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Memorandum for the Assistant Chiefs of Staff, G-3 [Edwards], G-1 [White]
November 18, 1942 [Washington, D.C.]
Subject: Reduction of troop establishments in Continental United States.
I am having General Lewis, most confidentially, prepare a plan for an experiment to be carried out with his command towards the reduction of the garrison for the District of Columbia.1 I do not want any publicity whatever in this matter until his proposals have been approved and the style of publicity has been determined.
Very roughly, what I have in mind is:
a. Reducing the permanent personnel in antiaircraft units by the following means:
Adding a very small nucleus of WAAC’s who in turn would control a volunteer group of women living in this vicinity, employed only for a certain number of hours on a certain number of days a week, to handle the various instruments other than the gun and ammunition.
Next, a group of men, probably organized by the local American Legion posts, to understudy the heavier jobs, those pertaining to the gun, etc., on a strictly part-time basis of one or two days a week each and for a limited number of hours a day.
b. On somewhat the same basis to see what other troop units in the District could be cut down by a volunteer establishment, military police, stable men, and what-not.
General Lewis is to develop a means of defraying the expenses possibly on a basis of a dollar a day for meals and transportation, to be paid once or twice a month, and for the experiment I can provide the money out of my special fund.
We can try this out here, see how practicable it is to operate, what the public reactions may be, and I hope we shall find a tremendous basis for a cut in personnel all over the United States. I want to reduce greatly the troop units at Sault Ste. Marie and in all similar places. In vitally important centers such as New York City, the Pratt Whitney Plant outside of Hartford, the Torpedo Plant near Newport, and the Navy yards, we would have to deal on a more assured basis of operation; but elsewhere our present procedure is very extravagant in manpower and we are under tremendous pressure to make economies.
With reference to my last statement, I sympathize with the public pressure at the present time directed against huge Government establishments as being wasteful of manpower. I wish we could find some way in the War Department to cut, by reduction of paper work, by reduction of what-not, and if you have any ideas on this subject give them to me.
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. Brigadier General John T. Lewis had been commanding general of the Military District of Washington, D.C., since May 1942.
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. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 443-444.