As a young officer, Admiral W.H. P. Blandy, USN, had a keen interest in gunnery. Writing for Proceedings in 1920 ("Director Fire a Century Ago") and 1925 ("Possible Improvements in our Gunnery Training"), then–Lieutenant Commander Blandy understood well the history of fire control and what could be done to improve its effectiveness. Ever forward-thinking, Blandy noted elsewhere in 1925 of what a remarkable device a fuze that would detonate based on its proximity to the target would be.
It was not until 1940 that his initial proposition began to take shape, when the National Defense Research Committee took up the cause. Remarking on a memo that crossed his desk later in 1943, Admiral Blandy remarked about the process: "'Here is something the Navy badly needs. Please go out and get it for us. . . . We don't know how you are going to do it. If we did—we'd have done it!'"