AGF Study, NO. 6: The Procurement and Branch Distribution of Officers



Publication by the War Department in March of the officer candidate school quotas for the period June - August signalized a major change in administrative policy with respect to officer procurement. As noted above, the War Department in March 1943 had decentralized authority to establish OCS capacities and monthly entrance quotas to the three major commands. Thereafter, as we have seen, Army Ground Forces followed the officer situation closely, setting monthly quotas and maintaining sufficient capacity to allow for emergency expansion. No formal revocation of this authority was issued by the War Department. On 14 March 1944 it directed Army Ground Forces to admit a maximum of 1,550 candidates to the Infantry (1,500) and Field Artillery schools (50) during June - August.130 No such directive had been received from the War Department during the preceding year. In view of the reentrance of the War Department into a province over which it had been supreme, Army Ground Forces understood that its responsibility for determining the number of candidates to be trained had been terminated.131

The role of Army Ground Forces after March 1944 was advisory. The War Department letter of 14 March directed the headquarters to submit by l June "the estimated officer procurement requirements of the Army Ground Forces" to cover losses through 30 June 1945 and recommended OCS quotas for the last quarter of 1944. The estimates were to be based on War Department loss requirement data. Directives calling for similar studies and recommendations were received from the War Department from time to time in subsequent months. In each case Army Ground Forces was to secure loss requirement data from the War Department, survey present officer strength and future needs, and recommend officer candidate capacities and entrance quotas. It was thus only indirectly that Army Ground Forces influenced the program of officer procurement after March 1944.

The War Department gave the Army Ground Forces no formal statement of the reasons for its resumption of direct control. The change was coincident with the shift in the focus of the procurement program from mobilization to overseas loss replacement. After March 1944 it became increasingly important to bring officer production in the United States into close coordination with officer strength, requirements, and production overseas. Lacking facilities for gathering accurate information on theater loss requirement rates and on officer appointments overseas, Army Ground Forces was not capable of coordinating continental officer production with world-wide officer requirements and resources. It was felt at Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, that, since the War Department was presumably in a better position to relate ZI officer procurement to overseas demands, reversion to War Department control over OCS capacities was a step in the right direction.132



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