The New Army Command Post

The 9 March 1942 reorganization of the Army officially constituted the War Plans Division, formally redesignated the Operations Division on 23 March,1 as General Marshall's staff for planning and for directing the execution of military operations. In exercising the Chief of Staff's authority for the conduct of Army activities in the theaters of operations, OPD was the Washington command post of the U. S. Army. Even within the Army, the implications of this new organization were fully understood by very few officers at the time it was undertaken. In their public explanation of the nature of the reorganization, General McNarney and his fellow committeemen had not dwelt on the special status to be occupied by OPD, but had emphasized instead the simplification of the command structure and the reinforcement, for the other General Staff divisions, of the traditional barrier between planning and operating. By not drawing attention to the consequences of giving to a single division of the General Staff all the functions of a command post staff in the field, General McNarney undoubtedly avoided a great deal of controversy as to the theoretical propriety of this aspect of the reorganization. The administrative rearrangements pursuant to War Department Circular 59 nevertheless insured that OPD's staff authority would be unique and that, abandoning the ambiguity of the traditional term "supervise," OPD would direct military operations insofar as necessary to carry out the orders of the Chief of Staff. During the tenure of General Eisenhower as Division chief (16 February-23 June 1942), the powers, duties, and organization of OPD were elaborated in a way that enabled the staff to meet the heavy demands made of it by General Marshall.

It was in recognition of the power centralized in the Division that General Marshall changed its name. At his suggestion a conference was held by General Eisenhower with his senior officers. The following conclusions were reached:

The name should, as nearly as possible, be indicative of the purpose of the office, that is, planning and operating. Effort was made to avoid laborious or hyphenated names. It was considered that the word "Command" included in the name of the office would be more nearly descriptive than any other of the functions you exercise through this office, since command implies not only planning and execution, but also responsibility for co-ordination with co-equals; i. e., the Navy, British, etc.

Many miscellaneous functions devolve upon this Division such as participation, for the War Department, in matters involving psychological warfare, economic warfare, allocation of material, State Department activity and etc. All of these involve phases of your responsibility as the Commander.


The word "headquarters" was believed more applicable than "group", "division", "post", etc.

Consequently the term
a. "Command Headquarters" was selected as first choice. Others in order of preference were:
b. General Headquarters (GHQ). (2nd choice)
c. Command Group
d. Combat Headquarters 2

There is no evidence that the Chief of Staff took exception to this emphasis on the "command" function, but he selected a name which indicated the single orientation which he expected his command post staff to give to all Army activities: "Operations." Working on the same principle General Marshall a few days later, in recommending General Eisenhower and his two principal group chiefs for promotion, avoided any reference to formal administrative positions on the General Staff. Instead he stated they were "involved with orderly organization for the control . . . of theaters of operations" and listed them as: Brig. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Chief of Operations for the United States Army, performing functions formerly assigned to General Headquarters; Colonel Thomas T. Handy, Field Artillery, Deputy Chief of Operations, United States Army, for the ground forces; Colonel St. Clair Streett, Air Corps, Deputy Chief of Operations, United States Army, for the air forces.3

Functions of the Operations Division

War Department Circular 59 stated that "War Plans Division . . . is charged . . . with those duties of the War Department General Staff relating to the formulation of plans and the strategic direction of the military forces in the theater of war." To make these duties feasible, it specifically provided that "Commanding Generals, Army Air Forces, Army Ground Forces, and Services of Supply will, as soon as practicable after receipt, furnish War Plans Division, War Department General Staff, with a copy of all messages received by them from services outside the continental limits of the United States pertaining to current or projected combat operations. . . ." The functions granted to OPD meant that its planning and strategic direction of field operations were to dominate the World War II effort of the Army, since in wartime all activities were to be directed toward the development and operational employment of a "well-balanced and efficient military team." 4

The extent of OPD's staff prerogatives and the intimate connection between its authority and that of the Chief of Staff was most explicitly indicated in a memorandum prepared in OPD and approved by the Deputy Chief of Staff, General McNarney, about three months after the reorganization. The tightly knit argument in this memorandum moved from two main premises, first, that the Chief of Staff had full power to issue or change "orders relating to strategy, tactics, or operations," and second, that OPD was the Chief of Staff's agency through which "orders relating to strategy, tactics, and operations will be issued." The fact was brought out that the OPD chief


referred only broad phases of plans or changes in plans to the Chief of Staff for approval by the President, while he could issue instructions in the name of the Chief of Staff "on matters to implement already approved plans or changes relating to strategy, tactics, and operations." Moreover, the memorandum indicated that in fact OPD group or section chiefs might sign the actual authentication of such orders, which would then have the full force of the authority of the Chief of Staff and the President:

Pursuant to your verbal request, the views of the Operations Division, with reference to the subject matter, are discussed below:

I. a. Broadly speaking, the Commander-in-Chief [the President] is responsible for plans relating to strategy, tactics, and operations. The Chief of Staff of the Army is the Commander-in-Chief's "Executive", for issuing or changing orders relating to strategy, tactics, or operations.

b. The Operations Division, WDGS, is considered the "Command Post" of the Chief of Staff and his agency through which orders relating to strategy, tactics, and operations will be issued.

Plans or changes in plans, concerning the broad phases of strategy, tactics, and operations for which directives are desired, are presented to the Chief of Staff. After approval by the Chief of Staff, these directives are issued by direction of the Commander-in-Chief. It is believed that, in the interests of consistency, these directives should have the name and title of the Chief of Staff typed in. The "formal" directives are authenticated by the Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations Division, and are sent to The Adjutant General for reproduction and distribution. These directives go to The Adjutant General by a covering memorandum with the name and title of the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, typed in, and may be authenticated by a Group or Section Chief of the Operations Division.

c. The Chief of Staff, by virtue of his own office, has authority to direct any necessary action to implement already approved plans for strategy, tactics, and operations, including changes thereto.

d. In furtherance of c, above, and under paragraph 3 A, OCS memorandum of March 8, 1942, the Chief of Staff has authorized the Deputy Chief of Staff, and the Assistant Chiefs of Staff, on matters under their supervision, to issue instructions in the name of the Chief of Staff.

e. Therefore, under d, above, the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, may issue instructions, in the name of the Chief of Staff, on matters to implement already approved plans or changes relating to strategy, tactics, and operations. This would include troop movement; telegrams on operations, or strategy, to various theaters of operations; tactical changes in boundaries; activation of already constituted units, etc.5

The relative importance of OPD among the divisions of the General Staff after the reorganization was indicated by the allotment of personnel. From WPD's strength of 54 officers, as of 31 December 1941, the Division had increased to a total of 85 officers by 9 March 1942. Since more than 20 officers from the Air Corps and GHQ were assigned to the new command post pursuant to the reorganization, General Eisenhower received an initial allotment of 100 officers, including 3 brigadier generals, 22 colonels, 37 lieutenant colonels, and 31 majors. General Eisenhower noted that the higher ratio of colonels in the Strategy & Policy Group (S&P) was only "commensurate" with the "highly important duties" of "strategic planning, Joint and Combined" which made S&P the "co-ordinating agency with the Navy and the United Nations." When


new allotments were made on 1 April 1942, OPD received 107 positions in all, a figure in sharp contrast to the strengths allotted to G-1, 13 officers; G-2, 16 officers; G-3, 14 officers; and G-4, 12 officers. Before the reorganization (as of 1 March), General Staff strengths had been: G-1, 62 officers; G-3, 81 officers; G-4, 174 officers; and WPD, 80 officers.6

After four months' trial, the War Department issued revised permanent Army Regulations which described the reorganization as it had come into being during March, April, May, and June. These Army Regulations, 10-15 dated 13 July 1942, adopted the language concerning the Chief of Staff's position which President Roosevelt had asked Secretary Stimson to write in the executive order authorizing the reorganization. They read: "The Chief of Staff is the executive through whom the President of the United States, as Commander-in-Chief, exercises his functions in relation to strategy, tactics, and operations." In addition, they provided: "The Chief of Staff is the immediate adviser of the Secretary of War and is charged by him with the planning, development, and execution of the military program." Finally, they provided: "The Chief of Staff exercises general supervision over the Army of the United States and the Military Establishment necessary thereto." 7

This unequivocal grant of broad power over the whole Army and Military Establishment placed the Chief of Staff on the pinnacle toward which the successive incumbents of that office had been moving steadily since 1921. Inevitably, the power of the General Staff through which the Chief of Staff fulfilled this vast responsibility also increased. The 1942 regulations stated:

The War Department General Staff, under the direction of the Chief of Staff, plans and coordinates the development of the Army and assists the Chief of Staff in the direction of the field operations of the Army of the United States. It is specially charged with providing such broad basic plans and policies as will enable the Commanding Generals of the Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, Services of Supply, defense commands, task forces, and theaters of operation to prepare and execute detailed programs. The War Department General Staff supervises the execution of these detailed programs. In so doing, it does not engage in administrative duties or in operations for the performance of which an agency exists.

The grant of responsibilities to the General Staff taken in conjunction with the authorization for Assistant Chiefs of Staff, "on matters under their supervision, to issue instructions in the name of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff," was clearly as broad as the power of the Chief of Staff. In practice it resulted in a tremendous part of that power being vested in OPD. The traditional restraining clause on the General Staff—the injunction against engaging in "administrative duties or in operations for the performance of which an agency


exists"—applied to OPD in a way quite different from that in which it applied to the other General Staff Divisions. The three major commands, Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply, were agencies for performing all administrative and operative duties in the zone of interior concerning personnel handling, mobilization, organization of units, training, equipment of forces, and service functions designed to deliver troops and supplies to the theaters of operations in an orderly fashion. Thus, G-1, G-3, and G-4 could only develop general policies applicable to all three commands, and in some cases to the theaters of operations. On the other hand, there was no Army agency below the General Staff for devising strategic plans and directives, transmitting them to the theaters of operations, and issuing supplementary instructions to all Army commands—either in the zone of interior or in the theaters of operations—to insure that military operations could and would proceed as planned and directed. These comprehensive duties were performed by OPD itself. OPD was necessarily an operating agency. Monitoring reports from the field and systematically checking them for indication that strategic directions were being followed was the heart of its method of operations control.

This situation was clearly revealed in the assignment of duties among the General Staff Divisions. G-1 was charged with "duties . . . which relate to the personnel of the Army as individuals"; G-3 with "duties . . . which relate to the mobilization, training, and organization of the military forces," and G-4 with "duties . . . which relate to the supply of the Army." G-2, a service staff performing a special function for the Army, was charged with "duties . . . which relate to the collection, evaluation, and dissemination of military information." In contrast to these narrowly delimited functional duties of the rest of the General Staff, OPD's assignment of responsibility stated: "The Operations Division is charged, in general, with those duties of the War Department General Staff which relate to formulation of plans and strategic direction of the military forces in the theater of war. In time of peace, it is charged with the preparation and supervision of war and mobilization plans. In time of war, it constitutes the command post for the strategic direction of the armed forces in the various theaters of operations" As if this broad sphere of responsibility were not clear enough to enable OPD to exercise its influence in any Army activity which affected operations, the Division was also "specifically charged with the preparation of plans and policies and supervision of activities" concerning the "strategic employment of the Army of the United States." 8

Staff Procedure after the Reorganization

One of the primary purposes of the March reorganization was to lighten the burden of the Chief of Staff by giving greater discretionary powers to the chiefs of the General Staff Divisions as well as to the commanding generals of the new major zone of interior commands. At one of the


first meetings of the War Department General Council, on 17 March 1942, General McNarney clearly stated the principle that a considerable degree of delegated authority now rested with the Assistant Chiefs of Staff:

The purpose of the reorganization is to decentralize, giving officers in charge of activities greater powers of decision and responsibility in matters under their control. This principle, on the War Department General Staff level, means that the Assistant Chiefs of Staff will make the decisions on problems under their jurisdiction, and announce the decision. . . . This directive to take action on problems under your jurisdiction is a pretty broad statement, and it will probably take some time to work out the details so that there is understanding on the part of all concerned. The Deputy Chief of Staff indicated emphatically that the Assistant Chiefs of Staff should, if necessary, err on the side of taking final action on papers rather than to send everything up to the Office of the Chief of Staff for approval.9

In response to questioning about the "right of an Assistant Chief of Staff to change a policy that has previously been established by the Chief of Staff without referring the question to his office for approval," General McNarney indorsed the idea that it was appropriate for "an Assistant Chief of Staff to make exceptions to these policies where cases warrant it." He pointed out, however, that a "distinction should be made between exceptions granted without changing the policy and revision of policy." In reference to the latter case, the ruling stated: "On minor matters, and where there is general concurrence, the Assistant Chief of Staff may change policies and send up information copies. On major matters, General McNarney indicated that he desired to be consulted prior to their publication." 10 In elaboration of this last caveat, the Deputy Chief of Staff subsequently warned that he wanted "no policy forced on any division of the General Staff, or on any of the general commands. Where a policy will affect one of the general commands, he wants their concurrence. Where a nonconcurrence arises, the question should be brought up for the decision of the Deputy Chief of Staff." 11

With special reference to OPD, General McNarney stated that he "believed that all War Department Staff officers understand as basic staff procedure the necessity of consulting and informing the Operations Division, WDGS on matters materially affecting or relating to the strategic direction of military forces in theaters of operations." He further observed that

. . . all papers which were to be referred to the Operations Division should have all action completed by the originating office before being sent to that division. The idea is to save the Operations Division as much paper work as possible. When the paper requires a directive to be written, it should not be left up to the Operations Division to write the directive but the study should have a proposed directive attached for the approval or disapproval of the Operations Division. All staff officers should bear in mind that it is most desirable to shield the Operations Division from all diversions that would distract it from its primary job of conducting the war as the command post of the Commander-in-Chief of the Field Forces.12

At a General Council meeting in early June, General McNarney observed, "All


papers coming from the three principal commands should be addressed to the Chief of Staff through the War Department General Staff Division which has primary interest in the subject involved. It will be the duty of this War Department General Staff Division to decide if the concurrences of other War Department General Staff Divisions are necessary." 13 The sweeping nature of OPD's responsibilities insured that nearly every problem relating to theaters of operations would be referred to that Division in the first instance and that it would determine the necessity of securing concurrences.

That General Marshall intended the reorganized General Staff to act with a new speed and dispatch was clear from the administrative instructions he issued on 8 March 1942. Though the old memorandum and concurrence system was left in force, the Chief of Staff directed that it be used only as a last resort. The 8 March instructions read in part:

Staff procedure will adhere to the following:
a. Where directives do not change established policies and where they relate to activities concerning only one division of the War Department General Staff, the Assistant Chief of Staff of the responsible division will issue the directive and furnish information copies to interested divisions of the War Department General Staff including the Secretariat.
b. Where directives do not change established policies but relate to activities concerning several staff divisions, the staff division with primary interest will obtain concurrences, by conferences preferably, from the interested divisions.
   (1) If all concur, the division with primary interest will issue the directive. Copies will be sent to interested agencies.
   (2) When there are non-concurrences, the division with primary interest will refer the
conflicts to the Deputy Chief of Staff for decision.
c. Detailed staff studies will be made only when they are essential to directives initiating or changing important policies and when adequate understanding of the problem requires such a study.
d. When the facts upon which important decisions depend can be presented orally, the Assistant Chiefs of Staff or members of their division will present the matter to the Deputy Chief of Staff for decision. Whenever practicable, conferences and direct action will be utilized in lieu of written communications. All concerned are cautioned of the necessity to record and to issue information copies on actions or decisions arrived at orally.
Issuance of instructions and directives
a. The Deputy Chief of Staff, and the Assistant Chiefs of Staff are authorized, on matters under their supervision, to issue instructions in the name of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff.
b. Orders relating to strategy, tactics, and operations will be issued by order of the Commander in Chief; all others by order of the Secretary of War.14

The effect of these instructions was to permit OPD to proceed on its own initiative, issuing directives in the name of the Chief of Staff in the broad sphere of military operations. The other staff divisions had been interdicted from interference with the detailed performance of programs in which their primary interest lay. In contrast OPD had powers, duties, personnel, and facilities (that is, access to all operational messages) to follow up on compliance with its instructions. The Chief of Staff's injunction to the Assistant Chiefs of Staff to conduct their business informally and by direct action, amounted to giving OPD a clear field to take whatever steps were necessary to do its work. Moreover, as a result of the instructions


to try to settle nonconcurrences informally and orally, OPD was free to employ this rapid way of co-ordinating all General Staff work related to military operations in combat zones.

OPD's Relations with Other War Department Agencies

Whereas OPD had never claimed anything but equal status with the four "G" Divisions of the War Department General Staff, the March reorganization put OPD on a different, if not necessarily superior, plane. The working relationships that evolved revealed this changed status. G-1 worked on personnel plans and policies, as distinct from administrative details, which comprised the duty of Services of Supply (SOS). However, when personnel handling made the theater commander's task more difficult or threatened to compromise actual operations, OPD intervened. G-2 handled enemy intelligence, but the principal demand for this information came from OPD, which was able to correlate it with information about American and Allied operations. G-3 worked on plans and policies for the organization and training of units, with OPD giving guidance in the light of operational needs and handling unorthodox or critical organizational problems when they arose in the theaters of operations. The activities and responsibilities pertaining to the movement of troops and control of operations, which in a general staff on a lower echelon are vested in G-3, were completely transferred to OPD. Finally, G-4 dealt with policies concerning supply and equipment, with much of the work in this field devolving on the Services of Supply, while OPD maintained its own logistics staff to furnish guidance both in planning and directing overseas operations.

The secondary role in which the four "G" Divisions of the General Staff found themselves was promptly indicated by a 10 March memorandum from Col. Raymond G. Moses (brigadier general 11 March 1942) newly appointed G-4. He stated:

An officer from the G-4 Division will be detailed as a liaison officer with the WPD Future Operations Group, or groups designated for the study of areas for possible future action. This officer will spend as much time as practicable with the planning group in order to be fully informed of the development of plans and in order that he may provide from the G-4 Division any assistance which may be required.

When there is formed a Section in the Operations Group, WPD will request a representative from G-4 at the time representatives are required from SOS, Ground and Air Force Commands. The principal purpose of this officer being present during the planning of the Operations Section in WPD is to enable G-4 to prepare the broad policies and directives when necessary to coordinate the G-4 activities of the various Commands of the War Department. When the activities of the Operations Section, WPD pass into the control rather than the planning stage, the G-4 representative will be withdrawn.

The G-4 Division is not large enough in itself to take on any extensive G-4 study but at any time WPD desires such a study G-4 will undertake to have it made.

OPD consistently agreed in principle that G-4 ought to establish Army-wide supply policies that would correlate logistic activities throughout the three major commands and the overseas theaters. In practice the handful of officers in the G-4 Division could offer comparatively little assistance to the mammoth Services of Supply organization


or to the well-staffed OPD sections. Consequently G-4 tended to be squeezed out of an important part in logistic problems. Services of Supply proceeded to make its own policies in the course of performing day-to-day tasks delegated to it, and OPD often predetermined logistic policy by the nature of the demands it made in the interests of supporting specific combat operations.

By mid-1942 General Moses was calling attention to the consequences. He declared that his division found it difficult, as a result of the activities of SOS and OPD, to discharge its responsibility for the "preparation of such broad basic supply plans as are required by mobilization, training and strategic plans" and, even more operational in character, the development of "policies and directives necessary to coordinate among the various commands the distribution and movement of supply, technical, and labor troops not employed as combat units." General Moses stated:

It has been my observation since the reorganization of the War Department that in definite planning for operations conferences have been held between the Operations Division and the Services of Supply and Air Forces, on major issues involving matters of a G-4 nature, without a representative of the Supply Division present and in most cases without this Division being notified of plans officially for a considerable period of time.

At the same time, he continued:

I believe I am cognizant of the responsibilities of and the difficulties besetting the Operations Division and there is no thought of expanding unnecessarily the activities of the Supply Division or of reducing the responsibilities or activities of the Operations Division.16

Brig. Gen. St. Clair Streett, then chief of OPD's Theater Group, answered General Moses by stating: "This Division will render every possible assistance to secure the utmost coordination with G-4 with regard to both immediate and future planning." 17 Later in the year, General Wedemeyer, then chief planner, informed General Moses: "I have conferred with members of my Strategy and Policy Group who agree with me that much of the liaison contact maintained between the Operations Division and the S.O.S. should properly be with the G-4 Division." 18 Nevertheless, the steadily increasing power of General Somervell's Services of Supply organization in the whole logistic field and the recognized primary interest of OPD in regard to all matters affecting overseas operations continued to hedge in very closely G-4's actual area of decisive authority.19

The position of the other General Staff Divisions was very similar, though their work had less to do with OPD's direction of operations. G-1, like G-4, lost a great deal of its effective power to Services of Supply, which performed detailed personnel tasks and tended to establish policies in the process. G-3 fared somewhat better, but of course mobilization and training plans came to depend greatly on the ideas evolved in the actual training work being done by Army Ground Forces as well as on G-3 studies. For its part, OPD supplied the strategic and operational information on


which both personnel and mobilization policies had to be based. Beyond giving this guidance, OPD intervened only in a few G-1 and G-3 matters, such as assignment of high-ranking officers to combat theater commands or calculation of the over-all Army mobilization goal (Victory Program Troop Basis). In those matters its influence was usually decisive. With G-2, OPD's relationship was closer but more unilateral. G-2 provided OPD with its most carefully selected intelligence reports as a matter of routine and frequently furnished the various OPD sections with special intelligence reports for use in planning or directing overseas operations.20 OPD officers normally drew on G-2 for information without bringing the intelligence officers fully into the long and complicated process of strategic planning. This practice tended to limit the capacity of G-2 to render relevant and timely advice to the planners. The G-2 officers frequently did not know and could not find out "what we had, where our divisions were, what we were doing, or what our next advance plan was for our own troops." 21 For their own purposes, however, on the "receiving end," OPD officers declared that they got very good intelligence from G-2 and testified that final decisions on plans were always made only after a complete analysis "from the G-2 standpoint." 22

OPD's authority to plan and direct combat operations on behalf of the Chief of Staff was unquestioned by the major zone of interior commands. In accordance with the reorganization principle of delegating administrative detail to the new commands, OPD relied in large part on advice and assistance from the specialists in those organizations. The Division formally "requested, on all correspondence and allied papers referred to the War Plans Division for action, that comments, recommendations or technical advice be included" by Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Services of Supply.23 The formula for the relationship with all three commands was much like that evolved in a conference with Air Forces representatives on 16 March 1942: "1. AF will give Expert Advice toward workable directives to Chief of Sections Concerned. 2. WPD will issue directives. 3. AF will carry them OUT." 24 This procedure applied regardless of whether the action resulted from decisions reached by the Chief of Staff, the JCS, or the CCS. While General Arnold and his planning representatives had a direct channel to and a special representation on the key strategic committees of the joint and combined staff system, OPD was recognized as having superior authority in directing


all Army overseas activities, including the commitment of air forces to theaters of operations.25 In effect the Air Forces, as specialists in a critical sphere of Army activities, informally enjoyed a unique position as staff advisers on aircraft development and air operations. General Arnold's place in the joint and combined hierarchy was indicative of this fact. The old differences of opinion between the Army Air Forces and the War Department General Staff were also minimized by the assignment of a considerable number of Air officers to OPD and the other divisions of the General Staff.26 The strategic direction of air units in the theaters of operations, a function legally transferred to OPD as of 9 March 1942, depended upon data and recommendations from General Arnold's staff to a degree far exceeding similar dependence of the Army Ground Forces staff.27 OPD's responsibility in comparison with that of the Air Staff remained superior, in the sense that it was more inclusive, much as General Marshall's authority remained superior to General Arnold's. Despite the special privileges it enjoyed in influencing strategic plans and decisions, General Arnold's headquarters did not dispute the final authority of General Marshall's headquarters or the need for a joint air-ground staff to advise the Chief of Staff. The high priority accorded to the air arm in the wartime scramble for men and equipment reconciled the Army Air Forces to its dominion status within the Army, the Air "autonomy" within the commonwealth of the Army that had been recognized in principle in 1941.

Since Army Ground Forces under General McNair was occupied with its tremendous job of mobilizing and training ground units, it had comparatively fewer contacts with OPD than either the Air Forces or the Service Forces. Most of them concerned the preparation for overseas movement of ground combat units and their service components. OPD issued general troop movement directives controlling schedules, preparations, and final movements to ports of embarkation. It worked closely with Army Ground Forces on these matters just as, in the case of air or service units, OPD worked with Army Air Forces and Services of Supply. Through G-1 and G-3 OPD kept in close touch with the manifold problems of procurement and training of ground combat troops, giving and receiving advice, but its staff intervention in these matters in the interests of overseas operations was seldom necessary.

The third major zone of interior command, General Somervell's Services of Supply, enjoyed a greater area of discretion than the Army Ground Forces, though less than that of the Army Air Forces, because so much of its work was of a technical character. In effect, General Somervell's organization was the logistic agency of the Army, controlling the movement of troops and matériel to the combat theaters, and the degree of responsibility which it assumed in that field rivaled OPD's responsibility for the operations themselves.28 The Services of Supply contained all the technical and administrative staffs which had formerly


advised the Chief of Staff, normally through the General Staff. Under the new arrangement, they reported to General Somervell, who in turn reported directly to the Chief of Staff. The G-1 and G-4 Divisions attempted to supervise Army-wide policies and plans concerning manpower, production, and supply, but General Somervell's vast responsibilities and large staff made his headquarters virtually independent of control by G-1 and G-4. Only when logistic plans were closely related to theater affairs did General Somervell's programs undergo effective General Staff review. On those occasions OPD scrutinized policies and programs of first importance to Services of Supply and, if necessary, took action to secure their alteration to conform with approved strategy or to insure support for overseas operations.29

On the Army level, the principal tasks of OPD as the Chief of Staff's command post were, first, the translation, of approved strategy and policy into Army directives, second, the organization of theater commands adequate to perform the operations called for, and third; the deployment of trained, equipped forces to the theaters. The rest of OPD's work was intermittent and special, arising from every kind of crisis which affected military operations and consequently was the business of OPD. Having discovered, by continuous monitoring of messages to and from the theaters, a shortage or a misunderstanding that threatened to interfere with scheduled operations, OPD used its strategic information gained in planning and its authority as the operations staff of the Chief of Staff to reach the most feasible solution to the problem without delay. Thus the Chief of Staff, through his Washington command post, was able to project strategic and operational requirements across the whole field of Army activities and bring everything into line with combat needs. This emphasis on operations gave the whole War Department a single standard for organizing its efforts and a single staff for solving difficult day-to-day problems in the interests of the ultimate objective: success in battle. In this context OPD came to have a free hand in the War Department, and the OPD chief became a special kind of deputy to General Marshall, exercising his full authority in all cases that required command decisions in line with approved strategic plans and policies.

Unique Function of OPD

Besides this great source of strength in the nature of its Army-wide responsibilities, OPD had a unique asset in the information and authority it derived from participation in the principal committees of the joint and combined staff system. Actually the responsibility of representing the Army in interservice and international planning during the prewar and early post-Pearl Harbor period had been a prime factor in elevating WPD to a position of special eminence in the War Department. The prestige and power of the JCS and the CCS developed rapidly in 1942. Increasingly their deliberations and the work of the subordinate joint and combined committees determined the course of strategy. As the strategic planning staff for General Marshall in his capacity as both Chief of Staff of the Army and member of the JCS and the CCS, OPD helped lay down the foundations of strategy and military policy which, once approved by the Chief of Staff or the JCS or the CCS, provided a frame of reference for the guidance


of Army activities both in the theaters of operations and in the zone of interior. Having helped to formulate these interservice and international policies, OPD was the only Army agency that could issue Army directives designed to carry out joint and combined decisions. It assumed this responsibility and the corollary task of exercising General Staff supervision to insure that directives were being followed.

OPD's staff responsibility, thus firmly established, entailed the co-ordination of strategic planning for a world-wide war with actual operations in many theaters of combat and at the same time the co-ordination of the operations themselves with Army activities in the zone of interior. The extraordinary power and prestige of OPD derived simply from General Marshall's actual practice of relying heavily on it and from the ability of OPD officers to maintain his confidence by getting the results he wanted. Also, OPD had many things in its favor that made it hard for the Chief of Staff to put his greatest reliance elsewhere. Its responsibilities centered in operations in the theaters of actual combat, that is, in the end product of all Army efforts in time of war. At the same time it was the main link connecting Army operations with joint and combined strategic plans and policies. This single staff was responsible to General Marshall for helping him in the JCS-CCS formulation of strategy, for conveying strategic instructions to commanders in the field, and for keeping informed of the efforts of Army commanders in the theaters to carry out the operations envisaged in those directions. Since the conduct of operations in the theaters depended directly on the military resources furnished from the zone of interior, this monitoring phase of OPD's work gave it a legitimate interest in the management of such enterprises in the zone of interior as affected theater operations in a critical way. The standard of operational necessity was one from which there was no appeal, and OPD was the Army's highest staff authority for applying it to Army policies and programs. Thus, in trying to insure that theater commanders could accomplish the missions assigned them, OPD in practice often co-ordinated the work of the whole War Department.



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