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General SHOUP. Yes, sir.
But we do not have a tremendous number of them on a comparative basis, obviously, if there are only 400 officers in this category of all ranks.
Then the number is not equal to the unrestricted.
Chairman RUSSELL. Someone has suggested that we could solve this problem, General, by transferring the supply function of the Marine Corps over to the Navy's Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, and that the supply-duty-only officers be given an opportunity by law to transfer to the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts.
Have you given any thought to that!
And I think, if you are going to go hunting, you ought to carry your own shotgun shells with you. If we are going to do the fighting, why, I think we ought to have the supply system be our supply system.
We have a tremendous amount of support now, as you know, from the Navy and our air stations and medical supplies and all that.
Chairman Russell. I assume you oppose this suggestion, but, as a practical matter, you are completely dependent on the Navy now for certain types of supplies and support!
General SHOUP. Yes, sir, but not in the combat field.
General Shoup. We get our bombs, aviation gets their bombs, but the ground troops, outside of medical supplies, our Marine Corps supply system furnishes, and our Marine Corps supply system supplies in the field.
I do not say a fellow in a blue uniform could not go out there and be a supply officer in a Marine battalion, if he had the training.
Chairman RUSSELL. As a matter of fact, men in blue uniforms have gotten killed trying to take Marines back to hospitals in every war we have been engaged in?
General SHOUP. Yes, sir.
Not only that, Mr. Chairman, but the percentage of Navy Crosses to the Navy corpsmen in World War II is greater than any other group in the Marine Corps. .
Chairman RUSSELL. I was not aware of that, but I knew that any time there is any shooting where the Marines are getting hit, there is some boy there in blue trying to get the casualties off the field.
General SHOUP. Yes, sir.
Chairman RUSSELL. And he is just as liable to get hit as anybody else.
General Shoup. There is a very close relationship between the Marine Corps and the Navy in every respect of supply, supply support, and combat support, as you well know.
Chairman RUSSELL. Senator Saltonstall ?
General, we have a law, of course, that at the present time limits the number of general officers and the number of colonels and majors in the Marines.
This bill, in substance, without increasing the number, will make the competition for promotions for those officers more difficult, am I correct?
General SHOUP. Promotions to general officer?
Senator SALTONSTALL. We have under the law so many generals, so many colonels and so on in the Marines, have we not?
General SHOUP. Yes, sir.
Senator SALTONSTALL. If you throw in all these 400 supply officers into that general competition, it will make the competition for promotion more difficult?
General Shoup. At the same time you are throwing in six general officer billets.
Senator SALTONSTALL. I understood we were not increasing the billets.
General SHOUP. We are not increasing the number of general officers in the Marine Corps, but of the total general officers in the Marine Corps today, six of them are SDO. So those six would become unrestricted billets, so with the 400 go six billets.
Senator SALTONSTALL. What I mean is you are throwing 400 more men into competition for promotion.
General Shoup. I have not done the arithmetic on a relative basis, Senator, but whatever six is to 400, 56 is to 17,000 or something like that, I suspect that they are better off.
Chairman RUSSELL. They are now headed for promotion but in their particular relationship?
General SHOUP. Yes, sir.
Chairman RUSSELL. It does not really increase the number of officers in the Marine Corps ?
General SHOUP. No, sir, no increase.
Senator SALTONSTALL. Í understand that, but what I am trying to bring out is that it does increase the competition for officers in the overall service, because these 400 were formerly limited to the Supply Department, is that not right?
Ĝeneral SHOUP. Yes, sir, that is right, in that respect.
Senator SALTONSTALL. Now, the chairman has brought up section 3(b) of this act.
If you will turn to page 2 of that act, the way section 3(b) is drafted, and come down to line 17 through 23, as I read that, that would mean that the Secretary of the Navy would have to allocate in any of these promotion problems a certain proportion for promotion to the officers who were formerly designated for supply duty only.
General Shoup. Yes, sir, in the grade of colonel and brigadier. Senator SALTONSTALL. Yes.
Now, may that not affect the efficiency of the Marine Corps because if you put a certain percentage into the Supply Department and make the selections come from them, you may affect officers who are better qualified who will not be eligible for promotion because of the percentage that has to go in this department?
General SHOUP. This provision is in there for this purpose. For example, take the grade of colonel. There would have been, as I pointed out here, although it is very slow, some of these people had an opportunity to compete for the three billets that would be open in 1965, the colonels, and for the three again that would be open in 1971.
Now, in order to insure that these people do not get euchred out of the opportunity, and we do need in the Marine Corps some people who
have had this much experience up through the years in supply, so the Secretary of the Navy can say:
All right, in this board this year among those brigadiers selected, there will be one or two, or whatever the number that we need, who have had this previous SDO dutythus insuring that these people have a chance to make brigadier, so that no board could go in and unilaterally as a board say: Well, we are not going to select any people who have had SDO experience. That is to protect them.
Senator SALTONSTALL. General, without prolonging this discussion, does not that contradict what you said formerly? If you are going to put a certain portion of promotions into this former Supply Department for the purposes of maintaining your supply efficiency, are you not then keeping the form of specialization?
General SHOUP. It is not necessarily in this instance to continue the supply efficiency. Obviously we have in these officers supply experience. But I can go out in the unrestricted category and pick you 10 colonels that can do any one of the jobs these colonels are doing right today.
But this provision is so that these people will have an opportunity to make brigadier, and that they will be guaranteed some chance at it during these years while these people who have served most of their career
in this business will have an opportunity. Senator SALTONSTALL. What would be the effect if section 3 were struck out?
General SHOUP. Where the Secretary does not have the chance to do it?
Senator SALTONSTALL. If section 3 is not included in the bill, then, as I understand it, these supply officer people would be put on the same level for qualification for promotion as the line officers, and it would ont require the Secretary of the Navy to get a certain portion of the promotions from these former supply officers.
General SHOUP. That is just another part of the protective business in there that was thought to be essential in this transition, in the same manner that the below colonel will have an opportunity for their first selection on the same basis that they would, if the legislation had not passed.
Senator SALTONSTALL. Then should it not be limited to a number of years?
Should not this section be a temporary section and not a permanent part of the law?
General Shoup. I think this is more a statement of fact than anything else. Our selection laws today provide that the Secretaries of the departments may specify a certain type of individual with certain type qualifications that will be selected. I think this is more a statement of fact than provision of law.
Senator CASE. Would the Senator yield on that!
Senator CASE. Is not section 3(b) intended to make the benefits of this legislation applicable to those who have been SDO's?
Without section 3(b) you would deny the benefits of this proposed change to the officers who are presently SDO, would you not?
General SHOUP. That is correct.
Now, the way this law is now, you have a limitation because it says those who were formerly. Pretty soon, if this legislation passes, there will not be any formerly.
Senator CASE. It will run out.
Chairman RUSSELL. As I understood section 3, all of it, sections (a) and (b) would be designed solely to see that these supply officers had equal chance with those who have not been supply officers in all future promotions?
General Shoup. That is right for their first promotion opportunity. In other words, until the SDO category runs out.
Chairman RUSSELL. When it runs out, they will not need any protection. If you have not got any SDO category, they will not need any protection.
General Shoup. That is right.
Senator Bush. Is this a recommendation that originated really from the SDO group or is it something you have worked out yourself from your own observation and experience?
General SHOUP. It seems 100 percent from me. When I took over as Commandant, I said this is one of the things that I wanted to get done, and it has come from my observations over a period of years and the various duties I have done.
I had been with G-4 of the Marine Corps during the last year of the World War, which is, in effect, the top supply planning job.
I commanded the service command which is the top supply job in the Pacific.
There is absolutely no reason for having this restrictive category which gives these particular people protection over the others, and many of them now do not even want it. But it has been determined legally that once one has been designated supply-duty-only, he cannot go back by his own request. He cannot do it.
Senator CASE. Mr. Chairman, if I may oversimplify this, I think it is like saying, if you are in the House of Representatives, that if you are a member of a certain committee, you might aspire to be the chairman of that committee, but you might never aspire to be Speaker of the House, and it would also prevent the Members who are members of other committees from ever transferring or aspiring to be chairman of a particular committee.
The point that the Commandant has made about the six officers carrying over opens up the chairmanship, let us say, of the Committee on Armed Services, to those who might have been members of some other committee, if they transferred into the Armed Services Committee.
General Shoup. That is right. Chairman RUSSELL. And you say there are 400 of these supply officers ?
General Shoup. There are about 400 now that are in the category of supply-duty-only.
Chairman RUSSELL. How many officers of the Marine Corps are actually performing supply duty ?
General SHOUP. About 1,320.
Chairman RUSSELL, 1,320, and only 400 of them are in this special category?
General SHOUP. That is all.
How did this preference situation or special situation, at least, originate?
You might have covered that in your testimony, but I had to go out to the telephone.
General SHOUP. There is a lot of history. Senator STENNIS. Just quite briefly how did it originate and how did a man get out, once he was in there?
General Suoup. He cannot get out of it under the present provisions.
That has been gone into by a lot of the legal people. Once you are in SDO, you cannot come out. Ever since the 3d day of March 1817, until the Reorganization Act of 1946, Congress provided paymasters and quartermasters in the Marine Corps.
Senator STENNIS. So this is a relic of the old, old days, then, that has
come on down? General Shoup. Yes, sir.
It is really a relic as far as I am concerned. It does not fit our modern requirements.
We have specialists, my goodness, we have specialists. Let us take an aviator flying a plane today. We do not have aviation duty only. We have aviators commanding a recruit battalion in Parris Ísland.
We have aviators on my staff. We have aviators on the ground division staff.
They do not just fly and come up in a protected area for selection and promotion and everything just because they are aviators. They are across the board.
Senator STENNIS. As I understand now in the present law, once an officer gets into this category, particularly if he goes up the line a little, then he is there. He is solidified. He cannot get out.
General Shoup. Once he has received a permanent promotion, after having been designated SDO, he has had it.
Senator STENNIS. Did you say or did you not say that you were once in ?
General Shoup. I never have been in SDO. I was simply pointing out that I had had considerable duty directly related with supply in the combat area particularly.
Senator STENNIS. I have found one good way to look at the bill. You have told us the points in favor of it, but what are the arguments against it?
General SHOUP. I do not know of any unless it would happen to be some individual—actually, everyone that I have discussed this with-and it has been a good many people very close to me and in the supply-duty-only business—have told me, if the bill did not go through, they would ask to get back in the unrestricted, but they cannot do it
Senator STENNIS. Now, you said something a while ago about there being a difference in this group and your other group of officers with reference to age of retirement or early retirement or late retirement,