1-528 Statement to the Assistant Chiefs of Staff, November 17, 1938

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: November 17, 1938

Statement to the Assistant Chiefs of Staff

November 17, 1938 [Washington, D.C.]


Supplementary Estimates, Fiscal Year 1940.

1. Each of you has been furnished a copy of a memorandum from the Acting Secretary of War to the Chief of Staff directing that estimates of costs be prepared for the objectives prescribed therein. This memorandum, so far as practicable, will be regarded as SECRET.

2. You will notice that the costs for the several programs are to be calculated on a two-year basis. The Chief of the Air Corps has already done a great deal of work on the objectives set forth in sub-paragraphs 1, a, b, c, and d.1 It is desired that the General Staff Divisions should now participate in this study in accordance with their functional responsibilities and also in order to assist General Arnold in the burden of work that has been placed upon him. There is no time for normal General Staff procedure. Speed is essential and your efforts should be informal. Papers will not be entrusted to messengers.

3. I will discuss each of the objectives in turn and indicate the action which each of the General Staff Divisions should take:—

a. Subparagraph a.—It is desired that the War Plans Division, in conjunction with the Chief of the Air Corps and G-3, determine and recommend what the Army airplane strength of 10,000 planes by balanced types shall be.

b. Subparagraph b.—The War Plans Division, in conjunction with the Chief of the Air Corps and G-3, will determine and recommend what 50% of airplane strength on an operating basis shall be. A memorandum on these two paragraphs should be submitted to the Chief of Staff at the earliest practicable moment. Upon the approval of these recommendations the necessary data will be furnished G-4 and G-1. G-4 in conjunction with the Air Corps will determine the rate of procurement of each type and the costs. G-1 will then, in conjunction with the Chief of the Air Corps, determine the required strength of the Air Corps to operate 50% of the airplane strength and the necessary rate of procurement of trained personnel to meet the procurement in planes. G-1 will then in conjunction with the Chief of Finance determine the cost of the increased personnel.

c. Subparagraph b (latter part) and subparagraph c.—G-4, in conjunction with the Chief of the Air Corps, will determine the additional cost for the maintenance and operation of 5000 active airplanes and of 5000 in storage, and, in conjunction with The Quartermaster General, the cost of all additional construction required therefor.

d. Subparagraph d.—The Assistant Secretary of War will be requested to furnish this office with estimates of costs for these objectives.

e. Subparagraph e.—G-4 will coordinate the estimates of all services concerned and determine the additional costs in accordance with the enlarged program.

f. Paragraph 2.—The total of the estimates heretofore prepared to meet the deficiencies in the Protective Mobilization Plan was $579,500,000. We can now deduct $110,000,000 from this total for the procurement of airplanes and $42,000,000 for aids to manufacture for which provision has been made elsewhere. This leaves a total of $427,500,000. It is desired that G-4 prepare and submit a statement, similar to the one previously presented to the President which shall provide for this amount.

g. Paragraph 3.—The Assistant Secretary of War will be requested to prepare a statement of costs under this paragraph.2

4. All estimates of costs will provide for the complete two-year program. They will show the cash appropriation required (based upon the estimated amount which will be withdrawn from the Treasury in the Fiscal Year 1940), the remainder to be covered by contract authorizations.

5. All estimates will be submitted by appropriation title to the Budget Officer for the War Department and will be separated into three categories:—

a. The airplane program.

b. Requirements for the Protective Mobilization Plan.

c. Industrial Preparedness.

6. All estimates will be submitted at the earliest practicable date. It is understood that these estimates of cost will be submitted to the President for approval before formal estimates will be submitted to the Bureau of the Budget.

7. It is to be understood that the functions of the General Staff should be restricted to supervision and coordination, and that the actual estimates of cost should be prepared by the respective operating services. Time does not permit the preparation of a formal directive, and the purpose of this conference is to insure that these operating services have information as precise as practicable as a basis for their respective estimates.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the Adjutant General’s Office 1917- (RG 407), 580, Increase of the Air Corps [10-19-38], National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Typed memorandum.

1. The subparagraphs of Johnson’s memorandum were: “a. An Army airplane strength of 10,000 planes properly balanced as to types. b. 50% of airplane strength to be on an operating basis including operating personnel, installations, materials, etc. c. Remainder of planes to be provided with satisfactory storage conditions and care. d. Provision for 7 Government aircraft factories with an average production capacity of 1200 planes per year each, on assumptions that land will be obtained from that at present available or from funds other than those contained in Army Appropriations Acts, that buildings will be constructed from relief funds, but that machinery, upkeep, operation, etc., must be provided from Army funds. e. Provision for necessary supporting materials and services such as Ordnance, Signal corps, Quartermaster, Pay, etc." (Johnson Memorandum for General Craig, November 15, 1938, NA/RG 407 [580, Increase of the Air corps (10-19-38)].)

2. In paragraph 3, Johnson requested budget estimates to provide “for assistance to Governmental Production and Industrial Preparedness as follows: a. Completion of Educational Order Program. b. Rounding out present Government Arsenals and Plants with up-to-date machinery. c. Completion of the making of factory plans for critical items of supplies. d. Acceleration of Procurement Planning by completing industrial surveys, drawings, specifications, etc. e. Special machinery as reserve for manufacture of essential munitions. f. Stock piles of strategic materials." (Ibid.)

Recommended Citation: The Papers 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. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 652-654.

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