Conflicts in Departmental Reorganization

September 19, 1925
Entire Report

Comparison of the plan for realignment of the Government's activities adopted by the Joint Committee on Reorganization with the comprehensive scheme of reorganization recommended, by President Harding in 1923 indicates that the principal controversies to arise when the Committee bill is pressed for passage by the Coolidge administration will be concerned with what the bill omits, rather than with what is includes.

The outstanding omissions from the Committee bill of provisions recommended for inclusion by President Harding are the following:

  1. Consolidation of the War and Navy Departments to form a single Department of National Defense

  2. Removal of all non-military activities from the War Department.

  3. Creation of an all-inclusive public works division in the Department of the Interior

  4. Removal of the Coast Guard to eliminate all non-fiscal activities from the Treasury Department

  5. Concentration of all welfare activities in the proposed new Department of Education and Welfare.

Amendments to carry out each of these recommendations win be offered from the floor when the Committee bill comes up for consideration in the Senate and House. Many additional amendments leading to controversy, particularly as to prohibition enforcement and the administration of public lands, are likewise to be expected.

Proposal for War-Navy Consolidation

The leading proposal of the plan of reorganization formulated on behalf of the President by Walter F. Brown—sometimes called the Harding plan—was foreshadowed in discussion by the Taft Commission on Economy and Efficiency in 1912 of a recommendation for combining the War and Navy Departments under a single cabinet officer. This recommendation was not made to Congress by the Commission, because of the cutting off of its appropriations, but it was revived in 1916 by outside experts, when it appeared likely that the United States would be drawn into the European war.

Brown was undoubtedly influenced in submitting this proposal in 1922, and the President in recommending it to Congress over the opposition of Secretaries Weeks and Denby, by the reports of the Geddes Committee on National Expenditure, appointed in Great Britain after the war to recommend changes in the organization of the British Go

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