B-132687, AUG. 19, 1957

B-132687: Aug 19, 1957

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THE INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE OF THE ARMED FORCES IS OPERATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND PROVIDES TOP SPECIALIZED TRAINING IN ECONOMIC MOBILIZATION FOR WAR. CANNOT BE OBTAINED AT ANY OTHER INSTITUTION IN THE UNITED STATES AND IS NOT AVAILABLE TO PRIVATE CITIZENS. IN THOSE DECISIONS WE HAVE CLOSELY FOLLOWED THE LONG ESTABLISHED RULE THAT. THE COST OF EMPLOYEE TRAINING- - INCLUDING THE EMPLOYEE'S COMPENSATION DURING THE PERIOD OF TRAINING WHEN HE IS PERFORMING NONE OF HIS REGULAR DUTIES. - MAY BE PAID FROM THE GENERAL APPROPRIATION OF AN AGENCY ONLY WHEN THE TRAINING IS (1) SPECIAL IN NATURE AND OF LIMITED DURATION. (2) ESSENTIAL TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE.

B-132687, AUG. 19, 1957

TO THE SECRETARY OF LABOR:

ON JULY 23, 1957, THE ACTING SECRETARY OF LABOR REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER YOUR DEPARTMENT MAY PROCEED WITH ITS PLANS TO ENROLL AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE MOBILIZATION TRAINING COURSE CONDUCTED BY THE INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE OF THE ARMED FORCES DURING THE 1957-58 ACADEMIC YEAR.

THE INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE OF THE ARMED FORCES IS OPERATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND PROVIDES TOP SPECIALIZED TRAINING IN ECONOMIC MOBILIZATION FOR WAR. THE MOBILIZATION TRAINING COURSE CONDUCTED BY THAT INSTITUTION, WHICH EXTENDS FOR A PERIOD OF 10 MONTHS, CANNOT BE OBTAINED AT ANY OTHER INSTITUTION IN THE UNITED STATES AND IS NOT AVAILABLE TO PRIVATE CITIZENS. SINCE YOUR DEPARTMENT HAD BEEN ASSIGNED RESPONSIBILITY FOR SPECIFIC PREPAREDNESS MEASURES RELATING TO THE MANPOWER ASPECTS OF DEFENSE, YOUR DEPARTMENT DEEMS IT ESSENTIAL THAT DESIGNATED EMPLOYEES OBTAIN THE TRAINING PROVIDED BY THAT COURSE.

THE ACTING SECRETARY'S LETTER INDICATES THE DEPARTMENT'S FAMILIARITY WITH OUR PRIOR DECISIONS CONCERNING THE ATTENDANCE OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL AT VARIOUS TYPES OF TRAINING COURSES. IN THOSE DECISIONS WE HAVE CLOSELY FOLLOWED THE LONG ESTABLISHED RULE THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION, THE COST OF EMPLOYEE TRAINING- - INCLUDING THE EMPLOYEE'S COMPENSATION DURING THE PERIOD OF TRAINING WHEN HE IS PERFORMING NONE OF HIS REGULAR DUTIES--- MAY BE PAID FROM THE GENERAL APPROPRIATION OF AN AGENCY ONLY WHEN THE TRAINING IS (1) SPECIAL IN NATURE AND OF LIMITED DURATION, (2) ESSENTIAL TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE, AND (3) NOT OF A TYPE WHICH THE EMPLOYEE NORMALLY WOULD BE EXPECTED TO PROCURE AT HIS OWN EXPENSE. THAT RULE HAS BEEN APPLIED UNIFORMLY REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE INSTITUTION CONDUCTING THE TRAINING COURSE WAS PRIVATE OR OPERATED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

AS YOU ARE AWARE, OUR DECISIONS OF JULY 18 AND AUGUST 15, 1956, B 128423, TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, CAREFULLY CONSIDERED THE PROPRIETY OF THE ATTENDANCE OF AN EMPLOYEE OF GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION AT THE MOBILIZATION TRAINING COURSE CONDUCTED BY THE INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE OF THE ARMED FORCES. IN THOSE DECISIONS WE ADVISED THE ADMINISTRATOR OF GENERAL SERVICES THAT THE ATTENDANCE OF GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEES AT THE COLLEGE FOR A 10 MONTH PERIOD DURING WHICH THE EMPLOYEES CONCERNED WOULD CONTINUE IN A PAY STATUS BUT RENDER NONE OF THEIR USUAL DUTIES WAS A MATTER OF SUFFICIENT DOUBT TO REQUIRE CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION. THERE IS NOTHING CONTAINED IN THE DEPARTMENT'S LETTER OF JULY 23, 1957, WHICH WOULD WARRANT A DIFFERENT CONCLUSION RESPECTING EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR. WHILE THE PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE DATED JANUARY 11, 1955, REFERRED TO IN THE ACTING SECRETARY'S LETTER, INSTRUCTS THE DEPARTMENTS TO USE THE TRAINING FACILITIES OF OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES, IT MUST BE ASSUMED THAT THE DIRECTIVE REFERS ONLY TO PROPERLY AUTHORIZED TRAINING ACTIVITIES OF BOTH AGENCIES AND DOES NOT OBVIATE THE NECESSITY FOR CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION OF THE TRAINING OF THE EMPLOYEES WHO ARE TO ATTEND THE COURSES. SEE OUR DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 26, 1956, B-128842, WHEREIN THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE WAS ADVISED, IN A PRACTICALLY IDENTICAL SITUATION, THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE RURAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION COULD NOT BE USED TO MEET THE COSTS OF THE ATTENDANCE OF AN REA EMPLOYEE AT A SERIES OF COURSES IN NUCLEAR REACTOR TECHNOLOGY, EXTENDING OVER SEVEN MONTHS, CONDUCTED BY THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION AT THE ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY SCHOOL OF NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. SEE ALSO OUR DECISION OF MARCH 1, 1957, B-128464, 36 COMP. GEN. 621, TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, FOR AN EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION AND HISTORICAL SURVEY OF THE DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE FIELD OF EMPLOYEE TRAINING.

THE CONGRESS IS AWARE OF OUR DECISIONS ON SUCH TRAINING ACTIVITIES AND HAS BEFORE IT BILLS (H.R. 6001 AND S. 385, 85TH CONGRESS) WHICH WOULD PROVIDE A STATUTORY BASIS FOR THE FURNISHING OF NEEDED TRAINING AND WOULD ESTABLISH STANDARDS AND CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH CIVILIAN TRAINING AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WOULD BE AUTHORIZED. FINAL ACTION ON SUCH BILLS HAS NOT YET BEEN TAKEN. ALSO, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IN SOME INSTANCES DEPARTMENTAL REQUESTS FOR SPECIFIC TRAINING AUTHORITY HAVE NOT BEEN GRANTED BY THE CONGRESS BECAUSE IT WAS ANTICIPATED THAT EARLY ACTION ON THE GENERAL TRAINING BILLS WOULD ELIMINATE A NEED THEREFOR. CONSIDERING THE STATUS OF SUCH LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS, THE PARTICULAR NATURE OF THE COURSE AT THE INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE, THE FACT THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR HAS PARTICIPATED IN IT FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, AND SINCE WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED INFORMALLY THAT THE COURSE FOR THE 1957-58 ACADEMIC YEAR WILL BEGIN SHORTLY, WE WILL INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO YOUR DEPARTMENT ENROLLING AN EMPLOYEE FOR TRAINING AT THE INDUSTRIAL COLLEGE OF THE ARMED FORCES DURING THE 1957-58 ACADEMIC YEAR.