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4-356 Editorial Note on the Woodrum Committee

1943-1944
   
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press

Subject: World War II


Editorial Note on the Woodrum Committee

November-April 1944

On November 2, 1943, General Marshall had submitted a proposal to the Joint Chiefs of Staff to “consider whether or not they are willing to approve for planning purposes the idea of a single Department of War in the post-war period, the details of which could be settled later.” According to Marshall, “planning for the post-war period would be greatly facilitated by a decision at this time as to whether or not there will be a single department.” (Memorandum by the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, enclosure to “A Single Department of War in the Post-war Period,” J.C.S. 560, November 2, 1943, NA/RG 218 [JCS, CCS 040]. For background on this proposal, see Marshall Memorandum for Brigadier General W. F. Tompkins, October 20, 1943, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-138 [4: 160-61].)

The proposal was referred for study to the Joint Strategic Survey Committee, which reported on March 8, 1944, that it saw no prospect of “being able to produce a comprehensive study of the problem on the scale which its scope and importance demand.” The J.S.S.C. likewise recommended that the Joint Chiefs of Staff appoint a special committee to make a detailed study and recommendations as to the “most efficient practicable organization of that part of the executive branch of our government which is primarily concerned with national defense.” The committee also recommended that the Joint Chiefs “approve for purposes of planning and study the idea of a single military organization.” (Report by the Joint Strategic Survey Committee, “Reorganization of National Defense,” J.C.S. 749, March 8, 1944, NA/RG 218 [JCS, CCS 040]. For discussion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Special Committee for Reorganization of National Defense, see note 2, Marshall Memorandum for the Chief, Army Ground Forces, April 30, 1944, Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #4-379 [4: 444-45].)

On the same date, March 8, 1944, Congressman James W. Wadsworth introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling for a Select Committee on Post-war Military Policy “to investigate all matters relating to the post-war military requirements of the United States.” The House approved the resolution on March 28. (H. Res. 465, Congressional Record, 78th Cong., 2d sess., vol. 90, pt. 2, p. 2398, and vol. 90, pt. 3, pp. 31993207.) Clifton A. Woodrum, Virginia Democrat and head of the Deficiency Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, was appointed chairman of the select committee, which became known as the Woodrum Committee; its hearings began on April 24, 1944.

Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 4, “Aggressive and Determined Leadership,” June 1, 1943-December 31, 1944 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), p. 416.

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