The elements of a design staff for the Pentagon project had begun to emerge the weekend of July 18-20, 1942 when Somervell had first demanded plans and an architectural perspective for the building. At Somervell's direction Bergstrom, as chief architect, during August, assembled a separate drafting force to plan the project, working in the basement of a Fort Myer warehouse. As his chief assistant, and later, successor, Bergstrom chose David J. Witmer, a prominent and highly experience architect from Los Angeles, who directed the detailed design. Witmer had been the chief architectural supervisor for the Federal Housing Administration in Southern California from 1934 to 1938. He came on board on August 8 and succeeded Bergstrom as chief architect on April 11, 1942 after the later's resignation.* Thereafter, David Witmer had complete charge of design and made the important decisions required by the numerous problems that arose during the greater part of the construction period.
*Bergstrom's departure followed by two weeks the termination of his corporate membership in the American Institute of Architects for improper and unprofessional conduct as president of the Institute.