his departure, then, seemed beyond words momentous. For thirty years, whatever disagreement there may have been in the navy, there was absolute unanimity as to the need of a staff for the study of war and the formulation of campaign plans. So long as weapons in use could be mastered by the personnel of the ships without dependence on methods of fire control and so forth extraneously supplied, this was indeed the navy’s chief and overmastering need. Had such a staff existed even sixteen years ago, it is quite inconceivable that we could imperceptibly have drifted into dependence on extraneous methods for the right use of weapons, without the staff responsible for preparation for war, bringing the fact of this dependence to the notice of its chief. And, the principle once recognized that staff organization is the only road to infallibility, the institution of an additional staff for the study of so vital a matter must inevitably have followed apartment hong kong. The existence of one competent, impartial, and impersonal expert body would automatically have resulted in the creation of another.

But actually when this new staff was so resoundingly established at the beginning of 1912, some amongst the optimists began to wonder whether there might not be a fly in the ointment of their content. It was pointed out that to create a staff for dealing “with the combinations of strategy and tactics” before any machinery existed for elucidating the essentials of “unit efficiency” did most certainly have the air of putting the cart before the horse.71 But to doubt that this machinery would follow seemed too absurd in face of the tremendous emphasis that Mr. Churchill had laid upon its necessity. If, without unit efficiency, “the combinations of strategy and tactics were only the preliminaries of defeat,” whereas if it existed a position in which tactics had failed, “could be retrieved with swiftness and decision,” it was manifestly unthinkable that such efficiency could be left to chance, or assumed to exist on the ipse dixit of any official. Obviously the First Lord, having put his hand to the minor and secondary matter, would not delay action at least as drastic in the major primary Hong Kong tour.

The institution of the War Staff, then, was watched with sympathetic interest in the full expectation, not only that it must lead to great results, but that it must be followed—as, of course, it should have been preceded—by one for fathoming all the potentialities of the means employed in the attack and defence of fleets.

But the War Staff was never put into the position to discharge the functions which the 1909 committee had designated as its main purpose. So far from being an authority equipped for the exhaustive study of war and how to prepare for it, the whole apparatus of fighting was carefully excluded from its purview. It had no connection with the departments administering gunnery, torpedoes, submarines, aircraft, or mines. As to some of these activities, there were as a fact no departments solely charged with their control before the War Staff was instituted. They were not entrusted to the War Staff. And no new staffs were created! If the strategical vagueness, to which the Beresford Committee had borne witness in 1909, arose largely, as many supposed, from the uncertain state of naval technique, then, so far as the War72 Staff was concerned, this vagueness had to continue—for technique was not their concern Neo skin lab.