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Memorandum for General Bryden
October 16, 1940 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Future status of the Regular Army, National Guard, and Reserve Corps.
With reference to my hasty outline this morning of the necessity of having a “rough conception” of a future policy, prior to the meeting of the National Guard Association,1 I am outlining below my present ideas on the subject:
That, the number of divisions to be maintained in the Regular Army will depend somewhat on the probable efficiency of the National Guard organization and that of the Reserve officer personnel—the degree of their immediate availability for active duty. Also, it will depend on the success with which at least a partial amount of preliminary training can be given in replacement centers for men to fill the ranks of the Regular Army Units. For example, we might assign men to a regular unit after four months in a replacement center, giving them only eight months with a regular unit.
That, the standard of efficiency of the National Guard must be materially raised as to enlisted personnel, as to officer personnel, and as to character of training.
(a) The enlisted personnel to have served a minimum of six months in the Federal service in replacement centers. This might possibly be arranged on the basis of six months’ Federal service being exempted in consideration of a three-year enlistment in the National Guard; or, making an exemption of four months’ Federal service in consideration of a two-year enlistment in the National Guard. Or, if it is thought that the necessary men could be obtained, to proceed according to the present law, which frees the men enlisting in the National Guard from eight years in the Reserves. Personally, I do not think this would produce the necessary numbers.
(b) That 75% of the officer personnel with the National Guard be provided from Reserve Corps officers—products of the ROTC—who have served one year with the Regular Army after graduation; the remaining 25% to come from the ranks of the National Guard, and to be given a special schooling at our special service schools.
That, the training of the Reserve Corps be largely based on the development of the habit of recent graduates of the ROTC being given a year’s active duty with the Regular establishment either in replacement centers or with regular organizations, or both.
The foregoing is merely a rough outline of how the matter appears to me at the present time.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Selected Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed memorandum.
1. The editors have found no record of a Marshall conference with or memorandum to Deputy Chief of Staff William Bryden on this subject. The National Guard Association of the United States met in Washington, D.C., October 21-23, and discussion focused upon the implications for the Guard of its induction into federal service. Marshall spoke “off the record” at the October 22 banquet. (Army and Navy Journal, October 19 and 26, 1940, pp. 197, 203.) No copy of Marshall’s speech is in the Marshall papers, but on the day of his speech Colonel Kenneth Buchanan—a National Guard officer who had been Marshall’s aide between the summer of 1939 and the summer of 1940, prior to his moving to the Office of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau—called to suggest that the chief of staff assure the National Guard that its identity would not be lost and that its officers would not be eliminated for the benefit of Regular Army officers who sought commands. (Claude M. Adams Memorandum for General Marshall, October 22, 1940, GCMRL/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, Selected].)
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 330-331.