Chapter VI
Organizing the High Command for World War II

The limitations of the Army high command were sharply revealed by the failure to follow up the warning issued to the Hawaiian Department before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Two days after the attack General Marshall announced to his senior staff officers that he wanted the War Department to get away from the "routine of feeding out information without checking" even to see that it had been received where it was needed. It was necessary, he said, to "fight the fact that the War Department is a poor command post."1 For the time being the Chief of Staff and his immediate subordinates in Washington were reluctant to take anything for granted. They personally directed defensive movements of troops and equipment, checking on every move that was made. But this kind of individual exertion could not indefinitely take the place of an effective staff system. At some time during the first few weeks of hostilities General Marshall reached the decision to proceed with the reorganization of the Army's high command. In March 1942 the reorganization was carried out in accordance with plans on which staff officers in the War Department had already begun working months before the Pearl Harbor attack. At the same time a new Army-Navy-Air (Army) staff system and a parallel British-American organization were taking definite shape. The U.S. Army made its strategic plans and conducted its operations during the rest of World War II on the basis of staff work done and decisions reached within the intricate structure of the national and international high command established in the first few months of 1942.

Reorganization of the War Department

Just before the Pearl Harbor attack, after General Marshall had stated that he was favorably impressed with the War Department reorganization plan which General Arnold had sent to him, WPD set to work to make a detailed study of the project. Colonel Harrison, whose own earlier plan was very similar to that proposed by the Air Forces, took charge of the reorganization study on behalf of WPD. He worked closely with Maj. Laurence S. Kuter, an Air Corps officer assigned to the task from the Office of the Chief of Staff.2


General McNarney was Deputy Chief of Staff, 9 March 1942-21 October 1944

The third and senior member of the team eventually selected to take active measures in developing the organization outlined by General Arnold was General McNarney, whom the Chief of Staff had ordered home from England a few days before the beginning of hostilities.3 General McNarney was an appropriate selection, because of his known abilities and experience and because he was familiar with and trusted by officers of both agencies sponsoring the reorganization scheme. A seasoned Air Corps officer, he had long served in WPD and was still officially assigned to duty with the Division.4 General McNarney arrived in Washington about a week after American entry into the war, but for over a month he was busy as a member of the Roberts Commission, the first Pearl Harbor investigating board. He joined Colonels Hamson and Kuter in a study of the reorganization project about 25 January 1942, and they set to work with such speed that General McNarney was able to submit the final version of the reorganization plan to the Chief of Staff on 31 January.5

The recommendations submitted by General McNarney were as follows: (1) to free the General Staff from all activities except strategic direction and control of operations, determination of over-all military requirements, and determination of basic policies affecting the zone of interior; (2) creation of three commands, Army Air Forces, Army Ground Forces, and Services of Supply, to which the General Staff could delegate operating duties connected with administration, supply, organization, and training; (3) elimination of GHQ, the Air Force Combat Command, and the offices of the chiefs of Air Corps, Infantry, Field Artillery, Coast Artillery, and Cavalry as "unnecessary or obsolete headquarters"; and (4) creation of an "executive committee responsible only to the Chief of Staff" to put the reorganization into effect without giving "interested parties" a chance to record nonconcurrences and cause "interminable delay."

The fact that the first function of the General Staff, "strategic direction and control of operations," was to be performed by WPD was made plain in Tab 2, which provided: "GHQ will turn over to WPD its functions and records related to command and planning for theaters of operations, Defense Commands, Departments, Bases and Task Forces." Of the rest of the General Staff, G-2 was left to continue the collection and evaluation of information about the enemy. G-1, G-3, and G-4, which according to the memorandum were to be cut down to only "eight to 10 officers each," would advise the Chief of Staff of "basic decisions and policies" concerning the zone of interior activities being conducted by the three major commands and, presumably, cooperate with WPD in determining overall requirements, which depended simultaneously on strategy and the Army programs of mobilization, training, and supply.6 The permanent structure of the War Department was established by law, and until after Pearl Harbor not even the President had the authority to redistribute power and responsibility within the War Department in the manner recommended in both Colonel Harrison's study of August 1941 and the November memorandum from the


Army Air Forces. Congress, however, passed the First War Powers Act of 18 December 1941, conferring on the President the power necessary to reorganize the War Department, or other agencies, in order to "expedite the prosecution of the war effort."7 The Chief of Staff thenceforth had an administrative recourse for solving his command and staff problems without entering into the long and trying process of getting legislation through Congress. Thus one important obstacle to a War Department reorganization had already been eliminated by the time that General McNarney submitted his recommendations to General Marshall.

A few days after receiving General McNarney's memorandum, the Chief of Staff held a meeting of the officers he considered to be key personnel to explain the proposed reorganization. General McNair, General Gerow, General McNarney, General Eisenhower, and Colonel Harrison were among those present. General Marshall turned the meeting over to General McNarney, who consulted in turn all the officers present and found that they unanimously favored the plan. General McNair "enthusiastically approved" the reorganization proposal. General Gerow and General Eisenhower "were perfectly satisfied" with it.8 General Eisenhower summed up the import of the changes involved by noting: "We are faced with a big reorganization of WD [the War Department]. We need it! The G. S. [General Staff] is all to be cut down, except WPD-- which now has all Joint and Combined work, all plans and all operations so far as active theaters are concerned!"9

On 11 February General McNarney received instructions to form an executive committee for putting the plan into effect as soon as it had been finally approved.10 He mobilized his committee for a first meeting on 16 February and explained to its members that it was "not a voting committee . . . not a debating society . . . [but] a committee to draft the necessary directives" to put the new organization into effect.11 Working out specific measures to be taken and drafting directives on them occupied the committee members only a few days. The Secretary of War approved the reorganization plan promptly and forwarded a draft executive order to the President. On 26 February President Roosevelt informed Secretary Stimson that he was "sure" the reorganization was a "good thing to do." Two days later Executive Order 9082 appeared directing that the reorganization be put into effect 9 March 1942.12 War Department Circular 59 appeared 2 March 1942, ordering the necessary changes and presenting


charts of the new organization.13 On 9 March the reorganization was an official fact.

The "Streamlined" War Department

The 1942 reorganization of the War Department was designed, as General McNair had suggested, to streamline the Army for military action. The executive order from President Roosevelt, as well as subsequent War Department official circulars and regulations implementing it, clearly affirmed the paramount authority of the Chief of Staff under the President in the broad sphere of strategy, tactics, and operations, the most important functions of command. At the same time they dropped the Chief of Staff's additional title of Commanding General of the Field Forces. General Marshall lost no authority through the dropping of this title. Throughout World War II "Chief of Staff, U.S. Army" was for all practical purposes synonymous with "Commanding General, U.S. Army."

GHQ went out of existence and was replaced in the command structure by the Army Ground Forces. Keeping the training duties of GHQ the new organization absorbed the functions of the ground combat arms and proceeded with what had been the principal initial task of GHQ, the training of ground combat forces.

The Army Air Forces, though in some ways on a lower level of administrative authority than previously, had virtually complete control of the development of its own special weapon, the airplane. Having absorbed the duties of the Air Corps, the new Air Forces trained personnel and units to service and use the airplane. It organized and supported the combat air forces to be employed in theaters of operations. Finally, by advising the General Staff and participating in interservice deliberations, General Arnold's headquarters was able materially to influence, if it could not control, both strategic and operational planning.

The Services of Supply, more aptly named the Army Service Forces about a year later, assumed responsibility under the forceful leadership of Lt. Gen Brehon B. Somervell for the performance of administrative and technical services in the War Department, including the work of the two service arms (Engineers and Signal Corps). This new agency took over both the technical and administrative staff function of the services and service arms and their operating functions. It also assumed some of the procurement activities formerly carried out by the Under Secretary of War and such former General Staff tasks as handling personnel assignments (formerly G-1) and managing transportation outside theaters of operations (formerly G-4). A large, somewhat conglomerate organization, Services of Supply at least introduced an element of organized responsibility into what had been an odd assortment of independent agencies, rendering technical and administrative advice to the Chief of Staff and also engaging in the procurement and distribution of equipment and supplies, transporting troops and matériel overseas, and providing essential semimilitary services in support of the combat forces.

By setting up these zone of interior commands, the Chief of Staff rid himself of the great burden of dealing directly with a multitude of separate Army commands and staff


chiefs.14 An index of the need for consolidating the individual arms and services was the very fact that it had become necessary in 1940 and 1941 for the Chief of Staff to employ three deputies, each with itemized duties, responsibilities, and authority, to handle the ever-increasing press of business referred for decision to the General Staff.15 After the tightening of lines of responsibility and the delegation of authority implicit in the reorganization, a single Deputy Chief of Staff remained, with duties (mainly in the fields of staff administration, budget, and legislation) and delegated authority essentially the same as originally had been prescribed for him in the period between the two world wars.16 Moreover, the Secretary of the General Staff was able to restrict the range of his duties within much narrower limits than in the 1940-41 period. Then the secretary, with his several highly qualified assistants, had acted in a kind of executive capacity to coordinate the work of the General Staff in conformity with General Marshall's ideas. This function was delegated elsewhere in the reorganization, and the position of Secretary of the General Staff became practically that of assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff.

The establishment of the three major commands not only enabled the Chief of Staff to delegate responsibility, it also permitted, in fact required, the General Staff to restrict its policy control of the zone of interior to those very general matters affecting all three commands. Within the sphere of their respective command responsibilities, the commanding generals of the Army Air Forces, Army Ground Forces, and Services of Supply made policy as well as carried out programs. Each of them had a sizable staff to assist in acquitting these responsibilities. The only remaining duties for the War Department G-1, G-3, and G-4 Divisions were to devise Army-wide policies governing personnel, unit organization, and supply, respectively.

The final contribution of the reorganization to the effectiveness of the Army's war-making machinery under the Chief of Staff was the provision for a central command post staff inside the War Department. The War Plans Division, soon renamed the Operations Division (OPD) in recognition of its altered status, was given this role. General McNarney and Colonel Harrison in explaining the reorganization emphasized the advantage of delegating administrative details to the three new responsible subordinate commands and restricting the General Staff to planning and policy making rather than operating.17 They also made it clear that the Chief of Staff needed a high-level agency to take a positive, aggressive role in coordinating all Army efforts in support of military operations in the field. Accordingly the reorganization assigned to WPD those General Staff duties relating both to the "formulation of plans and the strategic


direction of military forces in the theater of war."18 As WPD's own representative, Colonel Harrison, explained it to the Senate Military Affairs Committee: "In this war, we are fighting on many fronts . . . we have the great question of the use of our means in different places. So that right here--under the Chief of Staff--we have to centralize the direction of operations so that this War Plans Division now, not only makes war plans, that is, future plans, but it necessarily must control and direct the operations under the Chief of Staff."19

In effect the reorganization gave General Marshall an additional deputy for planning and controlling military operations, and this deputy, the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, was given an adequate staff to carry out his broad responsibilities. OPD was WPD plus GHQ (without its training functions) plus the superior authority GHQ had lacked. Or, to put it another way, OPD was in itself a virtually complete general staff, tight-knit in a way the old War Department General Staff had not achieved at the time it was necessary, and definitely oriented toward operations in the field.

General McNarney carefully summarized the effects the new organization was designed to create. His statement accurately described the basic principles on which the U.S. Army and the War Department operated during World War II:

  1. The War Department reorganization is intended to streamline the General Staff and subordinate elements of the Army in order to facilitate speedy and most effective control of mobilization and operations.

  2. The magnitude of the Army and the nature of operations preclude adequate supervision by the Chief of Staff of the activities of the Army through the General Staff as now organized.

  3. The major functions of the Army are two fold:

    1. Mobilization and preparation of the forces for war.

    2. Operations in the field.

  4. Except for basic decisions which must be made by the Chief of Staff, the functions of mobilization and preparation of the forces for war are to be performed by three separate and autonomous commands, the Army Air Forces, the Army Ground Forces and the Services of Supply. Each of these commands will be under its own responsible and authoritative commanding general. The three will be coordinate in all respects. The primary function of the Services of Supply is to provide services and supplies for the Air and Ground Forces.

  5. Control of operations. By the creation of the Air Forces, Ground Forces and SOS the Chief of Staff gains time to give most of his attention to war operations. The War Plans Division, WDGS, is the headquarters General Staff through which the Chief of Staff, plans, supervises and directs operations. His decisions are implemented by the Air Forces and Ground Forces who provide the trained forces, by the Service of Supply which provides supplies (except items peculiar to the Air Forces and provided by them) and moves them to the theaters of operations, and by the commanders of the various theaters of operations and task forces who actually control combat operations in their respective areas of responsibility.20

Thus OPD was provided a legal basis whereby it could exploit the high, central position of the War Department General Staff and yet be free from its procedural traditions. From then on it was able to work like a general staff in a field headquarters, issuing the Chief of Staff's orders and following up their execution in the theaters of operations.


National and International Planning

The first three months of American participation in World War II was a transition period in the sphere of national and international military affairs as well as in the sphere of U.S. Army organization. The successive slogans marking stages in American preparedness--"Hemisphere Defense," "Arsenal of Democracy," "Short of War"--gave way at once to "All-Out War Effort." It was in these months that the nation's productive efforts came under the leadership of Donald Nelson's War Production Board, which was given every legal and psychological sanction to help carry out its mission of industrial mobilization. Matters of conscripting, training, equipping, and employing American troops became merely technical problems instead of highly debatable national policy issues. Diplomatic and military relations with Great Britain and other anti-Axis nations, very friendly for some time, became far less reserved and cautious than had been necessary so long as Congress had not declared war. By January 1942 twenty-five nations at war with one or more of the Axis Powers, including the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the British Dominions, India, the USSR, and China, joined the United States in pledging to employ their full military and economic strength against Germany, Italy, and Japan. Thus national war policies had crystallized in more than a score of sovereign countries, coalitions had been formed, and the great conflict which had begun in Europe in 1939 had spread to every part of the globe.

The very fact that at last the U.S. Army could proceed to reach strategic and operational decisions within the framework of agreed national and international policy was an embarrassment as well as a liberation. Not all Army officers were ready to enter wholeheartedly into collaboration either with the Navy or with foreign powers, and such reluctance was unquestionably reciprocal. Nearly every issue that arose in regard to the deployment of forces, their command, and strategic plans for operations required the mutual adjustment of clashing views. The U.S. Navy, which had always been oriented toward the far reaches of the Pacific, and the U.S. Army, which had come to see its future mission tied up with the great land battles of Europe, could scarcely agree on a common course of military action without accepting compromises on the kind of operations each would like to conduct, the forces they would use in them, and the subordination of one component or the other in command. The Army Air Forces, nominally subordinate to the Army in these matters, actually had its own special strategic and operational projects that had to be harmonized with both ground and naval services. Similarly, on the international plane, the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China plainly could not agree on any one way to conduct the war that would ideally meet the national needs of all four powers. Compromises had to be hammered out among the Allies as among their military services.

International collaboration during World War II continued to be achieved in negotiations between the heads of government and their diplomatic representatives, although the influence of military considerations and military advisers became increasingly compelling in the negotiations until victory was clearly in view. The United States, the strongest economically and the least threatened by the enemy, played a central role in liaison among the United Nations and especially among the "Big Four," the United States, Great Britain, the USSR,


and China. The British Dominions had access to the U.S. Government through their diplomatic representatives but also participated indirectly through their British Empire connections in the more conclusive military coordination achieved between Great Britain and the United States. China, almost isolated geographically and by far the weakest of the Big Four politically and economically, depended a great deal on presenting its special needs through various political channels, including that maintained in Washington by Ambassador T.V. Soong with President Roosevelt and the State Department. Nevertheless, Chungking and Washington also exchanged high-ranking military representatives.

With the Soviet Union, which was geographically remote from the western Allies, which western minds only recently had transferred from the category of a near enemy to the category of an associated power, and which was completely preoccupied with the great land battle of eastern Europe, the United States maintained only comparatively formal diplomatic relations. These were conducted during the first part of the war primarily through the American ambassador in Moscow and the Soviet ambassador in Washington. Attempts to supplement this arrangement by establishing systematic military liaison met with indifferent success. The flow of lend-lease was the principal tie, and officials handling lend-lease aid were the principal agents that bound the USSR and its two western Allies together until the time when the armed forces of all three nations met in Germany and Austria.

By the time of Pearl Harbor the military objectives of the United States had already been coordinated with those of Great Britain, so far as was practicable on a hypothetical basis, and coordination thereafter became much closer and remained close during the rest of the war. The usual channels of negotiation between the United States and Great Britain were supplemented and for many purposes replaced by a military staff system that succeeded in bringing American and British conduct of the war into extraordinarily close accord. Moreover, the coordination of military plans achieved in the British-American staff system had two collateral effects of great importance.

First, British-American understandings arrived at for the conduct of the war in the Pacific (a primary concern of the United States), in the Middle East, which included part of Asia and Africa, in India and southeast Asia (all primary concerns of Great Britain), and in western Europe (of common interest) permitted coordinated military activity in most of the theaters of operations.21 The only battle zones outside these areas were along the German-Soviet front in Europe and in the unoccupied territory of China. Military operations in China were subject to considerable influence by the United States because of the extremity of Chinese dependence on outside military assistance. Understandings between the United States and Great Britain concerning the areas which they controlled, reached after a long and careful interchange of ideas, provided a central point and a kind of arbitrary unity for less systematic, more formal negotiations with the Soviet Union and China regarding strategic issues of general concern. The Soviet military leaders never participated in the staff system set up by the United States and Great Britain in 1942. Nevertheless, it was possible to maintain the common front against the Axis


and, on the basis of diplomatic understandings reached in the Moscow conference of October 1943, to bring representatives of the Soviet Union and China into the last international military conference of 1943 (SEXTANT-EUREKA: Cairo-Tehran). Soviet delegations subsequently participated in the semipolitical, semimilitary conferences of 1945, and British-American collaboration continually improved, but SEXTANT-EUREKA marked what probably was the high point of general coordination of Allied military plans during World War II.22

Development of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff System23

The second correlative effect of the successful development in 1942 of a device for coordinating American and British military plans was that the U.S. Army, Navy, and Army Air Forces simultaneously formed an organization to coordinate their own views for presentation to the British military leaders. This organization sprang up almost accidentally to answer the practical need for a joint committee system that would fit the pattern of the well-established British arrangements for interservice collaboration. Thus the United States found itself with a more highly developed staff system than ever before for developing military plans on a level of authority below the President. Like the Joint Board system it was a committee system and as such worked perfectly only when there was no irreconcilable disagreement among representatives of the separate armed services. It was not the unified high command that had long been discussed inside and outside the army,24 but it did provide a mechanism whereby the Army, the Navy, and the Army Air Forces could reach clear agreements or acceptable compromises on nearly all military matters. The pressing problems raised when the United States entered the war gave a new incentive to compromise in the common interest. It was patently advisable in the critical months after Pearl Harbor to avoid referring minor issues to the President and to present a common recommendation to the President as often as possible on policies important enough to require his approval as Commander in Chief. In addition to this incentive to unity, much of the strength of the new organization, soon known as the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), lay in the fact that, in contrast with the Joint Board, it had to present a common front to the British Chiefs of Staff on military plans affecting both nations.25 In combination, the fact of war and the presence of Great Britain made this new staff system work well enough to meet the grave crises of 1942 and thereby to win the confidence and respect of President


Roosevelt, who placed great reliance in it thereafter.26 The JCS began holding formal meetings on 9 February 1942.27 No official charter or directive for the U.S. JCS committee ever appeared, but its effective authority, and the derived authority of the joint committees serving it, grew steadily and remained unchallenged, though undefined, throughout the war.28

The administrative character of the British-American staff system established in Washington in 1942 reflected in general outline the staff structure which already existed in Great Britain. Prime Minister Churchill, who was concurrently Minister of Defence, was the central directing figure in the British war effort just as President Roosevelt was in that of the United States. The Prime Minister had a more tightly knit administrative hierarchy to assist him than the President ever established. The highest executive authority in the government of the United Kingdom was the War Cabinet, presided over by the Prime Minister who, by virtue of his office as Minister of Defence, also presided over a defense committee which included the Foreign Secretary, the Minister of Production, the three civilian Cabinet ministers in charge of the War Office, the Admiralty, and the Air Ministry, and the three military chiefs of the armed services, that is, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (Army), the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, and the Chief of the Air Staff. These last three officers constituted the Chiefs of Staff Committee, a corporate authority for issuing unified strategic instructions for military operations in time of war. Thus the ultimate political responsibility for the conduct of the war in all its aspects and the senior military advisers and agents of the government were brought together in one organization under the Prime Minister, who gave unity and finality to War Cabinet Defence Committee decisions.

The degree of coordination achieved in this way depended in great part on the fact that the military members of the Defence Committee, that is, the Chiefs of Staff, were acting not only as representatives of independent agencies but also as a corporate authority with a special staff to assist them in reaching interservice command decisions just as each had a staff to assist him within his own organization. This staff was the British Joint Planning Staff. In addition to a Joint Intelligence Sub-Committee, it contained a Strategic Planning Section and an Executive Planning Section, the latter concerned primarily with getting prompt action on planned operations. The work of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and its staff planners was coordinated administratively with other war activities by the secretariat of the War Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister's own chief staff officer, who sat as a secretary and in effect fourth member of


the Chiefs of Staff Committee.29 It was this system which the British Joint Staff Mission in Washington represented, and it was the British Chiefs of Staff themselves who came to Washington with the Prime Minister in December 1941 to attend the ARCADIA Conference.

At the 10 January 1942 session of the ARCADIA Conference the British Chiefs of Staff presented a paper which they called "Post-ARCADIA Collaboration." It stated that the British Chiefs of Staff proposed to leave representatives in Washington to hold regular meetings with the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. The British Chiefs of Staff, themselves, would of course return to their duties in London. This paper recommended the usage, thenceforth followed, of Joint as a term applying to interservice affairs in either country and Combined as a term for British-American collaboration. It also suggested that the Combined Chiefs of Staff committee thus constituted in Washington, with the help of a planning staff and other subordinate committees, should "settle the broad programme of requirements based on strategic policy," should "issue general directives laying down policy to govern the distribution of available weapons of war," and "settle the broad issues of priority of overseas movement."30 This British proposal, somewhat revised in form but with basic recommendations unchanged, received approval by the U.S. as well as British Chiefs of Staff at the last ARCADIA meeting, 14 January 1942.31

On 23 January 1942 the members of the Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) held their first meeting in the Public Health Building at Nineteenth Street and Constitution Avenue in Washington.32 During the next three years they gradually assumed the greater part of the burden of strategic conduct of the Allied war effort. The British Chiefs of Staff in London of course kept in close touch with problems being discussed in Washington and instructed their representatives on coordinated British policy. When the U.S. Chiefs of Staff went to London or elsewhere for military discussions, as they did occasionally and somewhat informally in 1942 and were to do regularly in the formal international conferences of 1943-45, they dealt directly with the British Chiefs of Staff rather than their Washington counterparts. But the periodic conferences, especially the formal ones at which the heads of government were usually present were designed to reach final agreements on issues which had been thoroughly explored by the CCS. They were more nearly occasions for politico-military decisions than for the detailed work of military planning. The day-to-day deliberations of the CCS in Washington supplied the basic pattern for the strategic direction of American and British armed forces. On the basis of joint and combined resolutions, approved by the President and the Prime Minister whenever broad policy was involved, commands were


established, troops deployed, munitions distributed, and operations undertaken.

The machinery was never expanded to include other national military staffs as regular members of the combined staff committees, but it became accepted procedure to arrange for consultation with representatives of all interested Allied nations in individual military matters under study by the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff. Formal meetings of the "Military Representatives of Associated Powers" were held in Washington from time to time in 1942 and the first half of 1943.33 As a result of this procedure and of the participation, beginning late in 1943, of China and the USSR in some of the important international conferences, the CCS system provided a center of strategic planning for all the United Nations.

This development of the British-American staff system, though it could hardly have been fully foreseen at the beginning of the ARCADIA Conference, soon received official approval by the United States. In early meetings the paper on Post-ARCADIA Collaboration underwent significant revision that made explicit CCS responsibility for the "formulation of policies and plans" related to the "strategic conduct of the war" in general as well as to munitions production, allocation, and priorities of overseas movements. On 21 April 1942 President Roosevelt approved a charter for the CCS system dedicated to all these broad objectives.34

In March 1942 the United States and Great Britain reached an understanding on the strategic control of operations through the staff committee system thus established. This working agreement was based on a division of the world into three major strategic spheres, marked out in a way that generally reflected the varying national interests of the two countries.

The United States assumed principal responsibility for conducting military operations in the entire Pacific area including Australia and, for diplomatic rather than geographical reasons, China. This responsibility, it was agreed, would be exercised through the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, which would make minor strategic decisions and direct the conduct of all operations in the area assigned to the United States. The U.S. Navy was given the executive task of carrying out JCS decisions in most of the Pacific area, which was put under the unified command of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, while the Army performed a similar function for the Australian and Southwest Pacific region, where Allied ground forces were concentrated in some numbers and where General MacArthur was placed in command. China continued to be treated as a comparatively independent theater under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his


American chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell. The British accepted the same kind of strategic responsibility, to be exercised by the British Chiefs of Staff in London, for the Middle and Far East areas except China.

The CCS in Washington undertook to exercise general jurisdiction over the grand strategy developing in both British and American zones and in addition to exercise direct strategic control of all operations in the Atlantic-European area. The CCS of course acted directly under and with the military authority of the President and the Prime Minister.35 As a matter of practical convenience, the U.S. War Department accepted the task of communicating CCS instructions to combined headquarters conducting the main offensives in North Africa (1942) and Europe (1944), the commanding officer in both cases being General Eisenhower.36

The initial members of the CCS were four British officers, led by Field Marshal Sir John Dill, and four American officers, General Marshall, Admiral Stark, Admiral King, and General Arnold. Admiral Stark attended only the first few meetings, since he left Washington in March, and Admiral King assumed the dual title and office of Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations.37 Within a few months Admiral Leahy, acting as chief of staff for the President and presiding chairman at JCS meetings, joined the Army, Navy, and Army Air Forces chiefs to make up the thenceforth unchanging membership of the wartime JCS as well as of the American component of the CCS.38

In order for the combined system to function effectively, a hierarchy of subordinate British-American committees had to be established to prepare studies, render reports, and make investigations. The American members of these groups constituted the joint committees. At least partly because the British gave the Royal Air Force separate


representation, the Army Air Forces always had its own spokesman in these American staff groups. The American committees studied, reported, and investigated military matters for the benefit of the U.S. JCS at the same time that they were representing the United States on the combined committees.

The JCS-CCS machinery became more and more comprehensive and more and more specialized as the war went on. In time there were combined committees for logistics, intelligence, transportation, communications, munitions allocation, meteorology, shipbuilding, and civil affairs (occupation and military government). From the point of view of Army operations, the most important of these were the committees dealing with the problem of allocating and moving munitions, troops, and supplies in conformity with operational plans. In addition, the joint and combined machinery throughout World War II contained the committees primarily responsible for assisting the Chiefs of Staff in planning the strategic conduct of the war--the Joint Staff Planners and Combined Staff Planners (JPS and CPS), and also, for the United States, a working subcommittee of the Joint Staff Planners.

The membership of the CPS consisted of three British officers, Army, Navy, and Air, and four American officers, Army, Navy, Army Air, and Navy Air, who constituted the U.S. JPS. Both the JPS and the CPS were central coordinating groups through which many policy papers prepared in other committees reached the JCS or the CCS. They received directives from the JCS and the CCS and often delegated work to other committees. Particularly during 1942, they were not exclusively strategic planners but also coordinators in all kinds of joint and combined matters that had a bearing on high policy. The U.S. Army planner on both the JPS and the CPS committees was originally the WPD chief, General Gerow. When General Eisenhower succeeded General Gerow as WPD chief in February 1942, he immediately delegated the position of Army planner to the chief of the Strategy & Policy Group, and thereafter left most of the routine of joint planning to him.39 While the chief of the Division thus had no formal place in the JCS and CCS system, he exerted great influence in it through the Army planner and, indirectly, through the Chief of Staff.

The U.S. JPS drew heavily upon the services of its working war plans committee, which ranged in number at various times between eight and eighteen members. This committee originally was called the Joint U.S. Strategic Committee (JUSSC), and OPD supplied all of the three or four Army (including Army Air) representatives on it. The JUSSC concerned itself primarily with broad strategic planning on the joint level and related policy matters such as mobilization and use of manpower by the three services. The more technical task of drawing up joint strategic and operational plans and adjusting them in conformity to theater needs became increasingly important in the latter part of 1942, and the committee was reorganized as the Joint War Plans Committee (JWPC) early in 1943. The JWPC


drafted studies and strategic plans covering every major joint or combined operation in World War II. Three or four OPD officers, constituting an administrative unit in the OPD organization, made up the Army section (at this time distinct from both the Navy and the Army Air Forces sections) of the JWPC.40

The fact that the JCS-JPS-JWPC hierarchy came into being as part of the Combined Chiefs of Staff system added tremendously to its effectiveness as interservice coordination machinery. At the same time this fact projected the whole JCS organization into the international field, where it acted concurrently as the American agent for British-American military cooperation. Its personnel, by virtue of their position and special knowledge, had to assume the responsibility of representing the United States at the international conferences which capped the United Nations planning with final decisions by heads of government. Thus from ARCADIA, the first British-American staff meeting in December 1941 and January 1942, through the British-American-Soviet meeting at Potsdam (TERMINAL) just before the end of the war, the American membership of the JCS-CCS system participated in top-level planning. The conference decisions, like the deliberations of the CCS, JCS, and other extra-War Department agencies forming the environment in which OPD worked, were of prime importance in all the work of the highest staff in the Washington command post of the Army.

Military Planning and National Policy41

The machinery used by the American military services in coordinating their efforts in World War II, though scarcely all that could have been desired, was far more fully developed than any comparable system in the sphere of total national policy. While the President came to rely on the JCS for advice on the conduct of the war, he established no administrative machinery for integrating military planning with war production, war manpower control, or foreign policy objectives. The President himself coordinated these interrelated national enterprises by working in turn with his personal advisers (among whom Harry Hopkins continued to have unique influence), the executive agency chiefs, his cabinet secretaries, and the JCS. In contrast with the British Government, in which the War Cabinet Defence Committee brought all the major elements of national policy under the Prime Minister's personal supervision and direction, the various U.S. Government agencies had difficulty in making a well-articulated contribution to a balanced national policy or even in finding out the precise implications of national policy in their respective activities.

Secretary Stimson was conscientious about acting as a link between discussions on the cabinet level and the workings of the War Department staff. During the pre-Pearl Harbor and early wartime period he held regular meetings in his office, at which General Marshall was present, to discuss War Department policy matters and bring to bear on them governmental as well as service


considerations.42 Nevertheless the link thus created by Secretary Stimson could not add any strength to the elements it connected, and the lack of administrative organization on the cabinet level continued throughout World War II.43

Late in 1942 General Marshall drafted, though he never dispatched, a memorandum pointing out the awkwardness for the military leaders of having no systematic recording of Presidential instructions related to the war effort delivered to Cabinet members or to the Joint Chiefs of Staff individually or collectively. He said that "details supposedly decided on" were put into execution only by "impromptu coordination" and could easily be "left in the air or subject to varying interpretation." He contrasted this situation with the results of the "British coordinating system which works from the top . . . in the Cabinet meeting," and remarked that the JCS members themselves might "get into very serious difficulties in not knowing the nature of the President's revisions of the drafts of messages we submit to him."44

In 1943 and subsequent war years administrative coordination of national policy decisions improved by virtue of the great prestige of the JCS and the increasing extent to which Admiral Leahy, the President's chief of staff, was able to make the President's views a matter for day-to-day consideration by the JCS and the CCS. The President's personal participation in the great international military conferences of the mid war period (Casablanca, January 1943; Washington, May 1943; Quebec, August 1943; Cairo and Teheran, November-December 1943) also contributed to the increasingly effective integration of national war policy.

Efforts were made comparatively late in the war to widen the area of administrative coordination among the various government agencies engaged in policy making on behalf of the President. Most important from the Army planners' point of view was the establishment, at the end of 1944, of a politico-military staff system patterned after and parallel with the JCS structure. It was designed to align foreign policy and military policy through formal staff deliberations among representatives of the State, War, and Navy Departments.45 Somewhat earlier in mid-1943, the creation of the Office of War Mobilization under James F. Byrnes superimposed some unity of purpose upon the activities of the confusing welter of administrative agencies controlling the mobilization of the civilian economy for war. Mr. Byrnes came to occupy on the home front something like the position of the JCS in military affairs.46

Despite these advances toward integration in the fields of foreign policy, war mobilization, and military policy, the final step toward systematization was never taken. The President in his own person coordinated the work of his senior aides, and no


staff or secretariat was organized to assist him either in reaching his final policy decisions or in carrying them out. This situation was one which military leaders had no authority to remedy, and it frequently hampered their work. Shortly after the appointment of Mr. Byrnes as Director of War Mobilization, General Marshall hesitantly described the general problem to him:

The U.S. Chiefs of Staff have been aware for a long time of a serious disadvantage under which they labor in their dealings with the British Chiefs of Staff. Superficially, at least, the great advantage on the British side has been the fact that they are connected up with other branches of their Government through an elaborate but most closely knit Secretariat. On our side there is no such animal and we suffer accordingly. The British therefore present a solid front of all officials and committees. We cannot muster such strength.

More specifically he stated:

On the contrary, not only are our various agencies not carefully correlated but sometimes a day or more will elapse before the specific agency, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, for example, is made aware of the important conclusions arrived at or the problem which is being considered and which deeply affects them. Important radios will sometimes be unknown to us for a considerable period of time because there is not an automatic procedure set up. Discussions with the British, officials or committees, bearing directly on Chiefs of Staff business, will take place here and there in Washington without correlation or later report of commitments.

There is also the continuing danger of misunderstandings. After Cabinet meetings Mr. Stimson invariably makes some pencil notes and dictates a memorandum which is circulated over here, with relation to any matters that may concern the War Department. Possibly Mr. Knox does the same thing in the Navy Department. However, we have had cases where their impressions varied as to just what the President desired.

Finally, he observed:

This is a rather delicate matter for me to discuss and to circulate in the form of a British paper [General Marshall sent Mr. Byrnes a paper on the British Secretariat system], because it could be charged that I was proposing not only a War Cabinet but a fundamental constitutional alteration in the matter of Cabinet responsibility to the Congress, etc., which is remote from my purpose. I am interested solely in some form of a Secretariat for keeping all these groups in Washington in an automatic relationship one with the other.47

This expression of criticism was the strongest ever made by General Marshall, for he was reluctant to step outside his own area of responsibility. The difficulties in reducing the civilian administrative agencies of the government to similar order, particularly while the war was going on, were almost insurmountable. From the Army's point of view, as General Marshall was careful to point out, no such drastic reorganization was necessary. The essential minimum objectives sought by the Army to improve the quality of its work in the highest policy sphere were in fact achieved by the personal abilities and efforts of the President and his principal advisers, such as General Marshall, along with extraordinary labors on the part of their individual staffs, such as OPD. In terms of administrative organization, the military problems confronting the United States in World War II were met by the national high command as organized in 1942.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (5) * Next Chapter (7)


1. Notes on Conferences in OCS, II, 441, WDCSA rcds.

2. (1) See Ch. IV. (2) Memo, Exec WPD for SGS, 28 Nov 41, sub: Reorgn of WD, WPD 4614. (3) Testimony, Maj Gen McNarney, Brig Gen Kuter, and Col Harrison in Dept of Def Co-ordination and Control, 77th Cong, 2d sess, 6 Mar 42, Hearing before the Committee on Military Affairs, p. 1 (hereafter cited as McNarney, Hearings, 6 Mar 42). (4) Maj Kuter was promoted to the rank of Lt Col on 2 Jan 42 and Brig Gen on 2 Feb 42.

3. Gen Marshall's testimony in Pearl Harbor Attack: Hearings . . . , Part 3, pp. 1437-38.

4. General McNarney had not actually been in WPD since May 1941, when he went to England with the Special Observers Group.

5. Memo, Maj Gen McNarney for CofS, 31 Jan 42, sub: Reorgn of WD, Tabs 1, 2, and 3, OCS rcds, WDCSA 020 (1942).

6. Ibid.

7. Memo, JAG for CofS, 2 Feb 42, sub: Reorgn of Army, and copy atchd of First War Powers Act, Pl 354 (H Res 6233), 18 Dec 41, "An Act to Expedite the Prosecution of the War Effort," WDCSA 020 (1942).

8. Notes on Conferences in OCS, II, 459-63, WDCSA rcds. Representatives of the other General Staff Divisions and of the Army Air Forces were also present.

9. Notations by Gen D.D. Eisenhower, 6 Feb 42, Item 3, OPD Hist Unit file.

10. Memo, OCS for AAF, GHQ, WPD, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, SGS, TAG, TIG, and JAG, 11 Feb 42, WPD 4614.

11. Min of Opening Session, Sp Com, Reorgn of WD, 16 Feb 42, WDCSA 020 (1942). Colonel Harrison represented WPD on the committee. General McNarney made it clear that the plan was designed to meet the emergency and not necessarily to be suitable for a peacetime Army. Lt. Col. O.L. Nelson, Jr., served as recorder for this executive committee.

12. (1) Ltr, CofS to Dir Bureau of Budget, 20 Feb 42, WDCSA 020 (1942). (2) Ltr, SW to President, 20 Feb 42, WDCSA 020 (1942). (3) Notes on Conferences in OSW, 23 Feb 42, II, WDCSA rcds. (4) Ltr, President to SW, 26 Feb 42, WDCSA 020 (1942). (5) WD Bul 11, 3 Mar 42. This bulletin contains the text of EO 9082.

13. (1) WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, sub: WD Reorgn. (2) AR 10-15, 13 Jul 42, sub: GS Orgn and Gen Dys.

14. According to General McNarney and Colonel Harrison, General Marshall had had to deal "personally or through his staff" with 40 large commands and "some 350 small" ones. See McNarney, Hearings, 6 Mar 42, p. 13.

15. Memo, OCS for all GS Divs, TAG, and all Chiefs of Arms and Services, 30 Oct 40, sub: Apmt of Add DCofS, WPD 4382. See also Ch. I.

16. Under the 1942 reorganization the Deputy Chief of Staff, besides acting for the Chief of Staff in his absence and "on all matters generally delegated to him by the Chief of Staff," was to exercise supervision over the General Staff and the three major commands and to deal with budgetary, legislative, and administrative questions. AR 10-15, par. 2, 13 Jul 42, sub: GS Orgn and Gen Dys. Compare parallel provisions in AR 10-15, 25 Nov 21 and 18 Aug 36.

17. (1) McNarney, Hearings, 9 Mar 42, p. 2. (2) Memo, ASGS for TAG, 17 Mar 42, WDCSA 020 (1942).

18. WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, sub: WD Reorgn. The phrase was incorporated unchanged in AR 10-15, 13 Jul 42.

19. McNarney, Hearings, 6 Mar 42, p. 10.

20. Memo, Maj Gen McNarney for Maj Gen A.D. Surles, 27 Feb 42, sub: Outline of Reorgn of WD, Tab Misc, Book 4, Exec 8.

21. For definitions of these geographical areas of strategic responsibility, see pp. 101-02.

22. For SEXTANT, see Ch. XII. For Moscow conference and 1945 conferences, see Ch. XVI.

23. Some of the developments reviewed in general under this heading are described in more detail, as they were related to the work of OPD, in several later chapters of this volume.

24. For a brief analysis of "Early Proposals for Unification of the Armed Services of the United States," see OPD Hist Unit Study I.

25. The only Army papers on the organization of the U.S. Joint Chiefs were: (1) memo, CofS for Admirals Stark and King, 17 Feb 42, sub: JB, U.S. CsofS, WPD 4402-159 (Colonel Handy drafted this memorandum, which still provided for the "Commanding General Field Forces" as well as the Chief of Staff); (2) WPD study, n.d., title: Proposed Combined (U.S.-British) CsofS Orgn, Tab "Collaboration," Book 3, Exec 8; (3) WPD study, n.d., title: Proposed Joint (U.S. Army-Navy-Air) CsofS Orgn, Tab "Collaboration," Book 3, Exec 8.
For indication that these two studies are by WPD, see atchd memo, WPD for CofS, n.d., no sub, Tab "Collaboration," Book 3, Exec 8.

26. For statement by Mr. Stimson that "Mr. Roosevelt learned to like the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1942 . . . ," see Stimson, On Active Service in Peace and War, p. 563.

27. Min 1st meeting JCS, 9 Feb 42 [issued 14 Feb 42].

28. A proposal to charter the JCS was made in 1943 in connection with the reorganization of the whole joint committee system, treated at length in Ch. XIII. See: (1) JCS 202/2, 25 Mar 43, title: JCS Orgn; (2) JCS Memo for Info 54, 9 Apr 43, same sub. In due course the JCS submitted to the President a charter which defined their duties, responsibilities, and functions, JCS 202/24/D, 15 Jun 43, title: Charter, JCS. The President, in a letter to Admiral Leahy, disapproved the proposal, saying that the issuance of an executive order approving the charter seemed superfluous at the time, and that instead of helping it might have a restrictive effect. The letter was circulated as JCS 415, 17 Jul 43, title: Jt Effort Regarding Supply.

29. For brief description of British joint planning system for World War II, see: (1) Maurice P.A. Hankey (Baron), Government Control in War (Cambridge, England, 1945), especially pp. 55-57, 60-65; (2) Central Organization for Defence (London, 1946), Cmd. 6923; (3) Organization of Joint Planning (London, 1942), Cmd. 6351.

30. British Serial WW-8, title: Post-ARCADIA Collaboration, appended to min 8th meeting, 10 Jan 42, ARCADIA: Proceedings.

31. Min 12th meeting, 14 Jan 42, p. 3, and U.S. Serial ABC-4/CS4, title: Post-ARCADIA Collaboration ARCADIA: Proceedings.

32. (1) Press release, 6 Feb 42, copy filed ABC 381 United Nations (23 Jan 42), 1. (2) Min 1st meeting CCS, 23 Jan 42.

33. For principle of consulting representatives of Pacific powers, see min of conf at White House, 28 Jan 42, Notes on Informal Conferences Held During the Visit of the British Chiefs of Staff in Washington, WDCSA 334 (1-28-42).

See min 1st-9th meetings, 26 May 42-18 Jun 43, Military Representatives of Associated (Pacific) Powers, Misc S&P Files. This group was the military counterpart of the group of political representatives of Pacific nations usually termed the Pacific War Council. See Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 515-16.

34. (1) CCS 9/1, 10 Feb 42, title: War Collaboration Between United Nations. (2) Cf. U.S. Serial ABC-4/CS4, title: Post-ARCADIA Collaboration, ARCADIA: Proceedings.

For President Roosevelt's approval, see memo, U.S. Secy CCS for Maj Gen E.M. Watson, 21 Apr 42. A photostat copy is filed in ABC 381 United Nations (23 Jan 42), 1. This memorandum has "OK, FDR" written on it. Apparently Prime Minister Churchill never gave formal approval to the CCS charter (see JCS Memo for Info 54, 9 Apr 43, sub: JCS Orgn).

35. For definitions of strategic areas and system of executive conduct of the war, see: (1) JCS 19,9 Mar 42, title: Strategic Responsibility of UK and U.S. (this JCS paper is a summary of suggestions made by the President in a conference at the White House 7 March 1942); (2) memo, Brig Gen Eisenhower for JCS, 8 Mar 42, same sub, Envelope 36, Exec 4; (3) JCS 19/1, 9 Mar 42, same title (with the exception of one sentence, this JCS paper was identical with General Eisenhower's memorandum of 8 March); (4) min 5th meeting JCS, 9 Mar 42, with CCS 56/1 in ABC 311.5 (1-30-42); (5) msg 46, Prime Minister to President, 18 Mar 42, with JCS 19/1 in ABC 371 (3-5-42); (6) msg 58, Prime Minister to President, 24 Mar 42, with CCS 56/1 in ABC 311.5 (1-30-42); (7) CCS 57/2, 24 Mar 42, title: Strategic Responsibility of UK and U.S.; (8) min 14th meeting JCS, 31 Mar 42; (9) memo, U.S. Secy JCS for Gen Marshall, 1 Apr 42, no sub, with CCS 57/2 in ABC 323.31 POA (1-29-42), 2; (10) memo, Gen Marshall and Admiral King for President, 30 Mar 42, no sub, and two incls, "Directive to the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Ocean Area" and "Directive to Supreme Commander in the Southwest Pacific Area," ABC 323.31 POA (1-29-42), 1-B (this memorandum has on it the penned notation, "Approved, Franklin D. Roosevelt").

36. (1) Min 29th meeting JCS, 18 Aug 42, Item 10 and Annex 1. (2) Memo, Brig Gen Wedemeyer for CofS, 18 Apr 43, sub: Responsibility for Implementation, or Channel for CCS Directives to CinC AEF, Paper 22, Item 2B, OPD Hist Unit file.

37. (1) EO 9096, 12 Mar 42, title: Reorgn of Navy Dept and Naval Serv Affecting Office of Chief of Naval Opns. (2) Min of CCS meetings. Admiral Stark attended the 1st through 11th meetings, 29 January-10 March 1942.

38. (1) Min of CCS meetings. (2) Rosters of CCS committees issued periodically, copies filed in ABC 381 United Nations (1-23-42), 6-A.

The British representatives changed fairly often. Sir John Dill remained in Washington until 1944 providing permanent leadership in the British group until his death. He was replaced early in 1945 by Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson. Admiral Leahy attended first the 34th CCS meeting, 30 July 1942.

39. (1) U.S. Serial ABC-4/CS4, title: Post-ARCADIA Collaboration, ARCADIA: Proceedings. (2) Rosters of CCS committees, copies filed ABC 381 United Nations (1-23-42), 6-A. Initially General Handy was Army planner. When he succeeded General Eisenhower as chief of the Division in June 1942, General Wedemeyer became Army planner. OPD furnished two subsequent Army planners in World War II, Brig. Gens. F.N. Roberts and G.A. Lincoln. For joint planning later in the war, see Ch. XIII.

40. (1) Memo, Col R. T. Maddocks for Chief S&P Gp, 9 Jul 42, sub: Jt Strategic Com, ABC 020, OPD, WDGS (13 Jul 42), 3JA. (2) JWPC 401, 14 Aug 45. This paper is a note by Brig Gen. W. W. Bessell, Jr., sub: Jt War Plans Com. (3) Rosters of CCS Coms, copies filed ABC 381 United Nations (1-23-42), 6-A.

41. Some of the developments reviewed in general under this heading are described in more detail, as they were related to the work of OPD, in several later chapters of this volume, especially in Ch. XVI.

42. Notes on Conferences in OSW, two volumes, WDCSA rcds. The meetings recorded cover the period 19 May 1942-24 February 1943.

43. (1) Stimson, On Active Service in Peace and War, pp. 561-62. (2) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins. This entire book, describing the tremendous influence and responsibilities of Mr. Hopkins, is testimony of the personal way in which the President dealt with the many problems and agency chiefs he had to face during the war.

44. Unused memo, Gen Marshall for Harry Hopkins, 4 Nov 42, WDCSA 381, 1 (SS).

45. For the creation of this politico-military staff system, called the State-War-Navy Co-ordinating Committee (SWNCC), see Ch. XVI.

46. For the establishment of the Office of War Mobilization 27 May 1943 and the general problem of "Coordinating the War Agencies," see The United States at War: Development and Administration of the War Program by the Federal Government (Washington, 1946), Ch. 12.

47. Memo, Gen Marshall for James F. Byrnes, 10 Jul 43, no sub, WDCSA 040.

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