ENTER THE ARMY
Difficult Choices, 1942
The decision to proceed with planning for the production
of enriched uranium
and of plutonium led directly to
the involvement of the Army,
Corps of Engineers. President
had approved Army involvement on October 9, 1941, and Vannevar
Bush had arranged for Army participation at S-1 meetings
March 1942. The need for security suggested placing the S-1
one of the armed forces, and the construction expertise of the Corps of
Engineers made it the logical choice to build the production facilities
envisioned in the Conant report of May 23.
orchestrating some delicate negotiations between the Office
of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) and the Army,
Bush was able to
transfer the responsibility for process development, materials
engineering design, and site selection to the Corps of Engineers and to
approximately sixty percent of the proposed 1943 budget, or $54
these functions. An Army officer would be in overall command of
project. This new arrangement left S-1, with a budget of
million, in charge of only university research and pilot plant
Additional reorganization created an S-1
Committee (above), composed of James
Conant, Lyman Briggs, Arthur
Lawrence, Eger Murphree, and Harold Urey. This group
all OSRD work and keep abreast of technical developments that might
influence engineering considerations or plant
design. With this reorganization in place, the nature of the
atomic bomb effort changed from one dominated by research scientists to
which scientists played a supporting role in a construction enterprise
the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
Sources and notes for this page.
The text for this page was adapted from,
and portions were taken directly from the Office of History and
Heritage Resources publications: F.
G. Gosling, The Manhattan Project: Making the Atomic Bomb
(DOE/MA-0001; Washington: History Division, Department of Energy,
January 1999), 11-12, and Richard G. Hewlett and Oscar E. Anderson,
Jr., The New World, 1939-1946: Volume I, A History of the
United States Atomic Energy Commission (Washington: U.S.
Atomic Energy Commission, 1972), 74-75. The photograph of the
military parade at Los Alamos is courtesy Colonel Gerald T.
Tyler; it is reprinted from Vincent C. Jones, Manhattan: The Army
and the Atomic Bomb, United States Army in World War II
(Washington: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1988),
361. Click here for more
information on the photograph of the S-1 (Uranium) Committee.
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