America’s China Policy Is Not Working
The Dangers of a Broad Decoupling
LAST summer the United States abandoned a military policy that had always been the warp and woof of our national life and embarked on an unprecedented program of modernization and expansion -- a program that will profoundly affect the country's social order. The impetus behind this sudden change was the threat of world-wide revolution implicit in Hitler's victories in Europe. The German conquests, achieved by the unstinted use of smashing power and by novel tactics, left behind them in America a trail of riddled ideas and obsolete organizations. The one great issue, therefore, upon which all Americans became emphatically united after the fateful tenth of May was defense. There remain differences as to methods and means, but there is fundamental unanimity for the proposition that our fighting services require drastic modernization and expansion.
The navy, long recognized as an "M-Day" (Mobilization Day) service ready for instant action, had been modernized and strengthened by the various expansion programs undertaken since President Roosevelt assumed office in March 1933. Our "first line of defense" was therefore far better prepared for an emergency than was the army, and far better equipped to absorb readily and efficiently the billions of dollars that were to be appropriated for it and to translate those billions into fighting strength.
This is not to say that the army had made no progress whatsoever since 1933, for it, too, had undergone a certain amount of expansion, as the following tables show:
|Strength of the Army|
|1934 Fiscal Year||1940 Fiscal Year|
|(ending June 30, 1934)||(ending June 30, 1940)|
|Equipment of the Army|
|a Officers and men
b Except obsolete Renaults and other World War models
But in no sense had the army's expansion been equal to the navy's, and only a handful of Regulars were called, by courtesy, "M-Day" units. Indeed, the army's war plans had always been based upon the assumption, perhaps no longer tenable after the German victories in Europe, that it would have ample time (as it did in 1917-1918) to prepare, train and equip itself after war had started. In other words, the nation depended for its second line of defense on the small professional Regular Army.
This military policy stemmed from our beginnings and was predicated upon the geographical fact of our isolation behind two ocean ramparts. Having no land frontiers on powerful states, we felt no need for conscription in time of peace. Indeed, the mass armies that conscription implied were looked upon as something alien to the American way of life. Conscription was, of course, envisaged in the War Department's plans for raising an army in case the United States should again become involved in a great war. But as late as the end of last May, even after the German break-through at Sedan, it formed no part of the General Staff's plans for expanding the army to meet the threat of a possible German victory. According to these plans, first priority was given to the expansion, modernization, reëquipment and reorganization of our small professional force in order to provide nine "streamlined" infantry divisions at peace strength, an army air force of about 11,000 planes, and augmented garrisons for our coastal and overseas possessions. Second in priority was the reëquipment, reorganization and intensified training of the National Guard. But the speed of the German victories aroused public apprehension to such a high pitch, and the movement for conscription started by the Military Training Camps Association gained such momentum, that the army was persuaded, not very unwillingly (except for Secretary of War Woodring, who subsequently resigned) to alter its plans and key its expansion program to a new military policy in which the citizen soldier would become virtually a professional, with the Regular Army merely providing the cadres for the mass army of conscripts.
This fundamental change in policy is, of course, only one of the many measures which the Administration is taking, or has advocated, in order to transform the United States Army from a second line of defense into a possible first line, and to make our land forces in actual fact ready for action on "M-Day" -- not one month, six months or a year later.
All these measures are predicated upon the possibility, that a victorious Germany -- in possession of all the shipbuilding facilities of Europe and in coalition with, let us say, Japan and Italy, and perhaps even Russia -- might, after seizing the British fleet, launch an attack upon the United States, which by then would be definitely outmatched upon the seas. The projected mass army is regarded as insurance against this possibility. It is also looked upon as a force for protecting one of our coasts until the navy, some six to eight years hence, is able to guard both coasts through the completion of the "two-ocean" fleet now authorized.
Such are the assumptions and such is the policy evolved by the army to meet them. There seems little doubt that the bulk of public opinion believes the threat from Europe to be real, though it is far from unanimous as to precisely what we should do in order to meet that threat. One minority thinks the danger has been exaggerated; another fears that the mass army concept may give us the shadow of strength without the substance.
Shortly after the war reached a crisis in May, President Roosevelt requested additional funds for defense. This request was followed by two others; and at the time of writing Congress has approved the principal appropriations that have been asked for, and is considering and even initiating others. However, a summary of the budget for the 1941 fiscal year presented to Congress by Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau on August 5 showed that out of the $14,702,000,000 requested of this session of Congress for national defense, $6,809,000,000 (in appropriations made or pending, or in contract authorizations approved or pending) were earmarked for the army.
Not all of this, of course, was to be spent during the fiscal year 1941; some of it would carry over into 1942 or even 1943. On the other hand, this figure does not by any means represent the total cost of our modernized and expanded army. It does not include any funds for maintenance of the National Guard on active service during 1941 and subsequent fiscal years; it does not include any funds for putting conscription into effect or for training conscripts; nor does it provide either for maintaining our huge force after it has been brought up to its contemplated strength or for routine replacements of equipment. Training the Guard and the conscripts will add about $2,000,000,000 to this year's costs. As for the annual upkeep costs of our future army, no precise estimate can be made since the form of that army is still uncertain; but those costs cannot possibly be much less than $3,000,000,000 or $4,000,000,000 annually.
According to Mr. Morgenthau, $2,320,000,000 of the army's $6,809,000,000 had actually been appropriated by August 5; in addition, contract authorizations of $577,000,000 had been approved. The rest -- an important remainder, because it included the moneys intended to provide most of the land and air equipment for our mass army -- was still in the legislative hoppers at the time; but the bulk of it was approved in the early part of September.
The army's man power plans are, at the time of writing, based upon the peacetime conscription law, passed by Congress in September, requiring the registration of all men between 21 and 35. The eventual numerical goal must depend largely upon the complexion of the international situation. In late August 1940, the Regular Army's strength was about 285,000 men and 14,000 Regular officers. Congress has authorized and appropriated funds for a Regular Army of 375,000 enlisted men and a Regular officer personnel of about 16,719, plus 9,000 Reserve officers called up for extended active duty. During this last summer, peacetime (and even some wartime) recruiting records were broken time and again as the army enlisted 22,000 men in June and 31,500 in July. It was hoped that the goal of 375,000 would be reached by January 1, 1941, or sooner, by voluntary enlistments alone. But General Marshall, Chief of Staff, explained to the Senate Committee on Military Affairs that this was not fast enough, and that he did not believe voluntary recruiting would provide more than 375,000 men.
The National Guard's actual strength is now about 233,000 enlisted men and 15,000 officers, as against an authorized strength of 255,850 officers and men. Under the National Guard Mobilization Act the President has ordered the entire Guard to begin a year's active duty commencing in September 1940; but the terms of this legislation permit married officers under the rank of captain and married enlisted men to resign, while men indispensable to a war industry are to be discharged. This provision, plus losses due to physical or other disabilities, will probably reduce the strength of the Guard to less than 220,000.
This means that the total trained army man power of the nation in August 1940 was about 534,000. The War Department proposes, with the passage of the conscription bill, to increase as rapidly as possible the number of men actually under training to about 1,400,000, probably by the spring of 1941. Eventually this total may be considerably increased; General Marshall has testified that in his opinion at least 2,000,000 -- more probably 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 -- men would be required for Hemisphere Defense. With 16,500,000 men available between the draft ages of 21 and 35, there is no doubt that conscription can secure the necessary increments. Allowances must be made, however, for men suffering from physical or character disabilities (from 40 to 60 percent of those volunteering for the Army were rejected during the summer for these reasons) and for the exemption of those indispensable to industry or with dependents. Nevertheless, it is clear that if the United States should choose to broaden the base of conscription to include all men between the ages of 18 and 65, its man power resources would become almost limitless. The army's original plan provided for calling up conscripts as follows: 75,000 men on October 15, 1940; 115,000 on November 5; 112,000 on December 15; 98,000 late in December; 400,000 on April 1, 1941; 600,000 on October 1, 1941; and 400,000 men each April 1 and October 1 thereafter until the expiration of the conscription legislation in 1945. This schedule was delayed by the failure of Congress to approve the conscription bill promptly, and the first trainees will not start service until after mid-November. Since each man is to receive one year's training, a total of 3,400,000 would be trained in the next five years, in addition to the volunteer personnel of the Regular Army and the National Guard.
To direct this vast force and to provide additional officers for the Regular Army and National Guard, it is proposed to call from 40,000 to 60,000 Reserve officers to active duty in increments. By April 1, 1945, therefore, the new army of the United States will consist of the following components: Regular Army -- 375,000 men, 16,719 officers; National Guard -- 240,850 men, 15,000 officers; Trained Reserve -- 3,400,000 men, 40,000 to 60,000 officers. In addition there will be various other increments of strength, such as Home Guard units now being formed in many states to replace the National Guard when the latter is ordered to active duty, the remainder of the Reserve officers (many of whom will have to be eliminated because of physical or professional unfitness), R.O.T.C. students, and certain other reservoirs of semitrained man power.
The organization of this vast force has not yet been completely defined, but the skeleton framework has already been set up, and is now being filled out with new units in process of rapid formation.
A year ago the organization of the Regular Army was based on three divisions which in reality were little more than cadres. By the end of May 1940 the army's strength had grown to five well-equipped, peace-strength infantry divisions. During the summer it has been further expanded to include nine infantry divisions, one cavalry division, and two armored divisions. When the National Guard is called into service, the minimum initial goal is to be a "powerful, mobile army" consisting of nine army corps, each composed of two National Guard "square" divisions (four infantry regiments per division) with a war strength of about 18,300 men, and one Regular Army "triangular" division (three infantry regiments) with a war strength of about 14,000 men. These twenty-seven infantry divisions would be supported by the necessary corps, army and G.H.Q. units, including field artillery, two horsed cavalry divisions and four armored or mechanized divisions. The total strength of this force, as now envisaged, would be 850,000 men, and it would constitute the mobile field army of the United States.
It is estimated that an additional 150,000 men would be required to maintain and operate the army's planes, which, it is hoped, will reach a total of around 26,500 (about 8,000 or 9,000 of them combat planes in operating squadrons) by May or July 1942. Another 100,000 men -- which seems a minimum number -- will be required for overseas garrisons in the Philippine and Hawaiian islands, Alaska, Puerto Rico and the Panama Canal Zone, plus perhaps additional thousands if and when the United States establishes garrisons to protect the naval and air bases recently acquired, or which may in the future be acquired, on British, French, Dutch or Latin American territory. For coastal and anti-aircraft defenses in the United States the army wants a minimum of 50,000 men. Under present plans this number is being augmented by the formation of special anti-aircraft and home defense units for the protection of specific localities. These will operate in conjunction with, and under the orders of, the country's first Air Defense Command, formed last February with headquarters at Mitchel Field, Long Island. The War Department also estimates that still another 150,000 to 200,000 men will be required for administrative overhead, the initial training of recruits, the service of supply, medical care, etc.
These figures, it must be emphasized, are the minimum, initial goal; General Marshall has testified that the eventual goal is the formation of forty-five infantry divisions and ten armored divisions, which means upwards of 2,000,000 men. The tactical organization of the army is still in flux, among other things because of a rapid changing of ideas inspired by Germany's victories in Europe. Much emphasis is being placed on aviation and mechanized forces, though the army still believes that the infantry is the queen of battle.
To secure greater mobility and flexibility, the Regular Army abandoned the two-brigade, four-infantry-regiment, "square" division a year ago and reorganized its infantry components on the basis of the more streamlined, three-regiment, "triangular" division, smaller in size than the square division but faster moving. The final organizational tables of this new division are, at the time of writing, about to be issued, but numerous changes dictated by the lessons of field experience are already being made: the weakness in anti-tank strength is being remedied and the number of anti-tank ("A.T.") guns assigned to each division is to be at least doubled (it will still be only half of the German divisional "A.T." strength); each division will be given a mechanized unit of armored scout cars and motorcycles for reconnaissance; and the divisional artillery is to be reorganized on a novel basis, with the new 105 mm. howitzer as the primary weapon of divisional artillery strength and the famous 75 mm. gun probably relegated to anti-tank purposes.
Last summer the nucleus of the nation's first armored corps was formed, with headquarters at Fort Benning, Georgia. The cadres of this corps consisted of the infantry's tanks and the cavalry's Seventh Mechanized Brigade, comprising between them some 400 to 500 tanks, most of them light -- weighing about ten tons. This in reality is a tank corps. It is responsible for the maintenance, development and operations of tanks, separated from the infantry and the cavalry; and it has been put under one head -- the Armored Field Force Commander, who is Brigadier General Adna R. Chaffee -- and has a representative on the General Staff in the War Department. This corps is at present experimental, being frankly patterned on the German Panzer division (which some of our officers anticipated -- on paper -- as early as 1930). It will almost certainly be duplicated when men and equipment are available. When it is, the army will have four armored, or tank, divisions, as compared to the single brigade, or less than half a division, available a year ago. Each division will eventually have a war strength of some 8,000 to 9,000 men; each will comprise a division headquarters troop, a signal troop, a squadron (thirteen planes) of observation aviation, a reconnaissance battalion, a tank brigade, a mechanized field artillery regiment plus a field artillery battalion, a motorized infantry regiment, with attached ordnance, quartermaster and other troops. There will be 272 light tanks, 110 medium tanks, and 201 armored scout cars in each division, supported by twenty-four 75 mm. howitzers, twelve 105 mm. guns and eight 75 mm. guns. The German Panzer division has somewhat more tanks in its organic structure than ours (about 425 to our 382), but our ratio of light to medium tanks is only about 2½ to 1, as compared to the German 4 to 1. In addition to these tank or armored divisions, a G. H. Q. tank force -- for the present a responsibility of the Armored Field Force Commander -- will be formed when equipment is available. This will be composed of heavy tanks, probably for use as break-through weapons to accompany the infantry.
Several of the new streamlined, or triangular, divisions are to train and equip themselves to act, if necessary, as specialized units. One division, the Fourth, is to be completely motorized and may work with the armored divisions. (Contrary to common belief, the normal triangular division, instead of being completely motorized is only partially so and can move its men and equipment about 100 miles a day only by "shuttling.") Another, probably the Ninth, is to be specially trained and equipped for landing operations. Several cavalry regiments are being reorganized to form corps reconnaissance regiments. Half of each of these regiments will operate armored scout cars; the rest, though horsemounted, will transport their horses over long distances in vans. Thus these regiments will be prepared for both road and cross-country reconnaissance, and will have considerable strategic mobility. Unfortunately, however, this mobility will be limited by the great weight of the loaded horse vans -- fifteen tons, a weight greater than many bridges can support.
Still another organizational development is the Air Defense Command, under Brigadier General James E. Chaney. General Chaney, with the aid of American Legion posts and many civilian observation stations, is building up an aircraft warning system, which by means of a commercial telephone hook-up will be able to flash to a central headquarters warnings of enemy bombing raids. These observation stations will be supplemented by the new specially-built ray detectors, which pick up planes sometimes more than 100 miles away. The central headquarters of the First Air Defense Command, embracing all the northeastern states as far south as the Virginia Capes and as far west as Duluth, may be shifted from Mitchel Field to Westover Field, Massachusetts, when the latter is finished. This headquarters will be responsible for organizing aircraft warning services, for collating the reports as they are received, and for coördinating the defense operations of pursuit planes, anti-aircraft guns, searchlights, etc.
Such are the organizational plans for the Regular Army, and it is into these plans that the National Guard and the conscripted men must fit. The Guard itself is already in process of reorganization; many excess cavalry and infantry "outfits" are being transformed into field artillery, anti-aircraft or coast artillery regiments, or into mechanized reconnaissance troops. However, the basic tactical organization of the Guard's eighteen infantry divisions, consisting of two brigades and four regiments each, is not expected to be altered immediately, at least under present plans. Two of the larger Guard divisions will operate with one of the Regular Army's triangular divisions to form a corps. Each corps will thus have the advantage of an extremely mobile, hard-hitting, small division plus the staying power of two slower-moving but larger and stronger divisions.
Finally, the organization of the War Department itself is being altered to distribute the increased work load more equably. For instance, the nucleus of a General Headquarters to assist the Chief of Staff of the Army, has been formed at Washington, with Brigadier General Lesley J. McNair as chief of staff to General Marshall. This move may presage the complete alteration of our structure of high command. Although, according to official releases, the new G.H.Q. has been set up to supervise training activities, some observers see in it an attempt to combine the duties of the Chief of Staff of the Army and the Commander of the Field Armies. Other changes, intended to relieve and distribute the load of the General Staff include the appointment of new assistants and of an additional Deputy Chief of Staff.
When the present program started in May 1940, the army actually had surplus stocks of certain types of equipment, such as rifles, machine guns, and some types of field artillery -- most of them left over from World War days but on the whole quite serviceable. At that time the War Department was working on a program to complete the equipment of the Regular Army and National Guard with "critical" (i.e., not commercially manufactured) items of modern arms; and considerable equipment had already been delivered. The status of this program -- as of May 1, 1940, prior to the tremendous expansion undertaken as a result of the German victories -- is shown in the following table:
|On hand, May 1||Planned on completion of|
|1940||program, July 1, 1941|
|3 inch guns, mobile||448||500|
|90 mm. guns, mobile||None||317|
|37 mm. guns, anti-aircraft, mobile||15||1,423|
|.50 caliber machine guns, AA, mobile||1,014||1,362|
|Semi-automatic rifles, M-1, Garand||38,000||240,559|
|37 mm. anti-tank guns||228||1,388|
|60 mm. mortars||3||3,756|
|81 mm. mortars||183||853|
|.50 caliber machine guns (pack)||83||962|
|Machine guns, cal .30 and .50||75,000||75,000|
|75 mm. guns||3,000 (approx.)||3,000a|
|75 mm. howitzers (field and pack)||60||319|
|105 mm. howitzers||14||120|
|a Only 141 were completely modernized; 459 were in the process of modernization; a total of 1, 439 were planned.|
|155 mm. howitzers||1,000||1,055b|
|155 mm. guns||4||96|
|b Of these howitzers 407 have been modernized and 324 others were in process of modernization. A total of 984 modernized howitzers was planned.|
|Bombs, 500 pound||11,928||34,924|
|Bombs, 1,000 pound||4,336||14,511|
|Cal .30 armor-piercing (rounds)||17,268,000||73,920,000|
|Cal .50 ball||25,220,000||53,117,000|
|37 mm. tank and anti-tank||75,000||1,205,000|
|37 mm. anti-aircraft||46,000||2,624,000|
|81 mm. mortar||43,000||373,000|
|75 mm. howitzer, H. E||142,000||382,500|
|155 mm. howitzer, H. E||925,000||1,131,000|
|8-inch howitzer, H. E.||None||29,000|
|Tanks (light and medium)||464c||1,300|
|c About eighteen were medium tanks, of a model now considered obsolescent; only ten light tanks were of the latest model.|
|Tractors and Special Ordnance Vehicles|
|Trucks, small-arms repair||79||146|
|Trucks, instrument repair||None||53|
|Pontoon bridges, 10 ton||1||32|
|Pontoon equipages, 23-ton||1||8|
|Searchlights, 60-inch mobile||285||1,028|
|Planes, all types||2,800||11,000|
The above table does not, of course, include all the numerous items -- uniforms, tents, shoes, automatic pistols, canteens, etc. -- which any army needs, nor do the items listed as "on hand" represent the complete matériel strength of our army. It had, for instance, thousands of Colt .45's, thousands of blankets, thousands of motor vehicles of all types. The table does, however, give a fair idea of the strength and weaknesses in the army's equipment situation. Its strength lies in the great quantity of basic weapons left over from World War stocks, such as Springfield and Enfield rifles, machine guns and 75 mm. field guns. Indeed, so considerable was the quantity of these items on hand that hundreds of thousands of Enfields, thousands of machine guns and hundreds of 75's have been sold to Britain since these statistics were first made public, thus reducing our superfluous stocks considerably. Ammunition and powder has also been made available to Britain, it is understood, but here we had less to spare; indeed, as of last spring, it is believed that we had on hand only enough ammunition for one big battle comparable to that of the Meuse-Argonne. Other weaknesses, as the table shows, were in modern arms, particularly in many items like tanks and anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, the production of which had been largely limited to government arsenals.
The quantities listed as "planned" had not in all instances been appropriated or contracted for, although considerable sums had been voted and many contracts signed before the May crisis. But this program looked only towards the provision of "critical" items of equipment for the then existing units of the Regular Army and National Guard -- that is, for some 500,000 men.
Since last May, however, this equipment program has been stepped up drastically. As it now stands its initial objectives are: (1) to procure complete equipment for a force of about 1,300,000 men; (2) to procure stocks for service use or for a war reserve of "critical" items (such as tanks and guns) for another 700,000 to 800,000 men; (3) and to create and develop manufacturing facilities adequate to maintain and supply in combat an army of at least 2,000,000 men. This means that the items listed as "planned" must in most cases be doubled, tripled or even quadrupled in numbers. Under the new program, for instance, the Army Air Corps will acquire 15,000 more planes, in addition to the 11,000 listed, giving it a final total of more than 26,000.
Exact figures as to the new goals at which the army is now aiming have never been made public; we know, however, that it has hoped to acquire complete equipment for 1,300,000 men, plus the "critical" items for another 800,000 between October 1941 and July 1942. The plane procurement program is pitched to the same tempo. The following table gives tentative estimates for some of the new totals as now planned:
|90 mm. anti-aircraft guns||1,343|
|tanks, all types||3,600 to 6,000|
|planes||25,000 to 26,500|
|37 mm. anti-tank guns||4,300|
|105 mm. howitzers||2,919|
|155 mm. guns||393|
|8 inch howitzers||73|
Interpreted in terms of the needs of soldiers in the field, all this means that the National Guard is now probably no more than 50 percent equipped with modern arms, and that six Regular Army divisions are perhaps 75 to 90 percent equipped. During the August 1940 manœuvres the First Regular Army Division was, for instance, shown to be short six of its quota of eighteen 81 mm. mortars allowed by the tables of organization, 75 of its 81 60 mm. mortars, 54 of its 108 .30 caliber light machine guns, 429 automatic pistols (a temporary and easily remedied shortage), 53 semi-automatic rifles out of a quota of 3,198, 21 out of 133 motorcycles, five out of twelve light tractors, 29 out of 223¾-ton cargo trailers, two out of two 250-gallon water tanks, three out of 192 command trucks, and 89 out of more than 500 cargo trucks. All other items of equipment were complete. The Twenty-sixth National Guard Division from New England, for instance, had none of the new 60 or 81 mm. mortars, none of the new 37 mm. anti-tank guns (and hence no effective anti-tank gun except its 75 mm. field artillery pieces) and only about half of its complement of motor vehicles. One regiment out of four was equipped with semi-automatic rifles.
The most serious shortages at present, in the order of necessity and combat efficiency, are planes, ammunition and fuses, tanks, anti-tank guns, mortars, anti-aircraft equipment, optical and signal equipment, and new field artillery. Complicating the problem is the fact that the army has been experimenting with many new types of weapons and equipment during the past few years. Experimentation is still going on with many of these types such as the shoulder anti-tank rifle. No satisfactory standard aircraft cannon has been finally adopted. For much of the new equipment not even the specifications and designs have as yet been completed. The equipment on hand is probably adequate for training 1,000,000 men, but it is not adequate for combat.
The army has estimated that approximately 139 new manufacturing plants, or major additions to existing plants, would be required as reserve production capacity to keep an army of 2,000,-000 men fully supplied during a major war effort. Seventy-six plants for the production of ordnance equipment will be needed, thirty-three for aircraft, twenty-eight for chemical warfare, two for quartermaster items. Such statistics may come as a shock to Americans who have become accustomed to thinking of the United States as the world's greatest industrial nation; but most of these new plants are needed to manufacture equipment that is not made in peacetime except in government arsenals -- which, even when expanded, cannot turn out more than about 10 percent of the required volume.
The following table shows the numbers, types and estimated costs of these plants:
|2||Picric acid and explosive D||8,000,000|
|18||Shell and bomb loading:|
|75 millimeter||} 108,000,000|
|2||Small arms ammunition||7,000,000|
|6||Machine gun and airplane cannon:|
|4||Ammunition metal components||12,000,000|
|6||Additions to existing manufacturing depots||19,000,000|
|10||Additions to existing ordnance depots||12,500,000|
|Total Ordnance Department||$558,000,000|
|Chemical Warfare Service|
|1||Addition to existing arsenal||$ 4,000,000|
|Total Chemical Warfare Service||$ 39,500,000|
|2||Expansion of existing manufacturing depots||$ 5,500,000|
|(on basis of 50,000 military planes a year)|
|Total Air Corps||$360,000,000|
Some $525,000,000 had been (or was being, at the time of writing) appropriated to finance the construction of these plants; additional funds may be needed later. Some of the plants -- notably powder factories (to be managed and operated by du Pont, Hercules, Atlas), aircraft cannon plants (General Motors, Chrysler), tank plants (Chrysler) and aircraft engine plants (Wright, Pratt and Whitney, Packard, Ford) -- have already been or are about to be started; but it will be ten to eighteen months before they are producing in quantity. The exact status of all these plants is uncertain. Some of them may be owned outright by the Government but operated by private industry, and may revert to the Government after the emergency has passed. Others will be built by private industry with the assistance of government loans, which will be paid for out of industry's earnings; title to plants in this latter category will apparently go to private industry when the government loans have been repaid. In a few instances no government funds for plant expansion may be required, private capital being adequate.
The expansion of home and overseas cantonments, forts, barracks and bases must not only accompany but precede the additions to man power and equipment. Cantonments in this country are now grossly inadequate to house an army of the size contemplated, and work has only now been started to enlarge them. It seems clear that thousands of our Guardsmen, Regulars and trainees will have to live, at least for awhile, in tent cities, perhaps even in the midst of winter. Cantonment construction is already a potential bottleneck.
The condition of our coast defense installations, particularly in the Northeast, though improved by a continuing program started some years ago, is not yet satisfactory since the locations of most of our harbor defenses are well known and few, if any, of the guns are concealed by effective camouflage or protected from air attack. The bases of the Army Air Corps, in this country and overseas, are undergoing rapid expansion. The one at Westover Field in Massachusetts, soon scheduled for completion, is of most immediate importance. In general the construction of new fields and the enlargement of old ones is progressing rapidly and satisfactorily.
In Hawaii, our Pacific Gibraltar, the garrison is handicapped by old equipment. However, its position is being improved by the construction, on the island of Oahu, of the army's first underground hangar and by the establishment of small outlying fields and gasoline depots on other islands of the Hawaiian group. In Puerto Rico, air and coastal fortifications are being installed. In the Panama Canal Zone, a very considerable strengthening of the garrison has been effected, though there is still a shortage of modern equipment. The air forces in both Puerto Rico and Panama are not yet adequate. Alaska, on the flank of the Great Circle routes across the Pacific, has perhaps the greatest construction and expansion program of all. The army's garrison there, only 300 until a short time ago, is now 1,400 and may eventually number from 6,000 to 10,000. Two air bases are being rushed to completion ahead of schedule. The principal one, costing $13,000,000 and covering 50,000 acres, is at Anchorage, where a pursuit squadron (28 planes), a bombing squadron (from six to thirteen planes) and a base squadron will be stationed, together with anti-aircraft troops, field artillery and infantry. The other field will be at Fairbanks, only 130 miles below the Arctic Circle, where the Army Air Corps will have its first service experience with sub-zero flying conditions.
As we must expect in the midst of an expansion program, the state of training of the forces now under arms leaves much to be desired. The manœuvres of the four field armies during August 1940 showed quite conclusively that the National Guard units, though their operations were better than in the manœuvres of 1939, need at least twelve months intensive training before they can be called combat troops.
The Regular Army, after its manœuvres in the Sabine River area last May, had five well-trained and, on the whole, well-equipped divisions. But so many of the trained men of these divisions have now been transferred to form cadres for new units that there is not a single Regular Army "outfit" in the country whose ranks are not composed of anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of recruits. Reserve officers with five to nine months active duty experience are commanding batteries and companies; the seasoned strength of the Regulars has been so diffused with raw men that practically every Regular unit would require from three to six months training before it could be considered ready for modern war. And it must be remembered that every one of the Regular units was so far below war strength (in most cases they were even below peace strength) that at the moment of writing the expansion program of the army -- insofar as man power is concerned -- has scarcely started. The diffusion process may therefore have to continue.
The principal faults due to lack of training, as exhibited by the August manœuvres, were (1) the tendency of troops to operate as if air power played no part in the scheme of war, (2) the predisposition of commanders to plod along at the same tactical tempo of the First World War, (3) the neglect of concealment and surprise, and (4) defective communications and bad handling of motorized units, with consequent delays and road jams which might have had fatal results if the mimic wars had been real.
The training program has not yet been defined in clear detail by the War Department. Apparently, however, it contemplates "feeding" conscripts and volunteers into Guard and Regular units more or less impartially until they are brought up to war strength, after which additional units of trainees may be formed. Guard units will for the time being receive training at camps in their home states or in the South; later, a number of them may be concentrated in one area for manœuvres. A large part of the first few months must obviously be devoted to basic and primary training in the school of the recruit and the school of the soldier. This will be true both of Regulars and Guardsmen. Later, the officers, particularly in the Guard, will require training in staff work and the coördinated handling of larger units.
BOTTLENECKS AND OBSTACLES
The army's tentative timetable has already been dislocated by delays; more are sure to arise in the future. Plans for man power have been modified by Congress' debate on conscription. It is now certain that the first conscripts cannot be inducted into service, as was originally planned, by October 15, 1940; nor will the entire Guard, it seems, be in the field before the end of the year. Procurement plans have been delayed by a variety of causes. Congress approved the nearly $4,000,000,000 needed to cover the cost of 15,000 planes and the bulk of the other necessary equipment only in September. Nevertheless, this legislative delay has not materially interfered with the procurement schedule, since considerable portions of the funds appropriated a few months earlier had not yet been tied up in contracts.
The greatest and most serious bottleneck is in plane procurement, and even the considerable efforts of William S. Knudsen and other members of the National Defense Advisory Commission have not been adequate. By August 9, about two months after Congress had appropriated some $400,000,000 for 4,081 planes (part of the final total of 26,500 to be acquired), only thirty-three had been contracted for, according to Secretary of War Stimson. This situation was considerably relieved later in the month when further plane contracts were let, but in early September it was still not satisfactory. Plane manufacturers attributed this in part to the discriminatory provision of the Vinson Bill limiting plane and ship builders to an eight percent profit while failing to limit that of other munitions manufacturers. Another cause for protracted negotiation was the dispute as to how capital investments for plant additions should be amortized. Happily, however, these disagreements were on the way to a satisfactory adjustment by the end of summer. Multiplicity of types, hand-tailored planes with too many "gadgets," and delays attributable to design and construction difficulties also conspired to keep the country's production rate low: by July about 750 military planes were being built a month, but only some 300 of them were delivered to the United States Army and Navy -- and nearly all of these were training planes. Priority was being given to the delivery of planes for Great Britain.
Still another bottleneck arose from the fact that designs and specifications for certain types of indispensable weapons and equipment were not ready -- the army, in fact, had not in some cases made up its mind what it wanted. And finally, other delays were caused by such simple, but industrially important, matters as specifications that called for long and laborious handwork when machine work would have done just as well. Moreover, industry is occasionally being hampered and confused by dissimilar specifications: for instance, the army and navy may require different materials or different-sized bolt holes in making engines of the same horsepower and performance.
Mr. Knudsen made it plain early in August that the new program could not be finished on time, that we could not produce total equipment for 2,000,000 men until the middle of 1944. The tanks, he said, would be "slow in coming," and the 105 mm. howitzer, which is to be the basic field artillery piece of our new army, is also behind. Other dilatory items, though Mr. Knudsen did not say so, are aircraft cannon, optical and fire control instruments, and a variety of smaller things. Also lagging is the production of the new semi-automatic rifle, now being turned out at the rate of 400 or 500 a day. This rate, though behind schedule, is not, however, a cause for much worry, since we have hundreds of thousands of excellent Springfield rifles, which are equal or superior as a combat arm to any used abroad.
This revolutionary transformation of the American Army from a small professional body of volunteers, bolstered by the citizen soldiers of the Guard, into a mass conscript army must naturally encounter obstacles and delays. Not the least of these is the doubt felt, even by some of our best military thinkers, as to the necessity or the wisdom of building a huge mass army. They ask, with some reason, where are the battlefields across which such an army can be deployed, and they express their regrets that we seem to be too slavishly following tactical lessons taught in a European war, lessons which may not be valid when applied to the peculiar geographical conditions of the Western Hemisphere. Most of those who hold these views, though they favor conscription, see no need for land forces exceeding a total of 600,000 to 850,000 men. Others regret the imposition of conscription in peacetime, but are aware that, regardless of its merits as a means for raising man power, it is a diplomatic weapon which impresses the totalitarian Powers more strongly than any exchange of notes. Still others, among them former Secretary Woodring, hold that the volunteer system has not yet received a fair test.
But perhaps the most valid argument against conscription is that it may produce the shadow of strength without the substance. Great mass armies did not make France strong. Mass can be an element of weakness if it does not have the mobility, flexibility and strength inherent in good training, sound tactics, reliable equipment and a high morale. Certainly, mass plus strength cannot be produced quickly; and it is already obvious that for the next eighteen months or more we shall not have an army so much as an aggregation of half-trained units -- both in the air and on the ground. Conscription may, if properly handled, contribute materially to a long-range expansion program; but it cannot assist, in fact it will actually hinder, any short-range program for strengthening our land forces. Too large a mobilization of our man power would dangerously defer the realization of our maximum strength; we might well defeat our own ends and dissipate our strength by mobilizing 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 men. We must, therefore, preserve a fine balance in building our new army; we must remember the old principle of the economy of force and we must attempt to plan -- not force unlimited, force for the sake of force -- but force nicely calculated to achieve the ends desired, whatever they may be. To this extent we have failed thus far, for we have not prefaced our actions with a reasoned, coördinated plan; we have no final objective, except to strengthen everything as much as possible. To remedy this shortcoming a planning body for national defense is badly needed in Washington.
And there are other needs. We should determine priorities and put first things first. Since an attack upon this hemisphere can come only through the air or over the seas, fighting ships and fighting planes are obviously of first importance. The bottleneck that blocks the acquisition of planes quickly must be broken, if necessary by stern measures. Already many people are asking why should manufacturers squabble about profits when the citizen-conscript may have to sacrifice not only wages and time but perhaps life itself?
To control this hemisphere we must have properly implemented bases located at strategic places. We already have ample bases under construction in the continental United States and our overseas possessions. Recent or impending agreements with Canada, Britain and Latin American states permitting us to lease or utilize some of their territory for bases will, when those bases are ready, enormously strengthen our strategic position in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and around the Pacific approaches to the Panama Canal. Garrisons will, of course, be needed to man them and to operate and maintain the ships and planes that will use them; furthermore, a highly trained, thoroughly equipped, mobile force should be ready for instant dispatch to any threatened point in the hemisphere. The army's plans in this respect seem more than adequate, except that our existing strength has been too much diffused, and thus weakened, by the expansion program. At least two of our Regular Army divisions should be put in full readiness as quickly as possible, and no further diffusion of their strength permitted.
In the field of procurement we can resolve present difficulties only by understanding that we cannot eat our cake and have it too, that we must upset the normal life of the country if we are going to prepare it to wage modern war. We shall have to reconcile ourselves to the enactment of all sorts of new laws, some of them containing a real sting.
Finally, what is needed most of all is an army command with vision, backed by a united people. Today we have neither one nor the other. There are many men in the army with vision; but only a few of them occupy the places of power. The differing concepts of military policy outlined above -- which in essence can be stated as a conflict of mass versus mobility, of speed versus security -- find their reflections in the tactical sphere. Many of our present tactics stem from an age that is gone; the dead hand of tradition still lies heavily upon our military thought processes. We must renovate our thinking, for our final citadel is the citadel of the mind. It must be broad and spacious and strong, receptive of new ideas. And we must find common ground for a common patriotism -- a patriotism born of a determination to safeguard the vital interests of this nation and its way of life, which once lost can never be regained.