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STATEMENTS OF GEORGE MULLINS, CHIEF, GENERAL SERVICES
GROUP, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, AND ROBERT KELLER, ASSISTANT TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
Mr. KELLER. That is right. We participated with the subcommittee staff, and we have no objection to the legislation as presently drafted.
We participated in it, as generally drawn, and we have no objections to it.
Senator KENNEDY. Mr. Mullins, from the Bureau of the Budget.
Mr. MULLINS. We have no objections to the bill. We have had a suggestion that perhaps the $2,500 limitation should have some consideration to determine whether the situation is the same with respect to civil defense as it is with respect to health and education.
Senator KENNEDY. Mr. Frazier raised a point that only about 1 percent of the property that they dealt with was valued over about $2,500. Why would there be any difference in the problem facing Civil Defense if the property is being distributed under Civil Defense, and Health, Education, and Welfare?
Mr. Mullins. The purpose of this $2,500 limitation was to simplify the effort of having some sort of a compliance program to determine that these properties, after they were donated, were used for the purposes that the law provides. And, in order to keep from spending too much money, in order to donate property, this limitation was put in a year ago.
Now, it isn't very much of a limitation, it only applies to less than I percent of the items. We feel that at least there is a possibilitywe haven't had any experience on this either—but at least there is a possibility that the situation for civil defense is different, because the program of civil defense will be to some extent, at least, a standby program, we will be storing items over long periods of time, there will be problems of deterioration if they stay in stock too long, there will have to be some way of rotating them so that we won't lose them by just keeping them too long-that and related problems of long-term storage would mean that perhaps there should be a lowering of that $2,500 limit in the case of civil defense.
I want to emphasize that this is not a very positive feeling; we have no facts upon which to base this. We merely offer it as something that should have some consideration.
Senator KENNEDY. Senator Martin?
Senator KENNEDY. In other words, it isn't a hard and fast recommendation? It would be satisfactory to the Bureau of the Budget if it were left at $2,500, and after a year or two of experience we could reexamine it?
Mr. MULLINS. I believe we could all afford to learn something about it before we take a definite stand, and I believe it would be better to have more experience and have another look.
Senator MARTIN. We would like to hear from you later if you have any change to suggest. We don't want to disturb this now unless you have some very strong conviction in the matter.
Senator KENNEDY. We appreciate you both standing by this morning. Thank you very much.
I am placing in the record, without objection, a statement of Mr. Miles. D. Kennedy, director, national legislative commission, the American Legion, and I will leave the record open for inclusion of statements by other interested persons. (The statement of Mr. Miles D. Kennedy is as follows:)
THE AMERICAN LEGION,
Washington, D. C., April 24, 1956.
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR KENNEDY: Referring to hearings scheduled to be held April 25, 1956, before the Subcommittee on Reorganization of the Senate Committee on Government Operations in connection with S. 3693, I enclose several copies of my statement which I would appreciate being given consideration by the subcommittee.
In addition, I would thank you to have the statement incorporated in the record of the hearings on this bill which the American Legion supports. Sincerely yours,
MILES D. KENNEDY, Director.
STATEMENT OF MILES D. KENNEDY, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION,
THE AMERICAN LEGION Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, on behalf of the national organization of the American Legion I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for permitting us to appear in surport of the bill S. 3693.
The American Legion, since early in World War II, has continued to reconize the vital role of civil defense in our Nation's defense planning. We, along with many of this Nation's top military and civilian leaders, regard civil defense as an equal partner to the military, hoth in deterring war and in rebounding from an attack should war become a reality.
The weight which we place on civil defense was again evidenced in resolutions adorted at our national conventions. In addition to urging our memhers to exert greater effort to their local civil-defense programs, we recommended that the Federal Civil Defense Administration be constituted as an executive department of the Federal Government.
Resolution No. 131 contains our recommendation on the distribution of surplus properties for civil defense use. In summary, this res ion recommended that legislation be approved which would make Federal surplus properties available to State and territorial civil-defense organizations.
In preparation for a concerted civil-defense effort which the American Legion launched last fall, our national security division sent letters of inquiry to all State civil-defense directors. We, very frankly, were quite pleased with the renlies on the one hand and distressed on the other.
Those directors replying—and nearly 75 percent replied by return mailsincerely solicited the American Legion and its Auxiliary's assistance in this rital defense program. They, as well as the Federal Civil Defense Administration in Battle Creek, Mich., pledged full support in our planned program.
The distressing note sounded in some of the letters had to do with the lack of resources which were deemed necessary if the directors were to perform their jobs effectively. The resources, in most cases, involved money, and, in turn, equipment, supplies, etc.
While the State directors have the responsibility for organizing a sound civil. defense program which would serve to protect their citizens and contribute to the overall security of the Nation in the event of war, many of the State governments have been reluctant or have found it financially impossible to provide more adequate funds for the operation of the State programs.
The American Legion realizes that Federal responsibility in civil defense ceases at the State line, generally speaking. Howerer, any material assistance which the Federal Government can render to the States beyond that presently under
taken, would not only serve to benefit the State involved, but the entire Nation as well.
Today, the rulers of the Soviet Union have in being a growing stockpile of both atomic and hydrogen bombs. They have in being the planes needed to deliver these weapons against our cities. These facts are both known and accepted by our Nation's leaders both military and civilian.
If we are to assume that our people and industry will be in a position to sustain an attack, civil defense must be recognized as a vital defense program, equal to our military. In so doing, the American Legion believes that surplus Government property should be placed at their disposal without delay.
The American Legion is happy to support any measure that will make surplus Federal property or supplies available for civil-defense purpose for donation or distribution to States, political subdivisions, or local instrumentalities thereof for civil-defense purposes.
Since the passage of the Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 the American Legion has consistently supported this agency, its budget requests, recruitment programs, and educational efforts. In our continued support we respectfully request your favorable consideration of S. 3693 or any other bill that will accomplish the same purpose.
(Subsequently, the following letter with attachments, statements A and B, was received :)
MARYLAND CIVIL DEFENSE AGENCY,
Pikesville, Md., April 25, 1956.
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
However, I do desire to make crystal clear to you, your subcommittee members and the committee staff why the National Association of State and Territorial Civil Defense Directors, of which I am a member, desired to be present at the hearing and why I requested permission to make a brief statement, for which there was no time.
For more than a year I have been the chairman of a special study committee on surplus property for our association, endeavoring to work with all concerned in the development of a sound and workable program. The importance of this type of legislation to civil defense throughout the country was adequately established, I feel, in the House hearings and now seems to be accepted by all agencies concerned. However, certain questions concerning the administration and operation to effectuate the Congress' intent are far from clear, as evidenced by the questioning at today's hearing. Some of those questions were not, nor could they be, adequately answered by Federal agencies, nor by State surplus property agencies from the point of view of State and local civil defense.
Neither the association, nor I personally, desired to appear at the hearing simply for the record, nor for publicity, nor to take up your time with unnecessary statements, nor to interfere where we had no responsibility. However, this legislation was extremely important to our programs—much more so than it would be to the State surplus property agencies. Accordingly, we were most anxious to be in attendance if the subcommittee should desire to hear our views or if matters arose about which we should be informed.
Accordingly, when I learned on April 25 of the hearing scheduled for April 26, through the courtesy of the chairman of the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property. I hastily prepared statement A, enclosed herewith, in the event that the question of the suggested $2,500 amendment should arise. In view of the statements made at the hearing concerning this, it is probably unnecessary to record our objection, but as long as you so kindly offered me the opportunity of expressing our views on other matters that arose, I take the liberty of asking that it be made a part of the record. I apologize for its slightly sloppy draftsmanship, but in my haste in redoing it into a statement from a letter originally considered for submission to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, my staff misunderstood my directions and in the interest of time I have not had it retyped.
Parenthetically on our objection to the suggested amendment, I might personally add-several years ago Federal Civil Defense Administration offered
Maryland 100,000 whistles under the surplus property program. They were never able to work out the project, but you can readily visualize the costs involved if we should have to account forever to the Federal Government for each of those 10-cent whistles.
However, the main point at the day's hearing, upon which we desired to express our views concerning not the merits of the legislation, but the administration and operation thereof and particularly the question of competition between hospitals, schools, and civil defense at the State and local levels. On this subject I submit for the record, statement B, also enclosed herewith.
We have one further request. We hope that the association may be furnished a copy of the hearings, or if that is not possible, a copy of any report issued. The reason for this request is that we intend to work as closely as permitted with the Federal agencies in the preparation of regulations so that the program may be made practical and effective at the local level, as well as carrying out the congressional intent.
In conclusion I want to say that I have received the most courteous and thoughtful cooperation from the committee staff.
On behalf of the association I wish to express to you our appreciation for the opportunity of expressing our views on this matter, Respectfully yours,
SHERLEY EWING, Director, STATEMENT A
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE & TERRITORIAL CIVIL DEFENSE DIRECTORS
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25, 1956. Statement for Subcommittee of Senate Government Operations Committee on
H. R. 7227. Submitted by: Sherley Ewing, director, Maryland Civil Defense Agency. Representing : Col. Arthur M. Sheets (retired), director Civil Defense Agency,
State of Oregon, as president, National Association of State & Territorial
Civil Defense Directors. While this association has not formally been asked to comment on the committee print of H. R. 7227, the legislation is of extreme importance to the civil defense program which the Congress has made the primary responsibility of the States and their political subdivision. Our study committee on surplus property has been working closely since last fall with your committee staff and with the various agencies concerned with the proposed legislation. Accordingly, we respectfully ask your indulgence to submit to the committee our comments.
1. We heartily endorse the legislation as presently drafted and respectfully urge the committee's early consideration and favorable action.
2. We understand that the Federal Civil Administration has suggested to the committee that the present $2,500 (acquisition cost) minimum enforcement provision be modified as to civil-defense equipment. Apparently, the intent of the suggested amendment is to keep Federal control and supervision over all property made donable to the States and their entities for civil defense purposes and to have the Federal Civil Defense Administrator make the determination of the use to be made of the benefits from the disposal of such property. We strongly urge that the committee reject this suggestion, for the following reasons:
(a) We are advised by people with vast past experience in the operations of the Surplus Property Act that while there are many items offered to the States whose acquisition cost is over $2,500, their fair usable value is generally minimal. It does not seem economical, nor practical, to us that items of small dollar value be subjected to long lasting, complicated Federal control and accounting practices. To apply such Federal practices to the Civil Defense equipment, the great majority of which it is highly probable will have an acquisition cost of less than $2,500, appears to us to be even less justified.
(b) Since civil defense is conducted in the name of the governors of the several States, the State certifications concerning the use and disposal of the equipment should be sufficient assurance to the Congress that the interests of the tax. payers will be adequately and efficiently protected.
(c) In most of the political subdivisions of the States, while civil defense is conducted in the name of the local governing authorities, it is carried out at little or no cost to any government. If the surplus property program is administered and regulated by the Federal Government in such a manner as suggested, the expense and workload of the administrative procedures will render the surplus property program valueless at the working and operating level of civil defense.
(d) The sums of money involved in transporting, reconditioning, maintaining, and storing the donable surplus property may appear to Federal agencies as relatively insignificant sums of money which lead to careless and wasteful handling of the property. We can assure the committee that such sums of money will represent significant proportions of the appropriations available at the State and local levels for civil defense so that all authorities will be extremely interested in the prudent and economical use and disposition of the equipment. We can also assure you that none of the States or Territorial civil defense directors are mislead by the feeling that property or funds received from the Federal Governinent represent something received for free that can be wasted without hurting the authorities and taxpayers to whom we are accountable.
In summary, we respectfully point out that the long legislative history of the proposed legislation adequately demonstrates very strong support for the belief in the principle of the legislation. We are not aware of any opposition to the intent of the legislation; we believe that the bill as presently drafted by your committee will accomplish in the best possible manner all of the objectives and aims of all interests and we know that it will be very helpful to civil defense. Again, we urge that H. R. 7227 be given the most expeditious action possible at the convenience of the committee and we urge its passage as presently drafted without amendment.
In closing I wish, on behalf of our association and our surplus property committee, to express our gratitude and appreciation for the very able and cooperative assistance which we have received from the staff of your committee. We feel that they deserve high praise for the work they have done on this legislation. Respectfully yours,
SHERLEY EWING. P. S.-Insofar as the drafts are identical this statement may be taken as support for the draft identified as S. 3693.
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE AND TERRITORIAL CIVIL DEFENSE DIRECTORS
WEDNESDAY, April 25, 1956. Statement for Subcommittee of Senate Government Operations Committee on
S. 3693. Submitted by: Sherley Ewing, director, Maryland Civil Defense Agency. Representing : Col. Arthur M. Sheets (retired), director Civil Defense Agency,
State of Oregon as President, National Association of State and Territorial
Civil Defense Directors. Questions have arisen concerning the administration and operation of the programs under S. 3693 with particular reference to competition between eligible donees if civil defense is included.
We feel that with the help and cooperation of the various State surplus property agencies we all can administer and operate the proposed program in a way that will most economically carry out the intent of Congress with respect to both the surplus property and civil defense programs. We have worked closely with the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property in developing our joint interests in this legislation so that now many of us mutually understand each others' problems. In fact, except for the courtesy and interest of the chairman of that association we would not even have been apprised of the hearing this morning.
We pledge to the Congress that a program developed under S. 3693 will, insofar as the State and local civil defense authorities have any control, be administered and operated economically for all levels of government and without interfering with existing programs for health and educational institutions.
It is my personal opinion that there will be little competition. In Maryland, and I am sure in most of the States, the schools and hospitals all have very important operational roles in civil defense. Whenever such institutions have any use or need for surplus equipment or supplies that would have any operational value to civil defense, I, as the civil defense director of Maryland, would