National Defense Acts
The National Defense Act of 1920 expanded the 1916 legislation and provided for postwar reorganization of the army. The 1920 law governed organization and regulation for three decades—until the Army Reorganization Act (1950)—codifying the three‐component army: regular, National Guard, and Army Reserve. Rejecting peacetime conscription, the lawmakers relied on voluntarism; denying the General Staff's proposal for a 500,000‐man standing army, Congress authorized a regular army of 280,000, a National Guard of 430,000, a skeletal Army Reserve, to be filled with veterans, and expanded programs for commissioning reserve officers. The legislators made permanent some wartime organizational additions: the Financial Department, the Chemical Warfare Service, and the Air Service, which was separated from the Signal Corps. It also rescinded some changes: the Tank Corps was put back in the infantry. Furthering the Elihu Root reforms, the legislation enlarged the General Staff, giving it responsibility for overall military planning. It also authorized an assistant secretary of war for planning business and industrial mobilization. The General Staff's importance in planning and combined operations would become evident in World War II.
[See also Army, U.S.: 1900–41; World War I: Military and Diplomatic Course.]
Marvin A. Kreidberg and and Merton G. Henry , History of Military Mobilization of the United States Army, 1775–1945, 1955.
I. B. Holley , General John M. Palmer, Citizen Soldiers, and the Army of a Democracy, 1982.
Russell F. Weigley , History of the United States Army, 1984.
John Whiteclay Chambers II , To Raise an Army: The Draft Comes to Modern America, 1987.
John Whiteclay Chambers II