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The last two are classified locations, Mr. Chairman. I think you have the location of them, sir.
The 2 projects in the United States and the first 3 projects in Canada represent an additional increment of housing to support the aircraft control and warning sites. Prior authorizations of such housing for this activity totals 2,348 units of which 434 units have already been completed and 1,914 units are in various stages of construction, contract award and design. With a few exceptions, the Air Force plan of providing an initial increment of 27 units of housing at each aircraft control and warning site is nearing completion.
The need for the housing requested at the remaining four locations outside the United States is vital and urgently required to assure that the Air Force missions at these locations will not be impeded.
Also included in this request are the following authorizations to construct or acquire housing by means of other than appropriated funds:
General Rentz. The Wherry acquisition project authorizations listed above will complete the Air Force program of acquiring all of its Wherry projects.
Air Force Academy: Section 309 of the bill amends Public Law 325, 83d Congress, to provide for an increase of $4,372,000 in construction authorized for the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo. The items to be constructed with this increased authorization consist of roadway facilities, erosion control and landscaping, and diesel fuel storage.
At the present time construction of the permanent Academy is 69 percent complete. Of the $122,234,548 under contract, $78,049,000 worth of work is in place. The total amount authorized and funded to date is approximately $135.5 million.
In view of the previously expressed interest of the committee and the nature and magnitude of the Air Force Academy construction, we will be happy to present a special briefing on this program if the committee so desires.
Replacement of substandard facilities: The Secretary already has stated the Air Force problem with respect to our inability to replace substandard facilities at a satisfactory rate. The primary demand on available Air Force construction dollars since the major buildup of the Air Force began in 1950 has been to provide ready base facilities for new requirements. Coupled with this factor was the relatively insufficient and substandard base facilities available to the Air Force at the conclusion of World War II. As a result, it has been difficult to overcome concurrently the backlog of base facility deficiencies for existing missions and badly needed replacement of the substandard facilities which have continued to depreciate with age and use and
which the Air Force has been forced to continue in use with excessively high operation and maintenance expenditures.
We have tried to place more emphasis on this replacement requirement, with special attention being accorded to the replacement of substandard troop housing and dining facilities. We are making progress in this direction and the program we are presenting today includes $32 million for replacement projects.
The Air Force intends, to the maximum extent possible within annual construction program limitations, to continue its efforts in this direction until å satisfactory level of replacement of its substandard facilities is reached.
Increases in prior years' authorizations: The deficiencies, in prior years' Air Force authorizations which have developed during the past year are substantially less than those for which increased authorizations were requested in the fiscal year 1958 authorization bill last year. The amount of increases requested in this bill total only $13,411,000 as compared with last year's total of almost $115 million.
This gratifying reduction in authorization deficiencies has resulted primarily from better estimates as additional experience is gained from awards on newer types of facilities, initiation of advance planning at earlier dates, and advancement of the dates for application of the automatic authorization rescission provisions.
The requested increases, which are identified by authorizing public law and installation in sections 305 through 308 of the bill, involve 22 separate installation project authorizations contained in 4 prior years authorization public laws. Following is a summary of the increases for each public law.
The CHAIRMAN. Just insert that in the record.
Department of the Air Force-Fiscal year 1959 military construction authorization
increases in prior years' authorizations
General Rentz. The authorization increases represent the net deficiency considering both project savings and cost overruns on each construction item in the projects involved. Details of the revised costs for each item have been provided to the committee.
Cost index: Construction costs have shown a gradual and steady rise at the rate of approximately 7 percent per year from 1949 through 1957. After the first 6 months of 1958, there was a slight leveling off, with only about 1 percent increase. That is the 1 percent increase from January to May. This has been further reflected in favorable bid experience since January 1958. There is no assurance, however, that the cost curve will remain constant, and by the time the fiscal year
1959 program is ready for the market the cost curve may be expected to resume its upward trend of the past several years.
The Air Force and its construction agents are making every possible effort to develop realistic cost estimates prior to submitting authorization requests to the Congress, which will preclude authorization deficiencies. We believe that, barring large unforeseen increases in the cost index, authorization deficiencies will be held at minimal amounts in the future.
Status of authorizations: The Air Force is pleased to report that the former high balances of unfinished authorizations are being steadily reduced. Based upon the amounts of new authorization and appropriations being requested for fiscal year 1959, the effective unfinanced authorization balance at the end of fiscal year 1959 will be down to $415 million as compared to about $1,200 million at the end of fiscal year 1958 and almost $1,400 million at the end of fiscal year 1957.
This reduction in the unfinanced balance of about $1,000 million in a period of 2 years primarily is the result of the committee's action in advancing the effective dates for automatic rescission of unused authorizations. The automatic repeal of authorization not used within 3 years from date of approval has proven very effective to the Air Force. The "3-year rule” permits a more effective management and control of the construction program and a reduction in accounting and reporting workloads.
It is considered that the approximately $400 million of currently inactive authorizations are the minimum amount required to provide the flexibility needed for orderly progress in a construction program of the magnitude of the Air Force's.
The following table summarizes the status of Air Force military construction authorizations, reflecting the reduction down to the $415 million.
Department of the Air Force military construction authorization-fiscal year 1959 status of existing authorizations and appropriations
Millions Total authorization available, fiscal year 1948 through fiscal year 1958.- $12, 268 Less reserve for 0/s rental guarantee family housing-
-100 Less estimated rescissions through July 1, 1957--
-1, 119 Net authorization available through fiscal year 1958.
11, 049 Less total funds available through fiscal year 1958.-
-9, 670 Less estimated automatic rescission by sec. 506, Public Law 85–241.- - 164 Total residual authorization at end of fiscal year 1958.
1, 215 Plus new authorization proposed for fiscal year 1959
+986 Plus increases in prior years' authorized by fiscal year 1959 authoriza
2, 219 -992
Residual and proposed authorization available through fiscal year
fiscal year 1959----
Effective residual authorization at end of fiscal year 1959.
General Rentz. Air Force construction agents: The Corps of Engineers is the principal construction agent for the Air Force. In addition, the Bureau of Yards and Docks performs Air Force construction in certain areas. The Air Force accomplishes a small amount of its own construction in areas where neither the Corps of Engineers nor the Bureau of Yards and Docks has established construction activities and, in some cases, constructs certain technical facilities peculiar to the Air Force. The Air Force fiscal year 1958 military construction program is being implemented through Air Force construction agents in approximately the following amounts:
percent Corps of Engineers, United States Army--Bureau of Yards and Docks, United States Navy---
16 Air Force commands...
100 Conclusion: In formulating the military construction authorization program for fiscal year 1959, the Air Force has recognized that funds are not unlimited and the achievement of primary objectives are possible only by insuring that its construction resources are allocated wisely and economically. To this end, we have attempted to select for inclusion in this authorization request those projects which will provide the greatest measure of capability to Air Force missions and contribute most to the well-being of Air Force personnel.
We shall be happy to discuss any aspects of our program to furnish additional information as the committee desires.
The CHAIRMAN. General, I want to compliment you on this statement. It is certainly a splendid statement, giving all pertinent information about this bill.
I think it is one of the best statements along this line it has been my privilege to read in years.
I sincerely trust that the conclusion is carried forth in all the items of the bill.
In formulating the military construction authorization program in 1959 the Air Force has recognized that funds are not unlimited. The achievement of the primary objective is possible only by assuring that its construction and resources are allocated wisely and economically.
I commend you on that approach to this matter.
Mr. BROOKS. I think he has made an excellent statement, also. And I want to join with the chairman in especially commending you for catching up on your authorizations in other words, catching up on your construction program after we authorized it.
General RENTZ. Yes, sir; I think this committee has assisted greatly in that, sir.
Mr. BROOKS. That is all.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank you for the compliment you pay the committee by being instrumental in bringing about a closer relation between authorization and expenditures.
Now, members of the committee, the general has been testifying for an hour. I know what it is to read a statement for an hour. And we are making such rapid progress on this bill, why not let us take a
recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning, at which time we will take up the book? And I think we can all approach it a little bit with a clearer mind, if we will come at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning instead of 9. We made such wonderful progress on this bill we will finish it this week. I ask the committee to take a recess now until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
General, you and your staff all come back then.
(Whereupon, at 11 a. m., the committee recessed, to reconvene at 10 Wednesday, June 4, 1958.)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES,
Washington, D. C., Thursday, June 5, 1958. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Carl Vinson (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, let the committee come to order.
Now, gentlemen-members of the committee, yesterday we had the benefit
Mr. BROOKS. Is this executive?
The CHAIRMAN. No, sir; this is an open session. Yesterday, we had the benefit of a very fine briefing. I was deeply impressed. I want to thank, again, the Air Force for presenting the facts in such a forceful manner. It was very thorough, constructive and beneficial. I think we derived a great deal of knowledge, which will help us in our consideration of this bill.
We are starting to read the bill-section 301, page 30.
The committee will understand that we have to go back to these California items and have to go back to the Marine Corps and have to go back to 1 or 2 items for the Army and 1 or 2 items for the Navy. The committee has practically finished consideration of the Army's. and Navy's presentation of the bill. I am hoping that we can get this bill considered this week, so next week we can devote our time on legislation for the reorganization of the Department of Defense, and then take up this bill, and then we have one or two more bills, and that should wind up our work. We are all trying to get away from here the latter part of July or the first few days in August. We have an immense amount of work.
Mr. BROOKS. Mr. Chairman, there is—I think I ought to mention it at this time. Theer is a Reserve bill, where we have been waiting on the Defense Department for action, that really ought to be taken up. I discussed it with the Chair. I hope that the Defense Department is ready, so that it can be taken up.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, I think that item should be incorporated. Mr. BROOKS. It is in reference to term contracts.
The CHAIRMAN. Oh, yes. That is highly important, in reference to what is known as Reserve obligations upon a term contract basis. We must do something about that this session.
Mrs. St. George is the first minority member in here and when she came in I called the committee to order. So she will have the privi