Franklin D. Roosevelt

Statement on Approving the War Department Appropriation Bill.

April 08, 1935

In approving H.R. 5913, the War Department appropriation bill for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1936, it is pertinent to call attention to two matters:

1. The bill authorizes the increase of the average enlisted strength of the Army from 118,750 to 165,000 enlisted men. In a very real sense this increase does not represent an extension of the Army involving new units. It is more correct to say that the increase is in effect a restoration to company, troop, battery and other units of privates who in previous sessions of Congress were arbitrarily transferred and the units thus decreased in order to organize various new corps and units such as the Air Corps.

2. There are two strengths of the fundamental units in the Army—peace strength and war strength. War strength, fixed by tactical requirements of combat, averages 250 enlisted men per company troop or battery. Peace strength, fixed by the necessity for efficient training and for reasonable readiness, should average 120 enlisted men. In recent years, however, this peace strength average has been whittled away until it now barely averages 70 enlisted men per company troop or battery. This law restores to these basic units their peace-time strength. In the great majority of Army posts, barracks were originally constructed for peace-time strengths so that quarters are already available.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement on Approving the War Department Appropriation Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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