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THE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS,
Friday, January 3, 1913. The committee this day met, Hon. Lemuel P. Padgett (chairman) presiding.
STATEMENT OF REAR ADMIRAL RICHARD MORGAN WATT,
CHIEF BUREAU OF CONSTRUCTION AND REPAIR.
The CHAIRMAN. Gentlemen, we have with us this morning Admiral Watt, chief constructor, Bureau of Construction and Repair.
Admiral Watt, I notice that the language in the first item in which you are interested, “Bureau of Construction and Repair, construction and repair of vessels," on page 88 of the first draft of the bill, is the same as in last year's bill, and the amount is the same, with the exception that you have stricken out "not to exceed $35,000,” with reference to aeroplanes. Was there any shortage last year in that aeroplane item?
Admiral Watt. The amount, $35,000, will just about meet the demands for the hulls of aeroplanes for the current fiscal year.
The CHAIRMAN. $35,000 was the amount you submitted ?
Admiral Watt. Yes, sir. It did not involve any increase in the appropriation. It was merely a limit to the amount that might be spent for the construction of the hulls of aeroplanes out of the total appropriation for construction and repair.
The CHAIRMAN. What will you need for the next fiscal year?
Admiral WATT. It is rather difficult to make any definite statement as to the exact amount that will be required for aeroplanes. Up to the 1st of December of this year we had spent $16,000 out of a total of $35,000, so that the year's expenditures will be about $35,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you contemplate enlarging that work during the next year?
Admiral Watt. Unquestionably the aeroplane work is growing, and the appropriation should permit a further expenditure if it becomes desirable.
The CHAIRMAN. In order that we may meet that, can you give us in your hearings some approximate idea of the amount that probably need?
Admiral Watt. If it is necessary to limit the expenditure for this purpose it should not be set at a lower figure than $50,000.
The CHAIRMAN. The language remains the same in the item until we come to the bottom of page 90, the repair of vessels, and the Secretary of the Navy has submitted a letter setting forth the various
ships to be repaired under that appropriation. Have you anything additional that you wish to submit to the committee?
Admiral Watt. I think the letter completes the subject, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. You have no additions to make to this letter?
The CHAIRMAN. At the bottom of page 91 I notice that you increase the limitation on the clerical force from $808,039 to $858,039, an increase of $50,000. Why that increase in the clerical force?
Admiral Watt. There has been no increase in the limit of expenditure for clerical force since this limit first appeared in the bill, five years ago. It has been necessary to increase the number of clerks and draftsmen, and in some instances to increase the pay of present employees. Last year the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation bill authorized a $10,000 increase in expenditure for technical services and draftsmen in the Bureau of Construction and Repair, but we were unable to take full advantage of that $10,000 increase, because the limit in the bill remained the same.
The CHAIRMAN. The appropriation in the legislative bill is in addition to this?
Admiral Watt. Not for technical services. The appropriation in the legislative, executive, and judicial bill for clerks and messengers is independent of this, but for technical services in the bureau
The CHAIRMAN. The legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation bill does not limit the expenditure ?
Admiral WATT. It limits the expenditure in Washington-
Admiral WATT. The $808,000 is a limit to the amount that may be spent for this purpose from the total amount appropriated for the Bureau of Construction and Repair. We are asking merely for an increase in the limit, and not for an additional appropriation.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that. How many additional clerks do you expect to employ?
Admiral Watt. We were not contemplating any immediate general increase, but merely such increases as conditions might actually warrant. We intended in case this increase went through to immediately increase the technical force in the bureau by the $10,000 which the legislative, executive, and judicial bill permits.
The ('HAIRMAN. You mean that you would not take advantage of the $10,000 that was appropriated in the legislative bill because it was $808,000 here?
Admiral WATT. We could not get advantage of the increased limit in the legislative, executive, and judicial bill on account of this $808,000 limitation.
The CHAIRMAN. How is that?
Admiral Watt. The legislative, executive and judicial appropriation bill makes an actual appropriation for the clerks and the messengers in the Bureau of Construction and Repair, but it does not make appropriation for the technical services in the bureau, although fixing a limit to the amount that may be so expended from the general appropriation under the bureau.
The CHAIRMAN. That appropriation is made in this bill ? Admiral Watt. Yes, sir; that appropriation is made in this bill. The CHAIRMAN. And paid out of the $808,000?
Admiral Watt. Yes, sir; but the legislative, executive, and judicial bill limits the expenditure for technical employees in the Navy Department in Washington.
The CHAIRMAN. If the bill limits the number, how could you use the $50,000 additional ?
Admiral Watt. The present amount authorized for pay of classified employees from the appropriation “Construction and repair of vessels" is $808,039. The bureau has requested that this amount be increased for the fiscal year 1914 to $858,039. This increase of $50,000 is required as follows:
The legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation bill for 1913 authorized an increase of $10,000 for the pay of technical employees in the Bureau of Construction and Repair at Washington. The naval appropriation bill was not correspondingly increased under the authorization for “Construction and repair (classified employees).” This accounts for $10,000 of the increase. The remaining $40,000 is required for making additional appointments to the clerical and drafting forces employed at navy yards and at private shipbuilding establishments, and for increasing the pay of certain employees engaged on the bureau's work outside of the Navy Department.
As a result of the establishment of planning sections at various navy yards, one, two, or more draftsmen at each yard have been given duties in connection with planning and estimating, and their services have been lost from the drafting room proper.
Recommendations have been received for promotions of the bureau's classified employees that will aggregate $5,000 a year. In the bureau's opinion these promotions are all fully deserved and should be provided for. This will account for at least $5,000 of the increase requested. The remaining amount-$35,000——will be used for additions to the classified force.
When work is begun on the two fleet oilers authorized by the last session of Congress to be constructed in navy yards, there will actually be under construction in navy yards a greater displacement than has ever heretofore been the case. This will require the services of numerous additional draftsmen and some additional clerks. It is not believed that the additional amount for services of clerks and draftsmen herein requested will be any greater than is absolutely necessary to insure proper procedure with the work in hand.
The CHAIRMAN. This limits the amount to be paid in the city of Washington, or does it limit the total amount ?
Admiral Watt. The executive, legislative, and judicial bill limits the amount to be expended in the Bureau of Construction and Repair in Washington.
The CHAIRMAN. And does not relate to the navy yards?
Admiral WATT. And does not relate to the navy yards or the offices of the superintending constructors or inspectors of material.
The CHAIRMAN. How much are you expending now under the existing appropriation of $808,000 in Washington?
Admiral Watt. We are expending in Washington under the existing appropriation of $808,039 about $78,000.
The CHAIRMAN. With this $88,300 limitation, could you not expend the total amount of it in Washington ?