A-93500, APRIL 16, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 851

A-93500: Apr 16, 1938

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ITS APPROPRIATIONS ARE SOLELY AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL INVOLVED AND MAY NOT BE SUPPLEMENTED BY PAYMENTS UNDER THE APPROPRIATION . YOUR ADVANCE DECISION ON THE FOLLOWING IS REQUESTED: THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION BILL FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1939 CARRIES AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE "PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE: * * * FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE NATIONAL MATCHES. TOGETHER WITH SMALL-ARMS FIRING SCHOOL TO BE CONNECTED THEREWITH AND COMPETITIONS FOR WHICH TROPHIES AND MEDALS ARE PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA. THE SUM NECESSARY FOR THE ABOVE-NAMED PURPOSES IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED ANNUALLY AS A PART OF THE TOTAL SUM APPROPRIATED FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE: * * *.'.

A-93500, APRIL 16, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 851

TRAVELING EXPENSES - MARINE CORPS PERSONNEL - NATIONAL RIFLE MATCHES - WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY THERE BEING NO LAW PROVIDING FOR THE DETAIL OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE MARINE CORPS TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR DUTY AS OPERATING PERSONNEL FOR THE NATIONAL RIFLE MATCHES, THE WAR DEPARTMENT MAY NOT LEGALLY AGREE TO PAY, FROM ITS APPROPRIATION "PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE" FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1939, TRAVELING EXPENSES OF A MARINE CORPS OPERATING DETACHMENT FURNISHED AT ITS REQUEST BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT FOR DUTY AT THE SAID MATCHES, AND IF THE MARINE CORPS ORDERS ITS PERSONNEL TO THE MATCHES AS A FUNCTION OF THE CORPS, ITS APPROPRIATIONS ARE SOLELY AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL INVOLVED AND MAY NOT BE SUPPLEMENTED BY PAYMENTS UNDER THE APPROPRIATION ,PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE" IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, APRIL 16, 1938:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 16, 1938, AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF JULY 31, 1894 (28 STAT. 208), YOUR ADVANCE DECISION ON THE FOLLOWING IS REQUESTED:

THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION BILL FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1939 CARRIES AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE "PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE: * * * FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE NATIONAL MATCHES, INCLUDING INCIDENTAL TRAVEL, * * *.' THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1927, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1928 (45 STAT. 786; U.S.C. 32: 181A AND 181B), FURTHER DESCRIBES THE NATIONAL MATCHES AS FOLLOWS, QUOTING SECTIONS 181A AND 181B, UNITED STATES CODE:

"SEC. 181A. PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE; NATIONAL MATCHES; SMALL ARMS FIRING SCHOOL. THERE SHALL BE HELD AN ANNUAL COMPETITION, KNOWN AS THE NATIONAL MATCHES, FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPETING FOR A NATIONAL TROPHY, MEDALS, AND OTHER PRIZES TO BE PROVIDED, TOGETHER WITH A SMALL ARMS FIRING SCHOOL, WHICH COMPETITION AND SCHOOL SHALL BE HELD ANNUALLY UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR.

"SEC. 181B. SAME; RIFLE AND PISTOL MATCHES OPEN TO ARMY, NAVY, MARINE CORPS, NATIONAL GUARD, MILITIA, CIVILIANS, ETC.; EXPENSES; APPROPRIATION. THE NATIONAL MATCHES CONTEMPLATED IN SECTION 181A OF THIS TITLE SHALL CONSIST OF RIFLE AND PISTOL MATCHES FOR THE NATIONAL TROPHY, MEDALS, AND OTHER PRIZES MENTIONED IN SAID SECTION, TO BE OPEN TO THE ARMY, NAVY, MARINE CORPS, NATIONAL GUARD, OR ORGANIZED MILITIA OF THE SEVERAL STATES, TERRITORIES, AND DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE RESERVE OFFICERS' TRAINING CORPS, AND THE CITIZENS' MILITARY TRAINING CAMPS, RIFLE CLUBS, AND CIVILIANS, TOGETHER WITH SMALL-ARMS FIRING SCHOOL TO BE CONNECTED THEREWITH AND COMPETITIONS FOR WHICH TROPHIES AND MEDALS ARE PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA; AND FOR THE COST AND EXPENDITURES REQUIRED FOR AND INCIDENT TO THE CONDUCT OF THE SAME, INCLUDING THE PERSONAL EXPENSES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL BOARD FOR THE PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE, THE SUM NECESSARY FOR THE ABOVE-NAMED PURPOSES IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED ANNUALLY AS A PART OF THE TOTAL SUM APPROPRIATED FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE: * * *.'

NATIONAL MATCHES ARE HELD ANNUALLY AT CAMP PERRY, OHIO. ABOUT 3,000 COMPETITORS FROM ALL PARTS OF THE UNITED STATES ATTEND. THEY COME FROM VARIOUS CLASSES OF CITIZENS SUCH AS NATIONAL GUARD, MARINE CORPS, U.S. COAST GUARD, NAVAL MILITIA, RESERVE OFFICERS' TRAINING CORPS, ORGANIZED RESERVES, CIVILIANS, AMERICAN LEGION, ETC.

TO CONDUCT THESE MATCHES PROPERLY, IT IS NECESSARY FOR THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO FURNISH ADEQUATE OPERATING PERSONNEL. THIS PERSONNEL PERFORMS THE SUPERVISORY, TARGET MARKING, AND TARGET PULLING DUTIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE MATCHES. AS A RULE, THE ARMY FURNISHES 1,400 OF THIS PERSONNEL AND THE MARINE CORPS 300. ALL PERSONNEL IS UNDER COMMAND OF THE SENIOR OFFICER PRESENT, WHETHER HE COMES FROM THE ARMY OR THE MARINE CORPS.

THE CONTRIBUTING SERVICES OF THE MARINE CORPS OPERATING DETACHMENT AT THE NATIONAL MATCHES ARE VALUABLE AS RELIEVING THE NECESSITY OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT IN FURNISHING ITS OWN TROOPS. IF 300 MARINES DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE MATCHES, 300 SOLDIERS MUST BE FURNISHED IN THEIR PLACE. IN OTHER WORDS, THE WAR DEPARTMENT HAS HERETOFORE BELIEVED THAT THE LANGUAGE OF THE APPROPRIATION: ,PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE: * * * FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE NATIONAL MATCHES, INCLUDING INCIDENTAL TRAVEL * * *" IS SUFFICIENTLY CLEAR TO AUTHORIZE THE INCIDENTAL TRAVEL EXPENSES OF PERSONNEL WHO ASSIST IN CONDUCTING THE NATIONAL MATCHES REGARDLESS OF THE SOURCE FROM WHICH THEY COME. IN A RECENT DECISION OF YOUR OFFICE, HOWEVER, IT WAS HELD THAT REIMBURSEMENT OF THE MARINE CORPS OPERATING DETACHMENT FOR ITS PARTICIPATION IN THE 1937 NATIONAL MATCHES WAS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE WORDING OF THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION. THIS DECISION WAS, IT IS BELIEVED, BASED UPON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE MARINE CORPS OPERATING DETACHMENT IN 1937 WAS ORDERED TO THE NATIONAL MATCHES ON MARINE CORPS DUTIES RATHER THAN ON NATIONAL MATCH DUTIES. REGARDLESS OF THE CORRECTNESS OF THIS ASSUMPTION, IT IS A FACT THAT THE MARINE DETACHMENT AT THE 1937 NATIONAL MATCHES WAS ORDERED THERE UPON THE APPROVED REQUEST OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT.

THE QUESTION OF REIMBURSING THE MARINE DETACHMENT FOR INCIDENTAL TRAVEL AT THE NATIONAL MATCHES IN 1937 HAS BEEN DEFINITELY DECIDED AND CLOSED BY YOUR RECENT DECISION, BUT A SIMILAR QUESTION MAY ARISE IN THE FUTURE.

PROVIDED THE WAR DEPARTMENT FORMALLY REQUESTS THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO FURNISH A MARINE CORPS OPERATING DETACHMENT AT FUTURE NATIONAL MATCHES, AND THAT SUBSEQUENTLY THIS DETACHMENT IS ORDERED TO THE NATIONAL MATCHES FOR DUTY ON THE SAME BASIS AS REGULAR ARMY OPERATING PERSONNEL, IS THE PRESENT WORDING OF THE APPROPRIATION:"PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE: * * * FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE NATIONAL MATCHES INCLUDING INCIDENTAL TRAVEL * * *," SUFFICIENT TO AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT FROM THIS APPROPRIATION OF THE INCIDENTAL TRAVEL EXPENSES OF SUCH MARINE CORPS OPERATING DETACHMENT?

THE OPINION OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT IS THAT BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENT SUCH AS THE FOREGOING, THE QUESTION AS TO THE STATUS OF THE MARINE CORPS OPERATING DETACHMENT AT THE NATIONAL MATCHES WILL BE DETERMINED IN ADVANCE AND THAT CONSEQUENTLY THEIR RIGHT TO INCIDENTAL TRAVEL EXPENSES WILL BE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PRESENT WORDING OF THE APPROPRIATION.

THE STATEMENT SHOWING THE DISTRIBUTION OF APPROPRIATIONS AND ESTIMATES FOR THE NATIONAL MATCHES AND SMALL ARMS FIRING SCHOOL, ESTIMATED FOR 1939 IN THE AMOUNT OF $343,744, SET OUT IN THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, ON THE ARMY APPROPRIATION BILL FOR 1939, AT PAGE 639, SHOWS AN ITEM FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES OF REGULAR ARMY PERSONNEL ON DUTY AT THE NATIONAL MATCHES, IN THE AMOUNT OF $42,665. THERE APPEARS NO ESTIMATE FOR MARINE CORPS OPERATING PERSONNEL. YOU STATE THAT IF THE MARINE CORPS DETACHMENT IS NOT SENT, IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO DETAIL AN EQUAL NUMBER OF REGULAR ARMY PERSONNEL TO PROPERLY CONDUCT THE NATIONAL MATCHES. THE FACTS DISCLOSED, ON WHICH THE DECISION OF JANUARY 14, 1938, A-90962, WAS RENDERED, SHOW THAT HERETOFORE THE MARINE CORPS HAS PAID THIS ITEM OF TRANSPORTATION OF OPERATING PERSONNEL SENT TO THE NATIONAL MATCHES OUT OF ITS OWN APPROPRIATION. IT APPEARED SUCH PERSONNEL WERE ORDERED TO PROCEED TO CAMP PERRY AS A MARINE CORPS FUNCTION, AND PAYMENT WAS REGULARLY MADE FOR SUCH TRAVEL UNDER THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES, MARINE CORPS.' THE TRAVEL HAVING BEEN ORDERED, PERFORMED, AND PAID FOR AS A MARINE CORPS FUNCTION IT WAS HELD THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY TO REIMBURSE THE APPROPRIATION OUT OF AN UNOBLIGATED BALANCE IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE NATIONAL MATCHES.

YOU REQUEST DECISION WHETHER THE WAR DEPARTMENT MAY REQUEST THE NAVY DEPARTMENT TO FURNISH A MARINE CORPS OPERATING DETACHMENT AND ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT TO PAY THE INCIDENTAL TRAVELING EXPENSES UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE.' THERE IS NO LAW PROVIDING FOR THE DETAIL OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE MARINE CORPS TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR DUTY AS OPERATING PERSONNEL FOR THE NATIONAL RIFLE MATCHES.

IN THE REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR TO THE PRESIDENT, 1936, AT PAGE 27, IT WAS STATED:

DUE TO THE NUMEROUS OTHER ACTIVITIES IN WHICH IT WAS ENGAGED, THE REGULAR ARMY WAS NOT ABLE TO FURNISH THE ENTIRE OPERATING PERSONNEL FOR THE MATCHES, AS IT HAD DONE IN THE PAST. IT WAS NECESSARY, THEREFORE, TO HIRE ABOUT 600 NATIONAL GUARD MEN, WITH AN APPROPRIATE COMPLEMENT OF OFFICERS, FROM THE STATE OF OHIO. THEY WERE USED FOR SUCH PURPOSES AS MARKING TARGETS, SCORING, AND OTHER NECESSARY TASKS. THESE NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS PERFORMED THEIR DUTIES IN A HIGHLY EFFICIENT MANNER AND CONSIDERABLE CREDIT IS DUE THEM AND THE STATE AUTHORITIES FOR THEIR FINE COOPERATION. IT IS MY OPINION, HOWEVER, THAT THE NATIONAL MATCHES SHOULD BE CONDUCTED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT AND THAT A PROPER COMPLEMENT OF PERSONNEL SHOULD BE FURNISHED FROM THE REGULAR ARMY FOR THIS PURPOSE WHENEVER POSSIBLE. THE INFLUENCE OF THE MATCHES ON TARGET PRACTICE OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND THE ENTHUSIASM THAT THEY AROUSE AMONG CIVILIAN MARKSMEN FULLY JUSTIFY THE EXPENSE AND EMPLOYMENT OF REGULAR TROOPS.

THE ARMY APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1936, 49 STAT. 140, PROVIDED THAT OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND ORGANIZED RESERVES MAY VOLUNTEER TO PARTICIPATE WITHOUT PAY AS COMPETITORS IN THE NATIONAL RIFLE MATCHES, AND SUCH ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1937 ALSO COVERED OPERATING PERSONNEL AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THAT OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND ORGANIZED RESERVES, WHO, UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR, VOLUNTEER TO PARTICIPATE WITHOUT PAY AS COMPETITORS OR RANGE OFFICERS IN THE NATIONAL MATCHES TO BE HELD DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1937, MAY ATTEND SUCH MATCHES WITHOUT PAY, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, BUT SHALL BE ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES AT THE SAME RATES AS ARE PROVIDED FOR CIVILIANS WHO ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE IN SAID MATCHES, BUT THIS PROVISO SHALL NOT OPERATE TO PROHIBIT THE PAY OF SUCH COMPETITORS OR RANGE OFFICERS, PROVIDED FUNDS FOR SUCH PAYMENT ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION "PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE, 1937," NOR SHALL ANY PROVISION IN THIS ACT OPERATE TO DEPRIVE A RESERVE OFFICER ORDERED TO ACTIVE DUTY INCIDENT TO THE NATIONAL MATCHES OF PAY FOR THE FULL PERIOD OF SUCH ACTIVE DUTY PROVIDED FUNDS FOR SUCH PAYMENT ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION "PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE, 1937: " PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NATIONAL GUARD AND ORGANIZED RESERVES MAY BE ORDERED TO DUTY, WITH THEIR CONSENT, FOR THE CARE, MAINTENANCE, AND OPERATION OF THE RANGES USED IN THE CONDUCT OF THE NATIONAL MATCHES AND SUCH OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, AND ENLISTED MEN WHILE SO ENGAGED SHALL BE ENTITLED TO THE SAME PAY, SUBSISTENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION AS OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, AND ENLISTED MEN OF CORRESPONDING GRADES OF THE REGULAR ARMY ARE ENTITLED BY LAW, WHICH EXPENSE SHALL BE PROVIDED BY THE APPROPRIATION "PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE; " * * *

OF COURSE, THE OFFICE DOES NOT QUESTION THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY OF THE MARINE CORPS TO ORDER PERSONNEL TO THE NATIONAL MATCHES AS A FUNCTION OF SUCH CORPS. HOWEVER, WHEN SUCH PERSONNEL IS PERFORMING MARINE CORPS DUTY, INCLUSIVE OF DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH THE NATIONAL MATCHES, THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR THE MARINE CORPS ARE SOLELY AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE TRAVEL INVOLVED, AND, IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR, SUCH APPROPRIATIONS MAY NOT BE SUPPLEMENTED BY PAYMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "PROMOTION OF RIFLE PRACTICE.' SEE SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES.