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APPOINTMENT AS ENSIGNS IN THE LINE OF THE NAVY ALL MIDSHIPMEN WHO GRADUATE FROM THE NAVAL ACADEMY IN 1931, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

FEBRUARY 13, 1931.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. BRITTEN, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, submitted the following

REPORT

[To accompany H. R. 14991]

The Committee on Naval Affairs, of the House of Representatives, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 14991) providing for the appointment as ensigns in the line of the Navy all midshipmen who graduate from the Naval Academy in 1931, and for other purposes, having had the same under consideration, report favorably thereon and without amendment recommend that the bill do pass.

This bill provides temporary legislation that must be enacted in order to allow at least 174 graduates of the Naval Academy class of 1931 who would otherwise have to be discharged into civil life with one year's sea pay, to be available for commissions in the line of the Navy. This legislation is made necessary because of the limitation of 5,499 placed by existing law upon the line officer strength of the Navy. The number of officers required for the Navy with the ships built, building or appropriated for on January 1, 1931, is 6,058, or about 500 more officers than the Navy is actually allowed at the present time. The midshipmen, who must without the enactment of this bill be discharged to civil life upon their graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1931, are actually needed for the vessels now built and building.

If the four appointment basis of midshipmen is continued throughout a period of 10 years, and, if all qualified graduates of the Naval Academy or the regular percentage of graduates-namely, 86 per cent are commissioned in the line of the Navy each year, the line officer strength will not reach the aforementioned number of 6,058 prior to 1940.

Section 2 of this bill provides very favorably for some 631 officers, not graduates of the Naval Academy, who were commissioned following the war. As the law requires a professional examination for promotion, many of these officers, it is felt, would be at a serious disadvantage, for while they are specialists in one particular branch, all do not possess the all around professional knowledge necessary to enable them to qualify by examination for promotion to the next higher rank. In the event of failure to pass the required examination, these officers would revert to their former warrant status, or be discharged into civil life, if they had not previously held warrant rank. This section provides that in lieu of taking the examination for higher rank they be given the opportunity to retire on 22 per cent of their active-duty pay multiplied by the number of years of service on the active list, not to exceed a total of 75 per cent of their activeduty pay. It is believed that a number of the 631 officers of this status are anxious to take advantage of such a provision which would permit them to retire in their present rank. The cost of passing the bill is dependent upon the number of ex-temporary officers requesting retirement under section 2, but assuming that 260 officers requested such retirement there would be a net saving to the Government of $562,055.

The bill meets with the approval of the Navy Department and the Bureau of the Budget, as shown by the following letter from the Secretary of the Navy, addressed to the chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, and is hereby made a part of this report:

NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, February 13, 1931.

The CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Replying further to the committee's letter of December 15, 1930, transmitting the bill (H. R. 14991) providing for the appointment as ensigns in the line of the Navy all midshipmen who graduate from the Naval Academy in 1931, and for other purposes, and requesting the views and recommendations of the Navy Department thereon, I have the honor to inform the committee as follows:

The purpose of this bill is to authorize the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint as ensigns in the line of the Navy all midshipmen who graduate from the Naval Academy in 1931, and such midshipmen who may be so appointed shall be paid the pay and allowances prescribed by law for officers of the grade of ensign, notwithstanding any limitation prescribed on the number of officers who may be paid from current appropriations, provided that the number of such officers so appointed shall, while in excess of the total authorized number of line officers, be considered in excess of the number of officers in the grades of lieutenant (junior grade) or ensign as determined by any computation.

The bill further provides that any officer, other than commissioned warrant or warrant officers, commissioned in the line of the Navy from sources other than the Naval Academy, may, upon his own application, in the discretion of the President, be retired from active service and placed upon the retired list with retired pay at the rate of 21⁄2 per cent of his active-duty pay multiplied by the number of years of service for which entitled to credit in computation of his pay on the active list, not to exceed a total of 75 per cent of said active-duty pay.

The Navy Department has recently made a careful analysis of the officer personnel needs of the Naval Establishment having regard to the present requirements as determined by the ships and activities now in commission and the prospective requirements should the Navy be built up to the strength authorized by the existing treaties for the limitation of naval armament. There is an actual shortage of commissioned personnel to man the fleet as now constituted, and it is estimated that should all midshipmen graduated from the Naval Academy be

commissioned on graduation, there would not be a surplus of officers before the year 1940, should the program of building planned for be completed. The present bill is in the nature of a temporary measure to allow the Navy Department the services of about 200 prospective officers that would become available in June, 1931, should the bill be passed. It is felt that the need for the services of these officers is imperative.

During the next fiscal year the senior group of nongraduate officers will reach the top of the grade of lieutenant and become eligible for promotion to lieutenant commander. Due to their previous education and training it can not be expected that a large percentage of these officers will be able to qualify on professional examination. The services of such of these officers who fail to qualify will be lost to the line in some instances.

Under existing law officers of the group of nongraduate officers who have had previous permanent commissioned warrant or warrant status revert to that status in case of failure upon professional examination. Other officers of this group upon professional failure would be dropped from the service. All of these nongraduate officers are veterans of the World War. The Navy Department conside's that it is equitable to provide for their retirement on graded retirement pay as set forth in section 2 of the bill.

The cost to the Government that would be involved if the bill H. R. 14991 should be enacted into law is indeterminate depending upon the number of officers who retire voluntarily. Actually considering one midshipman commissioned with one officer thus retired, there would be a saving to the Government. The Navy Department believes, however, that the increased cost to the Government, if any, would be small.

In view of the foregoing, the Navy Department recommends that the bill H. R. 14991 be enacted.

Sincerely yours,

C. F. ADAMS, Secretary of the Navy.

O

AUTHORIZING ADDITIONAL FACILITIES AT BRANCHES OF THE BUREAU OF NATIONAL HOMES

FEBRUARY 13, 1931.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union and ordered to be printed

Mr. REECE, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the following

REPORT

[To accompany H. R. 16658]

The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 16658) authorizing the erection of certain additional facilities at branches of the Bureau of National Homes, introduced by Mr. James of Michigan (by request), having considered the same, report thereon with the recommendation that it do pass with the following amendment:

Page 3, line 22, after the word "of" strike out "the act approved May 16, 1930 (Public, Numbered 230, Seventy-first Congress),".

Page 4, line 1, after the word "Congress" strike out the comma and the language "and the act approved July 1, 1930 (Public, Numbered 492, Seventy-first Congress),'

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Page 4, line 3, after the word "National" change the word "Homes" to "Home".

These amendments were adopted because your committee feel that Congress having authorized funds under the provisions of Public Law No. 230 and Public Law No. 492, Seventy-first Congress, for improvements at the homes in Maine and Tennessee, respectively, it was deemed inadvisable to expend these funds at other than the designated homes.

This is a measure to authorize the expenditure of $2,850,000 for construction at soldiers' homes, and to authorize the President to use, in his discretion, all or part of amounts heretofore authorized at the place named in the legislation or at any other home or hospital. The purpose of the proposed legislation is to provide immediately sufficient hospital and domiciliary facilities to care for the rapidly increasing demands for care of disabled veterans eligible for admission to the various branches of the National Home.

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