WASHINGTON COMMAND POST: THE OPERATIONS DIVISION. By Ray S. Cline. (1951, 1985, 1990; 413 pages, 4 charts, 4 illustrations, 2 appendixes, bibliographical note, glossaries, index, CMH Pub 1-2.)

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This is the history of the agency through which General George C. Marshall exercised his paramount authority over the Army's activities, at home and overseas, from 9 March 1942 to the end of the war. From the Operations Division (OPD) he staffed his relations with the Navy and with other authorities, national and international. The Operations Division was also the source within the War Department on which General Marshall, both as the Army Chief of Staff and as a member of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff, relied for advice and assistance in matters of strategy.

OPD, originally called War Plans Division (WPD), was a division of the General Staff, added to the "Gs" in 1921. The reorganization of the War Department in March 1942 pushed other divisions-G-1, G-3, and G-4- back into a position, then orthodox, that has been described as "thinking about military activities without participating in them." Moving at the same time in the opposite direction, that reorganization converted WPD into a central command post, with the operative functions of a field headquarters. OPD, a whole staff in itself, coordinated the other General Staff divisions, the three continental commands (Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces), and the Army commands overseas, including the great theaters of operations. OPD prepared General Marshall's orders to overseas commands and represented their views and needs to him. It became in effect his global command post. Through OPD he projected the strategic and operational views of the Army and its requirements in manpower and materiel across the whole field of wartime activities.

OPD was, in short, the organizational solution applied to the knottiest problem of high command, reconciling the requirements of administrative and operational decentralization with the necessity for effective supervision and unified control of worldwide operations. The present volume is an "institutional biography" of this agency, on which General Marshall relied heavily to give effect to his authority as supreme Army commander. Its origins, problems, conflicts, organization, personnel, development, and effectiveness and the methods and influence of its successive chiefs (Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lt. Gen. Thomas T. Handy, and Lt. Gen. John E. Hull) and their principal assistants can here be studied in detail.

The light this study throws on the relations of staff assistance and command gives it a special value for officers preparing for General Staff duty. The precedents it presents and the analogies it suggests make it invaluable as an aid in the recurrent search for effective organization at the center of national military authority.

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