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the weather bureau record of war administration part 10

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While the principal projects, programs and objectives of the Weather Bureau in wartime are not fundamentally different from those in peace, war naturally leads to a shift in emphasis with respect to details of meteorological Activity, and the paramount interests of the military departments obviously obscure or considerably alter some of the peacetime principles of its organization. With this in mind, and to provide for the greatest possible utilization of the far-flung meteorological facilities of the National Meteorological Service by the military in the prosecution of war, the

President designated the Weather Bureau as a war agency. This was accomplished by the issuance of Executive Order 8991, dated December 26, 1941, under authority vested in the President by the Constitution and statutes of the United States. It designated the Secretary of Commerce as Coordinator, and the Chief of the Weather Bureau as Liaison Officer of civil meteorological facilities and services to meet the requirements of the Army and Navy and other vital defense activities for essential and effective weather Information, and to protect the secrecy of such information as was considered by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy to be of value to the enemy.

The Executive Order is here quoted in full:

By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Statutes of the United States, as President of the United States and as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and to further the successful prosecution of the war, it is hereby ordered as follows:

1. The Secretary of Commerce shall exercise his control and jurisdiction over the issuance of weather reports and forecasts of the civil weather service so as to meet to the best advantage such requirements with respect thereto as the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy shall determine to be necessary for the successful prosecution of the war.

2. The Secretary of Commerce shall take such steps as may be necessary to secure the coordination .of civil meteorological facilities and services to meet the requirements of the Army and Navy and other vital defense activities for essential and effective weather information, and shall not disclose information which may be considered by the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy to be of value to the enemy.

3. The Chief of the Weather Bureau of the Department of Commerce shall serve as liaison officer between the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy for the purposes of this order.

Readjustment of Functions.--In accord with the directive of the President, issued by the Director of the Bureau of the Budget under date of September 23, 1941, to Heads of Departments, the Weather Bureau put its house in order during the National Defense era by effecting as many readjustments of its functions as was possible within the limitations of appropriations in order to provide for anticipated defense operations. Therefore, when war was declared it had a readjusted organization on which to superimpose, by means of supplemental appropriations and transfer of funds from the military agencies, the special forecasting and other services designed to facilitate artillery and aircraft tests and to serve Army (and Navy) posts and bases, construction project , munitions plants, and the Ferry Command; increase the number of upper-air observations to aid military aviation; extend communication networks to serve Army establishments whenever necessary; expand the Alaskan and Caribbean weather services to meet the special military needs of those areas; assemble and organize a staff of communication experts to provide means for the transmission of weather information to the fighting forces; and provide a staff of expert meteorological statisticians to produce significant analyses of the weather and climates of domestic and foreign areas of actual and potential military interest to the United Nations forces.

Weather Information as a Wartime Weapon,--The Weather Bureau is among the civilian agencies of the Government that are immediately effected by a major War. Modern communication and exchange of weather data are world-wide in scope, and are basic factors in the tactics and strategyof modern warfare. Weather, being unaffected in its daily movements and developments by political boundaries, lends importance to its source regions in allied, enemy, ane neutral countries. Consequently, the first news of the outbreak of war is coincident with blackouts on the world's weather maps and the establishment of secret channels to continue the flow of weather information to and from the theaters of war.

The impact of War on the United States Weather Bureau is immediate and serious if any of the belligerents are countries in North America or are among the principal maritime and air transport countries of the world. In that case the weather blackouts affect the weather maps of North America or the surrounding oceans and threaten to eliminate sources of information which are essential for the safety of world commerce. Many countries, both neutral land and belligerent, are therefore forced to choose among three possible actions: (1) To do without the weather from the areas directly affected by the war; (2) to deal with one or more of the belligerents and neutrals and respect their demands governing secrecy of the reports; or (3) to set up new and independent arrangements of their own. There is a vast difference, of course, whether the country concerned a actually plans the war and delivers the initial attack or is drawn into the war against its wishes. In either case the defenses of the homeland and its industries and commerce are vital, and weather plays a very important part. In modern warfare, especially as it was developed in World War II, the defense of a country involves cooperation with other countries over a large area, and knowledge of existing and prospective weather conditions in the area becomes increasingly useful as defense preparations are advanced.

Each war brings new weapons, new methods of transportation and new instruments of communication. Warfare, in all these phases, is affected by weather, and sooner or later makes new demands on the meteorologist, necessitating a change In methods of observations, communication, and forecasting of weather in the war theaters. Not only does this apply to the current weather situations but it means that the weather of the past must be processed again and again to bring out in usable form the information concerning significant elements which are related to new techniques of war. The Spanish American War was the first in which the United States was involved after the organization of a national weather service. That war required the establishment of a weather service in the West Indies and the Caribbean area. World War I created demands for specially processed information bearing on ballistics and brought about an important program of sounding the upper air by pilot ballon. The requirements of World War 11 were different. They are the subject of this report. The next war may extend our war weather horizon into new and unexplored fields. There is a vast region of the upper atmosphere about which we know very little, and the same can be said of the lower atmosphere in some world areas, especially in the polar regions and large parts of Asia.

 

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