Washington Command Post: the Operations Division - Vol. 4

Washington Command Post: the Operations Division - Vol. 4

Washington Command Post: the Operations Division - Vol. 4

Washington Command Post: the Operations Division - Vol. 4

Excerpt

This volume is the history of a military staff. It describes the way a number of men worked together, defined their common responsibilities, and carried out their common aims. It also explains the ways in which the group as a whole changed and the ways in which it remained unchanged during the course of years as its individual members came and departed. In short, it is an institutional biography. It traces the origins, development, and mature characteristics of the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff. This Division was the principal staff agency of the high command in the U. S. Army during World War II.

Since the Operations Division, on its establishment in March 1942, inherited the staff and responsibilities of a predecessor agency, the War Plans Division, this history treats both staffs, but describes the wartime institution more fully and systematically. The attention paid the War Plans Division and other parts of the Army contemporaneous with it is intended only to provide the information necessary to an understanding of developments in the World War II period. Similarly, the information about the many agencies and staffs that came in contact with the Operations Division (or OPD, as it was usually called) is presented merely to illuminate the work the OPD did.

The Operations Division was charged with the responsibility under the Chief of Staff for the Army's part in the strategic planning and direction of operations in World War II. The Department of the Army plans to deal with the strategy story in other volumes of the series. The groundwork for these prospective volumes has already been laid down in a series of monographs written by the author and his associates, and this material has been freely used where needed for the present volume. Some examples of the things OPD did have been chosen to illustrate the kind of staff OPD was.

Army officers will argue for years whether OPD was a "good thing." The narrative here presented cannot settle any such argument, but it is designed to show that a serious military problem existed and that the creation of OPD provided a solution to it--not the only possible solution and not necessarily the best solution, but a solution. It is my hope to provide officers of the armed forces and other interested readers with information in which they may find precedents and analogies bearing on various possible solutions of their own problems in the future. The volume in its present form is based on a longer and more fully annotated version that may be consulted in the Office of the Chief of Military History, U. S. Army.

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