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Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, General Order

Copy      JM1

General Order                           Navy Department

 No. 372                      Washington, Feb. 28, 1918.

Administration of Naval Districts.

     1.   The Commandant of each Naval District shall have full military control and authority over the various administrative establishments and the various activities of the Navy within the limits of his district and the ultimate responsibility for the successful conduct of these activities.

     2.   The Naval activities in each district will be segregated as far as possible into the following groups: Military, Industrial, Supply, transportation, and the district forces will be organized along these lines by the Commandant of the District.

     3.   In order to effect this it will be necessary in certain districts to remove from the Navy Yard organizations as now operated, certain activities which have no relation to the actual work of the Yards which is industrial such as receiving ships[,] marine barracks, naval hospitals, medical supply department, electrical schools, ammunition depots, armed guard activities, and in order not to unduly tax the storage facilities at the yard all supply activities and provision for storage designed to meet the requirements of overseas and district patrol activities rather than the actual needs of the Yards for work to be undertaken by them. In all such cases of removal where extra facilities necessitate added expense, definite approval by the Department shall be obtained.

     4.   In the administration of affairs in the district the Commandant will not be required to personally supervise the technical work of administrative detail of the several groups but will operate each group through an officer who shall act as executive chief in the group to which he is assigned and be responsible for these details, and in the case of Navy Yards their organization and internal operation shall not be changed.

     5.   While these groups will coordinate and the executive of each group shall operate as the direct representative of the commandant, every effort will be made to develop complete intercommunication between the several groups in regard to all matters requiring joint action.

     6.   To this end communication and correspondence between groupis on matters of joint interest shall not be routed through the commandant who will require to be kept informed only as to appropriate matters of administration and general interest.

     7.   The responsibility will be upon the Commandant to keep himself adequately informed either by personal inspection or through such agencies as he may employ as to the condition or progress of affairs in the several groups.

     8.   The organization established pursuant to this order should, in a general way, result in establishing the same relations between the Commandant of the district and the various groups included in his command that exists between a commander-in-chief afloat and the various units of his command, except that the independence of the individual organizations in the technical work for which they exist is to be fully conserved.

     9.   In the absence of the Commandant from the limits of his command or in the event of his disability, the command shall devolve upon the senior line officer on duty within the district.

     10.  Within the Fifth Naval District the activities located on the Severn and Potomac Rivers will be excepted, from the operation of this general order.2

(Sgd)     Josephus Daniels.       

Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B.

Footnote 1: Presumably, the initials of the individual who typed these orders.

Footnote 2: The Fifth Naval District, headquartered at Norfolk Navy Yard, Norfolk, VA, included parts of Maryland, West Virginia, most of Virginia, and northern North Carolina. The commandant was RAdm. Walter McLean.