Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/General Staff

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GENERAL STAFF, ordinarily a group of officers acting as an advisory board to the commander-in-chief of an army, each member of which is responsible for the detailed working out of the chief's orders in one particular field. The general staff of a commanding general may be compared to the cabinet of a premier in civil government. There is also a Great General Staff, not subservient to any commanding field officer, which plans the tactics and strategy of the whole national army. This system of military organization was first adopted in Germany. In the United States a General Staff Corps was first established by an act of Congress passed in 1903. Frequent amendments have since been made to the original act, notably in 1918, after the World War, when a thorough reorganization took place. The Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1920 was General Peyton C. March, who occupied this position during the war with the Central Powers. Under his authority there were four chiefs of divisions; Chief of the Executive Division, the War Plans Division, the Purchase of Supplies Division and the Army Operations Division. Each of these chiefs is directly responsible to the Chief of General Staff and Secretary of War. The General Staff as a whole, together with the Secretary of War, is responsible for the working out of all the plans of campaign of the United States Army in the field. See Military Organization, United States.