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Washington, D. C., September 29, 1900. Sir: I have the honor to submit the following annual report of operations of the Inspector-General's Department, in addition to the matters relating to fiscal affairs and other branches of the public service, which have been submitted to the Secretary of War.
The important duties of the Inspection Department may be better appreciated if both branches of work were considered together. It is no insignificant task, and requires the persistent and faithful efforts of every officer in the department to make a thorough inspection of the entire military establishment in all its ramifications; and it is sincerely hoped that the results of the past year have been satisfactory, as the work has been performed enthusiastically and with an intense desire of aiding in the maintenance of the proverbial efficiency of the Army, and doing all the duty that is required by law, regulations, and orders. The work during the past year included inspections of disbursements involving over $300,000,000, of property amounting toover $10,000,000, with over $1,000,000 saved for further service, and of over 130,000 men; and in addition to the usual inspections of military posts, supply depots, arsenals, armories, recruiting stations, hospitals, national cemeteries, and soldiers' homes, mention may be permitted of the organization of a systematic inspection service of transports, the inspection of West Point from this office, the resumption of inspections of military schools having an army detail and United States arms and equipments, and the inspection of complicated insular accounts.
The difference in the amount of work assigned to the several inspectors in the United States seems much greater under the department than under the district system of inspections, which was in very successful operation previous to the Spanish war. At New York, for nstance, the inspections averaged over two per diem, including Sundays and holidays; and yet many millions of disbursements and a number of arsenals, depots, recruiting stations, etc., within the limits of the Department of the East were regularly inspected from this office. This is about four times as much as the average for each inspector. But the work everywhere was most cheerfully done in a iquiet but effective manner; and the results accomplished indicate continued efficiency and generally economical administration, the average being about seventeen daily inspections throughout the entire military service.
At date of the last report the permanent force of the InspectorGeneral's Department consisted of 10 officers, including its chief. Now there are but 9, the death of Col. H. W. Lawton, major-general, U. S. Volunteers, who was killed on December 19, 1899, at San Mateo, haying left a vacancy which has not yet been filled. The death of this gallant soldier is deeply mourned by the nation and the Army; and by none more than his comrades in the Inspection Corps. And it will be difficult to find another officer of such sterling force and impressive qualities for the place and duties he filled so well.
Nochange has occurred in the number of volunteer inspectors-general, of which there are 9. But the number of acting inspectors-general and of officers assigned to duty in this department has increased from 7 at date of last report to 20 at this date; giving a total force of 38 commissioned officers serving at present in this department.
It is very gratifying that at present a much larger proportion of the officers on duty in this corps has been assigned according to the recommendation of this Bureau than two years ago; and the benefit to the service seems evident. For instance, in Cuba the inspection work was habitually arduous, exacting, and well performed at most points, both in its civil and military branches, and the work since Colonel Burton arrived there can hardly be designated as perfunctory. Incidentally the discovery of the defalcation there may reflect credit upon the Army and its system which has produced such remarkable regularity and exemption from wrongdoing and fearless revelations. And the work in the Philippines was no less arduous or well performed regardless of exposure to death or disease.
The best officers of this corps are usually selected for their soldierly and individual qualities; they do not aspire to know everything better than anyone else can know it; nor know any branch of the service better than their commanding general, who served in it and to whom it is their first desire to be useful; nor know the mysteries of accounting or any other specialty better than the technical experts. But they know enough, and have not hesitated to do their duty; and are ready, like all other soldiers, to do their best, whatever duties are assigned them. With an untrammeled, well-selected, and well-sustained inspection service, centrally supervised, the Army has remained constantly not only irreproachable, but above the possibility of suspicion. And their work habitually wins commendation among our best officers, of both the staff and line; though there may be some who criticise, oppose, or obstruct inspections, as there may be some who even speak evil of the law. But the cause for scandals in the public service has been minimized and the efficiency of the military service justly demonstrated by the admirable qualities and high character of the men inspected rather than by any type of inspections. The work, whether civil or military, assigned the Army has been habitually well done by faithful and intelligent public servants.
With such men as Hughes and Lawton commissioned, and Otis and Chaffee assigned to duty in a corps so small-or, if a single arm like the artillery is considered, with such men as Sanger or Duvall on inspection duty-definite and beneficial results can confidently be anticipated, and have been habitually attained, carping criticisms and baleful or occult influences to the contrary notwithstanding. The very nature of the duties prevents publicity frequently, or the great benefit some
officers have accomplished in their several spheres of influence, some with every assistance given them and some in the face of the lack of it, might in justice to them be specified. But attention may justly be invited to the faithfulness of the dead during the year, as no one can desire that their work shall be ignored; and perhaps no corps has lost worthier or a larger percentage of officers. They embrace, though so few, the regular, the volunteer, and the detailed officer; and their obituary circulars from this Bureau are inclosed, though recognizing how much more is their due.
The names, rank, changes, appointments, stations, etc., of these officers are shown in Appendix C, to which attention is invited for detailed information, and a summary of the duties performed by them is given in tabular form in Appendix B.
These two statements deserve careful consideration as they show several general features to which special attention is invited, viz:
1. That there is but one regular inspector-general on duty in the Philippines, and he the junior of the Inspection Corps; and that none of the other inspectors there hold a higher rank than that of major, though these islands are occupied by half of the entire Army.
2. That there are too numerous changes among the officers detailed to this department incident to the exigencies of the service.
3. That the work of the inspection department has largely increased, indicating the necessity of an increase of the permanent force, and suggesting simply a permanent and proportional
INCREASE OF THE INSPECTOR-GENERAL'S DEPARTMENT. From the experience gained in the past two years, with our Army largely increased and extending its operations into another continent, the needs of both line and staff may now be definitely-determined. The standing army has not proven adequate in numbers, though so highly commended for its qualities; and line officers have been heavily drawn upon to meet the more exacting demands of the staff, and both suffer in consequence. This is especially so in the Inspector-General's Department, whose work can seldom be measured in dollars and cents, though it has a direct bearing upon the economic administration of the entire military establishment and upon that discipline and efficiency which determine the standard of military excellence; and this principle is recognized in every modern army. The mental state is to the physical as three to one in war. The Inspector-General's Department should therefore be always maintained on the most efficient basis, for its efficiency is multiplied by the numbers it inspects; and it is evident, from the experience of the past, that legislation on the following lines will accomplish all that is most desirable:
1. Legal establishment of inspections.
The necessity of defining the duties of the InspectorLegal establishment General's Department by law is obvious. It is but
just to the department, and will assure that moral and legal support which is essential in making effective inspections. Law is the due expression of the nation's will and is the best authority in
WAR 1900 VOL 1, PT III- -8
a free country. There will then be an end to the discussions concerning the application and continuance of individual or even certain classes of inspections; and the Secretary of War, as well as the Inspector-General's Department, will be relieved of all perplexity and embarrassment attending the settlement of any carefully cultivated contentions. So long as the law is silent as to the certainty, kind, and frequency of inspections, the occasional antagonism of individuals or organizations to the prescribed, thorough, and universal general inspection must be expected periodically; and quibbles about the channel for official papers and reports will appear to dishearten or take the pith from needed inspections. The fine art of avoiding, thwarting, or emasculating rigid outside inspections may not yet be entirely lost.
The inspections at present prescribed by law are those of unserviceable property, of disbursements, and of the Soldiers' Homes, both regular and volunteer. The inspections of military posts and camps and of the soldiers themselves, which is the first and fundamental duty of the corps, and of supply depots, of arsenals and armories, of recruiting stations and rendezvous, of national cemeteries, of hospitals and sanitariums, and of the military schools and institutions of learning having an army detail, of supplies and transportation and other branches of the military establishment are assigned to the department by its designation and immemorial custom and are explicitly required only by alterable regulations or orders. There is ample precedent for such legislation, some of the duties of nearly all the departments having been established hy law. And usually any outbreak among the soldiers or irregularities in the accounts occur where the general inspections are infrequent or hampered. Carefully supervised general inspections have been steadfastly and successfully maintained, simply because they are sufficiently beneficial to warrant it, and when they are injured or ignored the damage resulting to the public service is displayed without great delay. It is believed most scandals in the military service are fairly foreseen and preventable if so permitted. But this may be recognized earlier or clearer by the experienced inspector than by others. How admirably the line of the Army was inspected and what admirable soldiers composed that Army when the Spanish war began may well be a pleasant memory. And the higher authorities have consistently recognized the worth of the system and maintained it resolutely from General Washington till now, which has proved a great encouragement. There are sufficient illustrations in and out of the Army how to smother inspections perhaps without positively intending it.
At times during the decade preceding the Spanish war, when our Army consisted of only 25,000 men, the Inspector-General's Department had a force of 7
permanent and 5 acting inspectors-general; and this force of 12 inspectors, experience has proven, was absolutely necessary for a fairly thorough and complete inspection of the military establishment; and this complete inquiry into every branch of military affairs authorized by army regulations requires no little watehfulness and persistent effort. With an Army of 65,000 men, which is probably a low estimate of the force needed in future, there should be at least 25 inspectors-general; and this number is really 13 less than the number of officers now on duty in the department. There are few idle hours for these officers, and the work
Adequate number for peace footing.