A study of the utilization of scientists and engineers who served in the Armed Forces during World War II has been made cooperatively by a number of the major scientific societies and the Armed Services. As a part of this study approximately 7,000 questionnaires were circulated by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Geological Society of America. Replies totalling 3,142 were received and were analyzed by the Scientific Manpower Section, Research and Development Group, of the General Staff. Of these, 614 respondents reported military service in World War II. Approximately 50 per cent reported some technical utilization of their training or background while in uniform.
Analysis of all fields reveals certain general conclusions equally applicable to geology. Hence, the probable reasons for incomplete technical utilization of geologists in uniform may be generalized into the following categories: (1) lack of liaison between organized geology and the Armed Services prior to World War II; (2) consequent lack of understanding by the Services of the useful applications of geology (geologists) to military activities at both operational and planning levels; (3) the relatively small number of purely technical Service jobs as compared with the number of scientists who entered the Services; (4) an unrealistic national draft policy which, in relation to scientists, failed to operate in terms of the technical requirements of the nation as a whole; (5) necessary inflexibility of military organization and functions during a period of hostilities; (6) often unrealistic classification and assignment practices; (7) partial failure of the pre-war reserve officer system as it applied to the professional scientist.
Responsibility for the application of modern geologic techniques to military problems is equally the function of organized geology and the Armed Services. A program of continual liaison between organized geology and the Armed Services is therefore necessary. In this technological age, national defense can not be adequate without an effective arrangement of this type.
Any program to allow adequate planning during peace, and effective utilization of the Nation’s technical manpower in event of any emergency, must pre-suppose cooperative and realistic long-range supply and demand studies and centralized control of technical manpower integrated with over-all technical needs.