« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
date on which the Secretary of Defense reports the pertinent details of the action to be taken to the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and of the House of Representatives.
In this connection, it should be noted that the Army reorganization proposal was the first exercise of authority by the Secretary of Defense under this section of law. No objection was made to this reorganization.
In addition to the provisions of law noted above, section 202(c) (4) vests in the Secretary of Defense a very substantial and far-reaching power which nullifies many of the restrictions that otherwise appear in the law. This provision of law states— Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) hereof, the Secertary of De. fense has the authority to assign, or reassign, to one or more departments or services, the development and operational use of new weapons or weapons systems.
Also, the law, in section 203(b), establishes the Office of Director of Defense Research and Engineering, and provides that the Director shall be “the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense on scientific and technical matters"; vests in him the authority "to supervise all research and engineering activities in the Department of Defense," and “to direct and control (including their assignment or reassignment) research and engineering activities that the Secretary of Defense deems to require centralized management."
Beyond this, the Secretary of Defense is given the very specific statutory authority to engage in basic and applied research projects, and, subject only to the approval of the President, is authorized to perform assigned research and development projects through a variety of means.
In addition, the specific language of this section authorizes the appropriation of money for this purpose.
And finally, and probably the most controversial of all authorities of the Secretary of Defense, is the McCormack-Curtis amendment, which is section 202(c)(6) of the National Security Act, quoted above. It is worthy of repetition:
(6) Whenever the Secretary of Defense determines it will be advantageous to the Government in terms of effectiveness, economy, or efficiency, he shall provide for the carrying out of any supply or service activity common to more than one military department by a single agency or such other organizational entities as he deems appropriate. For the purposes of this paragraph, any supply or service activity common to more than one military department shall not be considered a “major combatant function” within the meaning of paragraph (1) hereof.
Much has been said about the debate on the floor of the House on June 12, 1958, pertaining to this amendment insofar as Department of Defense witnesses are concerned. Nothing has been said by Department of Defense witnesses concerning the position of members of the Committee on Armed Services who accepted the amendment. Parts of that portion of the debate should be quoted at this point.
In accepting this amendemnt, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Mr. Vinson, stated :
The distinguished gentleman gave the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Kilday) and me and others the privilege of examining this amendment. We have examined it and know exactly what it means. Its purpose is to bring about a more anified and economical procurement of items which are common to two or more
military services. Last year some $1,200 million was procured under a single service manager, through whom the four services are buying medical supplies, clothing, and other things. There is no objection from our side to this amend. ment.
Further on, Mr. Vinson explained the amendment as follows: This deals with a single method of procurement. I know what runs through the gentleman's mind. The amendment is valid, in my estimation.
Mr. Gavin, of the Committee on Armed Services, interposed, during this discussion, and said, I would suggest we permit the gentleman to proceed and explain. Mr. McCormack replied, among other thingsThe gentleman from Georgia is doing it much better than I could.
Later during the debate, Mr. Devereux, then a member of the Committee on Armed Services, asked
Under this proposed amendment, would it not be possible to establish, in the Department of Defense, an agency which would take over the functions now being carried on by the various services. I am talking about supply, logistics, procurement, and all of that.
Mr. McCormack replied
In relation to supply and services in some limited respects, it probably could be done, but certainly in the field in which this amendment is confined, I think everyone recognizes we should make progress because this is the field where we can eliminate unnecessary duplication on common-use items and thereby save countless hundreds of millions of dollars each year to the taxpayer.
Further on during the debate there appears a complete explanation of the amendment by Mr. McCormack, which among other things, said:
The purpose of this amendment is to obtain greater effectiveness in economy, and efficiency in supply and service activities in the Department of Defense. These activities are commonly known as support activities or noncombatant activities.
It will be recalled that General Eisenhower, in September 1952, in a speech at Baltimore protested at great length at the expense and extravagance that had been built into the three departments contrary to the express promises to the Congress. The general also stated that he was going to take vigorous action to stop this needless waste. Unfortunately, he has not done so and the reorganization bill which he sent to Congress failed to take into consideration the supply and service activities.
These activities include procurement, warehousing, distribution, cataloging, and other supply activities, surplus disposal, financial management, budgeting, disbursing, accounting, and so forth, medical and hospital services, transportation—land, sea, and air-intelligence, legal, public relations, recruiting, military policy, training, liaison activities, and so forth, and use an estimated 66% percent of the military budget.
It is also estimated that procurement activities alone utilize 50 percent of the budget.
Mr. McCormack further stated
The language is intended to permit the Secretary, that is, to permit one department to operate for the benefit of all if this is considered advisable as in the present situation with the Army handling chemical and biological functions for the Department of Defense. Under the language it might be considered advisable that the Secretary have a joint staff represent the Department before regulatory bodies on transportation matters or utility services generally. Such activities as weapons evaluation could be handled as now in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. I shall repeat that the facts and circumstances with
respect to the individual supply and service activity should govern, and that the amendment is not intended to establish a fixed pattern. (Italic supplied.]
It is interesting to note that those who supported Mr. McCormack's amendment during the debate generally confined their remarks to common-use items. Mr. Curtis of Missouri said:
I think the gentleman from Massachusetts has stated it accurately when he said that this was worked out over a period of many years and a study was made of the difficulties in enforcing the O'Mahoney amendment in the common-use supply area of the Military Establishment. I certainly am strongly behind this amendment, and I think it will go a long way toward clearing up a cloudiness and uncertainty in this area.
Mr. Riehlman of New York said:
I rise in support of the amendent offered by my distinguished colleague and majority leader of the House, the Honorable John McCormack. I am not going to dwell on the provisions of this amendment as they have been amply covered by the gentleman from Massachusetts.
I know of his keen interest in the field of military procurement and supply system. I also know of his profound interest in the field of research and development and the oustanding support he gave me as chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Affairs of the House Committee on Government Operations while we were holding hearings in the 83d Congress on this most important subject.
Mr. Bray, a member of the Armed Services Committee, was concerned about the intent of the amendment because, and he said:
This amendment says that you cannot call a matter a major function if it has to do with supplies.
Mr. Bray, of course, was referring to that part of the amendment which provides that “any supply or service activity common to more than one military department shall not be considered a major combatant function."
Mr. Bray went on to say:
If this amendment carries, and the Army, Navy, Air, or Marine says this is a major function it could cause it to come back to Congress. If it is a supply matter they can bring about this reform or this change without any consideration of Congress. Otherwise, if it is a major function, it would have to come to Congress. This merely eliminates that roadblock.
Mr. McCormack replied:
From the foregoing, it is apparent that those who endorsed the amendment did so under the impression that it would bring about substantial savings in the procurement of common-use items. On the other hand, Mr. McCormack’s printed explanation is far more inclusive in its coverage than the general discussion indicates.
On the day prior to this colloquy on the floor of the House, one of the authors of the amendment, the Honorable Thomas Curtis of Missouri, placed in the Congressional Record a letter to the Secretary of Defense outlining the history of the Unification Act, and summarized by Mr. Curtis as follows:
This is a 14-page letter which documents the history of the Unification Act establishing the unification of the services and the history of the attempts of Congress to bring about unification of the three services in the area of commonuse items.
Incidentally, I might state the implications of the lessons that we may learn in the procurement, supply, and distribution of common-use items certainly carry over to many of the military items. The only reason that I do not discuss the military items is because in the work that I performed in the 82d Congress as a member of the Bonner subcommittee, what was then called the Committee on Expenditures in the executive department, was confined to items like brooms, mops, and medical supplies about which there would be no question of security. But, there is likewise no question but that the lessons learned in these areas, as I have stated, can be carried over to military items as President Eisenhower himself has pointed out.
Mr. McCormack then asked Mr. Curtis if he would yield, and said as follows:
Mr. Chairman, I am well acquainted with what the gentleman is talking about because I have been very much interested, as the gentleman knows, in the same subject of services and supplies, and so forth. I might say that it is my intention to offer an amendment to the Vinson bill tomorrow, which I think will adequately take care of that situation and will be a complete culmination of the years of effort of the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Curtis), of myself, of the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Hardy), the gentleman from North Caro lina, (Mr. Bonner), Senator O'Mahoney, and others. I am hopeful it will be adopted. I say it is to be offered to the Vinson bill; I am referring to the committee bill.
Mr. Curtis then stated, among other things, the following:
First. We must have unification of the three services in procurement, supply, and distribution. This means levels of buying, warehousing, distributing, and so forth.
Second. Utilization rather than duplication of the civilian supply and dis tribution system.
Third. A personnel system that is trained to think in these terms and one that will improve on the system as it goes along.
Mr. Chairman, I previously stated that it is necessary to have unification in other areas. If the theory behind common-use items is accurate, as far as the unification of procurement, supply, and distribution is concerned, it is certainly true of common items that are military in aspect among the three services. That is the importance of the Arends amendment and I hope the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McCormack), and others on his side will recognize that that was the intent of the Bonner subcommittee because, although we were dealing with common-use items we stated very positively that if this proved to be true in that area, it certainly should be carried over into military areas. (Italic supplied.)
Mr. Chairman, I want to point out one other thing before I conclude my remarks. There has been some question, particularly on the part of the Committee on Armed Services, challenging the statements of the Hoover Commission to the effect that billions of dollars could be saved in this area of unification of procurement, supply, and distribution. It is a difficult thing to estimate how much can be saved. But I can tell you one way in which you can verify that we are talking in terms of billions, and that is in this fashion. We start at the garbage pail, as it were, just as the supply officer, in looking to see whether or not the mess has been properly administered, takes a look at the garbage pail to see what is in it. So we look to the garbage pail, as it were, of military items that are in surplus and we find that we are talking in terms of billions of dollars. This year there will be $6 billion of excess military supplies. That is an annual figure. It has not been running as high as $6 billion each year, but it has been running in the billions. I think last year it was somewhat over $5 billion. This year it is $6 billion. This is the total value of the Department of Defense excess personal property which will be up for sale this year. We have been realizing only ? cents on the dollar from these sales. This index I have in front of me contains some 290 pages of various items that go into this garbage pail. This index is the Department of Defense excess personal property index for the month of May 1958. There are some 35,000 individual items running in cost from millions of dollars in individual items down to 1 cent apiece. The last item in the book is a metalbacked paper tag. We overbought 46 million of them at 1 cent apiece. This amounts to $460,000 for that one item alone. A review of this index discloses thousands of similar examples. How do these surpluses accumulate ? Who overbuys and why? The answer is triplicate buying, unnecessary buying, untrained personnel, a hundred reasons of inefficiency. Our military procurement system is outmoded and ineficient. If we achieve unification and efficiency we will save billions of dollars and will produce a more alert and hard-hitting military organization. That is why it is necessary for this legislation to pass.
From all of the above, it would clearly appear that the amendment was directed toward procurement, supply, and distributionthat is, the buying, warehousing, and distribution of common-use items.
It is on the basis of this amendment that the Defense Supply Agency has been established which the Department of Defense witnesses refer to as an “independent agency," which is not a part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, nor within a military department.
It is also on the basis of this amendment that the Department of Defense contends that there are no restrictions with respect to common-use items; that is, there is no restriction in the amendment which limits the procurement activities of the Defense Supply Agency to items that are used by more than one service. It will be noted that in stating the statutory basis for each defense agency the Department of Defense relies upon the floor debate, and particularly the remarks of Mr. McCormack.
No reference is made, however, by the Department of Defense to the understanding by the Committee on Armed Services that the amendment was to bring about a more unified and economical procurement of items which are common to two or more military services."
The Department of Defense has disregarded Mr. Vinson's remark that this amendment "deals with the single method of procurement.” And even though the discussion on the floor of the House was, for practical purposes, almost entirely devoted to the procurement of common-use items, nevertheless the amendment is now set forth by the Department of Defense as a statutory basis for the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Communications Agency, and others.
The Department of Defense also points out that the Secretary of Defense is directed by the National Security Act to take appropriate steps (including the transfer, reassignment, abolition, and consolidation of functions) to provide in the Department of Defense for more effective, efficient, and economical administration and operation and to eliminate duplication. Thus a simple allegation that any action taken to transfer, reassign, abolish or consolidate functions within the military departments will bring about more effective, efficient, and economical administration and operation and that it will eliminate duplication, could well be used as a basis for any greater centralization of power and authority in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and eventually, for practical purposes, to eliminate the three military departments and the four military services.
In 1958 when the Committee on Armed Services reported the bill that eventually became the Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1958, the committee said:
It is the belief of the Committee on Armed Services that the intent of the National Security Act and the basic philosophy surrounding the creation of the Defense Establishment and the Office of the Secretary of Defense was to create an overall policymaker who would be known as the Secretary of Defense. It was never intended, and it not now intended, that the Office of the Secretary of Defense would become a fourth department within the Department of Defense,