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Letters, statements, etc., submitted for the record by-Continued
Spitler, W. I., president, Air Accessories, Inc., Fort Worth, Tex., letter
to Hon. Wingate Lucas, May 6, 1952-
Wadsworth, J. J., Office of the Deputy Administrator, Federal Civil
Defense Administration, letter to Hon. Chet Holifield, June 4, 1952.
UTILIZATION AND REDISTRIBUTION OF CRITICAL
MATERIALS AND AIRCRAFT PARTS
MONDAY, JUNE 23, 1952
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
REORGANIZATION OF THE COMMITTEE ON
Washington, D.O. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a. m., in room 1501, New House Office Building, Hon. Chet Holifield (chairman of the subcommittee), presiding.
Present: Representatives Holifield (presiding), Burnside, Hoffman, Church, and McVey.
Also present: Representative Curtis; Herbert Roback, staff director; Dorothy D. Morrison, clerk; and Thomas A. Kennedy, counsel to the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. The subcommittee will be in order.
Public Law 152 of the Eighty-first Congress, known as the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, concerns itself, among other things, with the field of Federal property management, including the utilization of property, the redistribution of excess, and the disposal of surplus.
This subcommittee originally was responsible for handling the Federal property legislation. From time to time we have held hearings and made inquiries into various phases of Federal property management. For example, we have gone extensively into the subject of Federal cataloging, and our efforts have stimulated the Armed Services Committee to do likewise.
Our subcommittee is particularly concerned today with the disposal of surplus property as well as excess matériel, because we feel, at least I do, that the agencies of the Federal Government have not given sufficient attention and planning to this matter. With the huge expenditures for Government property, particularly military supplies and equipment, that are projected for the next few years, it is probable that large amounts of surplus property will be generated through obsolescence, change in requirements, et cetera. Unless we have the proper administrative mechanisms for redistribution of excess and surplus disposal, we might find excess or surplus property running out of our ears.
I have made some remarks to Congress recently on this subject. These remarks will be found at pages 5217 to 5221 of the Congressional Record of May 13, 1952.
1 Name changed to Committee on Government Operations, July 4, 1952.
The hearings today deal with the problems of the redistribution and disposition of excess aircraft parts and supplies. Members of Congress and many representatives from industry have demonstrated a considerable interest in this subject.
During World War II a program for the redistribution of excess aircraft matériel was worked out, I understand, which operated with considerable success, utilizing private distributors in the disposal end of the program. The lessons of that program and the wartime experience form the basis for a proposal by the Air Matériel Command of the Air Force which we will discuss today.
Brig. Gen. Kern D. Metzger, Chief of the Industrial Resources Division, Air Matériel Command, is chairman of a unit known as the Aircraft Production Resources Agency. We will hear first from General Metzger, having him explain the Air Force program, and then we hope to have testimony from the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics. Then we will hear other Government witnesses and industry witnesses over a period of 2 or 3 days, today, Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday, if it is necessary.
I might say there is quite an interest in this matter. I have received a number of letters both from industry people and from Members of Congress on this particular subject. These hearings are intended to be exploratory in nature and to give the Defense Department a chance to testify as to its estimate of the present amount in dollars of critical materials and aircraft parts which are classified as excess and the present method of distribution. We will want to know the speed with which those materials and parts are declared, whether there is a central clearing house for that at the present time, how well it is working, how they handle accountability both in relation to Government-owned property and contractor-owned property, and whether this material and parts are declared excess during the time the contracts are being worked or upon the termination of the contracts; also whether that operation at the present time is on a voluntary or on a mandatory basis.
In addition to that, we have heard a great deal about this proposed plan which the Air Matériel Command, apparently, is sponsoring, known as APRA, and if there are other plans we would like to know their status too.
We would like to know the advantages claimed through putting this plan into effect and we would also, of course, like to hear the opposing arguments on it. This subcommittee is not prejudiced, nor is it in a position of promoting the APRA plan or condemning it or any other plan that may be brought before the subcommittee. We are completely open-minded, and we would like to have the benefit of the experience of those people who are concerned with this program.
You may proceed now. Do you have a prepared statement ?
Mr. HOFFMAN. Before you proceed, Mr. Chairman, I understood from what you said to me over the telephone that certain people engaged in business or production wanted to buy some of the surplus property which the Department had on hand. Is that right?
Mr. ÉOLIFIELD. No, I did not mean to convey that. Undoubtedly, they do want to.
Ňr. HOFFMAN. What was the substance of what you told me, if I did not get it right? I do not have a definite recollection of it.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. I do not remember my phone conversation exactly, but the statement I have just made is that in essence I went into more detail today than I did on the telephone, but the reason for holding the hearing is to obtain this information and to give these people a chance to explain this plan, which apparently has gone quite a ways toward acceptance, at least by some parts of the Defense establishment.
Mr. HOFFMAN. What is this, a plan to get rid of the Government surplus property?
Mr. HOLIFIELD. A plan to redistribute, more economically and efficiently, the present excess critical materials which are stalemated in inventory.
Mr. HOFFMAN. Is that raw material?
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Raw materials or finished parts. It takes in two classifications.
Mr. HOFFMAN. This morning someone has been putting out a statement that motorcycles and trucks and things of that kind are now surplus and available. Do you know about that?
Mr. HOLIFIELD: I do not.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. This has nothing to do with that. This is confined, so far as the testimony that we have asked these people to present, to the aircraft industry entirely. They are not going into the broad field of surplus property at this time.
Mr. HOFFMAN. Are you doing anything on this stockpiling? You said something about that.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. The stockpiles that I mentioned were the stockpiles of critical materials or parts which may be idle in inventory and which should be used rather than to remain idle until the termination of the contract, or even thereafter, in some instances. I under. stand that there have been stocks of critical materials.
Mr. HOFFMAN. Too much, you mean?
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Yes. That is what we are going to try to find out, how much.
Mr. HOFFMAN. The only reason—my only reason for these questions is that I am trying to find out what this is all about.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Yes.
General METZGER. You asked if I had a prepared statement. I have an Air Force presentation which, perhaps, will serve in part as a prepared statement. However, I would like to make a few preliminary remarks, if I may.
This discussion, I hope, will be confined to Air Force thinking which is in the planning stage. The APRA plan, which the chairman mentioned
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Will you give us the meaning of those initials, please!
General METZGER. APRA is the Aircraft Production Resources Agency which is a joint agency of Army, Navy, Air Force personnel, engaged in support of the aircraft program. However, my discussion today I would like to confine to the Air Force thinking and, perhaps, others representing the other military departments may wish to contribute their thinking. And it may be better to present it in that manner, if the chairman will agree.