Page images
PDF
EPUB

more occurs the whole number neat above shall be regarded as the authorized number.

SEC. 9. The provisions in the act approved August 29, 1916 (39 Stat. L., p. 579; U. S. C., title 34, sec. 311), prescribing maximum age limits for the promotion of captains, commanders, and lieutenant commanders is hereby repealed.

SEO. 10. The act of March 4, 1923, section 30 (43 Stat. L., p. 1279; L'. S. C., title 34, sec. 399), providing for the retirement of officers who have been specially commended for their performance of duty in actual combat with the enemy is hereby amended by inserting after the words " by reason of age ineligibility for promotion,” the words “or ineligibility for consideration by a selection board after complet on of the designated periods of service for their respective grades," so that the first paragraph of said section :30 will read as follows:

"All officers of the Navy and Marine Corps who have been specially commended for their performance of duty in actual combat with the enemy during the World War, by the head of the executive department under whose jurisdiction such duty was performeil, when retired by reason of age ineligibility for promotion, or ineligibility for consideration by a selection board after completion of the designated periods of serv.ce for their respective grades, shall be placed upon the retired list with the rank of the next higher grade and with three-fourths of the pay they would have received if not advanced in rank pursuant ot this se tion."

SEC. 11. All acts and parts of acts, so far as tley conflict with the provisions of this act, are hereby repealed.

[Senate Report No. 21, Seventy-first congress, first session) The committee on Naval Affairs of the Senate, to whom was referred the bill (S. 5.50) to regulate the distribution and promotion of commissioned officers of the line of the Navy, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon, without amendment, and with the recommendation that the bill do pass.

By the act of August 29, 1916, the existing system of promotion and retirement of the line officers of the Navy was established. This system substituted promotion by selection of the officers deemed best fitted to perform the duties of the next higher grades, " selection up," as it has been termes, for the then method of selection out," whereby those least efficient were chosen for inimediate retirement, By the present system a board of nine rear admirals is convenel annually to select for promotion to the grades of rear admiral, captain, and commander the number of officers necessary to fill the prospective vacancies in those grade during the ensuing year. Officers who are not so selected for promotion before reaching certain ages or completing certain periods of commissioner service are placed upon the retired list.

This system of promotion bas been in effect for nearly 12 years and has in the main proved satisfactory. There are improvements, however, which will make it operate more efficiently and with more justice to individual officers. These improvements are embodied in this bill. The bill is not a reversal nor is it a major alteration of the existing naval promotion system, but a smoothing-out measure to remove inequities and to equalize the opportunities, subject of course to their individual professional ability, of all officers in their progress through a service career.

The bill represents the result of some years' study by the Navy Department. The provisions of this bill have been passed upon by the Budget and reported as not in conflict with the President's financial program. The bill represents an increased cost of but $31,000 a year for three years only, and a substantial saving will accrue thereafter.

The results accomplished by the bill are:

(a) Increased regularity of per.ods spent by each officer in each of the higher grades, affording proper opportunity for acquiring the experience necessary for advanced rank, and thereby increasing the efficiency of the officer personnel

(0) Readjustment of the pecentage distribution of the total number of cfficers in the Navy among the several grades, decreasing slightly the number of lieutenants and correspondingly increasing slightly the number of commanders, lieutenant commanders, lieutenants (junior grade), and ensigns, This is in order to adjust the grades to the changed characteristics of the present day Navy, which is composed of a proportionately large number of

66

small vessels than that of 1916 when the existing percentage distribution of officers in the several grades was established. No increase whatsoever is made in the total number of officers allowed the Navy by existing law.

(c) Assurance to all officers who pass regularly through the lower grades that they will be afforded opportunity for selection before becoming subject to retirement because of any possible stagnation of promotion.

(d) Protect on of the interests of the large group of war-time officers who were in 1920 amalgamated with the regular Navy.

(e) Protection of the older officers of a class or group against retirement before receiving an opportunity for selection.

(f) Increased regularity of the number of selections for promotion to each grade annually, without increasing, however, the actual number of promotions, which remains subject to the occurrence of actual vacancies in grades above.

(9) Insurance against excessive numbers of forced retirements in any one year. These last two combined remove to a large degree the present adverse conditions affecting officers in congested groups, or “ humps,” in the Navy list, and give such officers more equality of opportunity with their fellow oflicers not within the “humps."

The effect of the various sections of the bill is :

Section 1 makes minor changes in the distribution, by percentages, of the line officers of the Navy in the several grades, as follows: Rear admirals and captains, no change; commanders, increase from 7 per cent of the total to 8 per cent; lieutenant commanders, increase from 14 to 15 per cent; lieutenants, decrease from 3242 to 32 per cent; lieutenants (junior grade) and ensigns together, increase from 414 to 42 per cent. (One per cent of the number of officers at present authorized is 55.)

Section 2 provides for a minimum annual number of selections for promotion by the selection board already established by the act of 1916 and unchanged by this bill, thus permitting an even annual flow of promotion and avoiding the inequities of a large number of selections one year and a small the next.

Section 3 continues the present temporary law of ineligibility for promotion if not selected therefor, after certain periods of service prescribed for each grade of officer, thus captains at 35 years of service, commanders at 28, lieutenant commanders at 21. This is not a new principle, since ineligibility and consequent retirement on reaching a certain age in each grade was provided by the basic law of 1916, which introduced promotion by selection and retirement if not selected, and this service-in-grade substitution for age in grade is only to insure all members of a Naval Academy class the same opportunity, since under the old law the older members might reach the retirement age before reaching the top of the grade and being selected. The provisos of this section equalize the retirement status of all officers by referring their service to a common origin of June 30 of the year in which their Naval Academy class would have completed a 4-year course, or, if they are not Naval Academy graduates, to that date for the next class below them on the Navy list.

Section 4 directs the method of promotions to be made from the selections made in accordance with the prior law and with section 2 of the bill. Officers thus selected are placed on a promotion list and remain there without the necessity of reselection until the vacancy occurs to which they fall heir.

Section 5 provides for the retirement of officers who have become ineligible for selection, under section 3, for service in grade, and also of those who, having been selected, fail to pass the required examination for promotion. A further provision is made to allow the retirement, rather than the dropping with one year's pay as under present law, of lieutenants of over 45 years of age or of over 20 years' service, who may fail on examination for promotion; this in justice to the older officers taken in as a result of the war.

Section 6 continues the existing law as to the pay of officers who are retired under the bill at the rate of 242 per cent, times years of service, of the base pay at time of retirement.

Section 7 prevents too great a number of retirements in any one year by prescribing a maximum number in any grade, expressed as a ratio to fit any expansion or contraction of the Navy list, and permitting those over this maximum number to be retained for another year on the active list and to have another chance at selection. A proviso to this section allows a temporary

excess of graduates, in early June, to be commisisoned to anticipate the vacancies occurring, through the system of forced retirements, on June 30, thereby insuring against the Navy dropping below full strength on that date and remaining depleted till the following class graduates in the next June.

Section 8 excludes additional numbers from computations as to numbers in rank, promotions, retirements, and so forth, and states the usual rule as to fractions,

Section 9 repeals specifically the so-called age-in-grade provision of the earlier law, now substituted by the service-in-grade rule of section 3 of this bill.

Section 10 amends section 30 of the act of March 4, 1925, providing for the retirement of officers specially commended for conduct in combat with the enemy. This section was based on the “ age-in-grade” feature as above, now repealed by section 9. A new clause is added to conform to the prov.sions of this bill, i. e., the change from age-in-grade to commissioned service.

Section 11 is the general repeal of all acts and parts of acts that conflict with this bill.

The committee is of the opinion that this b 11 will accomplish a material improvement in the promotion system of the Navy, leading directly to increased efficiency because of the assurance of permanency of career and equal treatment accorded to all officers, subject, of course, to the normal competition with their contemporaries.

The bill meets with the approval of the Navy Department, as shown by the letter of the Secretary of the Navy, dated April 30, 1929, as follows:

DEPARTMENT OF THE NATY,

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,

Washington, April 30, 1929. The CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE OF NAVAL AFFAIRS,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAY: Replying further to the committee's communication of April 4, 1929, transmitting a copy of the bill (S. 550) to regulate the distribution and promotion of commissioned officers of the line of the Navy, and for other purposes, I have the honor to advise you as follows:

The b:ll S. 550 is identical in language with the bill H. R. 14039 (70th Cong.) as reported out by the Senate Naval ('ommittee without amendment after having passed the House of Representatives. (S. Rept. No. 1651, 70th Cong., 2d sess.; H. Rept. No. 1903, 70th Cong., 1st sess.)

Extensive hearings were held upon the bill II. R. 14039 by both the House and Senate Naval ('ommittees during the Seventieth Congress, reports of which may be found in subcommittee of Senate Naval Committee hearings dated January 15 and 18, 1929, Seventieth Congress, second session, and in House Committee Document No. 25, December 4, 1928, pages 72-76; House Committee Do'ument No. 168, pages 2923–2924, and No. 498, pages 3211-3304, Seventieth Congress, first session, on the similar bill II. R. 13683. The Navy Department's views were fully expressed at these hearings.

Based on the assumption that the bill S. 550 will be enacted during the special session that was convened on April 15, 1929, the cost for the next three fiscal years will be as follows:

For the fiscal year 1930, $31,000; for the fiscal year 1931, $31,000; for the fiscal year 1932 and for each fiscal year thereafter there would be a substantial saving. The saving is due to the authorization, by the second sentence of section 5 of the retirement of lieutenants over 15 years of age or 20 years of service who fail on examination for promotion to lieutenant commander.

The bill H. R. 14039 above mentioned was referred to the Bureau of the Budget on April 5, 1929, in view of the fact that a new administration had come into power since the Bureau of the Budget's former report dated May 10, 1928, that the bill was not in conflict with the financial program of the President. Under date of April 20, 1929, the Director of the Bureau of the Budget advised the Navy Department that the proposed legislation is not in conflict with the financial program of the President.

In view of the foregoing, the Navy Department recommends that the proposed legislation be enacted. Sincerely yours,

C. F. Adams, Secretary of the Navy.

The CHAIRMAN. Proceed.

Mr. FRENCH. Suppose I speak upon the promotion bill first, H. R. 1190 and S. 550. I understand the Committee on Naval Affairs is asking the Committee on Rules for a special rule for consideration of that bill.

The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Mr. FRENCH. As you probably have been told, the bill has been upon the calendar for some months.

Mr. MICHENER. Has the Naval Affairs Committee had a day since it has been on the calendar?

Mr. FRENCH. I am not sure about that. My attention was directed particularly to the advisability of promotion legislation in this congress, by virtue of the fact that one year ago I was named a member of the joint committee of the House and Senate to consider the question of pay that involved pay of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Public Health personnel. The committee of 10 worked on that subject for some weeks, and it was very apparent to us that the one question that is basic in the question of pay is the question of promotion. I think that the chairman of this committee three or four years ago introduced a bill providing for a joint committee to study the problem of promotion and pay as one subject. About a year ago, when the resolution was passed providing for a joint pay committee, the promotion feature was eliminated. The chairman of this committee was right. Promotion and pay go hand in hand, as we soon discovered.

After we had investigated the matter for some months and studied reports that had been made by the several services, we were so convinced that the question of promotion was wrapped up with the question of pay that we prepared a resolution asking that the authority of the committee be broadened and that we be given power to go into the question of promotion. Opposition arose in the House and among the legislative committees having to do with the subjects, with the result that we did not succeed in having that power given to the joint committee. However, following that we continued our study, with the result that when we convened in December we were very deeply convinced that unless the promotion question were handled coterminous with the pay question or ahead of it we could not or Congress could not adequately consider a pay bill. You now have before you several promotion bills, others in addition to the promotion bill for the consideration of which you are asked to furnish a rule. In addition to this bill you have a promotion bill for the Marine Corps, 7974, which is upon the House Calendar. It has been reported by the Naval Affairs legislative committee. tion to the bill for the promotion for the Naval Establishment and for the Marine Corps you have some other bills. I have in my hand S. 4, a bill providing for promotion in the Army, a bill that has passed the Senate, which is now with the Committee on Military Affairs. We have several bills touching promotion for the Army, one by Senator McKellar, S. 797; another bill by Representative Wainwright, H. R. 3091.

In other words, the question of promotion is a question that is vital to all of these several services; and until that question is settled

you can not adequately settle the pay question. Now, then, why not dispose, you will say, of the promotion bill for the Navy? Because these different services are to some extent kindred. Let me indicate by a couple of illustrations that are lifted out from the actual facts. You will recall that last spring a bill was proposed and was passed by the House from the Naval Affairs legislative committee providing for the fixing the pay of the band leaders and members of the Navy band at Annapolis. Inside of 24 hours after that bill had passed, a colonel in the Army, a friend of mine, was in my office, and he was talking about it and he brought his fist down on the table and said, “We have got to have the same thing for West Point.” Mr. Chairman, it was not a question of merit for West Point; it was a question of doing for West Point what was proposed for Annapolis. * About three weeks ago in our hearings on the naval appropriation bill an item was reached that provided for a certain number of automobiles for certain services in the Navy, the automobiles to cost $2,000, not more. One of the members of the committee, Mr. Taber, raised the question why it would not be desirable to buy for that particular purpose automobiles to cost not more than $1,800. I remember the admiral who was on the witness stand immediately said, “ No; it will not do,” and following that Mr. Taber pressed him for the reason and he said, substantially, “the Army bill has already passed the House for a different type, and the Navy bill should carry the item for an automobile to cost $2,000, because Navy officers would immediately come to us and want to know why we are providing 'junk' like that for them to ride around in while the Army officers are provided with automobiles at a cost of $2,000. Both of those are actual illustrations and they represent the fight that is going on among all those services to-day.

The condition of promotion might be represented by my fingers as I separate them. "Let the ends of the fingers represent the high points or benefits of one service and the low part of my hand represent the inferior arrangements for one service contrasted with another. The ends of the fingers will represent high points for the entire service or benefits, while the points that lie between the fingers will represent the low points touching the factor as to which the different services are pressing for an equality, an equality that does not strike the low point and does not strike an average, but an equality upon the basis of the benefits in the opposite service wherever they can find that they are higher than the service that is asking for the change.

So we come back to the question of promotion. I am not going to speak of the merits of the bills. They may be all right. That is not the point. I do not know how the Navy bill will fit in with a suitable measure for the Marine Corps, or for the Army, or the Coast Guard, or the Public Health Service. To-day an Army officer, if he is a major or lieutenant colonel or colonel, sees his running mate, as we call an officer of corresponding responsibility in the Navy, represented by a lieutenant commander, commander or captain for the corresponding grades. But the officer that he sees as his running mate is an officer not who graduated at Annapolis at the time that Army officer graduated from West Point, but an officer who entered Annapolis one year after he had graduated from

« PreviousContinue »