Government Organization in War Time and After: A Survey of the Federal Civil Agencies Created for the Prosecution of the War

By William Franklin Willoughby | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
THE PROBLEM OF GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

Analysis of the problem -- Its importance and immediate urgency -- Elements in the mobilization of facilities and resources -- Need for an organ of general administration -- The President as administrator-in-chief -- His administrative powers derived from Congress -- The Overman Act -- Council of National Defense -- Its purpose as originally conceived -- Its composition and functions as prescribed by the Act of March 26, 1916 -- Its Advisory Commission -- Organization of the Council and Advisory Commission -- Its defects -- In the formulation of programme -- In the correlation of activities -- In administrative personnel -- In the interpretation of functions -- In committee organization -- The real service of the Council -- Its gradual decline in importance -- Its activities as a reconstruction agency.

Among the problems of organization for the prosecution of the war none was of greater importance, or of more immediate urgency, than that of general administration. This problem consisted in the perfection of means by which a general programme of operation might be formulated, the several features of this programme allotted to the services best fitted for their performance, and measures of control established to insure that the programme as thus formulated and assigned should be in fact efficiently carried out. The need for the adoption of such a work programme and the creation of an agency or agencies through which the organization and activities of the Government might be correlated, conflicts of jurisdiction avoided or adjusted as soon as they arose, duplication of organization, plant, and activities eliminated or reduced to a minimum, and all the several services of the Government integrated into one harmonious piece of administrative machinery is great in

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