Appendix D

ASF Relations With WPB

12 March 1942

TO: Officers and Employees:
Services of Supply and Material Command of the Army Air Forces, War Department, and War Production Board.

FROM: Chairman, War Production Board; Under Secretary of War. 

SUBJECT: Relationships Between the War Production Board and the War Department.


1. The following statement is made for the purpose of facilitating the effort now in process to perfect the governing relationships between the War Production Board and the War Department in effectuating the war supply program.

2. The Chairman of the War Production Board is charged with the duty and given the power to "exercise general direction over the war procurement and production program," to "determine the policies, plans, procedures, and methods of the several Federal departments, establishments, and agencies in respect to war procurement and production, including purchasing, contracting, specifications, and construction; and including conversion, requestioning, plant expansion and the financing thereof; and issue such directives in respect thereto as he may deem necessary or appropriate;" to organize and direct the mobilization of industry and to maintain a civilian economy consistent with war necessity.

3. The war supply organizations should be viewed by all participants as a single integrated system operating under the general direction of the Chairman of the War Production Board in a unified effort to win the war and not as a- group of autonomous or semiautonomous organizations acting in mere liaison with one another.

4. Although the immediate responsibility, initiative, and decision for a particular function is placed in one part of the organization, the assistance of the other parts is expected and directed.


5. In broad terms, the War Production Board gives general direction and supervision to the war supply system, formulates broad policies with respect to that system, makes the basic decisions on the allocation of resources to the various parts of the supply system in accordance with strategic directives and plans, makes provision for materials, services, tools, and facilities needed for the military effort and the civilian economy, and organizes industry for war production. Therefore, specifically, the War Production Board will-


a. Co-operate with the War Department in the formulation and review of supply programs, and in the light of military needs as expressed by the War Department, deter. mine the resources that will be applied to war production and to the civilian economy consistent with war necessity and aid the War Department in adjusting its programs to such determinations.

b. Supervise the over-all utilization of the economic resources of the nation.

c. Develop raw material sources and increase production of raw materials.

d. Develop services, including transportation, power and communications.

e. Stock pile materials and certain end products for which a future shortage is indicated.

f. Expedite the production of raw materials, machine tools and industrial supplies and also expedite production of other items where effective expediting by the War Department cannot be carried on without conflict with other agencies.

g. Eliminate by curtailment, conservation, and otherwise less essential uses of materials, facilities, services, and manpower essential to ,the accomplishment of the munitions program.

h. Expand available skilled manpower for war production through training, transfer from nonessential activities, and reduction in the loss of man-hours through stoppages resulting from all causes.

i. Direct the provision of facilities needed to produce raw materials, equipment, tools, and services.

j. Determine the plants or industries which should be converted to the production of supply for the War Department and assist the War Department in such conversion.

k. Assure preservation and production of the necessary facilities auxiliary to the production and distribution of military supply.

1. Enlist the participation of industry by organizing industry committees, by promoting cooperation between industrial units and by securing from the Department of justice clearance for such co-operative action.

m. Assure the maintenance of a virile civilian economy consistent with war necessity.

n. Distribute the available supply of materials and equipment by priorities, allocations, and otherwise, with particular reference to apportioning in a major way of scarce materials between principal users. (Much of the detail assignment of ratings will continue to be made by the Army and Navy Munitions Board operating under policies and procedures approved by the Chairman of the War Production Board.)

o. Adjudicate and make decisions on matters pertaining to priorities, allocations, requisitioning, and to placement of orders in existing facilities, as between the military and other needs.


6. In broad terms, the War Department, through the Services of Supply and the Mat6riel Command of the Army Air Forces, in accordance and compliance with the policies and directives of the War Production Board, carries on its supply functions of research, design, development, programming, purchase, production, storage, distribution, issue, maintenance, and salvage. Therefore, specifically, the War Department will

a. Determine military needs and compile requirements for supplies, new facilities, transportation, and communication as to quantity, types, and time, and translate these into requirements for resources, including raw materials, tools, and labor, and keep the War Production Board continually informed of these requirements.


b. Receive from the War Production Board descriptions of plans or industries available for conversion, and convert these with the assistance and under the direction of the War Production Board.

c. Purchase, including the negotiation, placement and administration of contracts.

d. Produce, including preparation of schedules, inspection and acceptance of product, issuance of shipping instructions, and distribution (including arrangements for storage, receipt, issue, inspection of use, transportation, and maintenance).

e. Expedite production in facilities producing finished items, parts, components, and subassemblies where there is no conflict with other agencies.

f. Construct and expand plants for production of finished items.

g. Conduct research and development and set specifications.

h. Conserve materials, facilities, and manpower used in war supply by substitution of more available materials in place of scarcer materials by elimination, by development, by simplification, and by standardization of types of equipment and supplies. (While equipment and supplies must have the essential military characteristics, their specifications should also be such as to permit rapid mass production. On the other hand, ease of production should not entirely control design of articles. Moreover, the real necessity for military characteristics must be constantly challenged and reanalyzed with reference to the practical life of the product.)


7. Relationships will include frequent contacts by the Chairman of the War Production Board, the Under Secretary of War, the Director of Production of the War Department, the Commanding General of the Services of Supply, the general in charge of the Mat6riel Command of the Army Air Forces, and their key subordinates; directives issued by the War Production Board; membership on the War Production Board; the Army and Navy Munitions Board; representatives on committees and units; and constant co-operation between the Chief of the Control Division of the Services of Supply and the Office of the Chairman of the War Production Board for the purpose of continuous survey of working relationships between the two agencies.

8. Members of both organizations are alike engaged in the mission of obtaining maximum balanced supply in the most expeditious manner possible. Obstacles to this end must and will be removed. One such obstacle is an organizational practice known as "layering." This means that a subordinate charged with a task in one organization or subdivision thereof must go up through the layers of his superiors, across from the top of his agency to the top of the other agency and then down through the layers of the other organization to the subordinate responsible for decision or other action. Such action may then have to go back through the layers again.

9. From this time forward there is to be no layering within or between the War Production Board and the War Department. Any officer of either agency is not only free, but is hereby directed to make direct contact with his opposite or any person from whom he needs advice, assistance, or decision by personal interview, telephone, or written communication. Wherever possible, missions should be accomplished first and thereafter may be confirmed, where necessary for routine, "through channels." Personal interview or telephone communication is to be


used in preference to written communications in handling urgent matters.

10. Finally, the war supply system shall be operated in accordance with the basic principle of effective organization that immediate responsibility, authority, and scope for initiative shall be placed as far down in the operating organizations and as close to the

actual doing of the various procurement tasks as possible.

[s]   D. M. Nelson
             D. M. NELSON
Chairman, War Production Board

[s]   Robert P. Patterson

Under Secretary of War


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