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O'Brien, James P., Assistant Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division,
Department of Justice.
THURSDAY, JULY 12, 1956
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:30 a. m., in room 212, Senate Office Building.
Present: Senators Russell (chairman), Stennis, Symington, Jackson, Ervin, Saltonstall, Flanders, and Smith of Maine.
Also present: Harry L. Wingate, Jr., chief clerk; and William H. Darden, T. Edward Braswell, and Herbert Atkinson, of the committee staff.
H. R. 2111
Chairman RUSSELL. The committee has scheduled for consideration this morning several House-passed bills relating to a wide variety of subjects.
The first one is H. R. 2111. This is a departmental bill which proposes to authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to pubfish official registers for their services. (H. R. 2111 is as follows:)
(H. R. 2111, 84th Cong., 2d sess.) AN ACT To authorize the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to cause
to be published official registers for their respective services Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretaries of the military departments are authorized to have published, annually or at such times as they may designate, official registers containing the names of and pertinent data relating to such officers of the Regular and Reserve components of their respective services and such other lists as they may deem appropriate.
SEC. 2. All laws or parts of laws requiring the periodic publication of an official register of the Army, of the Navy, and Marine Corps, and of the Air Force, and prescribing the contents thereof, including, but not restricted to, provisions relating to lists of names, grades, pay and emoluments, and personal data inconsistent with the provisions of this section are repealed and such repeal shall include but shall not be limited to the following Acts or parts of Acts:
(a) Section 2 of the Act of June 18, 1878 (20 Stat. 149).
(b) So much of section 1226, Revised Statutes, as reads, "The highest volunteer rank which has been held by officers of the Regular Army shall be entered, with their names respectively upon the Army Register.”
(c) So much of section 1256, Revised Statutes, as reads "continue to be borne on the Army Register, and shall.”
(d) The ultimate proviso of section 1 of the Act of May 24, 1928 (45 Stat. 735).
(e) The words "and directed" in the seventh line of the Act of February 28, 1929 (45 Stat. 1409).
(f) So much of the first sentence of section 201 of the Act of June 29, 1948 (62 Stat. 1084), as reads "to be published annually in the official register of the service concerned.”
(g) So much of section 301 (a) of the Act of June 29, 1948 (62 Stat. 1087), as reads “to be published annually in the official register of the service concerned.”
(h) So much of section 1457, Revised Statutes, as reads "and continue to be borne on the Navy Register."
(i) So much of section 1406, Revised Statutes, as reads "and shall be entered upon the Naval Register."
Sec. 3. There are hereby authorized to be appropriated such funds as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.
Passed the House of Representatives February 20, 1956.
RALPH R. ROBERTS, Clerk. Chairman RUSSELL. These registers are now being published under fragments of law dating back to 1812. They are required to be published annually, and there are specific requirements for inclusion of certain items of information, some of which are said to be archaic.
The apparent purpose of this bill is to provide a uniform statute authorizing publication of these registers annually, or at such times as the Secretaries designate, with the registers containing such data as is determined appropriate by the Secretary concerned.
The departmental witness on this bill is Lt. Col. Neil Matzger, Office of the Adjutant General, Department of the Army.
STATEMENT OF LT. COL. NEIL M. MATZGER, OFFICE OF THE
ADJUTANT GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Colonel MATZGER. I have a prepared statement which I offer for the record, or may read it, if you so desire.
Chairman RUSSELL. Very well, you may offer it for the record. (The statement referred to is as follows:) Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am Lt. Col. Neil M. Matzger, Office of The Adjutant General, Department of the Army. I have been requested to represent the Department of Defense in the hearing on this bill.
I have a brief prepared statement which I would like to present to the committee.
The Army and Navy Registers are authorized in various laws, parts of laws, and resolutions datir as far back as 1812. The only legal basis for the publication of an Air Force Register is an assumption that the laws relating to the Army Register are applicable to the Air Force, and the references to an Air Force Register in sections 201 and 301 (a) of the Army and Air Force Vitalization and Retirement Equalization Act of 1948 (Public Law 810, 80th Cong.; 62 Stat. 1081).
This bill would repeal the several miscellaneous statutes relating to the contents of the registers and enact one provision of law applicable to all the Armed Forces, giving the Secretaries of the military services general authority to publish registers listing the names and containing pertinent data relating to officers of the Regular services and certain of the Reserves.
In other words it would for the first time put the horse before the cart, insofar as the authority for publication of the registers of the military departments is concerned. That is to say, at the present time there are a variety of laws which state that certain information will be published in the Army Register. However, there is no law which states there shall be an Army Register. This bill would provide such basic authority. As I have mentioned, this situation is particularly applicable to the Department of the Air Force, which implies its authority to publish a register from the earlier statutes which provide for publication of certain data in an Army Register.
In addition, this bill would provide the service Secretaries with the flexibility they need to publish official registers annually, or at such times as they may designate, instead of being required to publish certain data each year, whether or not a need exists, and to make changes at some future date, if the situation or changing composition and requirements of the Army so warrant. In time of war, for example, it is conceivable that it may be in the best interest of the Department and the Government, if publication of certain portions of the register were suspended, or the register in its entirety for a short period of time, because of the relatively low priority that it might have as compared with other administrative actions or publications requirements.
The committee will be interested in knowing, however, that if this bill is enacted, the Department contemplates no immediate changes in the content of the registers.
The current official registers of the various services contain a wealth of data required by each service to facilitate operations and to promote efficiency in the performance of essential administrative functions. For example, were it not for the register, it would be necessary for the departments to constantly furnish statements of service to departmental agencies and to the field to determine the exact amount of service creditable to an individual for pay and promotion purposes, for determining seniority for command positions, and for a number of similar requirements. To prepare statements of service verifying that an individual has, let us say, 23 years, 8 months, 12 days, of creditable service for pay purposes, is an expensive administrative operation and would require a large number of clerical personnel if done in any quantity. Since such information is verified when initially entered in the register, you can readily see the beneficial purposes which this document serves throughout the military service, inasmuch as data of this type must be available wherever military personnel are assigned.
It should be pointed out that enactment of this bill will result in no increased cost to the Government. In fact, it would undoubtedly result in savings over a period of years, in that it would provide agencies in the field and at the seat of Government with essential data required for proper personnel administration and personnel management, would permit inclusion in the register of only that information which is essential for carrying on the Department's business, and would provide authority for discontinuance of the registers, in part, or in whole, over short periods of time when in the national interest.
In view of the foregoing the Department favors enactment of this bill.
I have appreciated this opportunity of appearing before the committee and shall be happy to answer any questions you may have on this bill.
This is the end of my prepared statement, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman RUSSELL. This is a very simple bill, and I think the committee understands the purpose.
Colonel MATZGER. Yes, sir.
Chairman RUSSELL. This is to coordinate the laws, clarify them, that relate to the publication of official registers of the services, armed services.
Colonel MATZGER. That is correct; yes, sir.
Chairman RUSSELL. It is done at the present time so there will be no additional cost involved by reason of passage of this bill; is that correct?
Colonel Matzger. That is correct, yes, sir; no additional cost involved.
Chairman RUSSELL. Senator Saltonstall?
(Subsequently, in executive session, the committee unanimously voted to report the bill favorably, without amendment, as covered by S. Rept. 2546.)