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REVIEW OF PROMOTIONS OF OFFICERS IN THE ARMED
THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 1963
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE No. 2 OF THE
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., the Honorable Leslie C. Arends (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. ARENDS. The committee will come to order.
Admiral' HOLLOWAY. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate very much having the privilege of presenting to the committee Captain Cooper, who will start in with the captains.
Mr. ARENDS. Captain Cooper, we are glad to see you. We noticed you here for a few days, so you will be probably up to date on the committee hearings.
TESTIMONY OF CAPT. WILLIAM G. COOPER, ASSISTANT CHIEF
OF PLANS; ACCOMPANIED BY CAPT. J. W. WATERHOUSE, ASSISTANT HEAD OF DISTRIBUTION; AND COMDR. T. D. CUNNINGHAM, HEAD OF COMPLEMENTS AND ALLOWANCE BRANCH
Captain COOPER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have a brief statement to make before I present the justification.
Mr. ARENDS. Fine; which we will incorporate in the record. Captain COOPER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I have for your consideration the justifications for all of the captains' billets now existing in the Navy. The breakdown of these billets by categories is as follows: (1) Unrestricted line (codes 1100-1300)
2, 049 (2) Engineering duty (codes 1400-1450)
215 (3) Aeronautical engineering duty (code 1500)
83 (4) Special duty (code 1600)...
44 (5) Medical Corps (code 2100).
322 (6) Dental Corps (code 2200).
99 (7) Nurse Corps (code 2900).
1 (8) Supply Corps (code 3100)
135 (9) Chaplain Corps (code 4100)
26 (10) Civil Engineering Corps (code 5100)
There are currently a total of 2,899 captains on active duty. Of this number, 1,944 are permanent captains and the remaining 955 are permanent commanders serving in the temporary grade of captain.
The youngest officer of the Regular Navy now serving in the grade of captain is over 39 years old.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I would like to insert for the record that this officer has had 18% years' total commissioned service, and served as a commander over 8 years.
In the previous hearings before this committee on H. R. 2332, statements were made as to the ratio of senior officers to total strength in the various services now as compared to 30 June 1945.
In the Navy the ratio of admirals, captains, and commanders to total strength now is about three times the ratio of officers in these same grades to total strength on June 30, 1945.
Permit me, respectfully, to invite your attention to the fact that the ratio of admirals, captains, and commanders to total strength in 1938 was approximately 10 times that of June 30, 1945.
Such variations will also be the case in any situation except full mobilization. The Congress recognized this in 1947 when the Officer Personnel Act was considered and provided the Navy with the necessary flexibility to meet these varying needs. In early 1950 the Navy had reached a strength approximately that envisioned when the Officer Personnel Act was drafted.
The officer strength of the Navy almost doubled between June 1950 and February 1953. In achieving this 90-percent increase, requirements for the various grades have increased percentagewise as follows:
46 Lieutenant commander...
123 Lieutenant (junior grade) and ensign..
106 The numbers of officers in the grades of lieutenant commander and above have not increased so rapidly as have the requirements. Captain Waterhouse, Commander Cunningham, Commander Wheeler and I are prepared to discuss the justifications which you have before you.
Mr. BLANDFORD. You plan to promote approximately 100 more captains between now and the end of the fiscal year?
Captain COOPER. That is correct, sir, but most of those captains
Mr. ARENDS. What is that?
Mr. BLANDFORD. They plan to promote approximately 100 more captains between now and June 30.
Captain Cooper. Those captains will be promoted only as vacancies in the current strength occur.
In other words, when a captain is promoted to flag rank, he will create a vacancy, or if a captain retires he will create a vacancy, to which we will promote a commander.
Mr. BLANDFORD. In other words, the limitation contained in H. R. 2332 of 2,987 is approximately 100 more than you need, because you have only 2,899 and if you are only going to fill vacancies, then you don't intend to go to the limitation contained in H. R. 2332.
Captain COOPER. Commander Wheeler tells me that my statement was incorrect--that it should read 2,988 captains.
Mr. BLANDFORD. That is better; 2,988.
Mr. BLANDFORD. Well, that is better. Then you got one more captain now on active duty than you will be allowed to have on June 30, 1952.
Captain COOPER. That is correct, sir.
Mr. BLANDFORD. Let me just see if these figures check, of 1944 and 955. That comes out to 2,899. So how many of those are permanent captains and how many are permanent commanders?
Captain CooPER. I can't answer that exactly, but I will get those figures for you.
However, all of the captains who are in the temporary grade of captain are permanent commanders. There are no captains who have a permanent grade below that of commander.
Mr. BLANDFORD. How many Reserve captains do you have on active duty, Captain?
Captain COOPER. We have 176 Naval Reserve officers in the grade of captain on active duty, as of December 31, 1952.
Mr. BLANDFORD. One hundred and seventy-six reservists.
What is the percentage of total reservists, officer personnel, on active duty compared to total officer strength; do you know?
It is over 51 percent; is it not?
Mr. BLANDFORD. I think before we go into the justification for billets, it might be wise, Mr. Chairman, to develop for a moment the justification for temporary promotion of commanders to captains when there are many hundreds, probably, of Reserve captains who would be capable of doing a captain's job, particularly in the technical services, that
Mr. KILDAY. Before we get to that, Mr. Chairman, could the Commander tell us how many of that 176 is Reserve captains or medics, and dental officers?
Commander WHEELER. I can, sir, in a moment, if you will give me a moment to calculate that; if you don't mind.
Mr. KILDAY. If you will go ahead, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ARENDS. I would like to find out, if I might, Captain, beginning on the second page, as to the ratio:
You say it is now 3 times the ratio of the officers in these same grades to total strength on June 30, 1945.
Captain COOPER. That is right, sir.
Mr. ARENDS. Can you put the total strength in the record now for 1945, and then go down to your next statement, what the total strength was in 1938, and the number of officers, which was 10 times—can you put those figures in; what the total strength was in 1938?
Captain COOPER. That is right.
Commander WHEELER. Would an approximation be satisfactory, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. ARENDS. Yes.
Captain COOPER. 3 million enlisted men, and 300,000 officers. Mr. BLANDFORD. Then what is this ratio based on now, 800,000?
Captain COOPER. This present ratio is based on slightly over 800.000.
Mr. BLANDFORD, Total personnel?
Mr. BLANDFORD. Now, can we go back to the question of your-of why you—if you will justify the promotion of permanent commanders to temporary captains, and not recalling Reserve captains to active duty in the technical services particularly, who I assume are qualified to do the job or they wouldn't have been promoted to captain.
Captain COOPER. We felt that we had enough commanders at the top of the commander list in the Regular Navy, and Regular service, who were well qualified to perform the duties of captain.
Therefore, it was not necessary for us to ask Reserve captains to come to active duty, certainly not necessary for us to call them involuntarily to active duty to serve in those billets.
Mr. BLANDFORD. How many requests have you received from captains to go on active duty voluntarily?
Captain CooPER. Captain Waterhouse, of Officer Distribution.
Captain WATERHOUSE. Since I have been in this present assignment, 2 years, we have received none that I know of, sir.
Mr. BLANDFORD. No requests from captains for active duty?
Mr. BLANDFORD. Could we assume from that that if a Reserve captain applies for active duty voluntarily, assuming he is qualified in one of the technical services, that his application would be considered, and that the chances are he would be ordered to active duty?
Captain WATERHOUSE. He would be considered. The chances of being ordered to active duty. I presume would be rather slim.
Mr. BLANDFORD. Well, the reason I am developing this, Mr. Chairman, is there has been some criticism from some of the Reserve organizations about this particular problem and it is not confined just to the Navy, by any means. The criticism is that with over 51 percent of your officer personnel as reservists, approximately 5 percent of the Reserve captains in the Navy, or approximately 5 percent of the captains in the Navy are reservists, and that proportion does not make sense to a lot of Reserve officers.
Now, I am not aiming this particularly at the Navy. It just happens that you are the first one to get the question asked you. You probably will hear more about it. A lot of reservists are complaining bitterly and they are complaining bitterly because of promotions and complaining about the fact that they have to compete with Regulars, which can be argued both ways.
But I think the record should be clear as to why you have such a small percentage of Reserve captains on active duty.
Now, you have a total of about, I would guess, in excess of 2,000 or more Reserve captains; have you not?
Commander WHEELER. Of all kinds; approximately that.
Captain Cooper. I would say approximately that. However, I would like to point out that our senior commanders have served over 8 years in that grade. We feel that we have plenty of those senior commanders who are well qualified to do captains' jobs; that this is their career; that we should give them the first crack at the promotion.