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SPECIALIZATION OF PERSONNEL IN SUPPORT ACTIVITIES
The importance of the support activities within each military department clearly requires more specialization of career management and technical personnel than now exists.
On April 11, 1961, the address of the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable John B. Connally, before Navy and Marine Corps officers, Constitution Hall, contained the following on page 13:
SPECIALIZATION The increasing complexity of our Navy requires increasing specialization. We must look into the possibility of slowing down the rotation in order to guard against transferring our officers and men at about the time they become really proficient in a particular position. We cannot afford rotation, merely for the sake of a career pattern.
In today's Navy the demands of the various tasks are so different and so taxing that no one officer or man can hope to become even moderately proficient in all.
In an age of technology, should we not place more emphasis on engineering duty officers ? Should we not take steps to even further increase the vitality of this group—particularly in the junior ranks?
Duty in the Supply Department of the Marine Corps has been compared to line officers of the Navy restricted to engineering duty only since 1937.
Again referring to this report, page 3:
All supply-duty-only officers would be redesignated as unrestricted line. However, to protect these officers when they become eligible for their first promotion to the next higher grade, the proposed legislation states that there must be an allocation of vacancies so that the former supply-duty-only officers will receive the same portion of promotion opportunity as their counterparts within the same zone. This will, in effect, give every supply duty officer protection for promotion to the next higher grade. [Emphasis supplied.]
Well, I believe it only gives him protection for selection, not protection for promotion, because he is competing with line officers.
Now, the major general in this bill is particularly well cared for. He gets his major generaley from the date he made brigadier generalcy.
The remainder, in my opinion, suffer enormously when considered by later selection boards as best fitted for promotion to the next higher grade for the following reasons:
1. For a great many years supply-duty-only officers were not permitted to attend the company and field officers schools at Quantico, Va. Therefore, they have not had an equitable chance to be effectively educated as line officers.
2. After the one supposedly "protection for promotion to the next higher grade,” all would, in effect, have to attend some line officers school within a short period of time to become at least exposed to the line education of those they would compete against.
3. The colonels, lieutenant colonels, majors, and captains would suffer greatly in comparison with line officers for selection as “best fitted for promotion to next higher grade” for the reason that very few would ever in their careers have had command of any line unit.
4. The schools that supply-duty-only officers usually attend, and rightly so, are schools pertaining to supply and/or logistics.
In my mind it would be more efficient in the long run to continue the present laws governing supply-duty-only officers. I read in the papers, gentlemen, that we are coming up for mobilization, and we will be confronted with the same position that we were in 1942.
We had to call in all the Regulars retired to take these positions of responsibility, and it was some time before they got their feet on the ground. This group of SDO are a group of loyal, capable, dedicated officers who have foregone their chance for the accolades of command in the line. They only wait and serve.
Now, to disturb their laws of primogeniture, as it were, would be breaking faith with them. In a few years they would be eliminated when competing with regular line officers for promotion to higher rank"as best fitted."
I want only to see that those officers who have so faithfully and capably performed their allotted duties have a fair chance of their future opportunities for retention and advancement.
I will admit that we had a hard time during the war to get people to put in an application for supply duty only. In fact, when I first went in, I was called and said: "What have you got but a badge of shame on."
We had a pair of wheels with a sword and a pin. And the service had been kind of looked down on. Maybe they were not superior intellects. They were just the workers. They were not the honey bees.
So I want to see those people protected in some way or other.
I have other comments for the "good of the country” and for the "good of the service."
1. Don't disturb the present Supply Department of the Marine Corps; or if the present system be changed, turn over by law all phases of supply to the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts-a very efficient organization—and permit present supply officers only to transfer, if they so desire, to augment them to carry out these duties. The junior duties could still be carried out by regular Marine officers.
2. The Medical Corps, the Civil Engineer Corps, the Chaplains Corps, the Bureau of Ships, the Bureau of Naval Weapons, Bureau of Aeronautics all furnish large amounts of supply and logistics support to the Marine Corps, and, from my point of view, if the Quartermaster Department is abolished, supply-duty-only officers are assigned to the line, then the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, augmented by Marine Corps supply-duty-only officers transferred to their Bureau, could easily replace the Supply Department functions in a short time.
3. This one is rather drastic. I believe that from the start it has been that I have been one person in the service who has been for this next recommendation. Organize a Service and Supply Department within the Department of Defense with equality with the Departments of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. This would be more efficient and cheaper in the long run. It would take over all the services and supply for the Department of Defense, leaving with those other departments their operation for defense.
4. A short-range suggestion : Refer a questionnaire to all supply duty only officers in the Marine Corps asking their views on how they feel about it, and how it would affect the efficiency of the Marine
Corps. To protect such officers from future reprisals by not requiring the questionnaire to be signed, or employ the services of group efficiency experts to make recommendations to the Senate Armed Services Committee on the question.
Many times the committees and the Congress have recommended that we have a Supply Department in the Department of Defense. Recently, the Appropriations Committee of the House recommended more specialization, recommended less rotation. I will admit that it is quite a complicated affair, running the finances, the supply and the procurement of the services, and I feel that those people who know what they are talking about, who know all the laws going on, should be the people permitted to run that department.
Thank you very kindly, sir.
Chairman RUSSELL. You, of course, General Hill, are aware of the fact that under the law we passed here about 2 years ago the Secretary of Defense has the authority to have a single procurement agency now, if he wants to, in the Department of Defense.
General Hill. Well, certain things do have central procurement, sir.
In some cases they are satisfactory; in other cases they wait too long, because the people doing the procurement make the decisions but do not have the responsibility of furnishing the supplies of other people.
Chairman RusseLL. You were quartermaster general of the Marine Corps when it was larger than it has ever been in history, I suppose.
General Hill. Yes, sir.
Chairman RUSSELL. The number of men who were discharging supply duty must have been very considerable.
General Hill. Yes, sir.
Chairman RUSSELL. But the number of SDO officers at that time must have been a very small percentage of the total officers under your command doing supply duty, were they not?
General HILL. It was very small, sir. At one time I believe they had 104 officers in the Supply Department in Washington.
I had worked late that night. I got in the next morning early and my plans and policy officer came in and said:
"You should have stayed until 12 o'clock last night. You lost 67 of your officers to go to the Pacific," and it is relief on the job. In other words, they had to go out there and relieve those people, before those people could come back, have leave and come report to duty in the Supply Department. It was kind of rough, yes, sir.
Chairman RUSSELL. But you did have a lot of line officers who were doing supply duty, did you not?
General Hill. Yes, sir.
General Hill. They did, and we had a preponderance of Reserve officers who were performing supply duty who had a business education, and it was very simple for them to catch on and go ahead with the work. There were not any seniors. They were, say, lieutenant colonels, majors, and captains. But they still had positions of responsibility, great responsibility.
Chairman RUSSELL. You are not impressed, then, with the argument that this would open up a wider field for these SDO officers, I assume, because there are a very limited number of billets in the higher ranks in the SDO now, whereas, if this bill were passed, all
your SDO officers could compete for a much larger number of vacancies?
General Hill. They could compete, sir, but I feel that due to their background, these senior officers had 20 years' supply duty experi
Now, a great many of them, in my mind, are equivalent or above the average line officer and some of them are superior to line officers. Now, they would get by all right.
Chairman RUSSELL. We have just had testimony here from the Commandant of the Marine Corps that some of these suppy officers, if they were not in this category, would undoubtedly get to higher grades, performing greater responsibilities in the Marine Corps.
General Hill. When they went into the Supply Department sir, they were cautioned that the highest you can get is quartermaster general. You forgo the chance of ever being Commandant.
Chairman RUSSELL. There cannot be but one Quartermaster General.
General HILL. There can only be one Quartermaster General.
Chairman RUSSELL. But they have a great many majors and brigadier generals.
General HILL. One Quartermaster General every 4 years. But those brigadiers are permitted to stay 35 and 5—that is, 5 years' commission and 35 years' service—and about that time they are ready to retire, and I believe very few of them who are outstanding in supply would be selected to command a station like Camp Le Jeune, Camp Pendleton, or Parris Island, or something like that, sir.
Chairman RUSSELL. I was interested in your observation that it would be preferable to transfer this to the Navy Bureau of Supplies and Accounts than to pass this bill. What would be your views on a bill that did not disturb the present status of these officers but prevented the assignment of any more officers to SDO!
General HILL. I feel you would be in the same position you were when we went to war or when we were mobilized in 1942.
We had 1 major general, 1 brigadier general, 9 colonels, and 11 lieutenant colonels. Everyone else was on a 4-year-detail. In fact, some of them, against their own wishes, were on their second 4-year detail, because they changed the rules about 1933 and said instead of one 4-year detail, if you had shown any efficiency whatsoever, you had to be assigned the second 4-year detail.
Chairman RUSSELL. Senator Saltonstall?
Chairman RUSSELL. General, we are very glad to get your observations growing out of your long years of experience.
General HILL. Thank you very kindly, sir.
(Subsequently, in executive session, the committee voted to report H.R. 4328 without amendment, as covered by S. Rept. 577.)
Chairman RUSSELL. We will take up next H.R. 6668. The committee members will recall that this act permits members of the uniformed services to elect to receive a reduced amount of retirement pay in exchange for a right to their survivors to receive certain payments upon death of the members.
The plan is intended to be a self-sustaining one, except for administrative expenses, which, of course, would be borne by the Government.
This bill proposes several modifications to the restrictions on entering and withdrawing from the program.
The departmental witness is Rear Adm. B. A. Clarey, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.
We will also hear Mr. Robert Myers, Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, and a member of the Board of Actuaries that supervises the Contingency Option Act. He is here if his testimony is needed.
If you wish, Mr. Myers, you may sit there with Admiral Clarey. Admiral Clarey, you may proceed. (The bill referred to is as follows:)
[H.R. 6668, 87th Cong., 1st sess. ] AN ACT To amend title 10, United States Code, with respect to annuities based on retired
or retainer pay, and for other purposes Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That chapter 73 of title 10, United States Code, entitled “Annuities Based on Retired or Retainer Pay” may be cited as the “Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Act”.
Sec. 2. Section 1431 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows: "S 1431. Election of annuity: members of armed forces “(a) This section applies to all members of the armed forces except
“(1) members whose names are on a retired list other than a list maintained under section 1376(a) of this title;
“(2) cadets at the United States Military Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, or the Coast Guard Academy; and
“(3) midshipmen. “(b) To provide an annuity under section 1434 of this title, a person covered by subsection (a) may elect to receive a reduced amount of the retired or retainer pay to which he may become entitled as a result of service in his armed force. Except as otherwise provided in this section, unless it is made before he completes 18 years of service for which he is entitled to credit in the computation of his basic pay, the election must be made at least three years before he is retired or granted retired or retainer pay. However, if, because of military operations, a member is assigned to an isolated station or is missing, interned in a neutral country, captured by a hostile force, or beleaguered or besieged, and for that reason is unable to make an election before completing 18 years of that service, he may make the election, to become effective immediately, within one year after he ceases to be assigned to that station or returns to the jurisdiction of his armed force, as the case may be. A member to whom retired pay or retainer pay is granted retroactively, and who is otherwise eligible to make an election, may make the election within 90 days after receiving notice that such pay has been granted to him.
"(c) An election may be changed or revoked by the elector before he retires or becomes entitled to retired or retainer pay. However, unless made on the basis of restored mental competency under section 1433 of this title, the change or revocation is not effective if the member is retired or becomes entitled to retired or retainer pay within three years after making the change or revocation.
“(d) If an election made under this section is found to be void for any reason