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CONSOLIDATION OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS
What is the status of the proposal to consolidate the civilian functions of the Corps and the Bureau of Reclamation?
Mr. DAWSON. The Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Interior signed a joint letter dated February 1, 1985, stating their position.
joint letter is provided for the record.
A copy of the
(The information follows:)
We have evaluated options for consolidating the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation as outlined in the President's January 3, 1985, memorandum and conclude that a "No Action" recommendation is appropriate.
Our evaluation indicates that there is little overlap between the programs or jurisdiction of the Bureau and Corps and substantial geographic collocation exists only in one city. Further, the nature of the functions of the Bureau and the Corps are sufficiently diverse and interdependent with other missions to suggest that consolidation does not make programmatic sense.
In addition, the analyses conducted by the Corps and Bureau do not suggest that the savings projected by OMB can be realized. In any event, the costs of implementation are likely to exceed savings through fiscal year 1988. Consequently, potential savings do not compel consolidation at this time. Lastly, major legislative action is required to implement consolidation. Recognizing the far more significant legislative agenda facing us over the next several years, consolidation at this time will significantly slow other more pressing initiatives. Consequently, we conclude it is not appropriate to further consider consolidation.
Our recommended course of "No Action" is fully responsive to the fundamental issues raised by OMB and avoids compromising the President's water policy and national defense objectives. Furthermore, we have concluded that there should be no need for any additional review of the consolidation issue at this time by the Cabinet Council on Management and Administration in light of the "No Action" recommendation. We would be pleased to respond to any questions or comments you may have on the matter.
Department of the Interior
Cc: David A. Stockman
Director, Office of Management and Budget
Caspar W. Weinberger
Department of Defense
Mr. BEVILL. General Heiberg, this is your first appearance before the Subcommittee as Chief of Engineers. You have held numerous positions within the Corps over the years, and in your opening remarks, you commented on the Corps' performance during your time in the Corps. Looking ahead, what do you think the future holds for the Corps?
General HEIBERG. The future of the Corps, in many ways, rests in the hands of this Congress. Our construction program continues to decline in the absence of an omnibus bill which would address project authorization and cost sharing, or an appropriation act which would permit us to move ahead in advance of legislation on the Army's proposed cost sharing. The Fiscal Year 1981 budget request was for 186 continuing construction projects. Five years later we are requesting funds to continue 96 projcts or nearly one-half the physical workload of five years ago. The Army has been concerned with this problem for several years, and we have done everything that was in our power, to move ahead with needed new construction starts. We have gotten the sponsors to volunteer, in the absence of new cost sharing legislation, to contribute an increased non-Federal share of costs. We have recommended these new starts each year since Fiscal Year 1983. Without some action on the part of Congress our construction program will be halved again by 1990. I think that for the foreseeable future, our program will continue to emphasize operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of our existing projects, and both civil and military work for other agencies and countries.
The fiscal year 1986 budget reflects further cuts in the number of Corps personnel. What impact have these cuts had on the Corps' ability to perform its mission, and what impact have the cuts had on the Corps' workforce as a whole?
General HEIBERG. This year the Corps will experience a decrease of 250 manyears from fiscal year 1985. The Corps has been able to accomplish its mission due to a declining construction workload, consolidation of certain in-house support functions for improved operation efficiency, and increased contracting with the private sector. Since the conversion from end-strength accounting to manyear accounting in fiscal year 1982 the Corps manpower has been reduced 12 percent.
IMPACT OF WORK FOR OTHER AGENCIES
Mr. BEVILL. Despite the reductions in manpower, it would appear that you are emphasizing work for other agencies of the Federal Government. How can you continue to take manpower cuts and still seek work from other agencies?
General HEIBERG. We carefully select the work we undertake or indicate that we have a capability for. With the exception of the EPA, waste treatment program, which we have supported with about 500 workyears since fiscal year 1979, most of the other requirements have been relatively modest. The fact is that with the construction workload at a historic low point and with the decision of the Congress not to close district offices, our work for other agencies have become an important element of our workload in a number of districts. In some instances, such as certain work for the Department of Energy this work is charged as military reimbursable rather than civil works reimbursable and has no impact on our civil manpower. The challenge we face is to maintain a technically strong organization despite shifts in workload. For example, we are operating and maintaining many more projects than we did in the 1960's. We have many more people involved in environmental issues than we did prior to 1970. Yet our manpower is less. We are able to accomplish our mission with the lower manpower level by a considerable amount of automation and by contracting out functions previously accomplished in-house. In the engineering and construction functions, we could not justify as large an organization based strictly on the traditional civil works mission, which in real dollars is much less than it was in the late 1960's. In order to have a strong organization capable of responding in case of a national mobilization or natural disaster, it is in our interest to support other Federal agencies which seek our support in planning, engineering and construction missions. In addition, our assistance to other agencies increases government efficiency by permitting the other agency to concentrate on its program mission without concentrating on building a design/construction study with the necessary expertise. Since we already have the expertise and organization in place we believe that considerable duplication is avoided. Of course, we do balance these missions against the need to be responsive to our traditional civil works mission.
Mr. BEVILL. Have you been able to continue your work effectively and still absorbs the reductions?
General HEIBERG. Yes, sir, we have.
FY 1986 BUDGET VERSUS FY 1985 APPROPRIATION
Mr. BEVILL. The FY 1986 budget reflects a 16 percent reduction from the Corps FY 1985 appropriation level. Is the FY 1986 appropriation request sufficient to maintain an economic rate of construction of ongoing projects.
Mr. DAWSON. Yes, Mr. Chairman, the FY 1986 appropriation request is adequate to meet all scheduled program requirements. It will permit us to maintain schedules, insofar as funding is concerned, on all construction projects and major rehabilitation projects.
PROPER MAINTENANCE OF COMPLETED PROJECTS
Mr. Bevill. Is the O&M request sufficeint to assure proper maintenance of completed projects.?
General HEIBERG. The program request of $961 million in Federal funds together with a proposed non-Federal contribution of $355 million basically provides sufficient funds for the continued operation and maintenance of our projects. However, as Mr. Dawson and I stated earlier, Presedential reductions applied to all domestic programs required us to defer some maintenance of lower priority for one year. Deferred work would include some dredging at harbors which have less than 25,000 tons of commercial traffic.
Mr. BEVILL. Are there any areas of your budget request where you feel the budget will not enable you to carry out an efficient and economic program?
General HEIBERG. No, sir, assuming we receive the projected $470 million in required non-Federal contributions in a timely manner. However, we have had to defer some lower-priority maintenance until Fiscal Year 1987.
Mr. BEVILL. In your view, what other problems face the Corps' Civil Works program?
General HEIBERG. I believe we have addressed most of our major problems in our statements but let me summarize by saying that in order to revitalize our program we need the approval of Congress for both our proposed construction new starts and our cost sharing policies.