The Advance Base Schedule
THE ORIGINAL program for LIONS and CUBS laid down in February 1942, served the needs of that moment. It set a procurement target which taxed the manufacturing facilities at the command of the Navy, and thus fostered an expansion of industrial plants. Moreover, the schedule of one LION and three CUBS each quarter made certain necessary strategic planning possible. But in practice, it was tantamount to a policy of stimulating the greatest possible production, while hoping for the best and making do with whatever suitable equipment actually became available. Deficiencies in critical items were inevitable and some CUBS were shipped overseas in spite of shortages in significant gear.
By the spring of 1943, however, conditions were different. The substantial modification of the basic concept of LIONS and C<UBS which was implicit in the Catalogue of Functional Components is evidence of the new situation. The fact that base assemblies should and could be varied in content was recognized. Ann improved system of logistics planning was now necessary, for a continuation of overall maximum procurement would have entailed surpluses in some items and a misuse of resources both of plant and of product. In short, the Catalogue announced the abandonment of hand to mouth techniques and testified to the creditable logistics achievement of the preceding year. It
transformed into a true procurement program what had been, in fact, a statement of a prescribed inventory level.
By its analytic capitulation of possible base components, the Catalogue also facilitated a reconciliation between what was logistically possible and what was operationally desirable. It lacked, however, one important element of the program which it superceded. It contained no answers to the questions how much and when. Hence, a new, a more careful, comprehensive, and formal method of planning assemblies was necessary, a schedule which would complement the Catalogue with specific data in regard to quantities and dates.
A brief survey of the directives which promulgated schedules of advance base units in 192 and in early 1943 demonstrates how considerable were the reforms adopted later in 1943. The basic directive on LIONS and CUBS, of 12 February 1942, ordered the procurement of one LION and three CUBS each quarter It was amplified in June when points for assembly were assigned. Half of th four LIONS were allotted to the Eest Coast, while the twelve CUBS were divided equally between the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. In August, a revised schedule integrated the recently initiated program for ACORNS into that for LIONS and CUBS. Under the terms its first eight ACORNS into that for LIONS and CUBS. Under the terms its first eight ACORNS were given priority over all LIONS and CUBS, and were ordered to be ready for shipment at intervals of five or six days beginning on 25 August. The readiness date of LION 1 was set back from 1 July to 1 November, that of LION 2 from 1 October to 1 December, and those of CUBS 2, 3, and 4 to 15 November, 1 and 15 December respectively. The remaining LIONS and CUBS were listed
with a statement that dates and points of assembly would be designated later. CUB 1 was not included because, along with CUB which had been created on short notice by robbing LION 1, it had already been shipped to the South Pacific. October saw a revision of the schedule for ACORNS which included a statement that LION 1, and CUBS 2, 3, and 4 were not likely to move out before 1 January 1943. In early December, a further modification of arrangements was significant chiefly for the fact that LIONS 3 to 6 and CUBS 5 to 12 were now first assigned specific readiness dates, ones which were, however, clearly hypothetical since the dates for LIONS 1 and 2 and CUBS 2 and 3 were left 8nchanged in spite of the fact that they had already been passed. Rather evidence of the highly provisional nature of all these schedules is apparent from the fact that the dates now ordered represented a marked delay over the original program. LION 1 and CUB 2 were already in transit when the next directive was issued in mid-February 1943. At that time, apparently firm, though somewhat arbitrary, dates were assigned to LIONS 2 and 3, to CUBS to 5, and to ACORNS 5 to 11. No times were indicated for subsequent assemblies.1
Superficially, this series of amendments, reamendments and counter amendments to presumably firm arrangements suggests very bad planning. Certainly it must often have been disconcerting to the officers in the Bureaus and elsewhere who were responsible for the execution of the extremely complex detailed implications of these directives. Actually, the changes often reflected modifications both in the logistics, that is the procurement and distribution, and in the strategic situation
which could not have been foreseen. Nevertheless, they also made clear the urgent need for improved scheduling techniques. Doubtless, there would continue to be a necessity for adjustments, sometimes sudden and drastic, to suit altered circumstances. Nevertheless, effective administration of the constantly growing, and, after the promulgation of the Catalogue of Functional Components, the more complex, if more flexible, logistics machinery demanded the creation of a schedule which would contain in ready and convenient form, all current data, and would be regularly and frequently revised. This task was the mission of a new subsection of Op-30.
A small group of reserve officers who had had experience with industrial scheduling or with Navy procurement were ordered to duty in Op-30K beginning in the early spring of 1943. Their advent coincided roughly with the shakedown period of the new general organization of the logistics portion of CNO, which resulted from the experience of 1942 and the recommendations of the Booz study. This matter is discussed fully elsewhere in the present history. Briefly, it involved a rejuvenation of the Plans Division (Op-12) and the establishment of the Progress Division (Op-05G) to explore and determine broad requirements before they were handled in detail by such Project Divisions as Op-30. This meant, en effect, that Op-30 began to receive more carefully conceived and more thoroughly studied instructions than in the past. There was implied, thus, either a duplication of activity or a confusion of function and responsibility or both. This also is more fully discussed later in this chapter and in other sections of this history.
The framework within which the new scheduling subsection began its work was laid down by the recent overall reorganization of CNO and by two comprehensive scheduling directives which were promulgated by Op-30 in February and March. The earlier of these letters had as it subject the "Advance Base Program for Fiscal Year 1944." It began by summarizing the various advance base units which were already ordered to be procured,2 and then stated "Additional anticipated advance base requirements (which were thereby) authorized for progressive procurement to meet tentative readiness dates as listed...."2a The second directive announced readiness dates at the point of shipment for most of the nits in the first part of the previous directive and tentative dates for planning purposes for the remaining LIONS, CUBS, and ACORNS. These directives dealt with many more units than had previous ones, but they retained the same relatively haphazard character.2b
The first directive of the new subsection established new readiness for shipment dates, divided as before into two categories, fixed and tentative. In general, these dates represented a retardation, in some cases very considerable. Thus, in form this directive was the same as previous ones. It included, however, more positive instructions for its execution and much fuller and more carefully considered definitions
of "readiness." Readiness was stated to be "based upon a requirement that one month immediately preceding ... be used for training and assembly of the unit as a whole. It is essential that enlisted personnel be adequately trained in the duties of the specialty and as functional units where appropriate, before the final month and that, at the beginning of this month, assembly of material and personnel be sufficiently complete to permit the shipment of one component ... within ten days." It was added that, in practice, VCNO would issue instructions for shipment at least a month in advance of the readiness date and that, if such instructions were not then issued, the readiness date would automatically be deferred to a date one month after shipping instructions were issued. A further paragraph directed that inland depots be used so far as practicable for the storage of items which were available materially in advance of the specified readiness dates. Finally, it was ordered that no LION or CUB be stored on the Gulf Coast, and that no more than one LION and one CUB or one LION, two CUBS and two ACORNS be stored on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts respectively. These limits were set because of restricted storage space.3
The second scheduling directive of the subsection reflected the broad system of logistics organization rather than its own work. It merely transmitted a table drawn up in Op-12 of estimated procurement requirements for the calendar years 1944, 1945, and 1946, in terms of the types of units used in the Catalogue of Functional Components.4
The first of the advance base schedules, as the term came to be understood, was promulgated on 4 August 1943. While it was later greatly improved in form and content, it was already a marked change from its predecessors. Like the Catalogue, the Schedule can best be understood by a brief examination of it. Copies of the covering letter and of a typical schedule in 1945 are included in the appendices. The letter explained the schedule which was enclosed with it. It announced a policy of maintaining "at all times in a condition of readiness for shipment overseas; one LION, one CUB, two ACORNS, one E-6 component (Landing Craft Base Repair) and five E-10 components (Standard Landing Craft Unit--Maintenance) on the East Coast; one LION, two CUBS, four ACORNS, two PT Boat Bases (one major engine overhaul), two E-6 Components, five D-10 Components and one H-3 (Aviation Repair and Overhaul on the West Coast). This material was to be kept at the depots indicated in the Schedule except for special items. All personnel were to be available for assignment to Advance Base Personnel Depots with both technical and preliminary training completed. There followed a careful outline of the regulations for packing, assembly and storage. It further directed that the procurement of material and the training of personnel be arranged by the Bureaus to meet but not necessarily to anticipate the dates set in the Schedule. Further, the Bureaus were to maintain information on the current status of and progress of their programs. Finally, it was stated that the advance estimates were necessarily tentative and would be reviewed and revised periodically in the light of conditions which changed from day to day.
The Schedule was in three parts. The first part was a statement of required assembly of specific units at specific ports. It showed the units, including a list of the constituent components of each, and the miscellaneous components for which definite plans had already been made, together with certain useful remarks. Part II was a schedule of dates at which units and miscellaneous components (E-6, E-10, H-3) were to be available. The third part consisted of table of required availability of components on the East and the West Coasts, for each month of 1943 and 1944 showing the number of each component which would be required.5
In addition to giving a great deal more information than its predecessors and giving it in much more convenient form, the Schedule is also notable for the fact that the required dates were in most cases advanced over those previously announced. Since the tempo of the war was obviously stepping up and there might again be severe pressure on the productive resources of the nation, the best possible scheduling was of great importance.
The first Schedule was designed, in content and in format, to meet the apparent needs of the moment of its issue. It proved to be the embryo of an organism which developed rapidly at first and then more slowly, achieving relative maturity in some six months, but not degenerating into a stereotyped report. Like the format, the proper frequency of publication was not known when the Schedule first appeared. The second and third "editions" were issued as of 19 and 30 August and the fourth on 1 October. Although provision was made for extra numbers in case of need which in fact never arose, there was then announced an intention of regular publication on the first day of each month. Thus,
the Schedule became in fact a monthly confidential periodical--it was downgraded from Secret on 1 October--differing from other Navy periodicals in that it always appeared as a printed enclosure to a characteristic mimeographed letter addressed by CNO to a wide distribution list.
The second through the fifth (1 November) "editions" were described as amendments to the first. Thereafter, each issue wholly superseded all predecessors and was complete in itself, as indeed all numbers had been except the second. The 1 October Schedule wet the basic pattern which was subsequently followed through in constantly improved detail. Three distinct schedules were established. Schedule I, in two parts, "East" and "West", showed the "Required Assembly of Advance Base Units at -- Coast Loading Ports." Like the first Schedule, it indicated specific units at specific depots on specific dates. Schedule II details by coasts the "Required Availability of Advance Base Units" (i.e. LIONS, CUBS, H3 components, etc.). Schedule III summarized by number and date for each component the "Required Availability of Functional Components" for each coast. Schedule II, while useful, never came to have an importance equal to the others because it was merely a grouping by more or less standard units of some of the components also included in Schedule III. In essence, Schedule I was the tabular summary of information dealing with the assembly, ready for shipment overseas, of advanced base material and personnel as directed by CNO. Schedule III, on the other hand, was a similar summary of the current directives for advance base procurement. Thus the two Schedules, while serving the same overall mission, represented wholly distinct phases of the logistic process.
Both facilitated the work of many agencies, particularly action agencies such as the Bureaus, other sections of Op-30, either divisions of Operations, and Navy Supply Depots. They were also useful to planning agencies. They filled an imperative need by assembling in convenient form, summary data, and complete reference for the otherwise unmanageable volume of advance base logistic instructions. Other significant elements in the Schedule were a series of succinct definitions of such terms as "available", a summary of major changes since the last issue, non-component requirements, and any other special section which particular circumstances seemed to indicate.5a
While a close examination of several Schedules is the only means of achieving a full appreciation of the Schedule and its evolution, certain developments deserve mention. At first, only the designation of components was given. Later, the serial numbers were included, even those for components on Schedule III, as long as twelve months in advance of their availability. The column listing the pertinent directives dealing with the shipment of LION 4, as of 1 April 1944, totalling no less than forty. In 1945, the number of the personnel and the measurement tons of the material of each unit on Schedule I were shown. Reference numbers of ComWesSeaFron's Guide were given for West Coast loadings. the area commander at whose request each unit had been ordered for assembly was indicated. This was done actually as a means of inducing commanders, by jogging their memories, to countermand requests as early as possible should changed circumstances make the contemplated movement undesirable. in short, the Schedule came to be, in addition to its primary mission, a very handy compendium of up-to-date advance base logistics information.
Before taking up the supplementary activities with which the Scheduling Section came to be charged, it seems wise to consider two further aspects of the Schedule proper. In the first place, its data dealt solely with the establishment and augmentation of advance bases. It contained a specific statement that, kn addition to the requirements there detailed, the Bureaus must estimate and provide for maintenance material. The Schedule was a logistics tool of limited application.
Second, the position occupied by the Scheduling Section was
anomalous. In theory, it acted primarily on information and instructions addressed to Op-30 via Op-05G. In these terms, it was little more than a forwarding agency. In practice, such was not the case partly because of the character of the information which it received. Specifically, procurement authorizations generally indicated merely the calendar or fiscal year during which the process was to be effected. At first, the Scheduling Section spaced the requirements evenly through the appropriate period. Such procedure was not satisfactory. In some cases, it caused an unnecessary pressure upon available storage space. In other cases, it increased the chance that, should the strategic situation induce a speeding up of advance base demands, the requirements of area commanders would exceed the ready supply. Since no logistics agency wished to risk responsibility for shortages which might have been avoided, much uncoordinated effort was made to prepare for all contingencies. Thus, the Bureaus and Op-30 itself naturally tried, by the use of extra channels of information to sharpen their estimates, seven though, in fact, the process approximated intelligent guessing. Thus, the Schedule became an added occasion for the very persistent wartime practice of gazing into a crystal ball. It is hardly too much to say that Op-12, Op-05G, Op-30 and the Bureaus were all forced to indulge in this vice, each on the basis of a different set of extraneous circumstantial data. It may be argued that the errors made at one point tended to be cancelled by compensating errors elsewhere. it may also be maintained that each echelon tended to incorporate a safety factor in its calculation and that the whole logistics mechanism worked in such fashion as to minimize the
chance of insufficient procurement. Each agency was inclined, moreover to magnify its demand when it suspected that, without special stimulus, there would be failure on an inferior level. The problem thus touched on the wisdom of the particular assignment of responsibility within CNO and the Navy Department which was made early in 1943.
The defects of that pattern of organization are nowhere better illustrated. While the allotted missions were supported by recognized principles of industrial management, and reenforced by considerations of Security, their fulfillment was possible in practice only if official liaison were reenforced by informal contacts. Neither Op-12 nor Op-05G had a staff adequate to draw detailed schedules. Op-30 enjoyed personnel but lacked necessary information. In July 1944, the head of the Scheduling Section suggested vainly that his group be recognized officially as a working staff for Op-12 and Op-05G as well as for Op-30. The suggestion was not adopted, but its purpose was achieved in considerable measure by the continuous exchange of information which developed from personal relations between officers in the several divisions. Thus, when the availability of particular components had to be assigned in the Schedule to a definite month, the officer sin Op-30 based their decisions, in part, on information obtained form Op-12 through unofficial channels. Similar liaison, partly unofficial, with the Bureaus not infrequently enabled officers in Op-30 to recognize incipient shortages or bottlenecks. They readily followed the natural and proper course of bringing the situation to the attention of the appropriate desk. Hence, some measure of expediting and progress control began to adhere to the process
of scheduling. Certainly Op-30 performed in practice functions not prescribed in its official mission. In short, as is inevitably the case in such circumstances, the possession of knowledge--in this instance, an aggregation of varied information derived from independent sources, and not entirely in the hands of any other one echelon--led to an exploration of its implications. The role which, in fact, Op-30 played in naval logistics extended into areas marked out for other agencies.6
The Schedule depended upon a rapid flow of accurate information. The process of its compilation required the arrangement of data in appropriate form. Thus, a sizeable set of active records was an inevitable adjunct, and the growth of a record unit was a natural consequence. During 1943 and 1944, this associated by distinct function was carried out within the same section. As a part of the reorganization of Op-30 in March 1944, a Scheduling group, Op-30-2F, was created and the records and report functions of the K section became the task of one of its sections, Op-30-2FT. Some of its work closely paralleled, or indeed duplicated, the labor of Op-30-11.
The creation of a records and reports desk in the K Section, as indeed the establishment of the Schedule itself, was a part of the improved method for the Interchange of Logistical Information within the whole Naval Establishment, which was one of the first accomplishments of Op-12 after its rejuvenation early in 1943. The whole matter of the interchange of logistical information is treated at length elsewhere in the present history. In the process of interchange, the reports desk of Op-30K became the principal action and coordinating agency with regard
to the reports on the status of material for initial advance base movements.
As the product of a development dictated by the problems of wartime logistics, the major functions of the Reports Section came to be three in number, the maintenance of records with regard to material for united movements, the detection fo incipient shortages and delays, and the presentation fo information in such form, graphic or other, as would make it most easily comprehensible by other echelons.
Five principal types of records were maintained:
a. A Movement File, indicating insofar as possible each individual movement to each base. This was based upon a careful analysis of CNO and Bureau directives. It included full information with regard to components and non-component material.
b. A Shipment Record, showing, by serial number in the case of components, when and where material was required to be assembled and shipped.
c. A Current Status Record, based on activity reports and depot dispatches. This file contained the latest information (in 1`945, much of it was based on daily dispatches from the West Coast) on the status of components and aggregations of non-component materials.
d. The Control Board. This large board, kept on the walls of the office of Op-30-2, showed in graphic form the information contained in c. above for units on Schedule I. It was photographed twice a month and prints were distributed to interested agencies.7
e. Files of all basic data used in maintaining the records.
Based upon the records, the Section published several periodic reports:
a. East Coast Status and Shipment Report. This report began on 22 December 1943 and included data as of the 7th, 15th, 22nd, and last days of each month.
b. Report of Unassigned Components--This appeared monthly and
was attached to the last of those listed above.
c. Interim Schedule. This report, which showed changes in the Schedule since the latest issue, began in October 1944 and was published as of the 7th, 15[th], 22nd and last days of the month.
d. Graphic Status Report. Semi-monthly. This began in November 1943 and was superseded in August 1944 by the distribution of photographs of the Control Board.
e. Excess Material Report. This was published only three times, in January, March, and May of 1945.
In order to perform its assigned task efficiently, the Reports Section required the receipt of information in such style as would make it readily usable. Thus, the fulfillment of the major mission led the Section to initiate changes in the form and the frequency of the reports which it received. This additional activity began in October 1943, shortly after the receipt from the Base Service Unit, San Francisco, on behalf of Com12, of its first report in compliance with the basic directive on the Interchange of Logistical Information. It was now requested that BSU submit reports four times a month rather than monthly.8 In November, BSU was directed to make another report showing the completeness, as of the last day of each month, of the components on Schedule III--West Coast. The information was to be supplied for components scheduled to be available during the succeeding month and to cover material at Clearfield, Oakland, Hueneme and other storage points.9 In May 1944, Op-30 provided assistance for the BSU by directing the Bureaus to instruction depots under their cognizance to comply with instructions from
the BSU. This gave that unit the authority necessary to require necessary reports from other activities.10 In December, Op-30-2FE initiated daily dispatch reports on the status and shipment of advance base material from West Coast reporting activities.11
By the foregoing directives, BSU, San Francisco, was made the responsible coordinating agency for reports form the West Coast. For comparable East Coast activities, the Advance Base Section of BuSandA performed a similar function.12 The whole process was made more efficient by the use of a form drafted in Op-30-2F and made applicable in June 1944.13 This form was one of the products of a conference with BSU and other shipping officers held in Washington in April 1944.
The work of Op-30-2FE resulted by the end of the war in the flow to Washington of reasonably full and accurate data with regard to the assembly and shipping of material for initial advance base movements. Little attention was paid to maintenance logistics, although by 1945 they had become a major logistics problem, which will be discussed in the next chapter. Had the war not come to a sudden end, the full value of the mature system would have been demonstrated when the West Coast ports were laboring under the load required for the invasion of Japan.
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