B-112650, JANUARY 29, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 339

B-112650: Jan 29, 1953

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" IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED BY FOREST SERVICE EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREST PRODUCTS LABORATORY IN ATTENDING SPECIALIZED COURSES OF BRIEF DURATION AT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE ADVANCED PHASES OF THEIR RESPECTIVE SCIENCES. PROVIDED IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT SUCH ATTENDANCE IS NECESSARY TO EFFECT THE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LABORATORY AND IS NOT FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR KNOWLEDGE OF THE EMPLOYEES. 1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF OCTOBER 31. IT IS STATED THAT THE FOREST PRODUCTS LABORATORY IS A RESEARCH INSTITUTION OPERATED BY THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE. IS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED. IT IS STATED THAT THE LABORATORY. FROM THE SCANT SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE AVAILABLE AND BY TRIAL AND ERROR EXPERIMENTATION WHICH IS COSTLY AND TIME CONSUMING.

B-112650, JANUARY 29, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 339

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRAINING - SCHOOLS - PERSONAL V. GOVERNMENT EXPENSE THE APPROPRIATION " SALARY AND EXPENSES, FOREST SERVICE," IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED BY FOREST SERVICE EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREST PRODUCTS LABORATORY IN ATTENDING SPECIALIZED COURSES OF BRIEF DURATION AT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE ADVANCED PHASES OF THEIR RESPECTIVE SCIENCES, PROVIDED IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT SUCH ATTENDANCE IS NECESSARY TO EFFECT THE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LABORATORY AND IS NOT FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR KNOWLEDGE OF THE EMPLOYEES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 29, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF OCTOBER 31, 1952, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE FOREST PRODUCTS LABORATORY AT MADISON, WISCONSIN, UNDER THE APPROPRIATION" SALARIES AND EXPENSES, FOREST SERVICE, 1953," SUBHEAD " FOREST RESEARCH," CONTAINED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1953, APPROVED JULY 5, 1952, 66 STAT. 343, MAY BE USED TO PAY THE SALARY, TRAVEL, SUBSISTENCE, TUITION AN EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES IN ATTENDING SPECIALIZED COURSES OF INSTRUCTION OF BRIEF DURATION AT COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES OR ELSEWHERE IN SUBJECTS RELATING TO THEIR MAJOR FIELD OF WORK IN RESEARCH.

IT IS STATED THAT THE FOREST PRODUCTS LABORATORY IS A RESEARCH INSTITUTION OPERATED BY THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, AND THAT THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 699, 16 U.S.C. 581 ET SEQ., IS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED, WITHIN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS THEREFOR, TO CONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS, EXPERIMENTS, AND TESTS IN ORDER TO DETERMINE, DEMONSTRATE, AND PROMULGATE THE BEST METHODS OF REFORESTATION AND OF GROWING, MANAGING, AND UTILIZING TIMBER, FORAGE, AND OTHER FOREST PRODUCTS. ALSO, IT IS STATED THAT THE LABORATORY, IN THE COURSE OF ITS YEARS OF OPERATION, HAS BROUGHT TOGETHER A STAFF OF TRAINED AND COMPETENT RESEARCH WORKERS OF THE VARIOUS PROFESSIONS WHO EXERT EVERY EFFORT, THROUGH PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL PUBLICATIONS AND PERSONAL CONTACTS, TO KEEP ABREAST OF THE NEWEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THEIR FIELDS OF SCIENCE, AND THAT MANY OF THEM, FROM TIME TO TIME AT THEIR PERSONAL EXPENSE, TAKE ADVANCED COURSES OF STUDY AT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES TO FURTHER IMPROVE THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND ENHANCE THEIR VALUE TO THE LABORATORY.

THE ACTING SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE REFERS TO THE TREMENDOUS ADVANCES MADE IN THE PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL SCIENCES DURING THE PAST DECADE IN THE FIELD OF FOREST PRODUCTS UTILIZATION, THE NUMEROUS SPECIALIZATIONS IN SUCH FIELDS, THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW THEORIES, METHODS AND TECHNIQUES, AND POINTS OUT THE DIFFICULTIES CONFRONTING ITS LABORATORY MEMBERS IN KEEPING ABREAST OF THE ENTIRE FIELD EXCEPT IN A GENERAL PROGRAM OF RESEARCH AND THE SPECIAL RESEARCH PROJECTS REQUESTED TO BE PERFORMED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OCCASIONALLY ENTER INTO THE FIELD OF ONE OR MORE OF THE MORE RECENT SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES IN METHODS OR TECHNIQUES TO THE EXTENT THAT THE MEMBERS ASSIGNED TO SUCH RESEARCH PROJECTS MUST EITHER WORK OUT THE THEIR OWN METHODS AND TECHNIQUES, FROM THE SCANT SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE AVAILABLE AND BY TRIAL AND ERROR EXPERIMENTATION WHICH IS COSTLY AND TIME CONSUMING, OR THEY MUST SECURE INTENSIVE TRAINING IN THE SUBJECT MATTER INVOLVED FROM ONE OF THE FEW RECOGNIZED AUTHORITIES IN THE FIELD. IN THAT REGARD, AND AS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE SPECIALIZED TRAINING COURSES UPON WHICH ATTENDANCE OF LABORATORY MEMBERS IS PROPOSED, THE LETTER CITES THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES:

A RECENT CASE UNDER CONSIDERATION INVOLVED THE POSSIBILITY OF SENDING ONE OR MORE LABORATORY CHEMISTS TO THE INSTITUTE OF POLYMER RESEARCH AT THE POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE OF BROOKLYN FOR PARTICIPATION IN A TWO WEEKS' COURSE IN THE TECHNIQUES OF DETERMINING THE DEGREE OF POLYMERIZATION WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO MOLECULAR WEIGHT AND SHAPE AND SIZE OF MICRO- MOLECULES IN SOLUTION. THE FEW NATIONAL AUTHORITIES ON THIS SUBJECT ARE CONCENTRATED AT THIS COLLEGE. THE LABORATORY'S PROGRAM OF RESEARCH BOTH FOR ITS OWN PURPOSES AND THOSE OF THE ARMY ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT AND OTHER DEFENSE AGENCIES WILL INCREASINGLY REQUIRE KNOWLEDGE OF THE DEGREE OF POLYMERIZATION AND CRYSTALLITE STRUCTURE OF CELLULOSE. UNDER NORMAL METHODS OF PROCEDURE CHEMISTS PERFORMING THIS WORK WILL HAVE TO DEVELOP THEIR OWN TECHNIQUES BEFORE THEIR RESEARCH CAN BECOME FULLY PRODUCTIVE. THESE TECHNIQUES ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT AND CONTROVERSIAL IN THIS BRANCH OF THE PHYSICAL CHEMICAL NATURE OF WOOD COMPONENTS. PARTICIPATION OF CHEMISTS IN THE COURSE OF TRAINING OUTLINED ABOVE WOULD HAVE PROVIDED THEM ALMOST IMMEDIATELY WITH THE TECHNIQUES NEEDED FOR THIS PROJECT. FURTHER, THE LABORATORY DOES NO* YET HAVE AVAILABLE ALL OF THE SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR THIS WORK AND THIS TRAINING WOULD ENABLE THE CHEMISTS INVOLVED TO DETERMINE IMMEDIATELY THE MOST SUITABLE SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT NEEDED.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OCCURRED EARLY IN 1951. TO ACCOMPLISH MORE EXHAUSTIVE RESEARCH INTO THE MOLECULAR STRUCTURE OF WOOD COMPONENTS, THE LABORATORY PURCHASED AT A COST OF APPROXIMATELY $13,000, A VERY COMPLEX INSTRUMENT KNOWN AS AN " INFRA-RED SPECTROPHOTOMETER.' FOR THE IMMEDIATE RESEARCH USE CONTEMPLATED, LABORATORY CHEMISTS WERE SUFFICIENTLY VERSED IN THE THEORY AND USE OF THIS INSTRUMENT TO FULLY JUSTIFY ITS PURCHASE. HOWEVER, THE FULL POTENTIAL USE OF THE INSTRUMENT IS UNDERSTOOD BY ONLY A VERY FEW EXPERTS. THERE IS VERY LITTLE LITERATURE ON THE SUBJECT. FULL POTENTIAL USE OF THE INSTRUMENT COULD NOT THEREFORE BE REALIZED FOR SOME TIME SINCE LABORATORY CHEMISTS WERE UNDER THE NECESSITY OF LEARNING ADDITIONAL WAYS IN WHICH TO USE THE INSTRUMENT THROUGH EXPERIMENTATION. IN JULY 1951, THE MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY CONDUCTED COURSES OF ONE WEEK'S DURATION, IN THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF THE USE OF THIS INSTRUMENT. PARTICIPATION IN ONE OF THESE COURSES BY THE CHEMISTS INVOLVED WOULD HAVE PROVIDED THEM ALMOST IMMEDIATELY WITH THE KNOWLEDGE NEEDED FOR INCREASED AND MORE PRODUCTIVE USE OF THIS COSTLY SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENT.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FOREST SERVICE FOR " FOREST RESEARCH" CONTAINED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1953, 66 STAT. 343, PROVIDES:

FOREST RESEARCH: FOR FOREST RESEARCH AT FOREST OR RANGE EXPERIMENT STATIONS, THE FOREST PRODUCTS LABORATORY, OR ELSEWHERE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, AND 10 OF THE ACT APPROVED MAY 22, 1928, AS AMENDED (16 U.S.C. 581, 581A, 581F-581I), INCLUDING THE CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE OF IMPROVEMENTS; FIRE, SILVICULTURAL, WATERSHED, AND OTHER FOREST INVESTIGATIONS AND EXPERIMENTS; INVESTIGATIONS AND EXPERIMENTS TO DEVELOP IMPROVED METHODS OF MANAGEMENT OF FOREST AND OTHER RANGES; EXPERIMENTS, INVESTIGATIONS, AND TESTS OF FOREST PRODUCTS; A COMPREHENSIVE FOREST SURVEY; AND INVESTIGATIONS IN FOREST ECONOMICS; $5,400,000: PROVIDED, THAT FUNDS MAY BE ADVANCED TO COOPERATORS UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE SECRETARY MAY PRESCRIBE WHEN SUCH ACTION WILL STIMULATE OR FACILITATE COOPERATIVE WORK.

EXAMINATION OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED APPROPRIATION LANGUAGE AND THE PROVISIONS OF LAW REFERRED TO THEREIN DISCLOSE THAT A PRIMARY FUNCTION OF THE FOREST PRODUCTS LABORATORY IS THE CONDUCT OF EXPERIMENTS, INVESTIGATIONS, AND TESTS WITH RESPECT TO THE UTILIZATION AND PRESERVATION OF WOOD AND OTHER FOREST PRODUCTS. THEREFORE, IF IT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT ATTENDANCE OF LABORATORY MEMBERS AT SPECIALIZED COURSES OF INSTRUCTION FOR PERIODS OF BRIEF DURATION IN THE ADVANCED PHASES OF THEIR RESPECTIVE SCIENCES, SIMILAR TO THE EXAMPLE SET FORTH ABOVE, IS NECESSARY TO EFFECT THE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE LABORATORY AND NOT FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR KNOWLEDGE OF ITS MEMBERS, THERE IS PERCEIVED NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE USE OF THE REFERRED-TO APPROPRIATION FOR EXPENSES OF THE TYPE SET FORTH IN THE OPENING PARAGRAPH ABOVE. SEE 31 COMP. GEN. 623, CITED IN THE LETTER AND 29 COMP. GEN. 96.