Page images
PDF
EPUB

that this action does not force the armed services to retain these officers on active duty, but does provide the Reserve officer with the protection afforded by the written contract.

We are indebted to Mr. Morris for that, because he did a fine job in helping us resolve it.

3. The bill as written addressed itself to commissioned officers. The committee felt that this bill should also apply to warrant officers and, accordingly, made necessary changes to accomplish this purpose.

4. The Department bill provided that an officer who, once having completed a contract of any duration, would be entitled thereafter to voluntarily leave the service and benefit by being able to collect readjustment pay from the inception of his active service. This would be true after the effective date of the act for all officers who complete a contract agreement and included those officers who might have completed 14 years or more of service. The committee believes this particular feature might be an inducement for the trained, seasoned officer, whose services were critically necessary to the Armed Forces to request voluntary release from active duty to permit him to take advantage of the large readjustment payment available to him.

We think after he gets to 14 years under the new contract he ought to know what he wants; and if they need him, they should require that he stay on.

The committee also felt that there might be instances where an officer because of good and sufficient reason, such as extreme personal hardship or family difficulties, should not be penalized under this rule. Therefore, the committee further amended this section of the bill to provide that under such regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of Defense exceptions may be made for the officer with over 14 years of service leaving the service voluntarily to permit him entitlement to readjustment pay.

5. The committee also found that the language of the Defense Department bill was difficult to understand and accordingly large portions of the bill had been rewritten.

6. The committee felt that the bill should properly be given a title and accordingly the bill has been named the "Reserve Officer's Incentive Act of 1959." 7. Under the terms of the defense bill, individuals who may

be awarded retired pay subsequent to their receipt of readjustment pay would be required to repay such readjustment pay as deduction from their monthly retired pay.

The committee felt that title III retirees-Reservists who become eligible for modest non-regular-retirement benefits at age 60—should be exempted from this requirement since any effort to recoup readjustment pay in such instances would be administratively difficult and also inequitable. Not the least of these inequities would be the fact that a reservist who, after leaving active duty, continues his participation in the Reserve program, would at age 60 be required to pay back his readjustment pay while his Reserve contemporary who chooses not to particiapte in the Reserve program would not have a similar obligation to pay back his readjustment pay.

However, the committee felt that the recoupment feature should be retained'in respect to all other personnel who may become eligible

[graphic]

for regular retirement from the Armed Forces. The bill was amended accordingly.

That completes our bill, Mr. Chairman. Now, if there are any questions, I will endeavor to answer them and, if I can't, I have Mr. Slatinshek over there who can answer them.

The CHAIRMAN. Now members of the committee, I want to say this: Last year this legislation was considered late by Mr. Brooks subcommittee. I don't recall-did they make a report?

Mr. SLATINSHEK. Yes, sir-
The CHAIRMAN. To the Congress?
Mr. SLATINSHEK. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, we all understand under the law a Reserve officer has a mandatory obligation of 2 years. At the end of 2 years, why, he can be ordered to active duty for an indefinite period of time. And great hardship has oftentimes occurred, because the man sometimes goes out of the service with a Reserve commission and a Reserve obligation, and goes in business, and then a crisis arises and he is called back into the service at great financial hardship to them.

Now, the underlying philosophy and principle of this is to have a contract, to say that "You will have a contract." And the contract means a meeting of the minds of the contracting parties.

For instance, it probably will be based on a 6-year term, and at the end of 6 years, under the language of this bill

Mr. RIVERS. It doesn't exceed six. The CHAIRMAN. It couldn't exceed six. Under the language of this bill if the contract is completed he will draw 2 months' pay for each one of the 6 years that he served.

Now, at first blush you might say, "Why do you pay a man when he has fulfilled his contract and you fulfilled your part of the contract!”

But the way I look at that, that is equivalent to a reenlistment bonus, which is recognized in the law, and we are paying him at the end of his time instead of at the beginning of his time.

Now, that is the justification for that phase. Now, I studied this bill carefully, and I followed the hearings. It is a departmental bill, the Reserve associations are for it. There are going to be a lot of technical explanations required on the floor of the House, but it is basically sound.

No man should be called up to meet a military obligation at a hardship. He should be accorded every opportunity to meet his obligation without a hardship.

And from what has happened in the past, and what may happen in the future these Reserve officers are called to active duty, and they have to sacrifice. Then, let the Department adopt a policy that they will contract with them. And by making these contracts, it will enable a great degree of selectivity

Now, here is one question that worries me. There is a provision that relates to being integrated into the Regular service.

Now, isn't there a limitation as to the total number of officers we can have in the Regular service!

Mr. SLATINSHEK. That is correct, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. RIVERS. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.

Then will that run counter, or will that limitation keep these officers from being ultimately brought into the Regular service?

Mr. SLATINSHEK. It would-
The CHAIRMAN. Now, should that limitation be removed?

Mr. SLATINSHEK. No, sir. The committee hadn't gone into that aspect of the problem. However, it is based on the assumption

The CHAIRMAN. Because you see it would be in the interest of economy for them to be in the Regular service.

Mr. SLATINSHEK. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Because then all he would get is retirement pay.

Mr. RIVERS. Wait a minute, right there, Mr. Chairman. Is there any provision of law which requires any ratio of Reserve as against Regulars?

Mr. SLATINSHEK. No, sir. Mr. RIVERS. How can you conjecture on it? The CHAIRMAN. You see, Mr. Rivers, there are a certain number of Regular officers permitted by statute.

Mr. SLATINSHEK. That is correct, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, this bill has a provision that ultimately under certain conditions they can be accepted in the Regular service.

Mr. RIVERS. No. Wait a minute. Don't get it wrong, Mr. Chairman. This bill does not keep anybody on active duty.

The CHAIRMAN. Of course, it doesn't.
Mr. RIVERS. It just lets him know where he stands.

The CHAIRMAN. If a man served 14 years, he can make an application to be put in the Regulars.

Mr. RIVERS. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. And they could accept him in the Regular service.
Mr. RIVERS. They do it every day.

The CHAIRMAN. Now, it would be in the interest of economy if all of them were in the Regulars.

Mr. RIVERS. It probably would be.
Mr. SLATINSHEK. That is right, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Therefore if you have a limitation as to the number of Regular officers, it might act as a roadblock to the members getting in the Regulars.

So the thought was running through my mind—I don't want to get into any conflict with that law, when this law becomes effective.

Mr. SLATINSHEK. There is no conflict, sir.
Mr. RIVERS. No.

Mr. SLATINSHEK. Presumably most of these people would have aug. mented prior to that point in time, prior to that point in their service.

However, at this particular point in their service, the 14-year stage, the service and the individual take an inventory, so to speak, and they say "Now, if you want to continue, if we have space for you we will give you a 6-year contract. In event we have a space for you in the Regular service and you desire to augment, we may augment you."

But ordinarily at this point there are relatively few spaces left. The CHAIRMAN. The only thing is that probably on the floor of the House there is going to be required an amount of explanation, as to what happens after the man has entered a contract.

Mr. RIVERS. We can take care of that.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

will get.

The CHAIRMAN. And the only question there in my mind is that it is the equivalent of a reenlistment bonus paid at the end of his service instead of the beginning of his service.

Am I sound on that?
Mr. SLATINSHEK. That is right.

There is one further consideration, Mr. Chairman. This man has been denied, in effect, retirement by being released prior to 20 years of service, and consequently the services are paying him off at something less than what the present value of an annuity would be if he were permitted to continue on to Regular retirement.

Mr. DURHAM. Is there any danger of a hump being created by this type of legislation? Mr. SLATINSHEK. No, sir. Mr. RIVERS. They can turn him loose at any period.

The CHAIRMAN. There is no hump involved in this. It is just simply this. He says "Here I am, I have a ROTC commission, I am called to active duty and I served 2 years.

"Then I get ready to go back to Georgia.”
They say, “We want to keep you in."
I

say, “All right; let's sit down and make a contract.” They say, “I will give you a contract for 6 years. I say, “All right," because I got a contract and I know how much I

At the end of 6 years they will say, "We want to make another contract.'

Suppose at the end of the first 6 years I say, “I am through, I am not going to make any contract.” Then I will say, “Under the provisions of this bill I am entitled to 2 months' pay for each year I served.” They say

“That is correct Mr. RIVERS. Wait, now. Let me say this. That is one of the considerations for the contract.

The CHAIRMAN. That is all right.

Then I am arguing that that is the equivalent to a reenlistment bonus. Mr. RIVERS. That is right. (Mr. Slatinshek nods.) The CHAIRMAN. Now, the reenlistment bonus for privates runs around $1,000, doesn't it?

Mr. SLATINSHEK. It all depends on what stage of the game the enlistment is.

The CHAIRMAN. Anyway, that principle is involved.
Mr. SLATINSHEK. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. I think we are warranted in carrying the bill to the floor. It is an administration bill and it met the standards of the budget and all those things. The Reserve associations are for the bill

I think it was wise to make it extend to warrant officers. We will thrash this bill out. Mr. ARENDS. May I ask a question of the subchairman? Mr. RIVERS. Yes.

Mr. ARENDS. I would like to ask Mr. Rivers: Under a repeat of, say, Korea, what would happen in the way of a contract with these fellows when they called them back! Would they just use their judgment

to the length of the contract, or what!

Mr. Rivers. I think in an emergency they would all be in the same boat.

Mr. ARENDS. I mean it wouldn't automatically enter into the 6-year contract?

Mr. SMART. The contract provision of the bill would be suspended during a war or an emergency.

Mr. RIVERS. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Most of these contracts are going to be for a certain period of time, of 6 years, because that gives them a planning time for the officer personnel.

Mr. RIVERS. Since I won't have another opportunity to set the record straight: During the discussion of this bill we got into the discussion of the history of the Reserves and how certain branches of the service had more active Reserves than the other.

I wouldn't mention those. But in some discussion the record shows that somebody said that I favored another branch of the service over the Air Force. That is not true. I think the Air Force has as good a Reserve as any other branch, and right now I want to get the record straight on that.

(Chorus of "Mr. Chairman.")
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Gubser.

Mr. GUBSER. Mr. Chairman, say at the end of this first 6-year contract he decides not to continue, is he given credit then for 8 years or 6?

The CHAIRMAN. He is given credit-
Mr. SMART. For 6, on the bonus.
The CHAIRMAN. For 6 years.
Mr. GUBSER. Twelve months' pay.
The CHAIRMAN. The 6—he doesn't get the 2 years.
Mr. GUBSER. That is right.

The CHAIRMAN. Members of the committee, there is a quorum present. If there are no further questions

Mr. KILDAY. Mr. Chairman-
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kilday.
(Chorus of "Vote.")

Mr. KILDAY. I think you will find a system very similar to this was in effect in the Air Force at the beginning of World War II, except that it was $500 a year for each year that a Reserve pilot had served on extended active duty.

I think you will find a precedent in the Air Force Reserve Act, that was in existence at the beginning of World War II, that was repealed later.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kowalski.

Mr. KOWALSKI. Mr. Chairman, I would like to focus our attention on the Reserve officers who are now on active duty but are older officers—50 or 55—who may have 17 or 18 years of service. I think it was tragic about a year and a half ago when they were r.i.f.d and senior colonels had to go down to be sergeants.

I have nothing against sergeants, and I was a soldier myself. I was a corporal. But I think it is a tragic thing when a family is completely disrupted, as really hundreds of them were in the last situation.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »