« PreviousContinue »
and you are going to create a much worse morale situation in the seryices than what the Career Incentive Act is intending to overcome.
So they are on the horns of a dilemma, and we have to recognize it; and this committee is going to be criticized when the House considers this pay bill because every Member has a communication from some officer who is being released that wanted to stay. He has a very fine record and why don't they let him stay. They talk about officers getting out; he wants to stay in. Why do they have to increase the pay of lieutenant colonel to keep lieutenant colonels in when they are releasing lieutenant colonels?
But you run right smack into this problem of this fantastic hump and if you keep them in there, then there is no promotion down here and that abolishes all incentive for going ahead.
Mr. RIVERS. If there is a shortage there shouldn't be a hump?
Mr. BLANDFORD. There is a shortage only in the junior grades. They have valleys and if these officers up here (indicating) as reservists are willing to go down and take a drop in rank, they will integrate them and be delighted to have them.
On the other hand, a reservist says to himself, “Why should I take a bust in rank when just to become a Regular junior grade—just to become a Regular officer."
Mr. GAVIN. He either has to take that or be separated from the service.
Mr. BLANDFORD. That is what it boils down to.
Mr. BENNETT. It seems to me in view of what has been said it would be better to allow these men to stay in, and have a lesser grade than it would be throwing them out if they are not material. In other words, I think a new look has to be taken by the armed services at these humps to see if they can't, on account of the hump, allow men to stay in the service with the lesser rank.
Mr. BLANDFORD. The Navy is now doing that.
Mr. Gavin. Most of these officers have been passed over twice, or some of them?
Mr. BLANDFORD. Some of them have very low index-we might as well face it, some of these officers just don't have it.
On the other hand, there are a large number of very fine officers with very fine combat records who are approaching the point of being over age in grade.
Then the question comes up of having too many people, because of your Officer Grade Act you have to stay within limits. So somebody has to get out. Obviously, you are going to eliminate the Reserve before you eliminate the Regular.
Mr. RIVERS. We will have to just try this pay thing and see if that remedies some of this.
Secretary BURGESS. That is a very important element of it.
Mr. MILLER. Mr. Blandford, isn't it true that while we have this hump now, followed by a valley, that if we don't correct it, we are building another hump on the other side of that valley to make the valley that 10 or 15 years from now is going to pass through and still bother us the same way that we are being bothered today.
Mr. BLANFORD. It won't pass through so much, depending on how they administer it. What it is going to mean, as I understand it,
I can't think of a better opportunity a young man could have today than to join the service as a second or first lieutenant because he is practically guaranteed promotion, because he is right behind everything; he is in a valley all along. Now, when they start filling that up and they get to the normal attrition that they like to have to keep the flow of promotion going, then the thing will level itself off.
But this hump that you see here in the class of 44 in the Navy is going to come back to haunt this committee in about 10 years, and we will be here 10 years from now trying to figure out what to do with those people, because too many are moving up to commanders, yet, you are going to have to eliminate a lot of them.
Then the taxpayers are going to say it is ridiculous to eliminate people with this much training, this much service.
Mr. MILLER. You have those people now, that potential thing, because we are in this bog right now.
In other words, it is like a wave and it is going to continue on. Mr. BLANDFORD. This is a mistake made at the end of World War II.
Mr. MILLER. I may say, Mr. Chairman, that I realize that a lot of these men have to be separated but I think it is rather cruel to sometimes separate a man who only has a year or 18 month to go where he can earn some retirement, somehow or another he is taken out at that critical period, where he can't fit into an Active Reserve unit in his rank, and after we have taken 15 years out of his life we throw him out with no place to go.
I think that is a part of the morale factor.
Mr. WILSON. Don't you solve two problems at once when you allow the men in this hump category to set back their date of rank a couple of years and fill
up the valley ? It seems the Navy's program is very commendable along that line and should be encouraged to get these men. It is only a matter of a setback of a couple of years to allow them to correct both of these situations. I would like to ask the Navy particularly how far they allow a man to set back his date of rank?
Captain MARTINEAU. I am Captain Martineau, Bureau of Naval Personnel.
Mr. RIVERS. He is one of the authors of this bill so he is a good man to tell you.
Mr. GAVIN. Very able officer.
Captain MARTINEAU. I appreciate those remarks. Mr. Wilson, the Navy's augmentation program that is on at the present time, that Mr. Blandford referred to, and the authority for which expires this summer, permits augmentation in grades not above lieutenant, and we are permitting those officers who hold grades as high as lieutenant commander to revert to a lower grade to be placed on the linear list that will enable him to fill up that valley if he so requests, of course.
If he volunteers and understands fully the conditions, the Chief of Naval Personnel has the authority to so place him.
Mr. Wilson. Does it actually mean reverting to a lower grade or does it mean
Captain MARTINEAU. It is only Reserve officers, of course. And he is reverting to a lower grade only in a relatively few cases. In other
words, we cannot permit all of the Reserve lieutenants on active duty right now to augment, because some of them are in the hump. Now, the majority of the people that will accept a lower lineal position are lieutenants, who are simply moving back and there are a few who are lieutenant commanders. But no higher.
Mr. RIVERS. And most of them are line officers.
Mr. HÉBERT. Captain, you mean that a lieutenant commander, say, for instance, a Reserve lieutenant commander who is to be relieved of duty could apply to be retained on duty if he fell back to lieutenant?
Captain MARTINEAU. That is correct.
Captain MARTINEAU. He could apply for augmentation into the Regular Navy.
Mr. HÉBERT. That is what I mean.
Captain MARTINEAU. He could apply and would be considered, of course, by a board who would go over his qualifications and he would be so eligible.
Mr. HÉBERT. What part would age play in that request?
Captain MARTINEAU. Age would be a factor that would be considered by the board.
Mr. HÉBERT. Probably he has passed the age and he could be dropped into the lieutenant's ranks.
Mr. Rivers. That was my point to Secretary Burgess. You may have to broaden that age base to alleviate some of these obvious things that are causing these deficiencies in these critical grades.
Secretary BURGESS. This is receiving very active study from the Personnel standpoint, across the board among the services.
Mr. RIVERS. Mr. Bennett?
Mr. MILLER. Where do these men who go back fit into the promotional scheme, do they have a running mate that they pick up?
Captain MARTINEAU. They fit right into the Regular line. The policy in the Bureau of Personnel now is to move a man back the minimum amount necessary, and then
Mr. MILLER. He doesn't affect your lineal list, he goes on with a running mate with some other man on the list.
Captain MARTINEAU. He has a running mate if he is in the staff corps.
The line of the Navy that is shown by this chart right here (indicating] the lineal list of the line is the basis for the entire Navy rank structure.
Mr. MILLER. That is right.
Captain MARTINEAU. No, we move this individual we are referring to back as necessary to put him, help him, or have him help fill up the valley, and he gets a new lineal position.
Mr. MILLER. He is a lieutenant commander that goes back to lieutenant, if that happens, does he go back to the head of the list of lieutenants or does he go to the foot of the list!
Captain MARTINEAU. He would be moved back on the lieutenants' list only far enough to take him out of the hump and put him into the valley.
And whether he goes to the head of the list or the foot of the list is really not a factor, sir. Because the lieutenants who are at the head of the list now are in the hump, and are not eligible for augmentation unless they are willing to accept a lower lineal position.
Mr. BENNETT. I would like to ask if I could what is the age for a platoon leader in the infantry?
General YOUNG. Approximate age of a platoon leader.
Mr. BENNETT. Is there any regulation on a second lieutenant or first lieutenant!
General Young. A minimum age but not a maximum.
Mr. BENNETT. This hump only applies to the Navy and not to the Army?
General YOUNG. We have a similar hump which is even worse, I am sorry to say.
However, since we have a very much larger proportion of Reserve officers as compared with regulars, we have not been able to institute a similar program to this.
Moreover, the matter of age would make it very difficult for a lieutenant colonel, his average age, to go back to let us say a first lieutenant. It would just not be in the best interest of the service, we feel.
Mr. BENNETT. I see how extreme things wouldn't be pleasant and perhaps World War II was an exceptional instance, but seeing it from my own experience, I was a 35-year-old platoon leader, they gave me a couple of awards and I felt I did a fairly good job.
And I presume that may be they were a little hard up at that time, but I believe [laughter] but I believe that the age limit could be reconsidered if a person did want to stay in the service and did want to waive his age, that some consideration ought to be given to him.
Mr. BLANDFORD. Then, of course, you run immediately into an overage-in-grade problem as soon as you do that and you have the problem of mandatory promotion provisions in the officer personnel act, which you run into.
Mr. BENNETT. That is exactly what I am trying to get at. If a man wants to stay in the Army and if he has devoted his life to it, I would think there might be a considerable number of people who like the Army enough to be willing to stay in in a lower grade than their age would normally require them to be, and why couldn't that be adjusted?
Secretary BURGESS. I think the record would take precedence over the age, there, Mr. Bennett.
Mr. RIVERS. Mr. Secretary, were you going to cover most of these things if you were permitted to continue with your statement?
Mr. GAVIN. I have been trying to get recognized.
Mr. Gavin. At this particular point I wonder what consideration is being given to these men in the grade of lieutenant colonels and colonels that are in the hump who have served 10, 12, 15 years of service.
Many of them have a very distinguished combat record, and suddenly we decide to separate them from the service.
Many of them have reached the age of 45, 50, 52, and figured they might eventually have been integrated into the regular service and suddenly without much warning the departments come up and say we have his hump and we have got to remedy this situation, and we are very sorry, but we find that we must separate you from the service.
Now, many of these men have reached a point in life where it is going to be quite difficult for them to move out into civilian circles and find a particular spot, which they can make their living; in the interim, even though they eventually may be separated, what thought is the Department of Defense giving to compensating these men for the records that they have made and the service that they have rendered until such a time as they find their place in civilian life?
Secretary BURGESS. Mr. Gavin, if I may I would like to just comment on that point in two ways: The first situation is that in adjusting, in getting our strength down to what we believe to be the right basis under the President's decisions, there has to be some adjustment, and perhaps some of it is up in these upper grades.
But I can assure you, that every effort is being made to hold the conditions you mention to the absolute irreducible minimum.
Mr. GAVIN. You mean as to numbers?
The second point I would like to make is that we have under very active consideration right now, it has not been submitted to the Congress, but we do have under active consideration right now an adjustment pay arrangement which would compensate these people for years spent.
It would be on a year's basis which would award them an adjustment pay in the event they have to be subjected to such termination.
This is a condition that is quite standard all over the country. I mean, industries and other walks of life get into adjustment periods. Certainly, in an organization that is as huge as the Department of Defense, and where you have to go through some of these adjustments, you are going to have cases where some people will be terminated.
I think the obligation that we have is to recognize these termination problems along with a proper adjustment. We do have that under consideration and I hope it is not going to be too long before it is going to be presented.
Mr. GAVIN. Glad to hear the Secretary make that statement, because of the fact many of these men have reached 50 and over, to be suddenly separated from the service and let out, and they are going to find it quite difficult to find their places in civilian life and until such a time as they do, some consideration should be given to compensating them for their years of service, and many of them have very, very distinguished records.
Secretary BURGESS. The thing that we have to recognize in the Department of Defense, and I hope it will so be the sense of Congress, that you just can't make a complete guaranty, but you do have to be fair and reasonable in the event you have to make these adjustments which are essential in any type of manpower problem, whether it is in Government or business or whatever it is in.
Mr. RIVERS. That is a very good point, Mr. Gavin.