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SENATE

80TH CONGRESS

2d Session

}

REPORT No. 1451

FIXING THE RANK OF THE ASSISTANT TO THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS IN CHARGE OF RIVER AND HARBOR AND FLOOD-CONTROL IMPROVEMENTS

JUNE 2 (legislative day. JUNE 1). 1948.-Ordered to be printed

Mr. GURNEY, from the Committee on Armed Services submitted the

following

REPORT

(To accompany S. 27701

The Committee on Armed Services, to whom was referred the bill (S. 2770) to fix the rank of the assistant to the Chief of Engineers in charge of river and harbor and flood-control improvements, having co: idered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

PURPOSE OF THE BILL

The purpose of this bill is to fix the rank of the officer who is serving as assistant to the Chief of Engineers in charge of river, harbor, and flood-control work in the grade of brigadier general, to require that the position shall not be charged against the authorized strength of general officers of the Army, and to provide that his pay, allowances, and mileage and travel expenses should be paid from the appropriations for the works on which he is engaged.

EXPLANATION OF THE BILL

Since the civil functions assigned to the Department of the Army have assumed such enormous proportions during the past few years, it has become increasingly evident that the work and responsibilities of the officer assigned as assistant to the Chief of Engineers in charge of this work are such as to warrant a higher rank than the present organization of the Department of the Army can permit under existing lavis.

The continually increasing duties and responsibilities given to this officer not only are demanding of a man of highest calibre but also cause a constant cost to the Department of the Army without proper recompense. It is for this reason that the provision is inserted in the bill under which the appropriate civil functions would be charged with this officer's salary and perquisites while he is assigned as assistant to the Chief of Engineers.

A letter from Lt. Gen. R. A. Wheeler, Chief of Engineers, dated June 1, 1948, adequately discusses the duties and responsibilities attendant upon this officer. A copy of that letter is appended hereto and made a part of this report.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, D. C., June 1, 1948. Hon. CHAN GURNEY,

United States Senate, Washington 25, D. C. DEAR SENATOR GURNEY: In your telephone conversation of May 28, 1948, you informed me that you had introduced a bill, S. 2770, to give the rank of brigadier general to the Assistant Chief of Engineers in charge of river and harbor and food-control improvements and this morning you requested my immediate comment on this proposal and also information with regard to the duties of the Assistant Chief of Engineers for civil works.

I am pleased to state that I am wholeheartedly in favor of having the Assistant Chief of Engineers for civil works carry the rank of brigadier general. The incumbent of this position is constantly dealing with high-ranking officials in other branches of the armed services and with the civilian heads of other agencies of the Government. He also is in frequent touch, by correspondence or personal conference, with Governors of States and other State officials, with high officials of private business corporations, and from time to time with representatives of foreign governments. As you know, he is often called on for conferences with Members of Congress he testifies before the mmittee of Congress with regard to legislation pertaining to the civil-works program of the Corps of Engineers.

Within the organization of the Corps of Engineers, the Assistant Chief oi Engineers for civil works is the third highest official pertaining to civil works; he reports only to the Deputy Chief of Engineers and the Chief of Engineers. He supervises directly the entire program of river and harbor and flood-contro, improvements authorized by Congress, including the construction program, the program of investigations, administration of the laws pertaining to navigable waters, and the numerous other duties conferred on the Corps of Engineers by law in the field of water-resource development. He represents the Chief of Engi. neers in supervision of the divisions and districts of the Corps of Engineers and in this capacity is, in effect. exercising direction over a number of officials with the rank of brigadier general or major general. In the Office of the Chief of Engineers, he supervises directly the entire force of engineers and other personnel in the flood control, rivers and harbors and engineering divisions which are the top group of experts in the Corps of Engineers' organization. He is also responsi. ble for coordination of the civil-works program with all other elements of the Corps of Engineers, including the fiscal divisions, the real-estate divisions, the military construction divisions, the military supply divisions, and the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors.

I believe that the rank of brigadier general is fitting for a position of such importance as the Assistant Chief of Engineers for civil works and that such rank would be more nearly equivalent to the rank of the individuals with whom he is dealing and will therefore contribute to greater effectiveness of the position

Of course, I know you understand that the above are my informal views, and that the official comments of the Department will have to be made by the Secretary of the Army. Sincerely yours.

R. A. WHEELER, Lieutenant General, Chief of Engineers.

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{ No.

1452

SENATE

80TH CONGRESS

2d Session

}

PREVENTING RETROACTIVE CHECKAGE OF RETIRED PAY IN THE

CASES OF CERTAIN ENLISTED MEN AND WARRANT OFFICERS APPOINTED OR ADVANCED TO COMMISSIONED RANK OR GRADE UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 24, 1941 (55 STAT. 603), AS AMENDED

JUNE 2 (legislative day, JUNE 1), 1948.-Ordered to be printed

Mr. SALTONSTALL, from the Committee on Armed Services, submitted

the following

REPORT

[To accompany H. R. 5344)

The Committee on Armed Services, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 5344) to prevent retroactive checkage of retired pay in the cases of certain enlisted men and warrant officers appointed or advanced to commissioned rank or grade under the act of July 24, 1941 (55 Stat. 603), as amended, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

The following excerpts from House Report No. 1599 are hereby made a part of this report:

The proposed legislation is a bill to prevent retroactive checkage of retirement pay in the cases of certain enlisted men and warrant officers appointed or advanced to commissioned rank or grade under the act of July 24, 1941.

The purpose of the proposed legislation is to alleviate an unjust situation which has affected approximately 3,000 retired enlisted men and warrant officers of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

Under existing law, after the completion of 30 years' service, enlisted men and warrant officers of the Navy and Marine Corps are placed upon the retired list, and they receive retired pay based upon their rank. When World War II commenced, the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard found it extremely desirable to recall to active duty many of these retired enlisted men and warrant officers, and in many cases these men were given temporary appointments pursuant to the act of July 24, 1941. Included in this group were men who held Federal positions. Under the dual-employment law of 1894 (5 U.S. C. 62), as amended, a retired officer could not be appointed to or hold any Federal office to which a salary of $2,500 or more was attached. There were several exceptions to this law, including disabled officers, those elected to public office and those appointed by the President, or where the employment did not constitute an "office.” It is to be noted that this act applies only to commissioned and warrant officers, and thus All enlisted men are exempt from this law.

Under the act of June 30, 1932 (5 U. S. C. 59a), known also as the Economy Act, any eligible retired officer holding a Federal civilian office may only draw retired pay to the extent that his combined Federal compensation does not exceed $3,000. However, if such an officer's retired pay or his civilian position exceeds $3,000, the officer may elect to receive either, whichever is greater. Disabled officers are included within this act unless they were retired for combat-incurred disability or a disability resulting from an explosion of an instrument of war. It will be noted again that this act did not apply to enlisted men or to warrant officers retired for any cause.

Under Public Law 305, the act of July 24, 1941, was amended so that any person who had held a temporary appointment or promotion prior to June 30. 1946, was to be retired in the highest grade satisfactorily served.

As a result, approximately 3,000 Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard officers who had been previously retired enlisted men or warrant officers, and who held Federal positions prior to reentry into the services, and who were appointed as commissioned officers under the act of July 24, 1941, were, upon being retired to inactive duty, appointed as commissioned officers because they had served as such during the war, and the Secretary of the Navy had appointed them to the highest temporary grade in which they had performed satisfactorily.

These men returned to their Federal positions and resumed their employment with the Federal Government. On October 28, 1946, however, the Comptroller General ruled that since they had been returned to the inactive list as retired officers and were drawing the pay thereof, they were within the limitations of the Economy Act of 1932. However, the ruling stated that they were not within the prohibition of the Dual Employment Act of 1894. Thus he ordered that wherever the combined retired pay and Federal pay exceeded $3,000, the retired pay be suspended and all amounts exceeding the $3,000 limitation be repaid to the Government.

This, of course, has caused a great deal of hardship among these persons through no fault of their own. In addition, the Comptroller General ruled that these men had no choice of election as to whether they desired to retain their enlisted retirement status in lieu of retired pay based on temporary commissioned rank. In most cases the average increase in the retired pay, as a result of being retired as officers rather than in an enlisted status, amounted to approximately $30 a month. However, all persons were on notice after November 1, 1946, that they would not receive that portion of their retired pay which, when combined with their salary from the Federal Government, exceeded $3,000. No payments have been made since that date, but prior to November 1, 1946, many of these persons received their full retired pay plus their full salary. These persons have been notified that they owe the Government the difference by which their retired pay and their job pay exceeds $250 a month. Others had their retired pay withheld pending the Comptroller General's decision. The proposed legislation, as amended, accomplishes five things:

(1) It forgives the indebtedness of those persons who were paid both retired pay and Federal pay up to November 1, 1946;

(2) It releases the money that was withheld from such persons from the date they resumed their Federal positions to November 1, 1946;

(3) It forgives disbursing officers who made retirement payments prior to November 1946;

(4) It permits former enlisted men who were advanced to commissioned rank or grade on the retired list under the act of July 24, 1941, as amended, to apply to the Secretary of the Navy within 3 months from the date of approval of the proposed legislation or within 3 months after the date of advancement to commissioned rank or grade on the retired list, whichever is later, and subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Navy, to be restored to their former retired enlisted or warrant-officer status, as the case may be; and

(5) It specifies clearly that the legislation includes the Coast Guard. The proposed legislation, however, does not authorize any retroactive payments subsequent to November 1, 1946.

It will be noted that this legislation does not apply to the Department of the Army or the Department of the Air Force, since such personnel do not, as yet, enjoy the benefits of retirement in the highest grade satisfactorily held prior to June 30, 1946. The Department of the Navy has approved the proposed legislation, as indicated by their letter which is hereto attached and made a part of this report.

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