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EXISTED JULY 1, 1911 Shown by an Outline of Organization with Recommendations Regarding its Use in the Administration

of Public Affairs

[To accompany the President's message to Congress, January 17, 1912)

Submitted by





The Commission on Economy and Efficiency has the honor to submit the following report on the organization of the Government of the United States as it existed July 1, 1911. This report has been prepared with two definite objects in view, (1) to secure and present the information that is essential for any detailed critical study of the manner in which the Government is organized, and (2) to furnish this information in such a way that it can be kept constantly revised to date, with little or no expense, and thus be at all times available to officers of the Government for use in the current administration of public affairs.


At the outset of its work the commission was impressed with the fact that the Congress, the President, and the administrative officers were attempting to discharge the duties with which they are intrusted without sufficient knowledge regarding the instrumentalities through which these duties are to be performed. While it is true that officers of bureaus, divisions, etc., have information regarding the organization of their services, it is only in exceptional cases that such information has been compiled in a form to be readily available to others. Each service consequently has had to conduct its affairs without adequate knowledge regarding conditions elsewhere, and the higher administrative officers have been without the information so imperative to the exercise of real administrative control and direction.

Desirable as it may be that special efforts should be put forth from time to time to better governmental conditions, improvement and reform that is really worth while and lasting can be secured only by the adoption and current use of devices that enable administrators, from day to day, to pass judgment upon the effectiveness of the machinery and methods by which they are managing the affairs intrusted to them. In the same way that the commission is recommending, through other reports, that the accounting system of the Government be modified so that the information developed by the recording of financial transactions will be currently available for use by those in authority, it is also recommending, through the present report, the adoption of a plan by which any officer of the Government will be able to know, at any time, exactly the manner in which the service in which he is interested is organized. With this information constantly at hand, each administrator will be in a position


similar to that of the commander in chief of an army in the field. He will know each organization unit, whether it consists of a clerical service, a laboratory, workshop, a library, a warehouse, a station in the field, or other agency. He will be able to relate such unit to all other units, whether in his own or other services. He can determine where any piece of work can be done most effectively; whether the work of any particular unit is of sufficient importance to warrant the trouble and expense of its maintenance; the extent to which one unit can make use of the services of another, and thus avoid separate action with corresponding cost; and, generally, he can take all the steps necessary to avoid duplication of plant, or of personnel or work, or prevent overlapping or conflict of jurisdiction, and to secure effective cooperation between all branches of his own and other services of the Government.

It might appear that the points just stated are so obvious that their consideration at length is unnecessary. As a matter of fact, however, the commission found that this important phase of its undertaking was not at first fully appreciated by the departments and establishments when they furnished the information. They did not clearly see that the effort was being made to prepare a compilation that could be kept revised to date and currently used by them as a valuable aid or tool of administration. The commission therefore has felt that the value of this feature of its work should be emphasized.

That the commission was justified in undertaking this work is apparent from the fact that nowhere else at the present time is the information furnished by this report available. Important as it is to an intelligent consideration of the problems of administration, no attempt has been made heretofore to set forth in detail the manner in which the Government of the United States is organized for the execution of its multifarious duties. Descriptions have been written of the organization of the Government, so far as the distribution of constitutional powers among the three coordinate divisions—the legislative, the executive, and the judicial—and the assignment of duties to the executive departments and establishments are cerned. At no time, however, has the effort been made to carry this description far enough to exhibit in an adequate manner the organization of the several departments, establishments, bureaus, and services for the performance of their work.

As a result, administrative officials have been called upon to discharge their duties without that full knowledge of the machinery under their direction which it is imperative they should have in order to exercise effective administrative direction and control. They have not had full information as to the existing agencies, such as stations, laboratories, shops, divisions, etc., in their own services, much less what agencies existed in other services that might be used instead of creating similar agencies in their own services. Frequently Congress has been compelled to legislate without the complete data it should have if the most advantageous action is to be had. Finally, the people have been without that information necessary to accurate judgment regarding the manner in which their representatives, legislative and executive, are discharging their duties.

It is to the lack of this information that must be attributed in part the present condition of affairs, where stations, shops, and other units are being maintained which perform no useful function, or none of sufficient importance to warrant the expense of their operation; where the most effective use is not being made of such services as should be maintained; where cooperation and consequent economy between services is a matter of chance or personal effort on the part of individuals, and where different services, performing the same or closely allied functions, are being operated independently of each other, thus duplicating in an uneconomical and inefficient manner the work of each other.

This could not be otherwise when the several services have no adequate means of knowing what is being done by other services or what plant and equipment they possess. Under such circumstances each is compelled to rely upon itself to build up its own organization and to provide itself with its own facilities regardless of what may be in existence elsewhere. Not until adequate means are provided through which this information may be secured, and, once secured, may be kept constantly revised to date and made easily available, is it possible to treat the Government of the United States as one great whole in which, so far as practicable, unnecessary motion is avoided, duplication of plant is eliminated, and parts are integrated into one harmonious and efficient administrative mechanism. It is to render possible the achievement of this end, or at least to lay the basis for such achievement, that the preparation of this report has been undertaken.

In addition to performing this service the preparation of this report has given to the commission information that it was essential it should have in prosecuting its inquiries regarding governmental conditions. The present report thus constitutes the basis for the critical and constructive reports the commission has prepared or has in preparation regarding the organization of the Government as a whole and the organization and activities of individual services and particular problems of organization.


Although the idea of presenting a report on the organization of the Government is a simple one, the putting of this idea into execution involves the taking of a number of steps, each of which is necessary, if the compilation is to serve the full measure of its possible usefulness. These steps consist of the preparation of the following:

1. Outlines of organization.
2. Charts of organization.
3. Maps of organization.
4. Classification of organization units by character.
5. Classification of organization units by geographical location,
6. Organization index.
7. Geographical index.
8. Descriptive notes.


The first is the outlines of organization. It is not only the most important, but is the basis for all the others. The purpose of these outlines is to exhibit the machinery of the entire Government—legislative, executive, and judicial-in such a way as to indicate not only

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