The Army and Economic Mobilization

By R. Elberton Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
The Methodology of
Army Requirements Determination

Some General Considerations

The Army's requirement programs in World War II were the end result of many millions of detailed calculations made by many thousands of individuals in the Army's complex organization in Washington, its numerous field establishments throughout the United States, and its far-flung network of organizations in overseas theaters. Each of these programs possessed its own basic assumptions and objectives, as formulated at high policy levels and spelled out in the directives and instructions which hunched each individual program or recomputation. Indispensable to the development of all such programs was the underlying foundation of concepts, principles, and procedures which comprised the basic methodology of Army requirements determination.

With the heavy expansion of procurement during the defense period, the shortage of personnel experienced in applying the concepts and procedures of requirements determination was a serious handicap to the Army in computing, assembling, and presenting its requirement programs. Lack of knowledge in this area also handicapped the central mobilization control agencies in interpreting and screening military requirements. After Pearl Harbor the War Production Board had the task of appraising the validity of Army requirements as measured against the stated requirements of other claimants upon the nation's supply of resources. It soon became evident that the ability to make intelligent allocations of national productive capacity presupposed a dependable knowledge of the considerations which entered the determination all down the line for each claimant agency. This required a lengthy process of indoctrination-- usually when time was lacking--in basic methodological matters before the rationale behind a given estimate of requirements could be comprehended, much less evaluated.1

As in virtually every other area of its activities, the Army at the beginning of the second world war had an extensive body of doctrine to govern the determination of requirements. Underlying all specific procedures was the twofold logistical principle that supply should be adequate and so far as possible automatic:

. . . combat troops should not have their attention diverted from their task of defeating

____________________
1
As noted in the preceding chapter, the Army Air Forces, which gained substantial autonomy by the 9 March 1942 reorganization of the War Department, was responsible for computing its own requirements. AAF requirements for items other than aircraft were published in the Army Supply Program with only perfunctory screening by the ASF.

-172-

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