Global Logistics and Strategy, 1940-1943

By Richard M. Leighton; Robert W. Coakley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
The Machinery of Logistical Co-ordination and Administration

During the immediate post-Pearl Harbor period a great heaving and shifting in the structure of co-ordination and administration was under way. From it emerged, by mid-1942, a basic organizational pattern that was to endure with little important change throughout the remainder of the war.

On the international level, the ARCADIA Conference in December 1941 and January 1942 created the fundamental Anglo- American structure for the direction of strategy and control of the resources needed to execute it. The Combined Chiefs of Staff, composed of the chief military advisers (or their representatives) of the two heads of state, Roosevelt and Churchill, stood at the top of the military pyramid; the combined Munitions Assignments Boards in Washington and London, operating under the CCS, controlled the assignment of military equipment. Other combined boards for shipping, raw materials, production, and food were set up during the first six months of 1942. These stood outside the military committee system and reported directly to the President and the Prime Minister.1

At the same time, the national machinery for control of the American war economy, which had come into being during the emergency period, was undergoing reorganization and expansion. In January the new War Production Board took over the general direction of industrial mobilization, with full authority under the President's war powers to lay down "policies, plans, procedures, and methods" for all government agencies engaged in "war procurement and production."2 On 12 March its chairman, Donald Nelson, reached an agreement with General Somervell that confirmed to the Army its traditional function of determining its own requirements, translating these into terms of raw materials, facilities, labor, and components, and procuring end-items directly from private industry. This agreement, hailed by Nelson as "the Magna Carta of our operation,"3 actually left many jurisdictional

____________________
1
For a discussion of the combined boards, see below, Ch. X. The British Chiefs of Staff were represented in the CCS in Washington by a permanent committee, the British Joint Staff Mission. Periodically, special conferences were held that the British Chiefs, and sometimes the heads of state, attended in person.
2
CPA, Industrial Mobilization for War, p. 208.
3
Ibid., p. 215.

-213-

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