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The question was also raised, and I thought very pertinently, as to whether this change from the national defense act, providing that at least 90 per cent of the officers in the Air Corps should be flying officers, would authorize the appointment of any nonflying officers in the corps providing the clause now in effect for the 10 per cent nonfliers, was repealed. I think that does raise a serious question as to whether or not we could appoint any nonflying officers, although the intent of the bill apparently is to have not to exceed 10 per cent of nonflying officers. That is more or less a question of wording.
There is another very small matter on line 15, page 3, where it says In time of war may include one who has received an aeronautical rating as observer.
I suppose that refers back here to this other clause, although it might be said to mean you could have one in time of war as an observer. That is only a matter of detail.
. The question of air mechanics has been discussed at some length, and the salary increases that might be brought about through this wording have been pointed out by the chairman. I think it is important that some plan be worked out by which mechanics can be paid an adequate sum in the Air Service. It is true that you will be faced probably by similar requests from the other branches. I think that this is particularly important, however, in the Air Service, where the safety of the flyers themselves depends on having experienced mechanics.
Senator WARREN. As well as the property which they handle?
Secretary DAVIS. As well as the property. As it is worded here, the figures which you read from the book there would indicate that perhaps the proposed rates would be too high, but I think there should be some provision by which we can pay mechanics an adequate wage in order to keep them.
The matter of flying pay has been gone into thoroughly, and that provision I think is worded now so as to remove any uncertainty in connection with the ruling of the Comptroller General.
Section 7, the appointment of the Chief of the Air Corps, is an important one. I think there you must first decide whether or not you want to limit the appointment to an officer who is now in the Air Service. As the provision is drawn, amending but not repealing a similar provision in the national defense act, section 4c, I think it would have the effect of limiting the choice to the two colonels now in the Air Service, because both provisions would be in effect, the one providing that the chief of a branch should be appointed from an officer of the grade of colonel, and this further provision that he should come from the Air Corps. That would limit it to the two colonels in the Air Corps, which of course would be manifestly improper. Personally I would rather like to see a combination of the two ideas. I think that the chiefs of all the branches should be appointed under the same provisions if it can be brought about; but, in the Air Service, where there is only a comparatively small number of senior officers, I believe that for a limited period of time it would be wise to give the President a wider choice than he would have either under the present national defense act or under this section of the bill as drawn. In other words, he should have the
right of appointing, as he has now, colonels under the national defen act; and for a period of five or seven years, or something of that son he should also have the right of appointing officers of not less tha 22 years' commissioned service in the Air Corps. In other word do not tie his hands down with either provision, because I think th if a suitable man can be found in the Air Corps the chief certainl should come from the Air Corps. I do not think the President shou be limited to the two colonels in the Air Corps, but I think that h choice should be left wide open, further open than the present pro vision in the national defense act.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you suggest that liberalization should continu through a five-year period or what length of time?
Secretary Dávis. Well, in five years there would of course be much larger choice, as the junior officers become senior officers. It i a question for the committee to consider, but I think there should b that wider choice. Five or seven years, perhaps.
The CHAIRMAN. We ought to work it out right with respect to th present incumbent. I am saying this impersonally.
Secretary Davis. Seven years would be better, because then yo would cover two appointments, possibly. I think General Patric retires in two years.
General PATRICK. About 18 months.
Secretary Davis. Eighteen months, and if you made it seven year that would take the present appointment and the one following that and that would give 10 years really, and by the time the tenth yea came around you would have a number of senior officers in the corps so that you would not need this provision.
The difficult feature in the bill, of course, is the question of the cos of providing for the air corps expansion program. As regards the "method of increase," where it is provided that the President "shal submit estimates," I think everyone would be opposed to that sort o mandatory provision upon the President; and I do not think he would sign any such provision. I would like to see, however, a five-yea program showing what we would like to do, an authorization in other words, written into the law.
The War Department has been criticized in the past because they did not submit the Lassiter Board program, which is a 10-yea program, for legislative enactment. They have been quite severely criticized in Congress for that. This would show what we are trying to attain as an end, even though it was merely an authorization.
Senator WARREN. Don't you think that should always be accom panied by the probable costs, so that the public should know at once what it would be?
Secretary Davis. Yes. That has been in the hearings. There is also the question as to whether it would be possible to pass and to have approved a bill which would increase the size of the Regular Army. Frankly I rather doubt if that can be brought about. From the point of view of the actual results for the moment at least, for the next year or two, when the financial conditions are as strained as they are at present, I think it is rather an academic question. I do not believe that we will be able to get enough money, even if it was authorized here, to increase the number of Air Service officers. Such increased appropriations as we get should be put into better equipment. It will require larger appropriations to keep up the Air
Service at its present strength. It will require a quite considerable increase in appropriations to give any additional equipment. My personal feeling is that any money that we can get, any money that it is conceivable that we would be likely to get within the next two or three years, should go into equipment. So that I do not believe that as a practical proposition, this provision in regard to personnel is a very serious difficulty.
One thought that came to me in this connection—whether it would be wise or not I do not know—but in order to keep the program as an adopted program, the thought came to me that the increase might be left as it is in this bill, to take effect, however, only when the size of the regular establishment is increased-if, and when. That, would give you a program. It would give the Air Service priority on any increase. For example, if there were an increase of a thousand officers, that program would automatically go into effect and that would give the first 403 to the Air Service, and it would be putting the program into legislative form. That of course would mean nothing until the size of the regular establishment was increased, but it would have the effect of getting the program adopted as a legislative program as well as a War Department program.
I have spoken of the next section with regard to the method of increase, requiring that the President shall submit to Congress annual estimates of carrying out the program.
As regards the Second Assistant Secretary of War, I would like to submit, merely for the record, a brief statement of that, in case that matter comes up for discussion on the floor.
As you know, there is now only one Assistant Secretary of War. Of all of the Assistant secretaries of all of the different departments, he is the only one who has statutory duties. The national defense act puts upon him the responsibility of planning for the mobilization of material resources in case of war—the whole question of industrial mobilization—which is a very big job in itself. That takes the greater part of his time.
The War Depactment has, I suppose, more outside (in our case purely nonmilitary) activities than has any other department. Merely for the record I would like to read in these various duties that the Secretary of War is charged with, in order to show the use that there would be for a Second Assistant Secretary of War. He has general supervision of the government of the Panama Canal and of the operation of the Panama Canal Railroad. He has general supervision of the Philippine Islands and of Porto Rico. He has general supervision of all river and harbor improvements and must approve all permits for bridges constructed over navigable waters in the United States. He is the chairman of the Federal Power Commission, which was created by the Federal water power act of 1920. He is the chairman of the Inland Waterways Corporation, which runs the Federal Barge Line. He is president of the National Forest Conservation Commission. He is president of the President's Committee on Outdoor Recreation.
The CHAIRMAN. That is not a statutory function, is it?
Secretary Davis. No; that was appointed by the President. He is a member of the Federal Oil Conservation Board. That was also created by the President. He is a member of the Rock Creek and
Potomac Parkway Commission. He is ex officio a member of the Board of Managers of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and has supervision over the Board of Commissioners of the Soldiers' Home at Washington. He is a member of, and chairman of the Council of National Defense, which, of course, now is not in active operation. He is the chairman of the committee consisting of the Secretaries of the Treasury, Commerce, Navy, and War, and the chairman of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, to determine the future policy of the Government with respect to merchant marine. That is more or less inactive now. He is a member of the Smithsonian Institution. He is chairman of the commission to select a site for the monument of General Meade. Of course, many of these things are of no particular importance now. He has the care of the monument and the wharf at Wakefield, Va. He is charged with the supervision and maintenance of the Arlington National Cemetery, and of all military cemeteries and national parks. He has various other duties of that sort.
I simply list those to show the number of outside activities there are coming under the War Department.
The House committee considered a bill establishing a Council of National Defense. One idea in that was to have a coordinating body made
of the three assistant secretaries who have the general duties of coordinating the air activities of the Army, the Navy, and the Commerce Departments. That, as you know, was one of the recommendations of the Morrow Board. I believe that a Second Assistant Secretary of War charged with the supervision of the Air Corps, and such other duties as the Secretary of War might direct, would have a good influence in bringing about a close coordination between the three departments interested in aviation. That would be his prime duty. That recommendation was made by the Morrow Board, and the general feeling, I think, has been that it would have a good psychological effect, and that he would be of considerable benefit in bringing about this coordination between the departments.
Those are the principal suggestions that I have to make aside from the various points which were brought up to-day.
Senator WARREN. Mr. Secretary, I would be glad to have your opinion of our position--which might develop from peace into war at any time--if we should conclude to go slow and have not too large an Air Service, but to plan to at once assemble in war the aircraft of the nation which seem to be developing and will probably amount to something very soon. What is your idea of the growth in the country of the facilities for aircraft production and the time that it would take to assemble them. if money were provided, which, of
, course, would be done in war time very readily?
Secretary Davis. That problem is much less serious to-day than it was two years ago.
Senator WARREN. Of course, assuming that the education of our men is going on?
Secretary Davis. It is important to have enough pilots trained in order to man the air corps and to train the new men. It is important to have a sufficient nucleus of fighting planes.
Senator WARREN. And, of course, you would be bringing in machines from the commercial world, and you would also bring in more or less,
probably all, the pilots from there, but you should have your own organization?
Secretary Davis. You must have the military organization in addition to that.
Senator WARREN. Oh, yes.
Secretary Davis. Although commercial pilots would be what you might call a second line of defense. They would be men who would be more readily drawn for military duty. The growth of commercial aviation will assist that problem very materially. On the other hand, you will always have to have a sufficient nucleus of men trained in the military end of aviation, particularly in the strategic handling of aircraft.
Senator WARREN. I asked the question because I can not see the funds available which are required to establish the increases sought for in this bill. I can not see the way clear for the appropriation providing the money,
Secretary Davis. That, of course, is the difficulty.
Senator WARREN. I do not believe that we are going to be in any position under any administration to appropriate the amount of money necessary, unless war is imminent, to provide any such machinery for the Army and the Navy and the others. I say that without depreciating in any way the importance of aviation.
Secretary Davis. On the other hand, you must have a sufficient nucleus to bring about the expansion in time of need. Senator WARREN. Granted—always.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you happen to know, Mr. Secretary, whether any other program has been considered involving an increase smaller .than the one proposed in this bill? For example, a number of officers less than 403 or a number of planes less than 1,800?
Secretary DAVI8. That of course could be worked out. You would have to figure the tactical organizations under which the number of officers and men which you have decided upon would be proper.
That could be worked out. It ought to be a rounded force, even in the Air Service itself; I mean, depending on the tactical organizations.
Senator WARREN. I think the country ought to know, and I hope it will be the policy of the Army and of the Navy in any literature that may be gotten out, to inform the public as to what these things are going to cost. We are all wanting things established which we think cost $1, and we finally find that they cost $10—like these airplanes. When this bill was reported over from the House, the total cost was said to be $29,000,000, which we all know of course, is not sufficient to take care of all the costs involved therein for the Army. That is my opinion that we ought to know what these things are going to cost.
Secretary Davis. The figures have been published several times.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you care to say anything more, Mr. Secretary?
Secretary DAVIS. No; I have finished.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you very much. That will be all for this afternoon.
(Whereupon at 5.45 p. m. the committee adjourned.)