Elihu Root on the Formation of the General Staff System in 1903

[Excerpted from Elihu Root, The Military and Colonial Policy of the United States: Addresses and Reports (Harvard University Press, 1916), pp. 417-440]


THE GENERAL STAFF

STATEMENT BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AFFAIRS, WASHINGTON, DECEMBER 13, 1902

MR. CHAIRMAN and gentlemen, this bill covers but a single subject, and has but a single purpose. It is the establishment of a general staff corps, to be composed of officers detailed from the army at large, under such rules as may be prescribed by the President.

The duties of the proposed general staff corps are described in the bill as follows:

To prepare plans for the national defense and for the mobilization of the military forces in time of war; to investigate and report upon all questions affecting the efficiency of the army and its state of preparation for military operations; to render professional aid and assistance to the Secretary of War and to general officers and other superior commanders, and to act as their agents in informing and coordinating the acts of all the different officers engaged in carrying out their orders, and to perform such other duties as may be from time to time prescribed by the President.

The bill provides that the general staff corps shall consist of one chief of staff of the army, with the rank, pay, and allowances of a lieutenant-general, one major-general, one brigadier-general, who, while so serving, shall have the rank, pay, and allowances of the grade to which detailed, all of these three to be detailed by the President from the officers of the army at large.

Mr. HAY. Would it interfere with you, Mr. Secretary, if I should ask some questions as you go along ?

Mr. ROOT. Certainly not.

Mr. HAY. I want to ask if that clause would not create two lieutenant-generals of the army ?

Mr. ROOT. There would be two lieutenant-generals provided at any time the officer detailed by the President to be chief of the general staff were another officer than the permanent Lieutenant-General. There would then be the same situation which existed in the latter part of the Civil War, when General Grant was in command of the army in the field and General Halleck was chief of staff conducting the administration at Washington. If, however, the President did, as he undoubtedly would do under this bill at the outset, detail the Lieutenant-General of the Army to be the chief of staff, then there would be only one lieutenant-general. That is to say, the provision affords an opportunity for adjustment to meet the exigencies of the times....

The bill provides further that there shall be in the general staff four colonels, six lieutenant-colonels, twelve majors, and twenty captains, these to be detailed from the officers of the army at large, the captains to be detailed from officers of the grades of captain or first lieutenant, the details all to be for a period of four years, unless sooner relieved; and it provides that while serving in the general staff, corps officers may be temporarily assigned to duty with any branch of the army. That is the outline of the general staff corps.

Other provisions of the bill are designed to adjust the working of that corps to the working of the present organization. A portion of the members of the corps would be stationed in Washington to conduct the general business falling under the heads enumerated in the description of duties, which I have already read, and a portion of them, the larger portion of them, would be assigned to the different departments to serve under the direction of the different commanders, but maintaining their relations to the general staff corps, and reporting to the chief of staff now in Washington, very much as the assistant inspectors-general now report to the inspector-general, with the difference that the chief of staff and his assistants in Washington would be charged with advising the President or the Secretary of War of the matters in regard to which the reports showed action ought to be taken, and, under the direction of the President or the Secretary of War, seeing to it that those matters received attention.

Let me call your attention for a moment to the reason for asking you to authorize the formation of such a body of officers. We have an army excellent in its personnel, not surpassed, I believe, anywhere, in the intelligence, capacity, and devotion to duty of its enlisted men and its officers. We have the various departments of administration organized each within itself, and well enough organized for the performance of its specific duties, and we have at the head of those departments men of capacity and fidelity. The Quartermaster's Department is engaged faithfully and efficiently in conducting the transportation of the army, in supplying clothing and forage and doing construction work and a great variety of other duties. The Subsistence Department is engaged, with ability and fidelity, in furnishing the food of the army. The Signal Corps is in like manner and with conspicuous ability performing the duties of maintaining communications, building telegraph lines and operating them, and training men to do signal work.

I can go through the different branches of administration and make the same statements regarding each particular corps, department, and bureau organization. We have a nation with great wealth, willing to spend its money freely for the procurement of arms and munitions of war and supplies of all kinds. Nevertheless, no one can fail to see that there has been in the past, in the administration of the army, something which was out of joint. It is not necessary for me to go into the specification of details; for every one of us knows that whenever an exigency has come, confusion has come; and that confusion, while it is not so prominent, while it does not attract public attention to such a degree as in the days when the newspapers were full of scare headlines about the condition of affairs at Tampa, nevertheless exists in the yearly and daily transactions of the business of the War Department. The confusion comes from the fact that our organization is weak at the top. It does not make adequate provision for a directing and coordinating control. It does not make provision for an adequate force to see that these branches of the administrative staff and the different branches of the line pull together, so that the work of each one will fit in with the work of every other one, and bring out the result which always has to be the result of the conspiring of a great number of people doing a great number of duties.

While I say that the organization is weak at the top, I am not criticising any one at the top. It is weak at the top because the system is defective; because there is a distribution of powers and no coordination of the exercise of powers provided for in the system. That coordination cannot be done by any one man. It is a vast and difficult work, which can be done only by a body of men organized for that purpose and having no other duties to perform; and in all the armies of the civilized world that duty is, and during our lifetime has been, performed by a body of men who have come to be called a General Staff,-to be called a General Staff because their duties are staff duties and because their duties are general, pertaining to the general conduct of affairs, and not merely to the work of the Quartermaster's Department, as General Ludington's duties are; not merely to the work of the Ordnance Department, as General Crozier's duties are, but pertaining to the entire work.

THE GENERAL STAFF

Extract from the Report of the Secretary of War for 1902 [1]

The most important thing to be done now for the regular army is the creation of a general staff. I beg to call attention to the remarks made upon this subject under the head of " Improvement of Army Organization " in the report for 1899 and under the head of " General Staff " in the report for 1901. Since the report for 1899 was made many of the important measures then recommended for the greater efficiency of the army have been accomplished or are in course of accomplishment under authority conferred by legislation. Our military system is, however, still exceedingly defective at the top. We have a personnel unsurpassed anywhere, and a population ready to respond to calls for the increase of the personnel in case of need, up to the full limit at which it is possible to transport and feed an army. We have wealth and a present willingness to expend it reasonably for the procurement of supplies and material of war as plentiful and as good as can be found in any country. We have the different branches of the military service well organized, each within itself, for the performance of its duties. Our administrative staff and supply departments, as a rule, have at their heads good and competent men, faithful to their duties, each attending assiduously to the business of his department.

But when we come to the coordination and direction of all these means and agencies of warfare, so that all parts of the machine shall work true together, we are weak. Our system makes no adequate provision for the directing brain which every army must have, to work successfully. Common experience has shown that this cannot be furnished by any single man without assistants, and that it requires a body of officers working together under the direction of a chief and entirely separate from and independent of the administrative staff of an army (such as the adjutants, quartermasters, commissaries, etc., each of whom is engrossed in the duties of his own special department). This body of officers, in distinction from the administrative staff, has come to be called a general staff. There has been much misunderstanding as to the nature and duties of a general staff. Brigadier-General Theodore Schwan, in his work on the organization of the German army, describes it as follows:

In Prussia, at least, the term has been exclusively and distinctively applied, since about 1789, to a body of officers to whom, as assistants to the commander-in-chief and to his subordinate generals, is confided such work as is directly connected with the designing and execution of military operations. That in Germany, as elsewhere, chiefs of special arms, heads of supply departments, judge-advocates, etc., form an important branch of the higher commands, goes without saying, but they are not included in the term " general staff." Clausewitz's dictum that the general staff is intended to convert the ideas of the commanding general into orders, not only by communicating the former to the troops, but rather by working out all matters of detail, and thus relieving the general from a vast amount of unnecessary labor, is not a sufficient definition of general staff duties, according to Von Schellendorf (upon this question certainly the better authority), as it fails to notice the important obligation of the general staff officer of constantly watching over the effectiveness of the troops, which would be impaired by a lack of attention to their material welfare. Out of this obligation grows, he says, the further duty of furnishing to the heads of the supply departments and other officers attached to headquarters such explanations touching the general military situation, or the effect of a sudden change therein, as will enable them to carry out intelligently what is expected of them. The general staff thus becomes a directing and explaining body, and its chief, therefore, is in some respects the head of the whole staff. It follows that of the two terms, staff and general staff, the Germans regard the former as the more comprehensive one and as embracing the latter.

It is conceded on all hands that the almost phenomenal success that has attended the German (Prussian) arms during the last thirty years is due in a large degree to the corps of highly trained general staff officers which the German army possesses.

Neither our political nor our military system makes it suitable that we should have a general staff organized like the German general staff or like the French general staff; but the common experience of mankind is that the things which those general staffs do, have to be done in every well-managed and well-directed army, and they have to be done by a body of men especially assigned to do them. We should have such a body of men selected and organized in our own way and in accordance with our own system to do those essential things. The most intelligible way to describe such a body of men, however selected and organized, is by calling it a general staff, because its duties are staff duties and are general in their character.

The duties of such a body of officers can be illustrated by taking for example an invasion of Cuba, such as we were all thinking about a few years ago. It is easy for a President, or a general acting under his direction, to order that 50,000 or 100,000 men proceed to Cuba and capture Havana. To make an order which has any reasonable chance of being executed he must do a great deal more than that. He must determine how many men shall be sent and how they shall be divided among the different arms of the service, and how they shall be armed, and equipped; and to do that he must get all the information possible about the defenses of the place to be captured and the strength and character and armament of the forces to be met. He must determine at what points and by what routes the place shall be approached, and at what points his troops shall land in Cuba; and for this purpose he must be informed about the various harbors of the island and the depth of their channels; what classes of vessels can enter them; what the facilities for landing are; how they are defended; the character of the roads leading from them to the place to be attacked; the character of the intervening country; how far it is healthful or unhealthful; what the climate is liable to be at the season of the proposed movement; the temper and sympathies of the inhabitants; the quantity and kind of supplies that can be obtained from the country; the extent to which transportation can be obtained, and a great variety of other things which will go to determine whether it is better to make the approach from one point or from another, and to determine what it will be necessary for the army to carry with it in order to succeed in moving and living and fighting.

All this information it is the business of a general staff to procure and present. It is probable that there would be in such case a number of alternative plans, each having certain advantages and disadvantages, and these should be worked out each by itself, with the reasons for and against it, and presented to the President or general for his determination. This the general staff should do. This cannot be done in an hour. It requires that the staff shall have been at work for a long time collecting the information and arranging it and getting it in form to present. Then at home, where the preparation for the expedition is to be made, the order must be based upon a knowledge of the men and material available for its execution; how many men there are who can be devoted to that purpose, from what points they are to be drawn, what bodies of troops ought to be left or sent elsewhere, and what bodies may be included in the proposed expedition; whether there are ships enough to transport them; where they are to be obtained; whether they are properly fitted up; what more should be done to them; what are the available stocks of clothing, arms and ammunition, and engineers' material, and horses and wagons, and all the innumerable supplies and munitions necessary for a large expedition; how are the things to be supplied which are not ready, but which are necessary, and how long time will be required to supply them.

All this and much more necessary information it is the business of a general staff to supply. When that has been done the order is made with all available knowledge of all the circumstances upon which the movement depends for its success. It is then the business of a general staff to see that every separate officer upon whose action the success of the movement depends understands his share in it and does not lag behind in the performance of that share; to see that troops and ships and animals and supplies of arms and ammunition and clothing and food, etc., from hundreds of sources, come together at the right times and places. It is a laborious, complicated, and difficult work, which requires a considerable number of men whose special business it is and who are charged with no other duties.

It was the lack of such a body of men doing that kind of work which led to the confusion attending the Santiago expedition in the summer of 1898. The confusion at Tampa and elsewhere was the necessary result of having a large number of men, each of them doing his own special work the best he could, but without any adequate force of officers engaged in seeing that they pulled together according to detailed plans made beforehand. Such a body of men doing general staff duty is just as necessary to prepare an army properly for war in time of peace as it is in time of war. It is not an executive body; it is not an administrative body; it acts only through the authority of others. It makes intelligent command possible by procuring and arranging information and working out plans in detail, and it makes intelligent and effective execution of commands possible by keeping all the separate agents advised of the parts they are to play in the general scheme....

It does not follow, however, that the principal and most trusted general of the army cannot exercise a great and commanding influence in the control of the army, and practically manage it in all military matters. What does follow is that he can do this only by abandoning the idea of independent command and by assuming the position and performing the functions which I have described as belonging to a chief of staff. General Schofield did this with entire success and rendered great service to the country by doing so. I quote his own words in describing the course he followed:

Recent experience has served to confirm all the results of my life-long study and large experience that the proper position for the senior officer of the army on duty at Washington is not that of commanding general a position which is practically impossible, but that of general-in-chief which means in fact chief of staff to the President. The title of general-in-chief was a permanent one during the entire history of the country up to the time when General Grant became Lieutenant-General.

When I became the commanding general I addressed to the President a letter in which I pointed out to him what had been the result of my study and experience, saying that the only way was to abandon entirely, which I did during my seven years of service, all pretense of being the commanding general and to content myself with acting as the chief of staff of the army under the Secretary of War and the President. The result was that perfect harmony prevailed during my time, and I did exercise a legitimate influence in command of the army, this because I did not claim to exercise anything which the law did not give me.

Everybody is not as self-restrained and sensible as General Schofield, and the best way to secure from others the same kind of good service that he rendered, is to give the officer from whom it is expected a designation which indicates what he is really to do.

 

ORGANIZATION OF THE GENERAL STAFF

Extract from the Report of the Secretary of War for 1903 [2]

The important military event of the year affecting the regular army has been the reorganization of the system of military control under the General Staff Act approved February 14, 1903. This Act abolished the separate office of General Commanding the Army, provided for a military Chief of Staff to the President, who, acting under the directions of the President, or of the Secretary of War representing him, should have supervision not only of all troops of the line but of the special staff and supply departments which had theretofore reported directly to the Secretary of War; and it created for the assistance of the Chief of Staff a carps of forty-four officers, who were relieved from all other duties. The function of this new corps is described by the statute in the following words:

SEC. 2. That the duties of the General Staff Corps shall be to prepare plans for the national defense and for the mobilization of the military forces in time of war; to investigate and report upon all questions affecting the efficiency of the army and its state of preparation for military operations; to render professional aid and assistance to the Secretary of War and to general officers and other superior commanders, and to act as their agents in informing and coordinating the action of all the different officers who are subject, under the terms of this Act, to the supervision of the Chief of Staff; and to perform such other military duties not otherwise assigned by law as may be from time to time prescribed by the President.

Although, by its terms, the Act was not to take effect until August 15, 1903, it was obvious that this radical change in the administration of military affairs, and the adjustment of the new machinery to the old machinery which had been in operation for many years, would require a vast number of details to be worked out experimentally and upon full consideration by all the officers whose duties were affected. A board was accordingly convened in March to recommend selections for the new corps. It consisted of Generals Young, Chaffee, John C. Bates, Carter, Bliss, and Randolph, and Major Henry A. Greene, as recorder. The board was required under oath to recommend forty-two officers for detail upon their merits as exhibited by their military records. The order which convened the board also provided that vacancies occurring in the General Staff Corps, after its organization, should be filled upon the recommendation of a permanent board consisting of the Chief of Staff and the three senior officers of the General Staff Corps on duty at the War Department, operating in a similar manner....

Upon the report of this board its recommendations were approved without change, and the officers selected were ordered to Washington to report to General Young, who was to be the first Chief of Staff. They were then organized as an experimental or provisional General Staff, and directed to work out a permanent organization and distribution of duties for the General Staff Corps, a draft of new regulations, and a revision of the old regulations made necessary by the new departure. This work was done upon full consultation with the chiefs of bureaus and taking the opinions of general officers commanding departments, and was accompanied by reference to the provisional staff organization of many tasks and problems to be worked out which were appropriate for General Staff action, in order that they might become familiar with their work, and test by experiment the best methods of accomplishing it. In this way when the act took effect on the fifteenth of August the General Staff was ready to enter upon the discharge of its duties with a fully considered organization, distribution of duties and regulations, and a considerable familiarity with the new duties which its members were to perform.

The regulations which govern the operation of the new corps were adopted on the third of August. They divide the corps into the War Department General Staff and the General Staff serving with troops (that is to say, in time of peace with the generals commanding geographical departments), and they prescribe the duties and relations of each of the two classes.

The tenth article of the regulations relating to the Chief of Staff states explicitly the new theory of control inaugurated by the General Staff Act. It will be remembered that our old plan of army administration was that there should be a General Commanding the Army in peace as well as in war, responsible for the efficiency, discipline, and conduct of the troops, but having no control over finances or the departments of supply and transportation; and that there should be a Secretary of War controlling the finances and the money-spending bureaus, but not commanding the army or responsible for the conduct of purely military affairs; and it will be remembered that the result of attempting to work upon that theory of dual and separate responsibility was almost constant discord and a consequent reduction of efficiency. The new theory is stated by the regulation. (See Regulation 10, page 437.) . . .

It will be perceived that we are here providing for civilian control over the military arm, but for civilian control to be exercised through a single military expert of high rank, who is provided with an adequate corps of professional assistants to aid him in the performance of his duties, and who is bound to use all his professional skill and knowledge in giving effect to the purposes and general directions of his civilian superior, or make way for another expert who will do so.

In this way it is hoped that the problem of reconciling civilian control with military efficiency with which we have been struggling for so many years will be solved....

The general plan contemplates that every subject requiring investigation and study shall be worked out first by the officers assigned to the appropriate division and section of the staff, and, when of sufficient importance, shall then be considered by a general staff council composed of the three general officers of the corps and the heads of the three divisions, and shall then be acted upon by the Chief of Staff, or laid before the Secretary of War by him with his recommendation. It is gratifying to report that the new system of control has been accompanied by most harmonious effort and cheerful good will on the part of the members of the General Staff, the chiefs of all the War Department bureaus, and the officers of the army at large. In some cases the intervention of the Chief of Staff and his assistants has resulted in an apparent diminution of the independent authority of other officers. This has been received almost universally with a cheerful readiness to subordinate personal considerations to the good of the service. The exceptions have been so few and unimportant as to justify the belief that they will soon disappear.

Much of the work upon which the General Staff has been employed is of a confidential nature, not to be exhibited in a report which is to become a public document. Most of the work involves questions which require investigation and the collection of data; or involves several supply and construction departments, and therefore could not properly be determined by any one such department; or calls for expert opinion upon military policy or needs. Of especial importance may be noted the general subject of the distribution of troops, and the location, construction, and enlargement of army posts; the plan for the attendance of militia officers upon military schools and colleges of the regular army; the detail of student officers to the General Service and Staff College; the location of military posts in Porto Rico; the reorganization of field batteries; the prevention of desertions; the organization of maneuver divisions and plans for mobilization at West Point, Kentucky, and Fort Riley; the purchase of lands for posts and coast fortifications; the revision of Army Regulations; the revision of Infantry Drill Regulations; the location of a brigade post on the Niagara River; the examination and revision of army appropriation estimates; the details of officers for duty at military academies and colleges; regulations for muster of militia into the service of the United States; reclassification and carding of the professional data on file in the military information division; organization of Alaskan militia; the rearrangement of territorial departments; the composition, duties, and limits of the principal permanent boards in the army; the study of the storage and supply depots of all kinds with reference to the prompt and effective collection and distribution of supplies in case of war; the revision of the Articles of War for submission to Congress, adapting them to meet modern conditions and requirements; the study in detail of the supplies necessary for active military operations, including the stock on hand, the productive capacity of Government manufacturers and of private manufacturers, the sources of raw material, and the length of time necessary for production in requisite quantities; and an inquiry into all the elements of cost for seacoast defenses up to this time, and the prospective cost of continuance and maintenance.

Special credit is due to Brigadier-General William H. Carter for the exceptional ability and untiring industry which he has contributed to the work of devising, bringing about, and putting into operation the General Staff law. He brought thorough and patient historical research and wide experience, both in the line and the staff, to the aid of long-continued, anxious, and concentrated thought upon the problem of improving military administration, and if the new system shall prove to be an improvement the gain to the country will have been largely due to him.

JOINT ARMY AND NAVY BOARD

Extract from the Report of the Secretary of War for 1903 [3]

Following the same line of policy which led to the organization of the General Staff, the Secretaries of War and the Navy entered into an arrangement, with the approval of the President, which was published to the army in General Orders No. 107.

By direction of the Secretary of War, the following order is published to the army for the information and guidance of all concerned:

" July 17, 1903.

" The Department of War and the Department of the Navy have agreed upon the formation of a joint board to be composed of four officers of the Army and four officers of the Navy, to hold stated sessions and such extraordinary sessions as shall appear advisable for the purpose of conferring upon, discussing, and reaching common conclusions regarding all matters calling for the cooperation of the two services. Any matters which seem to either Department to call for such consideration may be referred by that Department to the board thus formed. All reports of the board shall be made in duplicate, one to each Department. All reports and proceedings of the board shall be confidential. The senior member of the board present will preside at its meetings and the junior member of the board present will act as its recorder.

" On the recommendation of the provisional General Staff of the Army the following officers are detailed by the Secretary of War to serve upon the board:

" On the recommendation of the General Board of the Navy the following officers are detailed by the Secretary of the Navy to serve upon the board:

By command of Lieutenant-General Miles: W. P. HALL,

Acting Adjutant-General."

The common understanding and mutual assistance between the two services, which it is within the power of this board to bring about, may be made to cover a wide range of subjects of great public importance, including the parts to be taken by the military and naval forces, respectively, in case of military operations on the seaboards and on navigable lakes and rivers; artillery defense of naval stations and naval defensive aid to seacoast fortifications; the exchange of information obtained by one branch of the service and useful for both; the manufacture or purchase of cannon, projectiles, explosives, small arms, ammunition, and munitions of war generally available for both services; the purchase and transportation of supplies; the transportation of men upon changes of station; the study and discussion of joint military and naval problems. In all these, and in many other respects, much greater efficiency, at much less cost, can be obtained by cooperation and mutual understanding than by separate services working in entire independence of each other. If the two forces are ever to be called upon to cooperate, the time to determine what each shall do, and the time for each to learn what the other can do, is before the exigency arises. It is hoped that this joint board, which is so constituted as to command the assistance of the General Staff in both arms of the service for the working out of its problems, will contribute materially toward the end desired.

AN ACT TO INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY OF THE ARMY

CHAP. 558. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby established a General Staff Corps, to be composed of officers detailed from the Army at large, under such rules as may be prescribed by the President.

SECT. 2. That the duties of the General Staff Corps shall be to prepare plans for the national defense and for the mobilization of the military forces in time of war; to investigate and report upon all questions affecting the efficiency of the Army and its state of preparation for military operations; to render professional aid and assistance to the Secretary of War and to general officers and other superior commanders, and to act as their agents in informing and coordinating the action of all the different officers who are subject under the terms of this Act to the supervision of the Chief of Staff; and to perform such other military duties not otherwise assigned by law as may be from time to time prescribed by the President.

SECT. 3. That the General Staff Corps shall consist of one Chief of Staff and two general officers, all to be detailed by the President from officers of the Army at large not below the grade of brigadier-general; four colonels, six lieutenant-colonels, and twelve majors, to be detailed from the corresponding grades of the Army at large, under such rules for selection as the President may prescribe; twenty captains, to be detailed from officers of the Army at large of the grades of captain or first lieutenant, who while so serving shall have the rank, pay, and allowances of captain mounted. All officers detailed in the General Staff Corps shall be detailed therein for periods of four years, unless sooner relieved. While serving in the General Staff Corps, officers may be temporarily assigned to duty with any branch of the Army. Upon being relieved from duty in the General Staff Corps, officers shall return to the branch of the Army in which they hold permanent commission, and no officer shall be eligible to a further detail in the General Staff Corps until he shall have served two years with the branch of the Army in which commissioned, except in case of emergency or in time of war.

SECT. 4. That the Chief of Staff, under the direction of the President or of the Secretary of War, under the direction of the President, shall have supervision of all troops of the line and of the Adjutant-General's, Inspector-General's, Judge-Advocate's, Quartermaster's, Subsistence, Medical, Pay, and Ordnance Departments, the Corps of Engineers, and the Signal Corps, and shall perform such other military duties not otherwise assigned by law as may be assigned to him by the President. Duties now prescribed by statute for the Commanding General of the Army as a member of the Board of Ordnance and Fortification and of the Board of Commissioners of the Soldiers' Home shall be performed by the Chief of Staff or other officer designated by the President. Acts and parts of Acts authorizing aids-de-camp and military secretaries shall not apply to general officers of the General Staff Corps.

SECT. 5. That the Chief of Artillery shall hereafter serve as an additional member of the General Staff and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall have the rank, pay, and allowances of a brigadier general and when the next vacancy occurs in the office of brigadier-general of the line, it shall not be filled, and thereafter the number of brigadier generals of the line, exclusive of the Chief of Artillery, shall not exceed fourteen; and the provisions of the foregoing sections of this Act shall take effect August fifteenth, nineteen hundred and three. [4]

Approved, February 14, 1903.

REGULATIONS OF THE GENERAL STAFF [5]

WAR DEPARTMENT, August 3, 1903.

The President directs that the following additional Regulations for the Army, numbered from one to twenty, inclusive, be published for the government of all concerned, and that they be strictly observed:

GENERAL STAFF CORPS

COMPOSITION

1. The General Staff Corps, created in conformity to the act of Congress approved February 14, 1903, is composed of officers of the grades and number specified in said act, detailed for service in said corps for a period of four years unless sooner relieved, under rules of selection prescribed by the President. Upon being relieved from duty in the General Staff Corps officers return to the branch of the Army in which they hold permanent commissions, and, except m case of emergency or in time of war, are not eligible to further detail therein until they have served for two years with the branch of the Army in which commissioned. This ineligibility does not apply to any officer who has been relieved prior to the expiration of four years' duty with the corps; but such officer will become ineligible as soon as he shall have completed a total of four years of said duty. While serving in the General Staff Corps officers may be temporarily assigned to duty with any branch of the Army.

RELATIONS

2. The law establishes the General Staff Corps as a separate and distinct staff organization, with supervision, under superior authority, over all branches of the military service, line and staff, except such as are exempted therefrom by law or regulations, with a view to their coordination and harmonious cooperation in the execution of authorized military policies.

DUTIES

3. The General Staff Corps, under the direction of the Chief of Staff, is charged with the duty of investigating and reporting upon all questions affecting the efficiency of the Army and its state of preparation for military operations, and to this end considers and reports upon all questions relating to organization, distribution, equipment, armament, and training of the military forces (Regulars, Volunteers, and Militia), proposed legislative enactments and general and special regulations affecting the Army, transportation, communications, quarters, and supplies; prepares projects for maneuvers; revises estimates for appropriations for the support of the Army and advises as to disbursement of such appropriations; exercises supervision over inspections, military education and instruction, examinations for the appointment and promotion of officers, efficiency records, details and assignments, and all orders and instructions originating in the course of administration in any branch of the service which have relation to the efficiency of the military forces; prepares important orders and correspondence embodying the orders and instructions of the President and Secretary of War to the Army; reviews the reports of examining and retiring boards; and acts upon such other matters as the Secretary of War may determine.

4. The General Staff Corps, under like direction, is further charged with the duty of preparing plans for the national defense and for the mobilization of the military forces (including the assignment to armies, corps, divisions, and other headquarters of the necessary quota of general staff and other staff officers), and incident thereto with the study of possible theaters of war and of strategic questions in general; with the collection of military information of foreign countries and of our own; the preparation of plans of campaign, of reports of campaigns, battles, engagements and expeditions, and of technical histories of military operations of the United States.

5. To officers of the General Staff Corps are committed the further duties of rendering professional aid and assistance to the Secretary of War and to general officers and other superior commanders and of acting as their agents in informing and coordinating the action of all the different officers who are subject under the provisions of law to the supervision of the Chief of Staff.

They perform such other military duties not otherwise assigned by law as may from time to time be prescribed by the President. Under the authority here conferred officers of the General Staff Corps are intrusted with the executive duties hereinafter indicated.

6. Officers of the General Staff Corps assigned to duty with commanders of armies, corps, divisions, separate brigades, territorial divisions, and departments are collectively denominated the General Staff serving with troops. They serve under the immediate orders of such commander; those not so assigned perform duty under the immediate direction of the Chief of Staff, and constitute the War Department General Staff.

7. The foregoing assignment of duties to the General Staff Corps does not involve in any degree the impairment of the initiative and responsibility which special staff corps and departments now have in the transaction of current business.

WAR DEPARTMENT GENERAL STAFF

Organization

8. To facilitate the performance of its duties the War Department General Staff will be arranged in divisions, each under the direction of an officer of the General Staff Corps to be designated by the Chief of Staff. Each division will be subdivided into sections as may be directed by the Chief of Staff.

Relations and Duties

9. The War Department General Staff in its several divisions and sections stands in an advisory relation to the Chief of Staff in the performance of the duties herein devolved upon him. The distribution of duties to the several divisions and sections is regulated by the Chief of Staff.

CHIEF OF STAFF

Relations and Selection

10. Under the act of February 14, 1903, the command of the Army of the United States rests with the constitutional Commander-in-Chief, the President. The President will place parts of the Army, and separate armies whenever constituted, under commanders subordinate to his general command; and, in case of exigency seeming to him to require it, he may place the whole Army under a single commander subordinate to him; but in time of peace and under ordinary conditions the administration and control of the Army are effected without any second in command.

The President's command is exercised through the Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff. The Secretary of War is charged with carrying out the policies of the President in military affairs. He directly represents the President and is bound always to act in conformity to the President's instructions. Under the law and the decisions of the Supreme Court his acts are the President's acts, and his directions and orders are the President's directions and orders.

The Chief of Staff reports to the Secretary of War, acts as his military adviser, receives from him the directions and orders given in behalf of the President, and gives effect thereto in the manner hereinafter provided.

Exceptions to this ordinary course of administration may, however, be made at any time by special direction of the President if he sees fit to call upon the Chief of Staff to give information or advice, or receive instructions, directly.

Wherever in these regulations action by the President is referred to, the action of the President through the Secretary of War is included, and wherever the action of the Secretary of War is referred to the Secretary of War is deemed to act as the representative of the President and under his directions.

The Chief of Staff is detailed by the President from officers of the Army at large not below the grade of brigadier-general. The successful performance of the duties of the position requires what the title denotes-a relation of absolute confidence and personal accord and sympathy between the Chief of Staff and the President, and necessarily also between the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War. For this reason, without any reflection whatever upon the officer detailed, the detail will in every case cease, unless sooner terminated, on the day following the expiration of the term of office of the President by whom the detail is made; and if at any time the Chief of Staff considers that he can no longer sustain toward the President and the Secretary of War the relations above described, it will be his duty to apply to be relieved.

The provisions of paragraph 1, regarding the re-detail of an officer who has not completed a total of four years' service, apply to the Chief of Staff.

Duties

11. The Chief of Staff is charged with the duty of supervising, under the direction of the Secretary of War, all troops of the line, the Adjutant-General's, Inspector-General's, Judge-Advocate-General's, Quartermaster's, Subsistence, Medical, Pay, and Ordnance Departments, the Corps of Engineers, and the Signal Corps. He performs such other military duties not otherwise assigned by law as may be assigned to him by the President.

12. The supervisory power vested by statute in the Chief of Staff covers primarily duties pertaining to the command, discipline, training, and recruitment of the Army, military operations, distribution of troops inspections, armament, fortifications, military education and instruction, and kindred matters, but includes also, in an advisory capacity, such duties connected with fiscal administration and supply as are committed to him by the Secretary of War.

In respect to all duties within the scope of his supervisory power, and more particularly those duties enumerated in this and the following paragraph, he makes and causes to be made inspections to determine defects which may exist in any matter affecting the efficiency of the Army and its state of preparation for war. He keeps the Secretary of War constantly informed of defects discovered, and under his direction issues the necessary instructions for their correction.

IS. Supervisory power is conferred upon the Chief of Staff over all matters arising in the execution of acts of Congress and executive regulations made in pursuance thereof relating to the militia. This supervision is especially directed to matters of organization, armament, equipment, discipline, training, and inspections. Proposed legal enactments and regulations affecting the militia and estimates for appropriations for its support are considered by him, and his recommendations submitted to the Secretary of War.

14. The Chief of Staff is charged with the duty of informing the Secretary of War as to the qualifications of officers as determined by their records, with a view to proper selection for special details, assignments, and promotions, including detail to and relief from the General Staff Corps; also of presenting recommendations for the recognition of special or distinguished services.

16. All orders and instructions emanating from the War Department and all regulations are issued by the Secretary of War through the Chief of Staff and are communicated to troops and individuals in the military t service through the Adjutant-General.

16. The assignment of officers of the General Staff Corps to stations and duties is made upon the recommendation of the Chief of Staff.

17. In case of absence or disability of the Chief of Staff the senior officer of the General Staff present for duty in Washington shall act as such chief unless otherwise specially directed by the Secretary of War.

18. In the performance of the duties hereinbefore enumerated and in representation of superior authority, the Chief of Staff calls for information, makes investigations, issues instructions, and exercises all other functions necessary to proper harmony and efficiency of action upon the part of those placed under his supervision.

THE GENERAL STAFF SERVING WITH TROOPS

Composition

19. The general staff of a command consists of general staff officers of such number and grades as may be assigned to it on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff.

Duties

20. General staff officers serving with troops are employed under the direction of the commanders thereof, upon the duties hereinbefore prescribed for officers of the General Staff Corps and provided by the second section of the act of February 14, 1903, and they shall perform such other duties within the scope of general staff employment as may be directed by such commanders. They will not be assigned to other than general staff duties except by special authority of the Secretary of War.

ELIHU ROOT,

Secretary of War.



[1] Page 42.

[2] Page 3.

[3] Page 8.

[4] United States Statutes at Large, Fifty-seventh Congress, Vol. 32 Part 1, pages 830-831.

[5] Report of the Secretary of War for 1903, Appendix C, page 63.