Of the various changes brought about by the March reorganization, the innovation of an operations staff within the General Staff received the least attention outside the War Department. The Army and the interested public soon spoke familiarly of the Army Air Forces, the Army Ground Forces, and the Services of Supply, with some notion of the extent of the authority that had been delegated to General Arnold, General McNair, and General Somervell. Relatively few people knew of the existence of OPD, and fewer still appreciated General Marshall's need for such a staff. Inside the War Department the change was obvious if not well understood. OPD officers began to act under the extended grant of authority conferred on the Division. Their insistence upon speed and their readiness to assume responsibility produced hostile as well as favorable response from other Army officers with whom they dealt. These characteristics made the composite OPD officer of War Department legend a somewhat unamiable figure, but they began to produce the results for which General Marshall was looking. The basic practices adopted by OPD in the spring of 1942 soon became accepted as a matter of fact, if not necessarily applauded, by other Army agencies in Washington.The Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, provided General Marshall with what he had long needed, that is, one officer to whom he could turn for staff advice and staff action on any of the multitude of problems confronting the Chief of Staff as commander of the U. S. Army and its representative in joint and combined military negotiations. The OPD chief, like all staff officers, sometimes produced ideas that his immediate superior accepted and sometimes merely carried out instructions. Like most staff officers, he took decisive steps without referring them to his superior when he was confident that they were in conformity with approved objectives and policies. At other times he devised measures solely to support a policy decision by his superior. Never in the military history of the United States had a single staff officer been given so wide a range of responsibilities and such a clear authorization from the Chief of Staff to proceed aggressively in his work.
The first officer to fill this position in General Marshall's new command post was General Eisenhower, who succeeded General Gerow as Assistant Chief of Staff, WPD, on 16 February 1942 and remained as Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, until 23 June 1942, when he departed for England to undertake the first of a series of high command assignments.1 He was responsible for
setting up the staff in the new command post, for that purpose receiving broad grants of authority from the Chief of Staff and working out OPD's relations with other Army agencies as these grants required. But authority could have meant nothing had it not been paralleled by performance of assigned duties. General Eisenhower not only had to set up OPD but also had to make it work. He was able to discharge the extraordinary responsibility placed on him because he had under him a staff of carefully selected officers, organized efficiently to perform the specific tasks given them, and aided in their work by an appropriate delegation of the Division chief's authority. During his tenure in the War Department the internal organization of his Division crystallized in a form reflecting the WPD organization but designed to accommodate the new responsibility of continuous control of theater operations as well as strategic planning.
Through the decentralization of joint and combined planning inside the Division, General Eisenhower and subsequent chiefs of OPD who followed his precedent were enabled to act as co-ordinators of all planning and all Army operations in theaters without being personally engaged in detailed deliberations in either field. In this way the OPD chief kept the detachment and breadth of view he needed to advise General Marshall and, frequently, act for him in matters affecting strategic planning and strategic direction of the Army. General Eisenhower particularly relied on four men to whom heavy responsibilities were delegated.
The first of these was Colonel Handy, who became a brigadier general on 27 March. On the day General Eisenhower was made Assistant Chief of Staff, he designated Handy as Chief of the Strategy & Policy Group and made him the "representative of the Assistant Chief of Staff, War Plans Division, in all Joint and Combined Planning work." 2 Second, the officer to whom General Eisenhower delegated responsibilities for control of operations was the former WPD planner, Colonel Streett (brigadier general 27 March 1942). He was transferred to the Division from the discontinued Air Force Combat Command on 10 March 1942, and, upon the recommendation of General Marshall, took over the leadership of the Operations Group.3 General Streett gave OPD an Air Forces representative at the highest level under General Eisenhower at a time of critical decisions as to the
deployment of air units. He remained group chief until December 1942, when he left to take command of the Third Air Force. Third, General Eisenhower relied heavily on his deputy, Brig. Gen. Robert W. Crawford, who stayed on in that capacity until 22 June. General Crawford handled special problems for the Division chief, particularly in the field of equipment and supply. In May 1942, for instance, General Eisenhower assigned him complete responsibility for following up on progress in the production of landing craft, already then beginning to be a critical factor in strategic planning.4 Fourth, Colonel Gailey, General Eisenhower's executive officer, was responsible for organizing and maintaining administrative control over the expanding and widely diversified staff. He personally did much to set the tone adopted by action officers in OPD throughout World War II. He put a premium on speed and accuracy in every detail, demanding and frequently getting results that measured up to the exacting standards he set for OPD officers.5
The OPD chief, in view of the wide spread of Division responsibility for military matters affecting the work of the whole War Department had a general responsibility for giving other agencies the guidance which participation in strategic planning and staff control of operations enabled him to give. Thus, immediately after the reorganization in 1942, General Eisenhower undertook to hold a series of conferences with officers in the Services of Supply, in which he would outline the strategic situation.6 Even outside the War Department, the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, acted as the official place of application for strategic or operational information. Thus, shortly after the constitution of OPD, Colonel Wedemeyer informed an officer of the British Joint Staff Mission in Washington: "Your Washington contact agency is now the Executive Officer, Operations Division, War Department General Staff. He will be able to refer you directly to the proper section for solution of any problems presented." 7
At an early stage OPD began getting a variety of new assignments because of the special information available to its officers. General Eisenhower resisted this tendency as did his successors. Though the OPD chief was not unwilling to accept heavy responsibility, from the beginning he tried to direct every OPD effort toward one goal, channeling Army activities into direct support of military operations, and to delegate to other agencies as many of the tasks involved as they could perform. Thus, immediately upon reorganization of the War Department, OPD assumed "control of all missions," meaning the military missions set up in 1941 to expedite the flow of lend-lease munitions to such critical points as China
and North Africa.8 In less than a month, however, General Eisenhower accepted a proposal by General Somervell to transfer control of missions to the Services of Supply. Explaining his point of view, he wrote to General Somervell:
The primary interest of Operations Division, under current conditions, in missions is priority in the transfer of personnel and equipment to overseas stations. Subject to the proviso that no troops, either as units or large numbers of individuals, or equipment other than that involved in Lend-Lease agreements, will be shipped overseas without the prior approval of this Division, I will go along with you.9
In general, OPD was willing to divest itself of specific responsibilities whenever they could be effectively discharged by other agencies, provided that OPD could protect its own paramount interest, the conduct of military operations, by monitoring the actions taken by such agencies.
Group Organization and Duties
When recommending possible new names for WPD in mid-March, General Eisenhower listed the main elements of the administrative structure which the Division was building during these first months and which remained the basic components of OPD throughout the war: "No matter what name is given, major sub-divisions would be: a. Planning Division. b. Operations Group. c. Resources and requirements group, to which will be assigned 'Missions.' d. Administrative and Miscellaneous Section." 10
The first move in grouping duties and personnel according to this scheme occurred before the effective date of the March reorganization of the whole War Department. General McNarney, in his executive committee meeting of 16 February, ordered the General Staff divisions, including WPD, to draft charts of proposed organization and present them to him by the morning of 18 February.11
In the intervening forty-eight hours WPD prepared a tentative chart dividing the division into four groups (Strategy & Policy, Resources &.Requirements, Executive, and Operations) with a total of 140 officers.12 General McNarney informally approved the plan but cut the number of officers to an even one hundred. The Division began converting to the new organization on 19 February 1942 and for most purposes was working in accordance with it by 21 February, though it took several weeks to complete administrative arrangements and section organization.13
The only change in the designation of groups pursuant to the March reorganization was the elevation of Resources & Requirements to the group level, removing it from the Operations Group as constituted in the December-February transition period. Both as section and as group, it comprised a comparatively small number of officers, all dealing with logistics questions, including military requirements, resources, allocations, and priorities both in men and materials.
In contrast, the several groups themselves underwent internal changes of some significance. The Strategy & Policy Group retained its Strategy Section but delegated some of its responsibilities for joint and combined work to a new, separate section, called the Combined Subjects Section. Moreover, the officers assigned to the Joint U. S. Strategic Committee in the JCS system were established as a special section. Finally, instead of the old Plans Section, the Strategy & Policy Group had a Future Operations Section.
The Operations Group rapidly took on the character of an operational control center, organized in sections on a geographical basis. In addition to the old Atlantic and Pacific Sections, the new Operations Group had a Caribbean and Latin American Section (removed from its former position in the Plans Group); an ABDA Section for directing operations in the Australian-British-Dutch-American area, the Philippines, New Caledonia, and Australia; an Africa-Middle East Section; and a China-India Section. A distribution of every base or operational area was made among these Operations Group sections, thus providing a specialized staff mechanism for continuous monitoring and control of all theater operations.
OPD's new group organization was set forth in the General Staff organization chart issued 2 March 1942. The chart carried a sweeping statement of duties of the Division as a whole. Its tasks included: "Preliminary studies, estimates, and plans for potential theaters of operations"; the "Preparation of directives to commanders of theaters or other task forces"; most "combined and joint planning," acting as "central control agency for operations" and as the "War Department Command Post for field operations," and the "coordination of all ground, air, and service activities required to effectuate War Department decisions pertaining to the organization and operations of task forces, theaters, defense commands, overseas possessions, and leased bases." This comprehensive list of responsibilities contrasts strongly with the vaguer list of duties assigned to WPD in similar General Staff charts of the previous fall. Particularly critical was the assignment to OPD of the great operational task of deploying troops to the theaters of operations, traditionally assigned to the G-3 Division of the War Department General Staff.
The intended relationship between the two principal groups in OPD was shown clearly in the General Staff chart of organization and duties issued on 2 March 1942. It indicated that general strategy affecting the allocation of forces to the various theaters of war and the issuance of strategic directives to theater or task forces was a Strategy & Policy matter, intimately associated with joint and combined planning.
The tasks of monitoring the theater commanders' activities in carrying out these directives, attempting to give them full and coordinated support of the War Department but at the same time keeping their strength and undertakings in line with approved strategy, was a function of the Operations Group. The chart specifically stated that OPD's Strategy & Policy "Branch" was responsible for making "preliminary studies, estimates, and plans for potential theaters of operations" and for preparing the "directive to commanders of theaters or other task forces." It provided, however, that "Officers charged with planning for a theater pass to the Operations Group when the commander selected for the theater joins WPD for the purpose of preparing his detailed theater plans."
The main innovation in OPD's organization between March and June 1942 affected the Operations Group. It was largely a change of name, one that reflected the new orientation of the Division, indicating an increasing awareness on the part of the Operations Group officers that their work would involve an additional unique aspect: to act in effect as the Washington rear echelon of the various theater headquarters in the field. The Operations Group itself was redesignated the Theater Group, and its sections were officially renamed "theaters." In practice the term "theater" was rarely used, and the components of the Theater Group continued to be called "theater sections." With these changes in nomenclature, General Streett realigned the theater sections to conform fairly closely with actual overseas commands.14
The volume of Theater Group business forced General Eisenhower to assign the largest single segment, about half, of Division personnel to General Streett. By mid-1942 this one group contained more than sixty officers. The strengths of the theater sections varied in accordance with the degree of operational activities in their respective areas, North American and Latin American being still the largest of the seven in June 1942. The officers assigned to the sections as chiefs carried heavy responsibilities on behalf of the Division. All in this period were Regular Army officers who had previous experience in WPD and all but one had been on duty before Pearl Harbor. The exception, the chief of the Asiatic Section, was chosen in January 1942 because of his specialized linguistic and geographical knowledge.
In addition to its area sections, the Theater Group contained throughout most of the war a section of specialists in the task of issuing clear, comprehensive, and timely orders for the movement of troops to the theaters of operations. Although no provision was made for such a section in the original March 1942 organization, the need was soon felt. As the Division plunged into the task of deployment to defensive bases in the Pacific and Australia, while planning even larger movements to the United Kingdom, it became clear that centralized control of troop movements was essential if co-ordinated management of the huge World War II army were to be maintained. OPD was made responsible for this task. The Theater Group was charged with this responsibility inside the Division since all of its duties
centered in dispatching units, trained and equipped for the purposes required by the theater commanders, to the theaters of operations. Consequently, immediately after the March 1942 reorganization, the following instructions were issued concerning "Overseas Movement":
1. For each movement, one order applicable to all of the Commands concerned
will be issued through The Adjutant General.
2. The War Plans Division is responsible for the initiation, supervision and coordination of the preparation of the order.
The Theater Group as a whole assumed responsibility for this duty, but the extreme decentralization of group work among the area sections made the task of co-ordination within the group almost as difficult as coordination between the three major one of interior commands and the overseas theaters. Moreover, a considerable amount of co-ordinated, detailed information about troops being moved had to be kept available in a systematic way. General McNarney, Deputy Chief of Staff, issued the following orders on 22 March 1942:
1. WPD must clear all movement orders with the Deputy Chief of Staff.
2. WPD must be able to present in connection with proposed movement orders:
a. Whether troops are white or colored.
b. Date of activation of unit.
c. Amount of training (to include amount of actual firing of weapons).
d. General efficiency rating of Commanding Officer.16
Accordingly, General McNarney announced a few days later that
The Operations Division prevailed upon him to approve the establishment of a troop movement section in that division . . . he had approved the establishment of a small three-officer section in the Operations Division so that it could be in close contact with all troop movements to see that no essential items have been omitted from their directives or the order moving the troops and so that exceptional items could be processed.17
Early in April this section was set up in the Theater Group with an allotment of three officers and with one of them, Lt. Col. Henry I. Hodes, on duty. Colonel Hodes had been loaned to the Division by G-3 previously and finally was assigned to duty in April as chief of the Troop Movements Section.18 This section, which never had more than four officers assigned to the work, exercised a routine co-ordinating role
on the special problem central to most Theater Group action throughout the war. For this purpose the Troop Movements Section developed the Status Report system of central War Department control of the fitness of units for overseas movement, and established policies and issued instructions governing "Preparation for Overseas Movement" (POM) by all Army units.19
A unique feature and the most complicated aspect of this April-May organization of OPD was the interrelationship between the Future Operations Section of the Strategy & Policy Group and the European Theater Section of the Theater Group. Since the principal preoccupation of the officers in both these sections was the project for an early invasion of Europe from bases in the United Kingdom—the BOLERO plan written and vigorously advocated by OPD in March and April 1942—it was logical and most efficient that one man should be chief of both sections. In effect, there was only one section, with Col. John E. Hull as its chief and Lt. Col. Voris H. Connor as its executive officer and chief BOLERO planner. Three or four officers were assigned to planning for future operations other than European, and the rest of the personnel worked on planning, troop movements, and theater control of the BOLERO project.20 The intimate association of planning with deployment and control of operations by this dual section under Colonel Hull illustrated in miniature the principle on which OPD itself was built—the close proximity of plans and operations.
The basic problems of logistics, namely munitions production, distribution of equipment, military transportation of forces, and military supply in general, bulked very large among the factors determining strategic and operational decisions. For instance, the difficult problem of correlating the distribution of munitions and ammunition among the Allies and simultaneously equipping divisions of the United States occupied the War Department throughout the first half of 1942. Insofar as these issues intruded on strategy at the level of high command, which they often did while many critical items were in short supply, OPD handled the final staff work which enabled General Marshall to make decisions for the Army.21 Yet, even when being considered as a factor in strategy, logistic matters required a degree of technical knowledge that staff planners would not normally possess. Similarly, if a transportation, equipment, or supply matter which could not be solved within the resources of any one area of operations should arise, OPD's theater sections were not organized to deal with the issue in its Army-wide context.
In order to acquire and draw on special logistic information in a systematic way, OPD continued to develop the former WPD
logistics unit, first having raised it to the status of a group. At first it was called Resources & Requirements, but by May 1942 had adopted the name of Logistics Group. The Logistics Group always had an advantage over other Army logistics agencies (G-4 and Services of Supply) because of its proximity to the OPD theater sections, which dealt with logistic factors as they affected operations in their individual areas, and because of its proximity to the Strategy & Policy planners, whose strategic calculations both determined and were influenced by the Army's logistic resources. The Logistics Group was reorganized in June 1942, and its main duties were divided between two sections. One, the Material Section, was officially described as a unit that:
1. Maintains a record for ready reference of production availability, and
requirements of munitions and equipment in U. S.
2. Represents Operations Division on the following Committees:
a. Defense Aid
b. Munitions Allocation Board
c. International Supply Committee
d. War Materials Board
3. Establishes priorities for the distribution of ammunition and equipment between Army, Navy, Marines and Defense Aid recipients.22
The other, the Troop Section, was described as a part of OPD that:
1. Maintains a record for ready reference of:
a. Status including strength, equipment and training of U. S. forces in, en route to, and projects for overseas theaters, bases, task and similar forces.
b. Current statistical data required for operations and planning.
c. Availability of forces in U. S.
2. Establishes priorities within the Army for the issue of items of equipment and equipment in which critical shortages exist.
3. Maintains a continued study of proper ratio of types of units required to maintain properly balanced forces.23
In addition to handling action papers for OPD when they dealt with matériel or other logistics problems and representing OPD on committees dealing with such technical matters as munitions allocations, the Troop Section of the Logistics Group produced several valuable periodical documents. One, the Weekly Status Map, which had been started in WPD's post-Pearl Harbor transition period, was continued after the reorganization until the fall of 1944, when most of the combat units were in the theaters of war.24 A complementary tabulation, the Overseas Troop Basis, first circulated on 15 April 1942, was issued approximately monthly throughout the war, although OPD dropped the task of preparing it in mid-1944 shortly before it discontinued the issuance of the Status Map. The Overseas Troop Basis series of reports was designed primarily to give the Army Service Forces the basic data it needed for calculating Army overseas supply schedules.25 These two documents, the Weekly Status Map showing total strength in troops and aircraft area by area, and the Overseas Troop Basis listing actual units by location or destination, provided General Marshall and the whole War
Department with its most reliable summary records of Army deployment.
The most important compilation prepared by the Logistics Group was the Victory Program Troop Basis. The first of these reports was prepared by the Resources & Requirements Section in December 1941 when it was still under WPD's Operations Group. It represented a necessary attempt to translate Army strategic and operational plans into terms of troop units so that munitions and supply production could be scheduled in conformity with ultimate Army needs. It took its name, like its point of departure in strategy, from the Victory Program estimate of requirements drafted in September 1941 by Major Wedemeyer.26 The Victory Program Troop Basis determined the eventual over-all number of units to be contained in the Army, while the official War Department Troop Basis, prepared by G-3, governed the mobilization of units for the current year. The Victory Program Troop Basis not only gave G-3 a strategic guide for its calculations but also served as the standard strategic basis for the work of Army Service Forces and G-4 in the production and supply field. The Logistics Group brought out a revised Victory Program Troop Basis as of 25 May 1942 and continued to revise the estimate at approximately six-month intervals until November 1943, when production planning in general was less pressing and when OPD reorganized its Logistics Group, transferring this function to G-4.27
In its Logistics Group OPD had a microcosm of the vast zone of interior staffs and agencies of the Army which were primarily concerned with supplying the two basic Army commodities, troops and matériel. Although the Logistics Group in OPD was not designed to carry on or even to supervise any of the work of procurement, training, transportation, and supply done by the Army Air Forces, the Army Ground Forces, or the Army Service Forces, its officers were expected to become sufficiently familiar with all of these programs to be able to calculate the resources of the Army in terms of troops and matériel for purposes of comparison with the calculation of Army requirements being made continuously by the other groups of OPD, the Strategy & Policy Group and the Theater Group. At the same time, in Army conferences and committees dealing with technical problems of organizing, training, equipping, transporting, and supplying troops, Logistics Group officers were qualified to talk the language of specialists and, in addition, bring to bear on these problems the knowledge of probable requirements and the operational orientation of the Chief of Staff's command post.
In addition to its planners, its theater control officers, and its logisticians, OPD contained still another category of specialists. They were specialists in collecting and disseminating the latest information available in OPD pertaining to operations, both the high-level decisions and War Department actions directly bearing on overseas operations and operational reports from overseas commands. The unit that provided OPD, the higher officials of the War Department, and the President with this service was set up as the Current Section of the Logistics Group. For some time before Pearl Harbor, WPD had found it necessary to include somewhere in its structure a unit (usually called "Current") to deal with miscellane-
ous staff problems so general or so unusual in nature that they did not fall within the province of any other unit. As WPD became larger in size, its duties more comprehensive, and its section organization better articulated, problems in this category became fewer. After Pearl Harbor the Current Section disappeared for a time, and when it reappeared in the March 1942 reorganization, its duties were still described negatively, simply as those not pertaining to any other part of OPD.28
The Current Section of course digested and circulated only a small part of the immense quantity of operational information received from overseas, reporting new items which deserved circulation on high levels in the War Department, and paying special attention to combat action. This work had very little to do with that of Logistics Group. As Col. Thomas D. Davis, Logistics Group chief, observed, the Current Section was "appended as an administrative fiction" and actually operated with complete independence of the group.29 About the only continuous duty of Current Section at this time, one which it performed throughout the war, was assigning code names for the security of military operations, a task which OPD inherited from WPD.30
The direction in which Current Section was to develop was determined to a great extent by the officer designated as its chief in June 1942, Col. Thomas North. He had arrived in OPD in March 1942 and had been assigned as assistant to General Crawford , OPD deputy chief. In this capacity he developed a staff enterprise that provided OPD with its most reliable summary record of Army activities on the War Department level during World War II. Toward the end of March 1942 General Eisenhower instructed Colonel North to prepare daily a brief summary of OPD actions, including major decisions by the JCS or the CCS.31 On 29 March 1942 the first issue of the "1700 Report" appeared. It was written in the form of a letter, dated with the time of day (5:00 P. M.) from which its name developed, and addressed to the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, the Secretary of War, the Chief of Staff, the Deputy Chief of Staff, the Army Air Forces, and the Services of Supply. Subsequently, G-2 was added to the list of addresses. The Army Ground Forces never was put on the formal distribution list. The 1700 Report contained three sections: (1) Messages Received and Action Taken, (2) Other Action Taken, and (3) Plans. The last section consisted primarily of JCS and CCS actions.32 It continued to be brought out until the end of the war, though it was renamed the OPD Diary and its form changed to present information by geographical area.33
When Colonel North became chief of the Current Section, he brought the task of
preparing the 1700 Report with him. He also assumed the responsibility his predecessor had borne for screening incoming messages for the chief of the Division and getting important ones to him with minimum delay.34 From these messages and other information available in OPD, his section prepared the War Department Daily Operational Summary and its modified version, the White House Summary. Upon the request of the Chief of Staff, WPD planners had begun to produce these two reports shortly after Pearl Harbor and had continued to do so on an ad hoc basis until Current Section took them over.35 The concentration of all these informational activities in Colonel North's section made it into a special information service staff for OPD and the Army high command. It was the staff which gathered and disseminated current information about U. S. Army plans and operations, information available only in OPD. The Daily Operational Summary and the White House Summary were produced by Current Section for the rest of the war period.
The mechanics of organizing and maintaining administrative control over a large staff whose work was as diversified and decentralized as OPD's required an efficient service establishment. Its chief was the executive officer of the Division, Colonel Gailey. He and his principal assistant, who worked in the outer office through which passage to the private quarters of the Division chief was obtained, constituted the executive office proper. Duties there were always flexible, concerned with detailed matters, and primarily focused on procedure and administration.
The executive officer's first obligation was to protect the Assistant Chief of Staff from all interruptions that did not directly relate to the Division chief's task of supervising the integration of plans with operations. His second obligation was to see that the Division was run with maximum administrative efficiency. To this end he took on any responsibility that did not fit elsewhere.36 Above all, the executive officer had to occupy himself with supervising in intimate detail the functioning of the complicated Executive Group machinery, which made it possible for the whole staff to attend to its business.
The principal components of this machinery were an Administrative Section comprising three officers, handling personnel management and miscellaneous paper work problems, the OPD message center, comprising six officers, and the OPD record room. In the new structure the former civilian administrative components were placed under military chiefs, although most of the individual civilian employees continued in their former work. In addition the Executive Group exercised general supervision over the registered documents room, established on 31 March 1940 to make easily available the use of registered, that is accountable, documents, particularly formal war plans, and at the same time establish central control over them. The actual
organization and administration of the document collection was entrusted to Miss Alice M. Miller, veteran civilian clerk and Division research specialist, who served in this capacity as well as in that of chief clerk of the Combined Subjects Section, where joint and combined papers were filed.37 This general organization and comparatively heavy staffing of the Executive Group remained intact throughout the war, reflecting the size of the Division, the press of work, and the urgency of prompt action on operational problems.38
Records, Procedures, and Personnel
Speed in handling correspondence, especially messages, had become critical to the control of every operation as soon as military operations had begun. The system of dispatching and receiving all correspondence through the Adjutant General's Office had several drawbacks, the most important of which was that the office did not act fast enough. As a result, War Department agencies tended either to bypass the Adjutant General's Office entirely or act on the basis of informal notification which the Adjutant General's Office would later formally corroborate.39 The decisions of the General Staff and the headquarters of the three major zone of interior commands built up their own unique records collections, referring to The Adjutant General only matters of routine or obsolete files for permanent record.
The problem of handling the message correspondence with overseas commands was particularly acute.40 The War Department acted to improve the system in general as part of the March reorganization. On 1 April 1942 the War Department Classified Message Center (WDCMC) was set up. The sole responsibility of the new agency, directly under the Secretary of the General Staff, was the prompt receipt, distribution, and dispatch of classified messages. It established a single numbering system for all messages entering and all messages leaving the War Department. It made distribution of messages received from the field and dispatched messages prepared by the General Staff and the three major commands.41 From 1 April 1942, all the classified messages which came into the War Department were filed serially by number (CM-IN series, with a new series beginning each month). All those dispatched by the War Department were filed serially by number (CM-OUT series, with a new series beginning each month). The numbers were assigned in chronological order so the file
could be consulted either by date or number.42
OPD's message center, working in close liaison with the War Department Classified Message Center (messages were dispatched and received by pneumatic tube), was able to work much more efficiently under the new system. The OPD message center continued to receive incoming messages, sent to OPD either for action or information, distribute them to the proper sections of OPD, dispatch outgoing messages, and keep the Division's own serial file of messages for ready reference. The pace of work in the message center was fast and steady. Twenty-four-hour service was essential, and prompt and accurate handling of messages was demanded by the executive office and the theater sections, which received most of the messages requiring OPD action. During the first six months of operation of the new message system OPD handled, though it did not necessarily take staff action on, almost half of all the messages received or sent by the War Department.43 Approximately three fourths were incoming messages, and one fourth outgoing. Normally about one fifth of the messages handled by the OPD message center required (in the case of incoming) or represented (in the case of outgoing) action by OPD.44
The official OPD records were maintained separately from the message files, although duplicate copies of messages were often inserted in the files and appropriate references were inserted in the records files whenever a message was part of the formal action relevant to a case recorded in the OPD files. The OPD record room file, started fresh on the War Department decimal system as of 1 March 1942, contained nearly all the official papers of the Division.45 Outside it were the message file (in the message center), formal joint and combined papers (kept in Strategy & Policy Group), and the random collection of papers and Limited Distribution messages which were particularly important or which had to be kept particularly secure. The last collection continued to be kept in the executive office for the use of the Division chief and Colonel Gailey.46
The personnel in OPD expanded with the steadily increasing weight of World War II duties both in connection with strategic planning and with the direction of operations in the theaters. To bring the officers on duty to something like the number allotted in the reorganization and to help with the new duties incumbent on OPD, General Eisenhower selected 25 officers (15 from the Air Corps and 10 from GHQ) for addition to the Division "as a result of the new organization."47 These officers (only one of General Eisenhower's list was not assigned) formally joined 10 March 1942, although some had been on duty a few days earlier.
Early in May the Division requested new officers again, citing as reasons the loss of a number of experienced officers, the necessity of having several key men always on "orientation and inspection trips to their respective theaters," the need to have
officers on 24-hour duty in sections controlling active theaters, and the detail of several officers to work on the Canadian, Mexican, and Brazilian Defense Boards. Accordingly, as of 23 May 1942, OPD's allotment of officers was raised to a total of 157, exclusive of the 5 general officers then on duty in the Division. This strength proved to be a stable personnel ceiling for OPD for many months. On 23 June 1942, the official end date of General Eisenhower's incumbency as Assistant Chief of Staff, 140 officers were on duty in OPD. Personnel to fill the additional spaces were either under orders or had been requested for assignment.48
The clerical and stenographic assistance necessary for the dispatch of OPD's rapidly expanding operational correspondence required increases in the staff rendering this assistance roughly proportionate to increases in officer strength. Between February and June the number of civilian employees, clerks, and stenographers rose from about 85 to about 115.49 This comparatively modest expansion of the civilian staff was far from being the whole story. Concurrently OPD added to its roster an enlisted detachment, considered appropriate for service in the Chief of Staff's command post despite the fact that the War Department General Staff never before had used the services of enlisted men. At the end of March 1942 the War Department activated the "Headquarters Detachment, GHQ, "Washington, D. C., with a strength of between 100 and 150.50 This increase brought the clerical and stenographic staff, enlisted and civilian, to a little less than twice the size of the staff of commissioned officers, a ratio which proved adequate to the performance of Division duties.
The New Planning ProcessThe primary task of the Strategy & Policy Group in OPD was planning for the Army and representing the Army in the staff work which co-ordinated Army strategic ideas with those of other military agencies of the United States and the United Nations. The work of WPD in the same field had built up a strategic heritage of planning for S&P and in fact provided many of the experienced planners who carried on as what General Hull once called the "brain trust" of the Army.51 Working in close proximity to theater section officers whose tasks concerned the immediate operational problems in the theaters of operations, the planners were able to base their plans on an up-to-date appraisal of theater needs in the light of Army-wide resources. At the same time the planners gave the operational control officers the framework of strategic assumptions required for building and readjusting the strength of the various overseas forces. Especially valuable was reliable information about the strategy being evolved in joint and combined deliberations, in which S&P offices participated. Thus S&P contributed
the general strategic information which, supplemented by precise operational information, gave OPD as a division an unequalled fund of knowledge about strategy and operations.
The chief of S&P, in addition to occupying one of the top positions of responsibility in OPD, acted as the Army planner on the main American and British-American strategic planning committees. The channel between the chief of S&P and the Chief of Staff on JCS and CCS matters was direct and unobstructed. The group ordinarily drafted notes, with recommendations, on every staff paper introduced in the joint and combined committees. On proposed actions involving a memorandum from the Chief of Staff for the JCS, the chief of S&P discussed the notes with the chief of OPD if he thought the matter important enough, and in any case dispatched them directly to the Chief of Staff's office. Copies were filed, with the pertinent papers, in the S&P record room and copies furnished the executive officer. On JCS and CCS papers to be taken up at formal meetings, the chief of S&P always briefed the chief of OPD and then went with him to brief the Chief of Staff orally, usually at the same time that the Air planner briefed General Arnold. Both OPD officers normally accompanied General Marshall, General Arnold, and the Air planner to JCS and CCS meetings.52
Besides the Army planner, several other officers from S&P worked in the joint and combined committee system throughout the war. They served as members of the Joint U. S. Strategic Committee, later known as the Joint War Plans Committee. In this capacity they took part in the detailed, preliminary discussion of a great many matters which had been referred by the JCS to the JPS, and helped to prepare drafts of papers for consideration by the JPS and—if approved by the JPS—on a higher level.53 Studying future plans in administrative and intellectual proximity with the Strategy Section and the Combined Subjects (later renamed Policy) Section of S&P, the OPD officers working in the joint system were well qualified to represent the point of view of the Army on strategy, and they consulted frequently with their colleagues in S&P on the extent to which this point of view ought or had to be shifted in the interests of interservice compromise and adjusted to the demands of coalition warfare.
Thus, under the Army planner was a section (Strategy) for drafting strategic studies and reviewing joint and combined papers on strategy. There was also a section (Combined Subjects) for drafting and reviewing joint and combined policy proposals, initiating Army action designed to carry out joint and combined decisions, and following up to see that instructions had been received and understood. Finally, there was a full-time working committee (Army section of the JUSSC and, later, the JWPC) to draft joint plans and studies in collaboration with planners from the Navy and the Army Air Forces.
Thus, as far as the Army was concerned, there were two parallel chains of Administrative responsibility involving the same individual officers, one running from the working-level joint strategy planners through the JPS to the JCS, the other running from the working level in S&P, through the chief of S&P (and the chief of
OPD) to the Chief of Staff. The key position of the Army planner in both chains contributed greatly to the efficient co-ordination of Army planning. 54 The anonymity with which joint planning was carried on made it more and more difficult as the war went on to tell when a strategic idea stopped being merely an Army idea and started being a joint policy. In any case, the affinity of thought between OPD (S&P) and the Army's strategic planners in the joint committee system was usually pronounced, and it was OPD's policy to foster as close a relationship as possible.
The New Theater Orientation
The work of the Theater Group was usually more prosaic than that of the S&P planners, more voluminous, and more detailed. Nevertheless, the Theater Group chief was on a level with the S&P chief, and, like him, was responsible to the OPD chief for consistent, enlightened decisions reflecting both OPD's strategic and operational responsibilities. Thus, while the theater sections were positively oriented toward getting the resources their theaters needed, they operated in a framework that made their work realistic and amenable to the superior reasoning of strategic and logistic necessity. The close, day-to-day contact between officers working on strategic plans and officers performing the function of theater control meant that both tasks could be accomplished in harmony and could be performed on the basis of accurate information and realistic estimates of both strategic and operational situations. In the last analysis, it was always the Theater Group's control of deployment of troop units, the central core of all its work, that made strategic decisions binding on the theaters of operations.
The comprehensive scope of OPD's interest in Army activities affecting overseas theaters required Theater Group officers to work long and hard on the "pick and shovel" work prerequisite to solving operational problems arising in the theaters. A vast amount of legwork and informal telephonic co-ordination lay behind nearly all completed actions. It was the activities of these Theater Group officers, canvassing every agency of the War Department in the interests of their respective theaters, that earned for OPD the reputation of a super-general staff. Officers elsewhere in the War Department, whether willingly or reluctantly, came to realize that a lieutenant colonel in a theater section of OPD, using the lever of operational necessity and the special strategic information available only in OPD, could reach a decision which, assuming it was plausible enough to stand scrutiny by his superiors in OPD, was binding on the theater concerned, indirectly on all other theaters, on the three major zone of interior commands, and on the rest of the General Staff.
The Theater Group, as the staff agency for exercising the Chief of Staff's command function in each operational theater, had to maintain close working relationship with nearly every Army agency. Whereas other War Department agencies were responsible for individual or specially related Army activities, the Theater Group was responsible for the ultimate purpose of the whole activity—military operations. Its decisions prevailed in most cases of controversy. The Theater Group officers carried theater requests through with a minimum of conflict because, first, they had better sources of
strategic and operational information, and second, they worked in constant and intimate relationship with the staffs of other Army agencies, particularly with the General Staff and the three major zone of interior commands.
Since OPD's Theater Group was responsible for supporting the commanding officers in theaters of operations, securing for them whatever kind of assistance they needed, its business proved to be everybody's business. For example, though not responsible for personnel policy or personnel assignment, matters which were handled by G-1 and the personnel division of Services of Supply, OPD issued instructions that all movements of individual officers to and from overseas garrisons had to be cleared, at least informally, with the OPD theater sections concerned if they involved: " (1) Officers in the grade of colonel and above. (2) Officers on special missions. (3) Officers relieved from or assigned to the General Staff Corps. (4) Officers below the grade of colonel who will relinquish command or who will assume command of separate posts, camps, detachments or special forces." 55 Generally comparable was the Theater Group's work in the special field of supply, normally the affair of G-4 and the Services of Supply. OPD theater sections followed closely the elaboration of supply and equipment programs, just as it followed G-3's work with troop unit organization, and monitored actual troop movements by Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply. Liaison with G-2 was naturally more one-sided, with the Theater Group drawing on G-2 for information concerning enemy order of battle, terrain studies, and "conditions in Theater other than strictly military." Through informal liaison, OPD theater sections also tried to let G-2 know what it "might be expected to furnish in the future" in order to plan work accordingly.56
As an officer who worked in the Theater Group for three years pointed out, the group's problems were as broad as those of a normal general staff, time was pressing, and the premium was on immediate results:
The problems of the separate sections were, generally speaking, divided into the staff categories, G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4. General Staff problems assigned to the various sections were solved by the officers in close liaison with all agencies of the War Department. They often worked under pressure against time. During early periods of the war, many actions were taken without prior precedent in the War Department. One of the foremost requirements seemed to be, "get a sound, workable solution" and apply the lessons learned in meeting subsequent problems of a like nature. Careful liaison was always maintained with overseas commanders in the interests of solving both current and future problems. 57
In all of its work with the rest of the General Staff and the zone of interior commands, the Theater Group took the attitude that the theater commanders had to be given the resources they needed to carry out their missions or if that was impossible, advised fully why their needs could not be met. General Marshall himself was insistent on
this point.58 One of the clearest indications of the systematic way in which OPD from the very beginning proposed to carry out its obligations to the theater commanders was the institution of the Ten-Day Summary in May 1942. By successive issue of this series throughout the war the theater sections reported regularly to their respective theater commanders the current status of War Department action on requests made by the theaters and current issues affecting them. 59 Through this kind of close relationship with all kinds of operational problems in the field, the Theater Group became the Washington headquarters of each theater commander. It was primarily responsible, on behalf of OPD and the Chief of Staff, for conveying to theater commanders the feeling, as one of them expressed it to General Marshall in a letter of appreciation for OPD's services, "that the utmost consideration was given to all recommendations submitted . . . and that the maximum assistance possible, consistent with other commitments of the War Department, would be rendered. . . ."60
Basic Administrative Practices
The chief of OPD of course could not follow in detail all the actions taken every day by each officer in his Division. Just as General Marshall delegated heavy responsibilities to him, the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, delegated his responsibilities as much as possible to his staff officers. He signed only the most important papers, permitting his group and section chiefs to issue them in his name if they fell within the area of responsibility assigned to them. The executive officer was permitted to sign routine correspondence not falling within the province of any particular group or section.61 This delegation of authority was one of the basic procedures adopted by General Eisenhower and his successors in order to get the Division's work done.
As a result, the formal written concurrence virtually went by the board, and the staff co-ordination system was developed to a high pitch of efficiency. The individual action officer customarily bypassed the official lines of authority and instead informally consulted officers in other sections of OPD or in other agencies. He advised them of his proposed solution to the problem under consideration, that is, the action he thought OPD should take. On this informal basis criticisms and counter-recommendations could be freely and quickly exchanged. If the officers consulted gave their personal opinion that the action finally agreed on was satisfactory, the matter was said to have been co-ordinated with them. Their superior officers in positions of authority were not committed by a formal concurrence, but an opportunity had been provided for a special point of view to be brought to bear on the problem, serious oversights to be noted, and fresh ideas suggested.
By following this procedure OPD officers undoubtedly made some mistakes that could have been avoided in the course of the formal consideration that would have followed had the Assistant Chief of Staff,
OPD, sought written concurrences from the heads of all the agencies concerned. But decisions thus made often would have come too late to have any effect whatever, a consequence usually more disastrous than a wrong decision. By the procedure actually employed OPD gained the benefit of the knowledge and reflections of the rest of the War Department on staff actions and yet maintained the speed essential to most of OPD's work on behalf of the theaters of operations.62
This technique was all the more important because of the scope of OPD's duties. In almost every case up for action, some other War Department agency had a legitimate interest. In many cases the co-ordination was extensive. For example, in June 1942 the Division chief characteristically instructed his senior planner: "We will have to prepare an answer for the Chief of Staff's signature. You will have to consult the Theater Group and the Army Air Forces. On reduction of unescorted ship movements the SOS will have something to say." 63
This co-ordination, especially important for tapping the special knowledge of officers in other agencies, also made it possible to tap the unique collection of information available in the various sections of OPD. Although OPD officers were encouraged to establish "informal direct contact with officers in other sections or groups for the purpose of exchanging information or securing informal concurrences," a formal administrative channel for routing papers between groups in OPD was evolved in order that the location and handling of papers might be made a matter of record.64 The action papers in OPD indicate the care usually taken by OPD officers in referring cases widely within the Division.
At the same time OPD never lost sight of the prime purpose of the co-ordination system, prompt arrival at a reasonable solution by the action officer who had been assigned a case. The spirit in which the Division worked from the beginning was exemplified in a note passed along by order of Colonel Harrison, an experienced plans officer, in sending an official memorandum for dispatch by General Crawford, Division deputy chief. Colonel Harrison left word that the "need for speed and the purely factual nature of the study prompted him to by-pass Gen. Handy," then chief of S&P.65
All this decentralization and emphasis on speed reflected the fact that OPD officers lived in the atmosphere of a real command post in the field. Overseas operations could not wait. General Marshall would not wait. Staff actions initiated in the Office of the Chief of Staff received priority treatment and were sent back for General Marshall's signature within twenty-four hours if any way possible.66 It was reported at a General Council meeting in 1942: "Last week a letter was sent to the Operations Division for draft of reply for signature of the Chief of Staff. At the time the Chief was out
of the office. When he returned in about an hour the draft of the reply was on its way. This is the ultimate to be desired."67
Despite the great emphasis which each Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, put on decentralization of authority, he kept in intimate contact with the day-to-day work of the Division. He was able to become familiar with the main themes of the development of strategic plans and policies by frequent conferences with the chief of S&P and by attendance at the JCS and the CCS meetings. The diversified detailed work of the Theater Group was more difficult to follow. In order to keep the Division chief thoroughly informed in this field as well as aware of more miscellaneous issues being considered by the other groups of OPD, the Morning Meetings were instituted.
Daily the Division chief received a comprehensive report on current operations in the theaters. The theater sections of the Theater Group each had an officer select significant information from all messages and reports received from the field every day. Maps were prepared which outlined the situation in the various theaters. At 0800 the group chiefs, section chiefs, and officers designated to present the reports assembled in the office of the executive officer and proceeded to the office of the chief of OPD. For a period of about an hour the sections presented the operational situation in their respective theaters as of the previous twenty-four hours. In addition to covering the operational movements and location of units in the battle areas, the officers reported on the arrival and departure of troops, the enemy situation as known, and changes in command. Immediately after the presentation by the sections, group and section chiefs noted any special matters of interest in their current work. On the basis of this meeting the chief of OPD proceeded, with a summary report of the same kind, to the morning meeting of the Chief of Staff.68 These meetings in General Marshall's office were originally private sessions attended only by the chiefs of OPD and G-2. Gradually they developed into more formal occasions attended by the commanding generals of the three major zone of interior commands, but presentations of information continued to come only from OPD and G-2. At this point the staff occupations of the chief of OPD were placed before General Marshall and his principal War Department subordinates. This procedure insured that the Chief of Staff was well informed about Army plans and operations, and it was one of the ways that the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, kept in close touch with General Marshall's major policy objectives.69
A device by which the Chief of Staff kept in touch not only with the Washington side of theater operations but also with conditions in the theaters themselves, was the continuous dispatch of OPD officers to the field. The successive chiefs of the Division themselves all took trips into the field for the Chief of Staff, beginning with an exploratory visit to the United Kingdom by General
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Last updated 19 October 2004