced base construction estimates, together with adequate ancillary materiel and equipment. This tool provided broad dissemination of requirements and available resources as well as additional flexibility by which to tailor LIONs, CUBs, and ACORNs to specific operational needs.135

One of the miracles enabling timely advance base construction was availability of the right tools--sawmills, rock crushers, asphalt plants, heavy excavation and hauling equipment, pontoons--at the right place and time. were possible, commercial products (e.g., the ubiquitous bulldozer, dump truck, and welding rig) were pressed into service; otherwise, special items had to be devised. Sometimes unique requirements could be met with adaptation of commercial products such as electric power generation, refrigeration, laundry, and galley/kitchen equipment. In other cases, materiel had to be designed and developed from the ground up. Examples include pierced steel planking (PSP) for airfield construction, butler building and quonset huts (this latter inspired by the British Nissan hut), floating dry docks, and the extraordinary steel pontoon section which served a range of uses from causeway and barge construction


to floating cranes to water storage and transport. Advance base planners at BuDocks and engineers at the advance base proving ground at Davisville worked together to devise capabilities requested from the field and, sometimes, to reproduce successful field expedients developed on a job for general use throughout the war effort.136

The other miracle contributing to timely advance base expansion was the construction battalion (or "SeaBee") concept. Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, base construction and expansion after approval of the Hepburn recommendations--Hawaii, Johnson Island, Palmyra, Midway, Samoa, Wake, Guam, the Philippines, Kodiak, Sitka, Dutch Harbor, Canal Zone, Guantanamo, San Juan, Argentia, Bermuda, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Great Exuma, British Guiana, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland--proceeded under contract with civilian firms using civilian employees. That had to change under wartime conditions. Under the laws of war, civilian workers who bore arms in their own defense were liable to summary execution if captured. And they were untrained for the task in any event, as demonstrated at Wake, Guam, and the Philippines.137 The solution was to induct construction workers into the armed forces, train them in self-defense, and employ them in war to do what they had done in peace: build things. If mobilization can be described as government intervention in the national economic process to meet extraordinary requirements, then the SeaBee project represents a highly efficient example by using peacetime skills to meet wartime needs with very little transformation cost.

The idea was not new; a naval construction requirement had been formed during World War I but was never deployed overseas. Three weeks after Pearl Harbor, Admiral Moreell recommended rapid establishment of military construction forces and by February 1942, organization of and enlistment for construction battalions was approved. Shortly thereafter, the unit insignia--a flying bee, fighting mad, with a sailor cap on his head, a tommy gun in his forward hands, wrench in his midship hand, and hammer in his after hand--was adopted and by December 1942, 60 battalions had been organized. Recruits were offered petty officer grade depending on


their skill and experience in some 60 trade fields; the age range was 18 to 38. Similarly, civilian engineers were commissioned in the Naval Reserve for duty in the Civil Engineer Corps. The first construction element to be deployed left on January 27, 1942 for Bora Bora; the first organized and trained SeaBee battalion deployed for Dutch Harbor on June 27, 1942, and another for Iceland on August 5. The first to see combat went ashore at Guadalcanal on September 1, 1942 to expand Henderson field. There has been a strong bond between Seabees and Marines ever since. At the end of the war, the SeaBees counted almost a quarter of a million men including some 10,000 officers; about 83 percent were deployed overseas.138

While base requirements and their determination varied from theater to theater, Admiral Nimitz's approach will serve to illustrate the process. Serving both as the senior U.S. Navy commander in the Pacific (CINCPAC) and as joint commander in the Pacific Ocean Areas including the north, central and south Pacific (CINCPOA), Admiral Nimitz was coequal with General MacArthur USA (Southwest Pacific) and Admiral Mountbatten RN (Southeast Asia) as theater commanders operating under the Combined Chiefs of Staff and allied political leadership on the one hand and as U.S. Pacific Fleet commander providing naval forces to MacArthur and Mountbatten (rarely) on the other.

In the summer of 1943, Admiral Nimitz described the process this way:

Approximately every six months, the Combined Chiefs of Staff meet and recommend to the President and Prime Minister broad courses of strategic action with equally broad allocations of forces covering a period of one year. When this is approved, the Joint Chiefs of Staff design and recommend to the President operations for U.S. forces together with allocations of forces to execute the various missions delegated to forces of the U.S. These recommendations when approved are implemented by deployments ordered by the War and Navy Departments. These in turn are the instruments given an area [i.e., theater] commander with which he is to plan for and execute his assigned


The Pacific Areas as of 1 August 1942


missions. Such, in brief, is the manner in which the present war is being planned and fought.139

Early in the war, operations to be conducted and bases to be established were centrally determined in Washington. However, as the war production and force generation effort increasingly bore fruit, expanding availability of forces and increasing complexity of operations and logistics required more and more decentralization to the theater level. This generally inspired the increasing tempo of the war, beginning with a slow, uncertain beat in the Solomons campaign, building to an increasingly strident and staccato drum roll in the Central Pacific.

The planning tool by which this was orchestrated was GRANITE and GRANITE II, which, according to Rear Admiral Henry Eccles USN (Ret.), were the first true "campaign plans" developed by the United States.140 Basically, these were schedules of strategy which established, phase by phase, the operational and logistic tasks to be undertaken--together with force estimates for each--to achieve the strategic aims postulated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Among other things, base development requirements were reconciled with amphibious assault objectives and subsequent air and a naval operations from the newly seized and constructed base. These campaign plans were executed phase-by-phase by a series of operation plans (e.g., FORAGER, the capture of Saipan, Guam, and Tinian; STALEMATE, the capture of Palau).141

These campaign plans served two important functions. First, they served as a time-phased estimate of forces and materiel by which the Joint Chiefs of Staff could coordinate theater operations with war production and military force generation as well as force and transportation apportionment among competing theater commanders


in accordance with the agreed alliance strategy, resource availability, and war developments and opportunities within the various theaters. The second role which campaign planning fulfilled was the imposition of advantageous timing on the flow of military effort. Within specific operations, forces and shipping first for the seizure of islands, then for the construction of bases, then for forces to operate the bases could be echeloned and dispatched for the earliest possible completion of the final objective step: combat forces operating from responsive advance bases. Within the campaign as a whole, phasing, deployment, and employment of forces could be timed to achieve an operational momentum to which the Japanese were powerless to respond. Moreover, the phased movement of forces and bases forward permitted the roll-up of service forces and material at less westerly bases and redeployment for use as new bases were opened closer to Japan.

So it was that concepts for sea-based airpower, land-based air-power, advance base development and amphibious warfare, as component efforts within the construct of a maritime campaign, came together as tandem tools of strategy. That strategy was best described by Admiral Raymond Spruance: "In any exchange of blows, the side which pushes its bases toward the enemy while keeping the enemy, at a distance from its home territory is going to come out on top."142 Clearly, Spruance understood strategic reach--both its operational and logistic extensors. If bombs were to be dropped on Japanese factories and armed forces, bases to launch the airplanes and stage their bombs and fuel had first to be built--after the real estate had been seized.

Accordingly in the Pacific, advance bases were established initially to provide air cover for our lines of communication with Australia from Bora Bora and Tongatabu and to defend the great circle route from Japan to America along the Aleutian chain and Alaska. Then, the need changed to staging bases for amphibious transports and cargo ships as well as mobile logistic squadrons accompanying carrier task forces and amphibious task forces. The further west combat forces progressed, the greater the need for enroute advance bases


The Pacific Air Routes

for battle damage repair and maintenance. The first large advance base was established at Espiritu Santo, without which Guadalcanal in the Solomons could not have been won. The next major base was established at Manus in the Admiralty Islands (Southwest Pacific), and with the seizure of the Marianas (Pacific Oceans Area) Guam was built into a base capable of supporting one third of the Pacific Fleet while Tinian, Saipan and Guam bases put U.S. Army Air Forces within range of the Japanese homeland for the first time since the Hornet/Doolittle raid. Another major base followed at Leyte-Samar. Finally, at Okinawa work was racing ahead to ready a major mounting base for invasion of Japan when the Japanese surrendered after Army Air Force B-29s--launched from bases seized by soldiers, sailors, and Marines and built by Seabees and Army engineers--dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.143

Base requirements in the Atlantic and Caribbean varied from those in the Pacific in that real estate could be borrowed or leased; it did not have to be seized by force of arms, with base construction proceeding under enemy fire until resistance was wiped out. However,


as in the Pacific, the base network was part of the strategic reach equation: it built and expanded the nodes for increasing the capacity, of the lines of communication to Great Britain, the Soviet Union, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and finally Europe--as well as strengthening their defenses against Axis air and sea interdiction.

Priority of effort focused first on this defensive requirement. If the Germans--who by the late spring of 1940 had occupied Norway and Denmark--seized Greenland (a Danish possession) and Iceland, they would effectively block the major air route from Canada and the United States to Great Britain. The impact of this on North American support during the Battle of Britain, not to mention the subsequent strategic bombing campaign against Germany, would be devastating. Moreover, Greenland-based U-boats and Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft could range the Atlantic sealanes with greater ease than from their European bases. Add to this the very real possibility of Spain allowing German air and naval forces to base on the Iberian peninsula overlooking the seaward approaches to the United Kingdom from the South Atlantic, and one gets a feel for the gravity of Britain's strategic situation in 1940 and the importance of Greenland and Iceland to her war effort. These concerns were eased in 1941, when, in April, President Roosevelt announced that Greenland was under U.S. protection and in July, in answer to a request from the Iceland government, he deployed a brigade of U.S. Marines to relieve the British forces defending Iceland. Although construction of the ringing naval and airbase defensive shield for North America had already begun, building the air bridge to Britain could now begin in earnest. And there were the sea-land pipelines to be built to the Soviet Union and China for the Lend-Lease transfusion. (More about this below.)

The War Department's role in constructing the Atlantic-Caribbean defensive shield built initially on improvements to the permanent overseas bases for which the Army was responsible: Puerto Rico and the Canal Zone. However, resource limitations and priorities for continental U.S. construction limited offshore work in 1941. Even so, on the day of the attack of Pearl Harbor, Army engineers were working on major projects in Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, Bermuda, Trinidad, and various airfields in Latin America. Indeed,


The North Atlantic Air Routes

work on the trans-Iranian railroad link of the U.S.-USSR Lend-Lease pipeline was underway.144

The Army administered this effort through a newly established Eastern Division of the Corps of Engineers under which regional districts (e.g., New Foundland, Bermuda, Jamaica, Trinidad) were organized to do the actual work. Later, this organization was expanded to two divisions (North Atlantic and Caribbean) each managing construction districts. Additionally, the War Department subsidized Pan American Airways to build commercial fields in Central and South America so that they could easily be adapted for military use.145


Throughout this period, first priority was on airbase construction. Both civilian contractors and Army engineers did the work, sometimes separately, sometimes together. By mid June 1942, an air bridge from Presque Isle, Maine to Prestwick, Scotland--with enroute bases in Labrador, Greenland, and Iceland--was in place to support initial deployments of the U.S. Eighth Air Force's P-38s, P-39s, and B-17s. By the end of the year, 920 aircraft had made the transit. That flow would peak in 1944 when 5,900 aircraft crossed, mostly by flight ferry.146

The Corps of Engineers also built an airfield in Bermuda as the first step in a mid-Atlantic air bridge via the Azores, but Portugal would not permit the use of those islands until December 1943. Even so, Bermuda was an essential link in the Navy's antisubmarine defense, and the Seabees did some $35 million worth of construction on the island.147

And there was a South Atlantic air route to construct in order to move aircraft from Florida to the Middle East and the Persian Gulf by way of Puerto Rico, Trinidad, British Guiana, Brazil, Ascension Island, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and French West Africa to North Africa and Ascension Island to the Gold Coast enroute to the Persian Gulf. Many of these bases also played a role in the Caribbean and Atlantic sectors of the North American antisubmarine defense system. The south Atlantic air bridge was inaugurated in September 1941 with a B-24 flight from Miami to Cairo--some 10,000 miles compared to the 2,700 mile trip from Maine to Scotland. Using this route, U.S. aircraft were delivered to China, India, and the Soviet Union. When weather closed the North Atlantic air route, the South Atlantic route was used as a substitute, albeit a costly one. Where Army engineers initiated work on the Greenland and Iceland project, much of the southern Atlantic route was constructed by civilian contract, although the thinly-stretched Army engineers built the Ascension Island project among others.148

In the Pacific, the Army needed alternative air ferry routes to


The South Atlantic Air Routes

the Philippines which would avoid the Japanese mandate island bases dominating the central Pacific route. Commencing in October 1941, the Army Corps of Engineers began work on a southern route via the Line and Phoenix Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Australia. American engineers negotiated host nation support in terms of labor and construction equipment and improvised construction methods and materials based on local availability. The most far-reaching improvisation was the use of coral which could be crushed, rolled, and watered for airstrip and road construction and stabilized with asphalt or tar--sometimes with water and molasses. With the outbreak of war, this route was threatened by the Japanese advances in 1941 and 1942, requiring reestablishment further to the east. Once the Philippines were lost, the southern


air ferry route became an essential part of the strategic line of communications to Australia.149

Building on the recommendations of the Hepburn Board, the stark successes of the German U-boat campaign in the Atlantic, the September 2, 1940 "destroyers-for-bases" agreement, and the decision to build a two-ocean navy, President Roosevelt convened a board headed by Rear Admiral J. W. Greenslade, USN to reevaluate the naval shore establishment and recommend locations for new bases. This they did, working from the north Atlantic clockwise through the mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Central America and on around to the north Pacific. This report, submitted on January 6, 1941, became the basic plan for naval base construction to defend the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Pacific Ocean frontiers, controlling ingress into and egress from North America.150

Much of this plan focused on the seaward defense of the Panama Canal by controlling the approaches to the Gulf of Mexico through the Florida Straits and Yucatan Channel and to the Caribbean through the navigable passages of the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The Greenslade Board centered their defenses on Puerto Rico, Guantanamo Bay, and Trinidad. Puerto Rico was to become the "Pearl Harbor of the Caribbean" and while major developments were constructed in San Juan and what was to become Roosevelt Roads on the east coast, the project was terminated in the summer of 1943 before it reached maturity. Even so, ancillary projects in Vieques, Culebra, and St. Thomas went forward (also not completed) and today, St. Thomas receives much of its fresh water from rainfall catchment areas constructed to support a planned submarine base.

Guantanamo Bay was obtained by lease from Cuba in 1903 for $2,000 a year. The site comprises 36,000 acres of which some 13,000 are land and the remainder a land-locked harbor with depths up to 60 feet. Building on a practically inactive naval station, airfield, and


Marine training station, work began in July 1940 (fixed-fee contract) on a major naval operating base equipped with ship repair facilities, fuel and supply depots, two airfields, a Marine garrison, an underground hospital, a fresh water pipeline from the Yateras River, and a major fleet anchorage. Work was completed in 1944 when construction priorities moved to Europe and the Western Pacific.151

Other naval base projects included the Canal Zone upgrade (development of a new operating base, enlarging an airbase and submarine base, establishing outlying advance bases covering the approaches to the canal), advance base establishment on the "destroyer" bases (Trinidad, Bermuda, Great Exuma, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua, and British Guiana) as well as a scattering of advance bases in Ecuador (Galapagos and Salinas), Nicaragua (Fonseca and Cortino), Netherlands East Indies (Curacao and Aruba), Surinam, Honduras, Columbia (Barranquilla) and Brazil (Amapa, Belem, Igarape Assu, Camocin, Fortaleza, Fernando do Noronha, Recife, Maceio, Ipitanga, Balina, Caravellas, Victoria, and Santa Cruz). Many of these bases were collocated with Army installations and construction was done sometimes by one or the other but more often by both.152

During the course of the war, the scope and pace of advance base construction was staggering. Admiral Eccles observed, "In no case during World War II was a major offensive blow struck until a large advance base had been built." That continues true today. He categorized the various purposes for advanced bases this way:


To that spectacular achievement must be added the extraordinary projects--the Persian Gulf link in the Lend Lease pipeline to the Soviet Union, the Ledo link in the India-Burma Lend-Lease pipeline to China, and the artificial harbor at Normandy opening the door of Europe to invasion from the west; the list could go on. But what is important to us is recognition of those strategic level efforts which contributed to this overseas construction explosion.

The first factor was real estate acquisition upon which to develop the necessary facilities. This would have been impossible without the contributions of fortuitous diplomacy. The State Department efforts to reach closure on the "destroyers-for-bases" deal and all the negotiations necessary to acquire land, labor and other resources in Canada, Iceland, Great Britain, the Azores, Ascension Island, West and North Africa, Iran, Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and other nations were key to timely initiation of overseas war construction. Money we had; time was far more precious.

The U.S. also had prepared to take basing sites from the enemy. Since the turn of the century, military planners had worked the issues of advanced bases, their defense, and their seizure. They had developed doctrine for amphibious assault and, as the war loomed closer, concepts for advance base prefabrication and erection; these both were continuously revised and improved during the war. Many analysts credit amphibious warfare as one of the decisive "hows" of World War II while ignoring the primary "why"--seizure of advanced bases by which to extend allied strategic reach. And the potentialities of sea-power and airpower would have languished in defense of the homeland without these strategic extensors. And these bases--in jungle, desert, coral reef, rock, and climatic extremes--could not have been built without the competence and


ingenuity of the American construction community, both civilian and military.

It follows that a second major factor was the means by which the U.S. was able to transform a civil construction capability into a decisive instrument of war. One method was civilian contract construction. This was the primary means before the war and also was used extensively outside the combat zones during the war. However, in the combat zones, the demand was for uniformed engineers. The domestic construction community had a gargantuan task before it in the early expansion of domestic industry and infrastructure; yet it also had to provide skilled manpower for extending the military construction capability without slowing the growth of the "Arsenal of Democracy." The Seabee program was one way of saving training time to deploy competent construction workers in uniform.

Apportionment of construction manpower between domestic and military requirements was part of the larger need to balance overall civil and uniformed needs. As a rule of thumb, that balance was estimated at two Americans in overalls for every one in uniform. Based on regional evaluations, the War Manpower Commission promulgated lists of critical, essential, and non-deferrable occupations. These were the tools that local Selective Service boards used to determine who was to be drafted and who was to be deferred.154

The third factor was a unified command arrangement which effectively sutured four of the seams of war:

In these latter two categories, the overseas war construction effort was facilitated in the beginning by centralized determination of requirements, marshalling of materiel and manpower resources, equipment research and development, and unit organization and


training. As time went on and the construction effort merged with the combat effort in the various theaters of operations, prospective advance bases became the objective of military operations and subsequently the base for projection of the next operation. Theater campaign plans tied these efforts together into a coordinated whole. These command relationships were not without flaws and friction, but they coordinated strategy and battle as well as operations and logistics far better than could our enemies--and in war, that is the standard of comparison that counts.

Things to Think About

So what? Are there insights we can draw for future wars as they relate to infrastructure and its role? We believe that there are. Beyond its role in a nation's civil economy, we would assert that infrastructure contributes to three national defense functions: generating and maintaining military strength (force generation); projecting military strength (force projection); and supporting military forces in the conduct of operations (combat operations support). Each nation having these requirements establishes an approach to national defense and mobilization which either uses civil infrastructure, develops dedicated military infrastructure, or devises some combination of the two. Our interest is in the first two of these since they must be considered in peace in order to be available--in time--in war.

Force generation is the conversion of a nation's material and manpower into usable military power. This includes the fabrication of military hardware, production of war reserves, individual military training and education, military unit training, and maintenance of machines and people; this goes on in peace and war. The homeland supporting establishment is key not only for peacetime creation of national military capabilities but also for expanding these capabilities in war. This requires the existence of sufficient military infrastructure to support generation of additional military strength or the ability to adapt civil resources (e.g., factories, hospitals, repair shops, educational institutions) to support expansion. Alternatively, a nation may have to depend on others to meet part or all its material needs. Absent rich, productive, and willing allies, a nation may have


to build additional productive capacity--and adopt a war strategy to ensure it has the time to do so. This latter is largely a question of geography and is easier for a nation like the United States than it is for Poland or Hungary.

But such a war strategy places extraordinary demands on the nation's construction sector and must extract the best use of resources possible in the shortest time. Construction can be accelerated by coordinated planning, use of local resources, use of minimum construction standards, and by building around the clock in all weather with all available labor and equipment. But there are costs; that is because night work costs more, winter work costs more, inexperienced labor costs more, and operation of old equipment costs more.155 Those costs can be borne.

Costs which need not be borne are real estate, material, and labor that were allotted for unnecessary projects, unnecessary frills, or for necessary projects at the wrong time. That requires comprehensive requirements determination which can result only through the closest coordination between strategy and logistics at every level. During World War II, this was achieved at the alliance level by a succession of conferences and continuous liaison among the heads of government, military leadership, and principal war resource advisors. And it was, in the main, consensual; there was no one supreme authority, although one or another of the participants exercised dominant influence at various times during the war due to prevailing circumstances. At the alliance level, the focus was on what to do and why: negotiation of political aims, military objectives and priorities, and strategic logistic collaboration on matters of production and support responsibilities and priorities.156

At the national level strategy-logistics dialogue, specific construction requirements and priorities begin to emerge. However, some of those are exclusively military, some contribute to expansion of industrial war production, and some relate to maintenance of the underlying civilian economy. These must be coordinated in terms of priority, timing, and appointment of resources. In World War II, the Washington arena witnessed a host of independent committees


and boards--the Joint Chiefs of Staff, War Production Board, War Manpower Commission, Army-Navy Munitions Board and others--each working their separate functional responsibilities concurrently yet coordinately with the others under the executive authority of President Roosevelt on the one hand and the funding authority of Congress on the other. And the issue of construction cut across all of these policy nodes. While as Commander in Chief of all instruments of power, President Roosevelt resolved conflicts among the various war staffs from time-to-time, he expected to wield this power for exceptions rather than as a rule. And the rule he demanded was coordination and consensus guided by the pole star of strategic victory.

At the theater level, the unified commander provides centralized direction and planning. Where the scope and duration of conflict warrant, the theater commanders can weld the strategy-logistics seam with a campaign plan which forecasts and paces major operations and logistic actions along the time line. This is essential for time-sensitive construction projects. Campaign forecasts aid planning and buildup of resources at both the theater and national levels, this latter burdened with the task of generating forces and materiel and apportioning them among competing theater commands. Often times, resources set aside for one operational task may be diverted to another. But the forecast and corresponding staging of resources assure their availability however the need for their application develops; this is key to operational and strategic flexibility.

Force projection infrastructure in World War II underscored the need for advanced bases, and the ability to build them with dispatch. In 1940, the U.S. had only one base capable of advance support (Pearl Harbor) and it was designed as a permanent installation. By the end of the war, the Navy alone had built over 400 advance bases in the Pacific and Atlantic at a cost of more than $2.1 billion. The role of vigorous base support within the context of combat operations was demonstrated at the Battle of Midway in June 1942. At the previous Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942), the U.S. lost the USS Lexington and the USS Yorktown was damaged. The Yorktown limped back to Pearl Harbor and in 48 hours was put back in action. Her dive bombers made the difference at Midway, even though the Yorktown was sunk. On the other hand, the Japanese lost one carrier


at Coral Sea and one damaged: the Shokaku. The Shokaku and Zuikaku (undamaged but with air crew losses) returned to Kure in Japan for leisurely repair and refit. Had these two Japanese carriers been returned to action in time for Midway--or if the Yorktown had had to return to San Diego--this decisive battle could have gone badly for the United States.

The key point to be made here is that strategic reach in the military sense requires the availability of advanced bases. Within the context of strategic mobility, secure facilities are essential to airlift for enroute refueling and secure landing; they are also necessary for administrative introduction of sealift and marry-up of prepositioned equipment and stocks with airlifted units. These facilities may be obtained permissively or forcibly for temporary, employment or they may be obtained as permanent overseas bases through treaty, or contract with the host nation. Key to flexible worldwide strategic air mobility is a network of intermediate bases to provide enroute refueling and aircraft maintenance support. Moreover, advanced bases are necessary for worldwide strategic air reconnaissance and for the conduct of sustained naval operations. While today's nuclear and diesel-powered ships are far freer from intermediate support than their coal-burning predecessors, there are sill advanced base requirements for underwater hull repair, periodic overhaul, prepositioned naval stores, electronic repair and calibration, crew rest, training facilities, and naval aviation support. These requirements will increase markedly when waging an extensive naval campaign where battle damage repair, increased operating tempo, and increased operating range become dominant tractors. Advanced basing provides for shorter turnaround times and greater on-station capability; it also provides range extension for land-based aviation. Additionally, it provides forward supply and ordnance stockpiles to support operational surge requirements. The turnaround advantage accruing cannot be overstated in view of the high cost and limited numbers of modern ships and aircraft.

In peacetime, the prospects for developing new and secure bases in regions of the world where we think we may need to employ U.S. forces are--not surprisingly--slim at best, and U.S. employment of current overseas facilities is hostage to the policies of their host nations. Support for U.S. unilateral military action, with requisite basing


and overflight rights, can be expected only when the affected powers perceive congruence of interests. That will change from issue to issue, as was readily evident during the 1973 Israel resupply effort. Sovereign nations, even allies, are reluctant to precommit themselves on this issue, requiring eleventh-hour negotiations in the face of a developing crisis to obtain the wherewithal to act.

Also, return on "permanent" base investments have been mixed. While bases which relate to various multilateral and bilateral security arrangements (e.g., Yokosuka, Rota, Diego Garcia) continue to be available, bases required for unilateral action in less stable regions have not faired as well. Iranian facilities once available to the United States are now unavailable; U.S. facilities in the Republic of Vietnam became accessible to the Russians, Soviet facilities in Somalia to the United States; British facilities at Aden are now being used by the Russians; and Egypt, which encouraged Soviet use of Alexandria and Port Said until 1972, has permitted U.S. training at Egyptian locations. Among other lost investments are U.S. constructions at Wheelus and Dhahran. Accordingly, future investment must consider the prospects of base unavailability at the time of greatest need. Such uncertainty, requires the ability to quickly seize and occupy basing facilities in or near the operation area for the duration of the contingency.

Among other things, this requires the stockpiling of prefabricated facilities capable of deployment and expeditious construction. Some of these (such as ship tenders, crane ships, floating dry docks) can be deployed ready for use. Others require installation in the objective area. These include the Navy's advanced base functional component system, the USMC expeditionary airfields, the USAF bare base facilities, and the Army's De Long piers and POL storage and transfer facilities.

Finally, it is well to keep in mind that no free society will ever provide its military in peace all the resources the military believes it will require in war. There are a number of reasons for this, but the more obvious are the "guns and butter" competition for peacetime national resources on the one hand; and on the other, the uncertainty as to when, where, and why a major war would be fought. While these factors fade as an actual threat looms increasingly clear, there may be little time for deliberate expansion. So we must accept


that, at the outset, we will have enough military power to get into a significant war, but we will have to generate additional military, power to win it. That was the case in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.

This will inevitably place large demands on the construction community, civil and uniformed, to expand the means of generating military power--industry, civilian and military infrastructure--as well as the means for projecting military power through advanced bases. Mobilization is our strategic hedge in war against the things we know we can't afford in peace as well as the things we don't know we don't know. The foundation for that strategic hedge lies in the scope and vitality of our construction sector.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (3) * Next Chapter (5)


1. Donald M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1946), 172-173.

2. Van Rensselaer Sill, American Miracle (New York: Odyssey Press, 1947), vi-vii.

3. Sill, vi.

4. Sill, vi.

5. "Reach" is the distance over which military power can be concentrated and employed decisively. It may be described as strategic, operational, or tactical reach, depending on the level of conflict. The ability to strike a blow at a distance does not confer reach; it is the range at which one can mass force, exploit a struck blow, and do it decisively. Reach may be extended by echeloning forces, reserves, bases, and logistics forward; by improving weapons range; and by improving transportation availability and effectiveness of lines of communication. Since it is a relative value, reach can also be improved by denying it to the enemy. Nevertheless, there is a finite range beyond which military forces cannot effectively or prudently operate. (JET)

6. Jerome O. Peppers,Jr., C.P.I,. History of United States Military Logistics--A Brief Review (Logistics Education Foundation Publishing, 1988), 10.

7. R. Elberton Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1959), p. 124. For an excellent monograph on construction mobilization, see Edward G. Rapp, Construction support for Mobilization: A National Emergency Planning Issue, (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, December 1980).

8. Building the Navy's Bases in World II--History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps 1940-1946, GPO (Washington D.C., Volume I, 1947), 4.

9. Smith, 125, footnote 17, and Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 169.

10. ENR, January 5, 1989, p.48.

11. Peppers, p.5.

12. ENR, January 4, 1990, 58.

13. Pamphlet, "World War II and the American Dream-How Wartime Building Changed a Nation" (Washington, D.C.: National Building Museum, Nov. 11, 1994-Dec. 31, 1995).

14. Chester Wardlow, The Transportation Corps: Responsibilities, Organization, and Operations (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military, History, United States Army, 1951), 308-309.

15. Ibid., 309. Significantly, the rise in air travel during the war outstripped, in percentage terms, the increase in both passenger and freight carried by railroads and highways. However, rail transport dominated in absolute terms.

16. ENR, Jan 4, 1990, 59.

17. William F. Willingham, "Bonneville Dana's Contribution to thc War Effort," in Builders and Fighters: U.S. Army Engineers in World War II, Barry W. Fowle, General Editor (Fort Belvoir, Virginia: Office of History, United States Army Corps of Engineers, 1992), 295.

18. Ibid.

19. Ibid., 298-299.

20. Vincent C. Jones, Manhattan: The Army and the Atomic Bomb (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1985), 378.

21. Ibid., footnote 4.

22. Peppers, 17.

23. Smith, 125.

24. Frank T. Rader, "The Works Progress Administration and Hawaiian Preparedness, 1935-1910," Military Affairs, vol. XLIII, no. 1, February 1979, 13.

25. Ibid. This action, so vital to the protection of our nation's well-being, appears consistent with the discretionary powers permitted under the War Policy Act of 1937.

26. Ibid., 16.

27. Ibid.

28. The group was the Associated General Contractors of America.

29. Frank N. Schubert, "The Military, Construction Mission," Builders and Fighters, 104-105.

30. Lenore Fine and Jesse A. Remington, The Corps of Engineers: Construction in the United States, (Washington, D.C: Office of the Chief of Military History, United States Army, 1972), 119, 121.

31. Booth Mooney, Builders for Progress: The Story of the Associated General Contractors of America (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965), 87.

32. Ibid., 82.

33. Ibid.

34. Ibid., 81.

35. See Fine and Remington, Chapters VII and XIV.

36. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 1.

37. Peppers, 14. Almost 18 million served in the military during WWII; of these, 62 percent were drafted.

38. Smith, 175.

39. Ibid., 176. The Army Industrial College established on 25 February 1924, participated in the development of a series of Industrial Mobilization Plans through-out the 1930's.

40. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 13.

41. Ibid., 261.

42. Charles Hendricks, "Building the Atlantic Bases," Builders and Fighters, 24. By mid-1943, the Corps of Engineers had completed 1,100 military and civil airfield projects in the U.S.

43. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 13.

44. Ibid. 12.

45. Sill, 159.

46. Ibid. 160.

47. Smith, 440.

48. Logistics in World War II: Final Report of the Army Service Forces (Washington, D.C.: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1993), 135.

49. Ibid. 496. [??? Book only has 278 pages...HyperWar]

50. Logistics in World War II, 7.

51. Smith, 446.

52. Ibid.

53. Fine and Remington, 569.

54. Smith, 447.

55. Byron Fairchild and Jonathan Grossman, The Army and Industrial Manpower (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1959), 101.

56. Ibid.

57. Smith, 448.

58. Ibid. 448-449.

59. Ibid. 450.

60. ENR, Jan 7, 1991, 34.

61. Smith, 522.

62. Ibid. 211.

63. Ibid.

64. Industrial Mobilization For War: History of the War Production Board and Predeccesor Agencies 1940-1945 (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Demobilization, Civilian Production Administration, 1947), vol. I, Program and Administration, 385.

65. During the war 17 wooden hangars were built. "Measuring over 1,000 feet long, almost 300 feet wide, and 18 stories high, they are still the largest wood structures of their kind in the world," in "World War II and the American Dream," op. cit.

66. Martin Reuss, "Organization and Responsibilities," Builders and Fighters, 10. By mid-summer 1942 the Army Corps of Engineers reached its peak in domestic strength of approximately 4,700 officers and 180,000 civilians. One year later these totals were reduced by one-half.

67. Schubert, 102.

68. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 53.

69. Sill, 213.

70. Ibid. 103.

71. Fine and Remington, 521, quoting General Eugene Reybold, Chief Engineer.

72. Sill, 10.

73. Ibid. 224-265.

74. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II,174-175.

75. Sill, 168-170.

76. Logistics in World War II, 137.

77. John T. Greenwood, "Building the Road to Alaska," Builders and Fighters, 117-118.

78. K.S. Coates and W.R. Morrison, The Alaska Highway in World War II--The U.S. Army of Occupation in Canada's Northwest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), 46.

79. Logistics in World War II, 137.

80. Ulysses Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, United States Army, 1966), 609.

81. Heath Twichell, "The Alaska Highway: A Forgotten Epic of World War II" (Washington, D.C.: Army History, Summer 1993), 23.

82. Waldo G. Bowman, et al, Bulldozers Come First: The Story of U.S. War Construction in Foreign Land (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1944), 125.

83. Greenwood, 126-127.

84. John T. Greenwood, "Book Review" in Army History, Summer 1993, 47.

85. Twitchell, 23. For an amusing anecdote regarding the transport of the Soviet aircraft, see Heath Twitchell Northwest Epic (New York: St. Martin's Press), 174. In this source the cost of the Alaska Highway is given as $138 million, "less than $100,000 per mile," 253.

86. Bowman, et al, 264.

87. Ibid. 278.

88. Over 100 billion dollars was appropriated of military use during the 1942-1943 period. Within such a large sum the Manhattan Project was kept anonymous.

89. Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1986), 605, quoting French chemist Bertrand Goldschmidt.

90. Major General K.D. Nichols, U.S.A. (Ret.) The Road to Trinity. (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1987), 174. CEW was the abbreviation for Clinton Engineer Works at Oak Ridge, Tennessee,

91. Janet A. McDonnell, "Formation of the Manhattan Engineer District," Builders and Fighters, 150.

92. Jones, 134.

93. Ibid. 161.

94. Ibid.

95. Ibid. 164.

96. Ibid.

97. Ibid. 344.

98. Ibid. 351.

99. Leslie R. Groves, Now It Can Be Told: The Story of the Manhattan Project (New York: Da Paco Press, 1962), 99.

100. Jones, 354.

101. Ibid. 370.

102. Mooney, 101.

103. Smith, 524.

104. Industrial Mobilization for War, 390.

105. Smith, 154.

106. Ibid.

107. Smith, 158.

108. Fine and Remington, 97. Earlier, in April 1939, Rear Admiral Ben Moreell of the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks had received Congressional authority to negotiate fixed-fee contracts for construction outside the United States.

109. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 78.

110. Generals Somervell, Groves and Hartman and Admiral Moreel were proponents.

111. Fine and Remington, 563.

112. Fairchild and Grossman, 109.

113. Fine and Remington, 297.

114. Smith, 161.

115. Fine and Remington, 297.

116. American Military History (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, U.S. Army, 1969), 346-352.

117. Harold and Margaret Sprout, The Rise of American Naval Power, 1776-1918 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1966), 247.

118. E. B. Potter, ed., Seapower: A Naval History (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1981), 188.

119. Allen R. Millett, Semper Fidelis: The History of the United States Marine Corps (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1980), 269-271.

120. Ibid. 269-270.

121. Ibid. 270.

122. Ibid. 271-286.

123. Ibid. 319-320.

124. Joint Action of the Army and the Navy (Washington, D.C.: The Joint Board, 1927), 1-3.

125. Charles Hendricks, "The Air Corps Construction Mission," Builders and Fighters, 17.

126. Leroy Lutes, Lt Gen, USA, Logistics in World War II: Final Report of the Army Service Forces (Washington, D.C.: War Department General Staff, 1947), 130-133. See also Hendricks, 18-26.

127. Lutes, 131-134.

128. Building the Navy's Bases in World War 11, 3-5. See also J. A. Furer, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret), Administration of the Navy Departmemt in World War II (Washington, D.C.: Naval History Division, 1959), 699-701.

129. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 6-7. See also Administration, 402-406.

130. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 14-15.

131. Administration, 410-417.

132. Both "advanced base" or "advance base" terminology were in general usage during the period under discussion.

133. Shortly after the Dunkirk disaster, President Roosevelt arranged to provide Great Britain--which was under great pressure from the German U-boat campaign--50 overage destroyers in return for the right to establish US bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Antigua, and British Guiana. While the ships were old, they were serviceable; one steamed with the Royal Navy 250,000 miles without a breakdown. See Administration, 670-671.

134. Administration, 706-708. See also Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 120.

135. Administration, 706-708.

136. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, 151-166.

137. Ibid., 133.

138. Ibid., 133-149.

139. "Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas 'Command History' 7 December 1941-15 August 1945" (Honolulu: Headquarters of the Commander in Chief, 26 January 1946), 82.

140. Henry E. Eccles, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.), Logistics in the National Defense (Harrisburg, PA: The Stackpole Company, 1959), 71.

141. See CINCPAC/CINCPOA Outline Campaign Plan GRANITE of January 13, 1944 and CINCPAC/CINCPOA Outline Campaign Plan GRANITE II of June 3, 1944.

142. Henry E. Ecclcs, Captain, USN, Operational Naval Logistics (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1950), 69.

143. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, vol. II, iii.

144. Lutes, 7-9. See also Charles Hendricks, "Building the Atlantic Bases," Builders and Fighters, 27-45.

145. Hendricks, 28-34.

146. Ibid., 34-35.

147. Ibid., 35-36. See also Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, vol. II, iii.

148. Hendricks, 36-44.

149. Donald Fitzgerald, "Air Ferry Routes Across the South Pacific," Builders and fighters, 47-64.

150. Building the Navy's Bases in World War II, vol. II, 3.

151. Ibid., 12-15.

152. Ibid., 15-46.

153. Eccles, Operational Naval Logistics, 69-71.

154. Industrial Mobilization for War, 411-425, 701-714, 837-853.

155. Sill, 99.

156. Nelson, 368-390. See also Industrial Mobilization for War, 207-230.

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