University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Foreign Relations of the United States

Page View

United States Department of State / Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 3, 1906. (In two parts)
(1906)

Roosevelt, Theodore
Message of the president, annual,   pp. VII-LX ff. PDF (20.3 MB)


Page LVIII

LVIII MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT. 
But the desire of these men to be promoted to positions which they are not
competent to fill should not weigh against the interests of the Navy and
the country. At present our men, especially in the Navy, are kept far too
long in the junior grades, and then, at much too advanced an age, are put
quickly thru the senior grades, often not attaining to these senior grades
until they are too old to be of real use in them; and if they are of real
use, being put thru them so quickly that little benefit to the Navy comes
from their having been in them at all. 
 The Navy has one great advantage over the Army in the fact that the officers
of high rank are actually trained in the continual performance of their duties;
that is, in the management of the battle ships ~nd armored cruisers gathered
into fleets. This is not true of the army officers, who rarely have corresponding
chances to exercise command over troops under service conditions. The conduct
of the Spanish war showed the lamentable loss of life, the useless extravagance,
and the inefficiency certain to result, if during peace the high officials
of the War and Navy Departments are praised and rewarded only if they save
money at no matter what cost to the efficiency of the service, and if the
higher officers are given no chance whatever to exercise and practise command.
For years prior to the Spanish war the Secretaries of War were praised chiefly
if they practised economy; which economy, especially in connection with the
quartermaster, commissary, and medical departments, was directly responsible
for most of the mismanagement that occurred in the war itself—and parenthetically
be it observed that the very people who clamored for the misdirected economy
in the first place were foremost to denounce the mismanagement, loss, and
suffering which were primarily due to this same misdirected economy and to
the lack of preparation it involved. There should soon be an increase in
the number of men for our coast defenses; these men should be of the right
type and properly trained; and there should therefore be an increase of pay
for certain skilled grades, especially in the coast artillery. Money should
be appropriated to permit troops to be massed in body and exercised in maneuvers,
particularly in marching. Such exercise during the summer just past has been
of incalculable benefit to the Army and should under no circumstances be
discontinued. If on these practise marches and in these maneuvers elderly
officers prove unable to bear the strain, they should be retired at once,
for the fact is conclusive as to their unfitness for war; that is, for the
only purpose because of which they should be allowed to stay in the service.
It is a real misfortune to have scores of small company or 


Go up to Top of Page