United States Army Center of Military History Seal
|Headquarters||Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington DC, U.S.|
|Parent agency||Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army|
The United States Army Center of Military History (CMH) is a directorate within the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The center is responsible for the appropriate use of history and military records throughout the United States Army. Traditionally, this mission has meant recording the official history of the army in both peace and war, while advising the army staff on historical matters. CMH is the flagship organization leading the Army Historical Program.
The Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army (OAA) has a primary mission, as specified in Title 10 of the United States Code and reiterated in General Orders and Regulations, to provide direct support to the Secretary of the Army, the Under Secretary of the Army and other Army presidential appointees. In accordance with Army Regulation (AR) 25–59, OAA's office symbol is SAAA.
Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, cultures and economies thereof, as well as the resulting changes to local and international relationships.
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.
The center traces its lineage back to historians under the Secretary of War who compiled the Official Records of the Rebellion, an extensive history of the American Civil War begun in 1874. A similar work on World War I was prepared by the Historical Section of the Army War College.
The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
The United States Army War College (USAWC) is a U.S. Army educational institution in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on the 500-acre (2 km²) campus of the historic Carlisle Barracks. It provides graduate-level instruction to senior military officers and civilians to prepare them for senior leadership assignments and responsibilities. Each year, a number of Army colonels and lieutenant colonels are considered by a board for admission. Approximately 800 students attend at any one time, half in a two-year-long distance learning program, and the other half in an on-campus, full-time resident program lasting ten months. Upon completion, the college grants its graduates a master's degree in Strategic Studies.
The modern organization of the army's historical efforts dates from the creation of the General Staff historical branch in July 1943 and the subsequent gathering of a team of historians, translators, editors, and cartographers to record the official history of World War II. They began publication of the United States Army in World War II series, which numbers 78 volumes, in 1946.Since then, the Center has produced detailed series on the Army's role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars and has begun a series on the U.S. Army in the Cold War. These works are supplemented by monographs and other publications on a mix of topics.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.
The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states, and the United States with its allies after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989 and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, which ended communism in Eastern Europe. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.
Since its formation, the center has provided historical support to the Army Secretariat and Staff, contributing background information for decision making, staff actions, command information programs, and public statements by army officials. It has expanded its role in the areas of military history education, the management of the army's museum system, and the introduction of automated data-retrieval systems. The center's work with army schools ensures that the study of history is a part of the training of officers and noncommissioned officers. Much of this educational work is performed at field historical offices and in army museums.
Under the direction of the chief of military history and his principal adviser, the army's chief historian, CMH's staff is involved in some 50 major writing projects. Many of these efforts involve new research that ranges from traditional studies in operational and administrative history to the examination of such areas as procurement, peacekeeping, and the global war on terror. Those works under way and projected are described in the Army Historical Program, an annual report to the Chief of Staff on the Army's historical activities. All center publications are listed in the catalog Publications of the United States Army Center of Military History, which explains how to access them.
In addition, army historians maintain the organizational history of army units, allowing the center to provide units of the Regular Army, the Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve with certificates of their lineage and honors and other historical material concerning their organizations. The center also determines the official designations for army units and works with the army staff during force reorganizations to preserve units with significant histories, as well as unit properties and related historical artifacts.
The lineage and honors certificate is a legal document, which contains certain words and phrases, that have a specific meaning. it is the official "birth, graduation, wedding, and death certificate" of a unit. As a U.S. Government generated document it cannot be copyrighted and is in the public domain. It is also used to keep track of a units awards, and battle honors. It is not a "unit history/combat chronicle", although many historians have used them for outlines. Note that when two units are consolidated both units bring their honors with them. This can confuse the layman in that a unit that served in Europe can have South Seas honors from another unit with which it combined.
CMH also serves as a clearinghouse for the oral history programs in the army at all levels of command. It also conducts and preserves its own oral history collections, including those from the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and the many recent contingency operations. In addition, the center's end-of-tour interviews within the Army Secretariat and Staff provide a basis for its annual histories of the Department of the Army.
As tangible representations of the service's mission, military artifacts and art enhance the soldier's understanding of the profession of arms. CMH manages a system of more than 120 army museums and their holdings, encompassing some 450,000 artifacts and 15,000 works of military art.The Center also provides professional museum training, staff assistance visits, teams of combat artists such as those deployed under the Vietnam Combat Artists Program, and general museum support throughout the army. Current projects include the establishment of a National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and a complementary Army Heritage and Educational Center at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
In June 1966, the Army Vietnam Combat Artists Program was established as part of the United States Army Art Program, utilizing teams of soldier-artists to make pictorial records of U.S. Army activities in the course of the Vietnam War for the annals of military history. The concept of the Vietnam Combat Art Program had its roots in WW II when the U.S. Congress authorized the Army to use soldier-artists to record military operations in 1944.
The National Museum of the United States Army (NMUSA) is planned as the official museum for the history of the United States Army and is under construction just outside Washington, DC. The objectives of the museum are to honor America's soldiers, preserve army history, and educate the public about the army's role in American history.
The Chief of Military History is responsible for ensuring the appropriate use of military history in the teaching of strategy, tactics, logistics, and administration. This mission includes a requirement that military leaders at all levels be aware of the value of history in advancing military professionalism. To that end, the center holds a biennial history conference and workshop; publishes Army History, a professional bulletin devoted to informing the larger military history education community; and supplies readings for the army school system, including the ROTC community, and texts and other support for the army's staff ride program. In this effort, the chief of military history is assisted by a historical advisory committee that includes leading academic historians and representatives of the army school system.
Staff rides enable military leaders to retrace the course of a battle on the ground, deepening their understanding of the recurring fundamentals of military operations. As one of the army's major teaching devices, staff rides are particularly dependent on a careful knowledge of military history. Center historians lead rides directed by the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff and attended by senior members of the army Staff.
It administers the army's Command History Program, to provide historical support to army organizations worldwide. In addition, since the first Persian Gulf War, the center has coordinated the deployment of military history detachments and the collection of historical data during peacekeeping and wartime operations, including those in northern Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
To stimulate interest in military history in the army and the nation, CMH sponsors professional programs.
CMH's art and documents collections, library, and reference services are available to private researchers. as of 2016 [update] requests for an appointment at Fort Lesley J. McNair must be made at least a week in advance.Official priorities permitting, its historians, curators, and archivists advise researchers on military history and stand ready to share their expertise concerning the location of sources. The Collections Branch of the Museum Division arranges temporary loans of paintings and drawings from the Army Art Collection to private organizations that agree to display the art publicly in accordance with Army regulations. The army's museums and historical holdings throughout the country and abroad are generally open to the public, and their curators are available to answer reference questions. As a secured facility,
The School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) is one of four United States Army schools that make up the United States Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This "enormously rigorous" graduate school comprises two programs: the larger Advanced Military Studies Program (AMSP), and the Advanced Operational Art Studies Fellowship (AOASF), which more senior officers attend. The student body is small but diverse and comprises members of each of the US armed forces, various US government agencies, and allied military forces. Graduates are colloquially known as "Jedi Knights".
The Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Army. As the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Army, the CSA is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Army. In a separate capacity, the CSA is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, thereby, a military advisor to the National Security Council, the Secretary of Defense, and the President of the United States. The CSA is typically the highest-ranking officer on active-duty in the U.S. Army unless the Chairman or the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are Army officers.
The Naval History and Heritage Command, formerly the Naval Historical Center, is an Echelon II command responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage located at the historic Washington Navy Yard. The NHHC is composed of 42 facilities in 13 geographic locations including the Navy Department Library, 10 museums and 1 heritage center, USS Constitution repair facility and detachment, and historic ship ex-USS Nautilus.
The United States Naval Institute (USNI), based in Annapolis, Maryland, is a private, non-profit, professional military association that seeks to offer independent, nonpartisan forums for debate of national defense and security issues. In addition to publishing magazines and books, the Naval Institute holds several annual conferences.
Established 1 July 1973, the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is a command of the United States Army headquartered at Fort Eustis, Virginia. It is charged with overseeing training of Army forces and the development of operational doctrine. TRADOC operates 37 schools and centers at 27 different locations. TRADOC schools conduct 1,304 courses and 108 language courses. The 1,304 courses include 516,000 seats for 443,231 soldiers; 36,145 other-service personnel; 8,314 international soldiers; and 28,310 civilians.
The Army Medical Department of the U.S. Army (AMEDD), formerly the Army Medical Service (AMS), encompasses the Army's six medical Special Branches. It was established as the "Army Hospital" in July 1775 to coordinate the medical care required by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The AMEDD is led by the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army, a lieutenant general.
Fort Lesley J. McNair is a United States Army post located on the tip of Greenleaf Point, the peninsula that lies at the confluence of the Potomac River and the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. To the peninsula's west is the Washington Channel, while the Anacostia River is on its south side. Originally named Washington Arsenal, the fort has been an army post for more than 200 years, third in length of service, after the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Carlisle Barracks. The fort is currently named for Lesley J. McNair, a U.S. Army General who was killed in action in World War II.
A red team is an independent group that challenges an organization to improve its effectiveness by assuming an adversarial role or point of view. It is particularly effective in organizations with strong cultures and fixed ways of approaching problems. The United States intelligence community has red teams that explore alternative futures and write articles as if they were foreign world leaders. Little formal doctrine or publications about Red Teaming in the military exist.
The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) was originally established in 1836 as a private organization. The KHS is an agency of the Kentucky state government that "collects, preserves, conserves, interprets and shares information, memories and materials from Kentucky's past to assist those interested in exploring and preserving that heritage". The KHS history campus, located in downtown Frankfort, Kentucky, includes the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Old State Capitol, and the Kentucky Military History Museum at the State Arsenal.
The Asymmetric Warfare Group is a United States Army unit created during the War on Terrorism to mitigate various threats with regard to asymmetric warfare. The unit is headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland and has a training facility at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. The unit provides the linkage between Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and the operational Army, and reports directly to the commanding general of TRADOC. It is composed of senior active duty Soldiers, D.A. civilians, and contractors who are seasoned war fighters and functional area experts that are prepared to deploy globally.
The United States Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC), at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, is the U.S. Army's primary historical research facility. Formed in 1999 and reorganized in 2013, the center consists of the Military History Institute (MHI), the Army Heritage Museum (AHM), the Historical Services Division (HSD), Visitor and Education Services (VES), the U.S. Army War College Library, and Collections Management (CM). The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center is part of the United States Army War College, but has its own 56-acre (230,000 m2) campus.
A civic action program also known as civic action project is a type of operation designed to assist an area by using the capabilities and resources of a military force or civilian organization to conduct long-term programs or short-term projects. This type of operations include: dental civic action program (DENTCAP), engineering civic action program (ENCAP), medical civic action program (MEDCAP), and veterinarian civic action program (VETCAP). Entities of foreign nations usually conduct these operations at the invitation of a host nation.
The United States Air Force History and Museums Program exists to improve combat capability through the collection, preservation and display of Air Force information and artifacts. The current Acting Director is Walter A. Grudzinskas.
The United States Marine Corps History Division is a branch of Headquarters Marine Corps tasked with researching, writing, and maintaining the History of the United States Marine Corps. It also provides reference and research assistance; preserves personal experiences and observations through oral history interviews; and deploys field historians to record history in the making. It is headquartered at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.
The U.S. Army Art Program or United States Army Combat Art Program is a program brought about by the United States Army to create artwork documenting the U.S. Army in war and peacetime engagement. The art collection associated with the program is held by the United States Army Center of Military History.
A military history detachment (MHD) is a unit in the United States Army responsible for collecting documentation of the army in military conflicts for future work by military historians in writing both official and unofficial histories of the Army. United States Army Center of Military History organizes these accounts. MHDs are authorized and given their mission statements by the Army Tables of Organization and Equipment (TOE). In their efforts to document wars, MHDs collect oral histories and operational documents to enable historians to write the official histories of U.S. military activities.
American official war artists have been part of the American military since 1917. Artists are unlike the objective camera lens which records only a single instant and no more. The war artist captures instantaneous action and conflates earlier moments of the same scene within one compelling image.
James Pollock is an American artist living in Pierre, South Dakota. Pollock has been characterized as a painter whose work is a bridge between the abstract and the concrete. His style varies widely, sometimes drawing on the abstract styles reminiscent of artists of the early 20th-century Bauhaus school, characterized by strong lines and bold colors, sometimes resembling ancient cave paintings, and sometimes straightforward renderings of landscapes and objects." Pollock is an active plein air painter and member of the South Dakota Plein Air Artists movement.
The history of the United States Army School of Advanced Military Studies has its beginning in the early 1980s. It began as an additional year of study for selected graduates of the United States Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Although there was some disagreement as to the course purpose, it settled into providing its students a "broad, deep military education in the science and art of war."
United States Army in World War II is the official history of the ground forces of the United States Army during World War II. The 78-volume work was originally published beginning in 1946.
CMH Pub 11-9
The following publications provide additional information about the activities, services, and products of the Center of Military History:
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