ON THE threshold of the atomic era, old values seem discounted by the terrifying phantoms of the future. There is a tendency to say that all that is old is bad because it is old, that only what is new is useful, that atomic fission changes everything. Yet basic human values, founded on the response of human beings to the hopes and fears of life, have not changed. The policies of nations will be made and carried out by human beings, will succeed or fail because of human powers or human weaknesses, in the atomic era as in the dawn of history. The military policy of the United States cannot be considered apart from these human values, then, as though it presented only mathematical or mechanical problems, to be measured and dealt with solely in terms of numbers, weights and distances.

It is now being urged that to gain the strength and alertness required to meet the terrific exigencies of the future we must merge our service departments into a single Department of the Armed Forces, under a single Secretary assisted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This idea of unification is, in general, supported by the Army (including the Army Air Forces) and is opposed by the Navy. Several plans have been presented to accomplish unification. The one which currently finds the most favor in Army circles provides for a separate air force, and would have the three Chiefs of Staff of the three services form the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the over-all direction of a Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, who would be the principal military adviser and executive of the Secretary. In this plan there would be one Under Secretary, who would be the chief civil assistant to the Secretary, and Assistant Secretaries who would have specialized functions in such matters as scientific research, supply, etc.[i] Variants of this scheme would place Assistant Secretaries at the head of each of the three services.

Underlying these proposals for a merger is the generally accepted idea that unity of command in the field is the key to military success, as this war has proven. Underlying them also is a feeling on the part of many senior officers, especially in the Army, that Congress should each year be presented with a combined budget for the armed forces which would give a rounded picture of the needs of national security, on the theory that otherwise appropriations will be pared down in the same lamentable way that happened after other wars, and that once again our military power will fall below the danger point. There is also a very strong demand, which has considerable popular support, for the establishment of a separate air force, to be coequal with the Army and Navy under whatever form of organization may be adopted.

Service opinion tends to divide itself somewhat along the following lines: There can be a single department, as is being proposed, with subdivisions for Army, Navy and Air. The situation can be left as it is, with two departments. Or there can be three separate departments.

The Navy does not like the single-department idea. Its views were cogently expressed as follows by Fleet Admiral Nimitz: "Unification can have one of two effects on the Navy. Either it will retain a sufficient degree of autonomy and prestige to enable it to discharge its mission effectively, in which case it might as well remain a separate service as it now is; or it will not do so, in which case it may sink to a secondary status and the nation may lose the command of the sea which is essential to national security." The Navy is not enthusiastic for the three-department idea because many naval officers do not favor a separate air force; but this feeling would probably be altered if effective steps were taken to see to it that the Navy did not lose control over its own naval aviation.

The Army Air Forces do not like the present two-department arrangement because it subordinates the air arm to the War Department and the Army General Staff, which in the past has been dominated by ground officers. They want equal status with ground and sea forces, and they think the unification plan is the best way to get it. Most Army air officers would, however, welcome a separate air force on whatever terms it might be offered, provided it gave them the freedom of action which they think necessary to develop American air power.

The Army Ground Forces do not like the three-department idea because they fear that under it they would get only the leavings of the other two services at the budgetary dinner table. They think that the unified department gives them their best chance of staying strongly in the picture and assures them a status of equality with the others and a voice in over-all policies.

We should not misunderstand this diversity of service opinion and we should not attribute it to mere jealousy. Every officer of every service is anxious that the United States should remain strong and secure, and is firmly convinced that the contribution to be made to that strength and security by his particular service must not be weakened. And every one of them who has had any experience in budgetary matters knows that there is going to be a good deal of paring, and wants to be in a position to defend the service to which he is devoted when the paring begins.

The opponents of a unified department do not oppose the principle of unity. They recognize the need for unity of command in the field, but they point out that we had that in this war without unification of the two departments in Washington. They recognize the need for a unified military policy, but they are of the opinion that it can best be achieved through the instrument of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which worked successfully in this war. They recognize the advisability of coördinating the service budgets, and balancing and adjusting the claims and needs of the various services, but they think that the Joint Chiefs of Staff can do this also, working under the direction of their respective Secretaries -- who themselves, under such a coördination plan, would be members of a permanently organized Security Council. They think that no service need fear subordination of its interests as long as it has a Secretary of Cabinet rank, with direct access to the President, and as long as its Chief of Staff has an equal voice with his colleagues and is not in a position of subordination to any other military officer.

These two approaches to the problem may be called the plan for obtaining unity of purpose and effort by merger and the plan for obtaining it by coördination. The essential difference between them is that the former provides for one-man control and decision below the level of the President. Under a system of coördination, such one-man decisions as become necessary have to be made by the President. Were the services merged, they would be made by the Secretary of the Armed Forces, or by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, in accordance with the nature of the particular decision. The advocates of coördination point out that in practice the Joint Chiefs of Staff have almost invariably been able to come to an agreement, and that the few cases where reference to the President has been necessary have involved his decision anyway. The advocates of merger say that agreement in the Joint Chiefs of Staff may not come so readily when the pressures of war are removed.

Everyone agrees that: 1, unity of command in the field is essential; 2, to make unified command work there must be a great deal of inter-service training and inter-service education of officers; 3, there must be a unified military policy for the security of this country, and it must be kept in balance with our foreign policy; 4, the future may bring many changes not now easily foreseen, both in military techniques and in political conditions in the world; 5, there must be improved means of keeping the armed services abreast of scientific and technical developments; 6, in principle the services should be coequal in authority and prestige, whether within a unified department or not.

Almost everyone agrees that: 1, there should be a separate Air Force, which should not, however, have jurisdiction over naval aviation or over the aviation which is peculiar to the work of the ground forces; 2, there must be some way of coördinating the budgets of the armed forces. The disagreement is, therefore, not one as to objectives but as to means. It leads back to the basic question: Shall there be one-man over-all control at any level below that of the Commander-in-Chief, the President?

The considered opinion of this writer is that there should not, and that the advocates of coördination are right. This view is based on the experience of other countries which have tried out various forms of coördination and unification, as well as on the experience of the United States.


The British have never had unification. Their system is one of coördination, with three coequal services. The government receives its advice on military policy from the Committee of Imperial Defense, of which the Prime Minister is permanent chairman, and which includes the Foreign Secretary, the Secretaries of the Service Departments, and other members of the Cabinet. The Joint Chiefs of Staff is organized as a subcommittee of the C.I.D. The membership of the C.I.D. is kept flexible so that anyone whose advice is necessary may be called to sit with it. It operates through a series of subcommittees, specializing in a vast variety of subjects. This system was brought into being after the South African war, as a result of the deliberations of a civilian commission headed by Lord Esher, which was originally concerned only with a proposed reorganization of the War Office. Lord Esher's commission came to the view that the reorganization of the War Office could not be separately considered from the over-all problem of imperial defense, and that there must be some continuing agency which considered defense problems in the light of foreign policy and of domestic needs and resources. The Committee of Imperial Defense was the result.

In time of war, the Committee of Imperial Defense becomes the War Cabinet, with the Chiefs of Staff as its military advisers. Each Chief of Staff, it should be noted, is charged with the dual responsibility of advising his own Secretary on subjects relating to his own service, and -- with his colleagues -- of giving collective advice to the government on military policy.[ii] This system has worked very well, and has given Great Britain a far better system of command and a clearer grasp of military policy than that country had previously enjoyed. Even cursory comparison of the manner in which the British conducted the two wars of this century with the shocking conditions of the Crimean and South African wars makes this abundantly clear. The element of one-man decision in over-all policy questions does not exist except as such decisions may be made by the Prime Minister.

It should be pointed out, however, that there were serious British military failures in World War I, which were attributable not to faulty military policy but to failures in command. It was lack of unity of command in the field, rather than faulty planning in London, which resulted, for example, in the Dardanelles catastrophe. The same lack on the inter-Allied level resulted in bloody setbacks on the western front, and not until this fault was corrected did the Allies begin to win victories there. In World War II, the British were still reluctant fully to implement the principle of unity of command in the field, and some of their initial difficulties in the Middle East may be traced to this.

In Germany, unification has been tried twice: once briefly and unimportantly under the Weimar Republic, and once by the device of the High Command of the Wehrmacht (Oberkommando Wehrmacht) under Hitler, from 1938 to 1945. The High Command was almost completely dominated by the army generals. The results were that though important victories on land were gained, Nazi Germany failed at sea and failed in the development of strategic air power. It may be said that this proves little because Germany failed at sea in the last war, when there was no unified command and when the Navy, like the Army, was directly responsible to the Emperor. But that is merely to point out that neither unified nor divided administration could overcome the basic defect of the German military policy -- the complete and traditional domination of the Army. What the German experience does suggest is that it is dangerous for one service to attain dominance over the others, and dangerous to permit a form of organization where that may be possible.

Prior to and during World War I, separation of the French Army and Navy was complete, whether under the Bourbons, the Empires or the Republics. From 1920 onward, however, the history of French policy in this respect is one of confusion. So many different attempts were made at unification and coördination that it is useless to recite them in detail. For the most part they centered around the struggle for control of the air force, but underlying them was the determination of the General Staff of the Army to get control of the whole defense system. Fundamental changes were made in 1920, 1928, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1936 and 1938. The lesson here relates not so much to the question of unification vs. coördination as to the perils of inter-service rivalries when not firmly checked by the civil power. In the end, the Army had its way. In 1936 the post of Minister of National Defense was established and was assumed by M. Daladier, who also remained Minister of War. In 1938 the post of Chief of Staff of National Defense was created, and this went to General Gamelin, who also retained his place as Chief of Staff of the Army. The results are written across the most disastrous page of French military history. The Army staff was, traditionally, concerned chiefly with the defense of the continental frontiers of metropolitan France. There was no air force worth speaking of, and the Navy was hardly consulted as to policy. Had naval and air officers had coequal status in the making of over-all plans, there would surely have been some arrangement to fall back on the African empire in case of disaster at home. But the Army's dominant position was such that when it failed everything was regarded as lost. As to the effect of all this on the conduct of war, it is only necessary to compare the quality of French military leadership in World War I with that of World War II.

The U.S.S.R., like the United States, had a single Department of War during the earlier years of its existence, but, again like the United States, a separate Navy Department was created as soon as the Navy became really important. This was in 1937. The U.S.S.R. has never had a separate air force -- probably because the development of strategic air power has never been seriously attempted. The sole function of the airplane in Soviet military thought is to give direct tactical support to the ground forces. Despite the comparatively new Navy Department, there is no question that in Russia, as in Germany and France, the Army has been the dominant service. This is traditional, and probably inescapable in view of geographical considerations. But it does not help naval development. Both under the Tsars in World War I and under the Soviets in World War II, the Russian Navy was employed merely as an auxiliary force on the seaward flanks of the Army. The U.S.S.R. has a Supreme Council for Defense which includes the Commander-in-Chief, the People's Commissar for Defense, the People's Commissar for the Navy, the commanding general of the Army Air Force and others. The first two positions named are held by Stalin.

The Japanese have always had separate Ministries for Army and Navy. However, as the Japanese constitution provides that the Minister of War must always be a general and the Minister of the Navy an admiral, and that both these ministers and the chiefs of staff have direct access to the Emperor without going through the Prime Minister, there is little in Japanese practice which can afford us any useful lessons -- save the example of the vital need of preserving civilian control of the armed services under all conditions. Japan has never had a separate air force.

The experience of Canada with a single Minister of National Defense is of considerable interest. In 1923 the three existing Departments (the Department of Militia and Defense, the Department of the Naval Service, and the Air Board) were consolidated into a single Department of National Defense. The Minister was to receive military advice from the three Chiefs of Staff, acting in coördination. No super-Chief of Staff was created. The same principle of individual and collective responsibility for the Chiefs of Staff was adopted as is in force in Great Britain. The structure of command was maintained intact in each branch. The governing reason behind this change was economy, on the assumption that Canada could not afford three departments. But when war came, it was found necessary to reëstablish the old system. A Minister of National Defense for Air was appointed in May 1940, and a Minister of National Defense for the Naval Services two months later, "in order to give greater scope for independent action in the three branches of the armed forces."

Finally, it should be observed that every major foreign country has created, whatever the organization of its armed forces, some administrative machinery for coördinating its military and foreign policies. In some cases -- notably in Germany and Italy -- this machinery has largely depended, at least in recent years, on the position of an individual and his relationships to the several departments concerned. In other cases it depended on a formally constituted committee or council.


What conclusions are to be drawn from this survey of foreign experience? First, it is clear that each service -- army, navy, air -- develops most successfully under its own autonomous organization. Where the army became dominant -- as in Germany, France and Russia -- the navy became secondary and accomplished little or nothing. Nor did any of these Powers create a real strategic air force. Second, some form of coördination between the services is essential, and must be such as to preserve the autonomy of the services while insuring civil control; and it must provide for that joint training and education which is essential to coöperation and to unity of command in the field. Third, military and foreign policy must be kept in balance.

Our own experience in this war seems to confirm these conclusions. When the war began, we had (as we still have) two service departments and two armed services. The Navy had its own naval aviation, over which it had complete control. The bulk of our air power was in the Army Air Forces, which had a semi-autonomous position within the structure of the War Department and the Army. There were two provisions for coördination: (1) There was an unofficial arrangement called the War Council, by which the Secretaries of State, War and Navy consulted at fairly regular intervals, and met with the President, the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations at irregular times when the President called them together. The Commanding General of the Army Air Forces also attended these latter meetings on some occasions. (2) There was a Joint Board, composed of the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, and some subordinate officers (including air officers) of each department. This board was supposed to compose inter-service differences. It was assisted by a Joint Planning Committee, which was concerned chiefly with joint war plans.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt brought into existence the Joint Chiefs of Staff, committing to them the heavy responsibility of acting, in effect, as the United States High Command for the military conduct of the war. In addition to the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Naval Operations, the Joint Chiefs of Staff also included the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces and the Chief of Staff to the President, the latter a new appointment. Their joint authority was entirely derived from the war powers of the President. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, as such, had no legal standing; the office was not the creature of any statute, but simply the temporary decision of the executive. In fact, it started to function without even an executive order in writing. Like Topsy, it was not born, it just "growed."

Later, when President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill decided to integrate the war effort and resources of the United States and the British Commonwealth, the Combined Chiefs of Staff came into being. The American and British Joint Chiefs of Staff created a mechanism through which they worked together, with delegates of the British Joint Chiefs permanently stationed in Washington. The success with which this system functioned has been a constant source of astonishment to the orthodox mind. Napoleon's scornful comment on the Aulic Council -- "You cannot make successful war with a committee" -- has been accepted as axiomatic for more than a century. Now war has been successfully made by a committee, and an inter-allied committee at that, with its two main parts separated by 3,000 miles of ocean. The committee system of high command has decisively defeated two one-man control systems, concentrating first against one and then against the other.

The total and global wars of today make demands on knowledge and ability that are just too vast for one-man decisions. It follows, as the night the day, that the task of maintaining the security of this nation against the recurrence of total and global war is likewise too vast in its demands on knowledge and ability. No one man can have enough experience, specialized knowledge and wisdom to warrant building our military establishment on the basis of his single judgment.

This is not to say, of course, that no one man can be qualified to be President of the United States. In a sense, of course, that too could be argued: if you were to write down the qualifications and experience which the ideal President should have, they would certainly be beyond anything that could be found in any individual. Under our system of government, we take the best we can get, or the best that the political lottery brings to the surface for our choice. But we surround the executive power with a system of constitutional checks and balances, as precautions against the inevitable uncertainties involved in entrusting any human being with the vast powers of the Presidency. We do not extend the one-man idea any farther than we have to, and where we must use it we guard it carefully.

We should be particularly careful not to extend it too far in matters concerning the military services. The principle of subordination of the military to the civil power is implicit in all our military legislation. That is why we have civilian Secretaries as the immediate superiors of our highest military officers. It is only through these Secretaries that our Chiefs of Staff should normally have contact with the President. The instrument of Joint Chiefs of Staff has proven its value. If it is to be invested by statute with certain collective responsibilities, in addition to the individual responsibilities which are laid upon each Chief of Staff regarding his own service, it is clear that its relation to the President should be through a civilian medium. Each Chief of Staff stands in a well-determined relation to his own Secretary. Obviously the civilian authority to which the Joint Chiefs are collectively responsible must be, so to speak, Joint Secretaries. Thus, unless there is to be only one Secretary, the formal organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the establishment of their collective responsibility immediately makes necessary the corresponding organization of the Secretaries as an established body immediately advisory to the President.

Since it is essential that military and foreign policy be kept in constant balance, it seems inevitable that the Secretary of State should be associated with the service Secretaries in this advisory body. From such a line of reasoning have evolved various suggestions -- including that made recently by Ferdinand Eberstadt in his report to Secretary Forrestal -- for the creation of a National Security Council, to consist of the Secretaries of State, War and Navy, plus a Secretary of Air (if we are to have a separate air force). The Joint Chiefs of Staff would be immediately subordinate to this Council, in their collective capacity.

The President himself should act as Chairman of this Council. He should be present at its meetings as often as possible. In his absence, the Vice-President (when we have one) should preside, for it is vital to our security that the Vice-President should at all times be fully informed on matters of foreign and military policy. It may be said that the Secretaries themselves would not have the time to attend meetings of the Council. But the work of the Council would surely be the most important of their duties. They are at present sadly overburdened men, for there has as yet been little realization of the need to free them from administrative detail so as to enable them to give thought to the broad decisions of policy. This can be remedied by making the Under Secretary in each department a true executive officer, and transferring to him much of the burden of detail which now rests upon the Secretary. In some cases this will require statutory changes; thus in the War Department, the Under Secretary now has certain statutory duties in relation to supply and procurement which should be transferred to an Assistant Secretary in order to free the Under Secretary for executive functions.

The central necessity is that the National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be established by law as permanent, functioning agencies of government with clearly defined responsibilities. They should be organized for that purpose, and provided with the necessary machinery to do their work. They should meet daily, or at least three times a week. Their collective responsibility as a body should be closely linked with their individual responsibilities in their respective offices; and their collective responsibility should lie wholly in the advisory and policy-making fields and should not extend to administration and execution of policy.

Three agencies are clearly needed to enable the National Security Council to function effectively: 1, a secretariat; 2, a central intelligence agency; 3, a central research and development agency. The secretariat is essential to give continuity to the Council's work. The executive secretary should be selected with great care, and should be considered a permanent official, despite changes in administrations. In addition to its obvious duties, the secretariat should be charged with maintaining close touch with the various committees of Congress which are interested in the work of the Council. Liaison officers of the secretariat should be detained to work with these Committees and to circulate to them the memoranda and other papers necessary to keep them currently in touch with all aspects of policy. The secretariat should also have a well-organized public relations division. Another of its duties would be to work closely with the Bureau of the Budget in coördinating the three service budgets.

The Council's decisions must be based on the most accurate information which can be obtained; its members must not only be closely in touch with activities of other departments of the government, but must also know what is going on in foreign countries. For this purpose, a central intelligence agency is required. During the war, such an agency was created -- the Office of Strategic Services -- which was responsible to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The research and analysis branches of this organization have now been transferred to the State Department, at least temporarily. But it seems almost axiomatic that no one department should have charge of the sources of information on which the policy of all departments is based; inevitably there would be a tendency to color or withhold information which did not suit the preconceptions of the department concerned. If policy is formulated by consultation and coördination among several departments, then each should have equal access to essential information, and the same information should reach the President undiluted by departmental idiosyncrasies. The central intelligence agency, under the proposed system, should be directly subordinate to the National Security Council. The specialized intelligence activities conducted by each department within its proper sphere of interest should of course be continued; the results should be made available to the central intelligence agency, to be correlated and evaluated.

Nothing can be more important in this world of atomic energy and rockets than the promotion of scientific research and development, closely geared to the agencies responsible for national security. To fall behind in this respect, even for a day, might be disastrous. It is clear that each department concerned with the national security must carry on its specialized research. No restrictions can be placed on the air force, for example, in working out means by which this country can be protected against attacks through the stratosphere. But there must be some coordinating authority which can prevent duplication of effort and waste of time, and which can see that progress made by one service becomes automatically available to the others. Moreover, progress by civilian research agencies must promptly become available to the armed forces. A central research and development agency under the immediate authority of the National Security Council seems a good means of accomplishing these ends. Its responsibilities would have to be established by law.

Considerations of space prevent discussion of the relationships between the National Security Council and the domestic departments of the government, or with the agencies having to do with industrial mobilization. This is nevertheless a vital part of the picture. The Eberstadt report suggests a National Security Resources Board, consisting of various Cabinet members and heads of agencies under an appointed chairman who would also be a member of the National Security Council. The direct link between this body and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for coördinated planning, would be a Military Munitions Board composed of Under or Assistant Secretaries from each service department.


The approach outlined above offers the following advantages: 1, organized interlocking of military and foreign policy; 2, maintenance of the principle of coequal military services; 3, policy decisions derived from the coördinated advice of all who are properly concerned with them, rather than from the decisions of one individual; 4, preservation of the principle of the subordination of the military to the civil power; 5, full opportunity for each Secretary and each Chief of Staff to make his opinion heard, and full freedom of action in carrying out policies after they have been agreed upon; 6, every department concerned knowing at all times what the over-all policy is, rather than (as used to be the case) proceeding on its own assumption as to policy -- the assumptions all too frequently varying.

Even if experience proves that the advocates of merger are right, nothing can be lost by trying coördination first. For the clearly defined policy-making agency (which we have here called the National Security Council) is needed whatever way our armed forces may be organized. Since that is the case, it may be unwise to force unification upon the Navy now, in the present atmosphere of bitter controversy; and it would be equally unwise to allow the present controversy to continue. The method of coordination could be tried out for a stated period, say two, three or perhaps five years. Its advocates would have their chance to prove their case, and if they failed to do so, then unification would plainly be in order.

To put final decisions in the hands of one man seems an easy way out of all difficulties involving differences of opinion. It has been said that the easy way in business is monopoly; in politics, dictatorship; in international affairs, imperialism. But these are ways which are foreign to our fundamental conceptions of human relationships; we have struggled against them at home and abroad. One responsible writer has argued, for example, that "Even within the Joint Chiefs of Staff organization, there is no central authority below the President to compel compromise or agreement if the Army and Navy happen to have a major difference of opinion. In wartime, when the nation was fighting for its existence, the services were under heavy obligation to compose their differences. In peacetime no such compulsion exists." But this overlooks the fact that the crucial question is the nature of the responsibility laid upon each Chief of Staff by law, and upon each Secretary. An officer whose mandate from the people, expressed in the law defining the duties of his office, extends only to his service, will of course fight for that service tooth and nail. But if his mandate charges him with individual responsibility for his own service, but also with a share in a collective responsibility for advising on questions of broad military policy, he is under "a heavy obligation to compose differences" which he cannot ignore, and which the sense of duty which traditionally inspires our senior officers will prevent him from ignoring.

Former Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, testifying in favor of unification, told a Congressional committee: "I strongly favor a policy that will end debate, division and dispersion." But it is possible to agree that dispersion of effort must be ended, without agreeing that debate and division must be ended. There will always be divisions of opinion, and those divisions, at the level of Chiefs of Staff and Cabinet officers, should and must be debated -- and debated very carefully, even at great length, if need be. The power to compel agreement and to end debate can be more dangerous than exhaustive discussion, for there is always the danger that the power may be exercised arbitrarily, or on partisan considerations. The principle involved in making long-range policy decisions is entirely different from that involved in the decisions of a commander in the field. Deliberation becomes more valuable and more necessary, the farther one rises toward the levels at which policy is formulated. During the war, for example, sometimes 18 months to two years elapsed between the making of broad strategic decisions by the Joint or Combined Chiefs of Staff and their execution against the enemy. The peacetime decisions on the principles of our military policy need deliberation rather than snap judgment. There is little in common between such decisions and the military commands which must be given at the approach of danger. It is within the adopted policies themselves that we must look for the machinery and devices necessary to meet such contingencies.

The principle of unity of command must, of course, be implemented to the fullest degree. In time of peace, we may adopt various methods to strengthen this principle: 1, by joint training programs, decided upon by the Joint Chiefs of Staff; 2, by exchange of officers among the service schools of each service, with special reference to the higher levels of military education; 3, by appointing a single commander to be responsible for every outlying base; 4, by continuing and expanding the work of the Army and Navy Staff College, which might be called the Armed Services Staff College; 5, by taking every opportunity to have officers of one service spend some time with one of the other services; 6, by impressing upon all persons in the military services, at every phase of their training, the interdependence of the three services and the fact that modern war cannot be successfully waged except by integrated action by land, sea and air.

One last word about the unseeable future. It is, of course, entirely possible that the whole nature of war as we know it may be drastically altered within our own lifetimes. There is neither space nor need to go into conjecture here. But these possibilities, which affect also our hope of preventing war, only reëmphasize the need for maintaining a flexible military policy and for finding a security machinery which can be adapted to meet any future exigency. It is submitted that the consultative system will be more flexible and adaptable than a system of centralized control, because it will be less dependent on individual prejudices and preconceptions and less vulnerable to the fixed idea of a single individual.

[i]Cf. Army and Navy Register, November 3, 1945, for a full report on this plan.

[ii]Cf. Sir H. L. Ismay's "The Machinery of the Committee of Imperial Defence," Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, May 1939.

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  • GEORGE FIELDING ELIOT, military and naval correspondent of the New York Herald Tribune; author of "The Ramparts We Watch," "Hour of Triumph" and other works
  • More By George Fielding Eliot