continued Nazi aggression in Europe brought up the question of operating
our national weather service in a way that would be most effective
in contributing to the National Defense Program of 1940.
accomplish this objective, a letter initiated by the Weather Bureau
on July 1, 1940, was sent by the Secretary of Commerce to the Navy
and War Departments, offering the full cooperation of the Weather
Bureau in preparing an adequate training and operations program
to meet emergency meteorological needs of the military services.
The Secretaries of those Departments concurred in this proposal
and appointed representatives to confer with the Weather Bureau
in preparing a proposed program to coordinate meteorological activities.
This committee of Army, Navy and Weather Bureau members met for
the first time at the Weather Bureau on July 26, 1940, but it was
not until a year later that this committee was designated as the
"Defense Meteorological Committee." The first questions considered
were proposals for research in improvement of weather forecasting,
plans for training weather forecasters, and the recruitment and
trained personnel among the civil and military services. Each agency,
for the time being, proceeded independently in accordance with the
general plans discussed previously but the Weather Bureau made arrangements
to increase the number of Bureau employees sent to universities
for special advanced meteorological training mainly to strengthen
its expanding forecast and research programs.
November 1940, the Defense Meteorological Committee drafted a tentative
plan for the mobilization of the Bureau's weather services according
to three general situations which might develop as follows:
No hostilities by our forces, or relatively minor hostilities confined
to distant foreign territory and waters.
Full-scale military operations by the United States forces with
the theater of war in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Full civil mobilization in preparation for major hostilities in
the Western Hemisphere.
general plan was referred to the Secretaries of the Navy and War
Departments for consideration with a view towards formulation of
joint defense plans for the effective administration and coordination
of weather service by the three departments. As a result, the former
committee was reorganized to consider interdepartmental meteorological
problems of the Army, Navy and Weather Bureau in connection with
the national defense program early in January 1941. Meetings were
then regularly held beginning in January 1941, and discussions brought
out the following broad topics for further consideration:
Recruitment of' meteorologists for expansion of the military forces.
Training programs, civil and military.
Instrumental supplies and allocation.
Weather reporting station networks.
Collection, distribution, and exchange of weather reports.
Security of weather information.
steps had already been taken in connection with the first two of
these topics, but there remained a need for the coordination of
policies for continuing the projects then in operation as well as
consideration of the other matters with a view toward adopting a
workable joint Army-Navy-Weather Bureau policy.
expedite action on matters requiring thorough exploration and careful
planning, the Defense Meteorological Committee appointed additional
personnel of the Army, Navy and Weather Bureau to serve as a Working
Committee, whose functions would be to prepare detailed plans covering
all phases of meteorological procedures involved in national defense
and public weather service. The Civil Aeronautics Administration
was represented on this Working Committee to draft plans and recommend
action to the main committee. The Working Committee began to function
in February 1941, by studying the questions of communication channels,
handling of weather reports, and dissemination of weather information,
devising plans for coding and enciphering weather reports, and restrictions
on the release of weather information which would be required in
order to safeguard all interests of the United States under each
of the three degrees of emergency that had been suggested by the
Weather Bureau in November 1940.
the United States was not engaged in the European struggle, it was
clear that the Germans were being greatly aided in their naval and
air operations in the North Atlantic through weather reports and
technical data in the form of upper-air summaries broadcast from
high powered U. S. Navy radio stations. Strict censorship would
curtail civil meteorological service to aeronautics, agriculture,
business, commerce, industry, and public welfare; and these handicaps
to our own economic interests had to be weighed against the probable
military advantage that unrestricted distribution of weather information
might afford an unfriendly nation. The question primarily involved
was controlling outbound communications in a manner that would deny
information to unauthorized
agencies, yet provide authorized recipients with access to necessary
weather reports, etc. However, the solution to this problem involved
many other factors, all of which had to be considered in working
out a detailed plan of action. The Working Committee made rapid
progress and drafted a tentative outline of control measures to
bring about security of weather information as follows:
of technical data from long-range broadcasts.
of long-range broadcasts giving general weather information of
of general weather analysis staffs.
of weather teletype drops to private interests.
of private weather messages of international scope
of weather bulletins and maps published in newspapers.
directly with the War and Navy Departments in matters of policy
through special weather Bureau channels.
tentative plan was approved by the Defense Meteorological Committee
and copies were distributed to the interested agencies of the War,
Navy, and Commerce Departments for information.
*The Importance of Weather In Modern Warfare," by Col. W.O. Senter,
in United States at War, published by Army and Navy Journal.
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