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Admiral WATT. Advantage could be taken of this increase for technical services in the bureau only by taking clerks and draftsmen away from the navy yards, which are reporting at present that their forces are insufficient for the work.
The CHAIRMAN. Because you do not have the money?
Admiral Watt. If every classified employee of the bureau were constructively employed every day of the current fiscal year there would be an expenditure in excess of the limit of $808,039. We care for this excess and avoid an overexpenditure by reason of leaves and absences without pay; but we are unable to add any additional men or to take full advantage of this $10,000 increase permitted by the legislative, executive, and judicial appropriation bill on account of this fixed limit under the appropriation "Construction and repair.”
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is "Construction and repair of vessels—wrecking pontoons: For purchase of two testing and wrecking pontoons for submarines, to be available until expended, $600,000"}
Admiral WATT. A wrecking pontoon serves three important functions. It is used primarily to make a test of a submarine to determine its resistance to the external water pressure; it is for lifting sunken submarines--and it can be used for docking submarines. At the present time our contract for submarines requires that every submarine shall actually be submerged a depth of 200 feet in order to insure that the submarine in case of accident can safely resist water pressure of that depth. Such requirement is found in the contract for every submarine. It is a cause of very great expense in money and time on account of finding a place where you can get 200 feet of water on this coast.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you insert in the hearings an approximate statement or estimate of what that item of cost is? You say it is a great element of cost. Can you give us some definite idea?
Admiral Watt. While I do not have access to contractors' estimates I consider it probable that he includes not less than $10,000 for the submergence test. When the test has been long delayed by reason of bad weather, the cost is probably much greater than this.
The CHAIRMAN. On each submarine ?
The CHAIRMAN. What is the necessity for submerging a submarine 200 feet? Do you use it at anything like that depth in actual practice?
Admiral WATT. In actual service I doubt if they would be submerged more than 100 feet.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the relative pressure at 100 feet and 200 feet?
Admiral WATT. Two to one; it increases directly with the depth.
Mr. WITHERSPOON. Is the object of having a submarine submerged so deep to put it beyond the danger of shells; is that the purpose?
The CHAIRMAN. It is a factor of safety; you make it like a bridge, stronger than the load it is expected to carry?
Admiral Watt. The submergence test is introduced to give confidence to the officers and men who have to handle the submarines.
The CHAIRMAN. How many submarines have we built and building?
Admiral Watt. We have 25 built, 15 building, and 8 about to be contracted for.
The CHAIRMAN. And we have no instrument of this kind ?
The CHAIRMAN. You have under the Bureau of Equipment various items for the construction and repair of vessels ?
Admiral Watt. Yes, sir; an allotment. The CHAIRMAN. What do you get from the Bureau of Equipment; what allotment?
Admiral WATT. About $1,300,000.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you put in the hearings how you expend that amount?
Admiral WATT. Yes, sir. (See Appendixes V and VI.)
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any unexpended balance for this year out of the construction and repair appropriation?
Admiral WATT. The balance is about $49,000.
Appendix I, statement of expenditures by titles under appropriation "Construction and repair, 1912."
Appendix II, showing “Construction and repair, 1912,” expenditures by navy yards and stations.
Appendix III, showing relative expenditures “Construction and repair” appropriations for years 1912 and 1911.
Appendix IV, showing the "Construction and repair, 1913,” expenditures for the first five months of the current fiscal year.
Appendix V, showing expenditures by titles under construction and repair allotment of appropriation Equipment of vessels, 1912.”
Appendix VI, showing expenditures by titles under construction and repair allotment of appropriation “Equipment of vessels, 1913,” for the first five months of the current fiscal year.
Mr. WITHERSPOON. In regard to this $600,000 item, I would like to ask about how much we expend a year for this testing which the admiral has just described?
Admiral WATT. You mean the testing of submarines in commission?
Mr. WITHERSPOON. Yes, sir.
Admiral Watt. We do not expend a great deal of money on the testing of submarines in commission. The tests we make are not as conclusive or as satisfactory as they would be with a testing pontoon.
The CHAIRMAN. As I understood you, Admiral, the item for testing was an undisclosed item of cost in the original construction?
Admiral Watt. In the original contract, involving the taking of the submarine to sea and lowering it at sea to a depth of 200 feet.
The CHAIRMAN. And without that requirement in the contract the builder could reduce his price?
Admiral Watt. The builder could reduce his price to the Government.
The CHAIRMAN. By something like that amount?
Mr. WITHERSPOON. Do you think that we would save enough to justify the expenditure ?
Admiral WATT. I think that we would very quickly pay for one of the pontoons.
Mr. LEE. What guaranty have you that the price will be reduced ?
Admiral Watt. The only guaranty is that to-day we have competition in submarines. There are two companies actively competing for contracts to-day.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have actual competition of the same character with reference to ships of the larger size, for instance, battleships, colliers, and ships of that kind, or is there something of an apportionment?
Admiral Watt. The Navy Department has been unable to discover anything that would justify the opinion that there was apportionment. I think the competition for contracts depends largely on the condition of work in shipyards. A shipyard with little work enters strenuously into the competition, and a shipyard with plenty of work names à price at which they would be pleased to get the contract
The CHAIRMAN. But without anxiety?
Mr. LEE. Has the contract for the new battleship Pennsylvania been awarded ?
Admiral WATT. The Pennsylvania has been advertised and plans have been furnished to bidders. Bids will be opened at the Navy Department on the 18th of February.
Mr. WITHERSPOON. Is that the battleship authorized by the act of March 4, 1911 ?
Admiral Watt. No, sir; the Pennsylvania is the battleship authorized by the act of August 22, 1912.
Mr. WITHERSPOON. Authorized by this Congress?
Mr. WITHERSPOON. What are the names of the two battleships authorized by the act of March 4, 1911 ?
Admiral WATT. The Nevada and Oklahoma.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is "Improvement of construction plants: For repairs and improvements of plant at navy yard, Portsmouth, N. H., $10,000." What is that?
Admiral WATT. It has been customary for the committee to make small appropriations for the construction plants” of the various navy yards. Last year, instead of making the small appropriation for each of the seven navy yards, the amount was lumped and one appropriation was made to establish a plant at Pearl Harbor. This year the estimates that have appeared in all previous years reappear.
The CHAIRMAN. What repairs and improvements are intended at Portsmouth?
Admiral Watt. The construction plants” are of a considerable extent, and have been added to from year to year. Consequently each year a certain number of tools wear out and it becomes necessary to replace them
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Does this item apply to the tools or to the plant itself?
Admiral Watt. It applies to the tools and the machinery which together make up the "Construction plant.” It does not apply to any buildings; simply to the machinery and tools with which the work is done.
The CHAIRMAN. Would it not be better to have the item read "For repairs and improvements of machinery and implements” at the plant?
Admiral Watt. I think your language probably expresses it better.
The CHAIRMAN. This language would seem to indicate that it was an improvement of the plant itself?
Admiral Watt. The words “Construction plant” has been used to mean the tools with which the work is done. When you speak of a shipbuilding plant, you mean the equipment in the way of tools, machinery, building, and building slips to do the work of shipbuilding
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that, but I did not know whether the appropriation was intended for the improvement of the movable or machinery part of the plant or the buildings ?
Admiral Watt. No part of that appropriation is used for the improvement of buildings. It is used for the tools and portable machinery inside the buildings.
The CHAIRMAN. You have various items here for the seven or eight yards, the different ones amounting to about $115,000, it seems! Admiral Watt. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. And those apply to all the yards?
Admiral Watt. They apply to all the yards; yes, sir. Last year you appropriated $200,000 for the plant at Pearl Harbor. This year we are asking for $115,000 distributed between the navy yards at Portsmouth, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Charleston, Mare Island, and Puget Sound.
Mr. TALBOTT. You are not asking anything for Pearl Harbor ?
Admiral WATT. I do not think so, sir. We went over them very carefully and cut them down to what we felt was the minimum.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is on page 125 of the bill, “Construction and machinery: On account of hulls and outfits of vessels and steam machinery of vessels heretofore authorized, to be available until expended.” Why do you insert the language "to be available until expended”?
Admiral Watt. In the sundry civil bill of last year a provision was made that no appropriation should be considered available until expended except one of certain classes enumerated therein, or unless the bill expressly so stated. Every previous appropriation for "Increase of the Navy" has been regarded as a continuing appropriation, available until expended. Ships frequently extend over a period of construction that is greater than the period of time for which this money is available if the appropriation is not a continuing appropriation. Further, it is entirely possible that the award of a contract might be delayed into the next fiscal year, and under the terms of this provision of the sundry civil bill the appropriation for that vessel would lapse and this committee would have to reappropriate the money before the contract could be proceeded with.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that grow out of the recent provision in the sundry civil bill ?
Admiral WATT. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I notice that you are asking this year for $13,550,728, instead of $9,446,205, appropriated last year, striking out the words “and herein.” Last year it seemed that we embraced in that item the construction and repair of vessels heretofore authorized and authorized in the act of last year, and it seems that the
amount last year which applied to vessels heretofore authorized was $4,808,705 ?
Admiral Watt. I can append to the hearing the detailed figures upon which that estimate of $13,550,000 is based. (See Appendix VII.)
The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would, and also the amount that you have on hand available at the present time unexpended ?
Admiral Watt. You will find that on page 128 of the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you anything under “Increase of the Navy, torpedo boats"?
Admiral WATT. Yes, sir.
Admiral Watt. That will be appended to the hearing in detail. (See Appendix VII.)
The CHAIRMAN. We shall be glad if you will do so. "Increase of the Navy: Equipment.” What do you get out of that appropriation ?
Admiral WATT. Anchors, chains, awnings, canvas work, rugs, curtains, galleys, and galley equipment
The CHAIRMAN. What does the amount aggregate?
The CHAIRMAN. It seems that last year we appropriated for this item $100,000. Why are you asking for the additional $75,000 this year?
Admiral Watt. We have more work to do out of that item of the appropriation.
The CHAIRMAN. Under the program for the increase of the Navy, 1914, what does the department recommend ?
Admiral WATT. On page 127 of the bill the department submits estimates for three battleships.
The CHAIRMAN. Can you insert in the hearings a statement of the amount that would be required under “Increase of the Navy: Construction and machinery” for one of each of the several types of vessels submitted in the report of the general board and commented upon in the report of the Secretary of the Navy, so that we may have a statement for one of each and will have that information in the hearings before the committee?
Admiral Watt. Yes, sir. (See Appendix VIII.)
The CHAIRMAN. You have also under "Increase of the Navy” the question of equipment ?
Admiral WATT. The data in Appendix VIII was prepared jointly by the Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair, the Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering, and the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance.
The CHAIRMAN. Please insert them in the hearings.
The CHAIRMAN. I want to repeat my request that you will give us in the hearings a statement of the amount allotted to you under the appropriation “Bureau of Equipment," and the expenditures, and, if any, the unexpended balance.
Admiral Watt. I shall be glad to do so. (See Appendix IX.) There was no balance under equipment.
The CHAIRMAN. You had no balance ?