B-135022, APR. 1, 1958

B-135022: Apr 1, 1958

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TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JANUARY 21. IT IS STATED THAT THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION HAS A 30 MONTHS' TRAINING PROGRAM FOR SELECTED MARINE ENGINEERS AND NAVAL ARCHITECTS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THEIR EMPLOYMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRAINING AND DEVELOPING SUCH PERSONNEL FOR MORE RESPONSIBLE WORK WITH THE AGENCY. THE TRAINING PROGRAM INCLUDES PROVISION FOR SELECTED TRAINEES TO ENROLL FOR 1 SCHOOL YEAR (9 MONTHS) AT AN APPROVED UNIVERSITY FOR ADVANCED STUDY OF HIGHLY TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC SUBJECTS AND SUCH TRAINEES ARE EXPECTED TO OBTAIN A MASTER'S DEGREE IN THE APPROPRIATE ENGINEERING FIELD AT THE END OF THIS PERIOD. AUTHORITY FOR THIS PHASE OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 201 (E) OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT.

B-135022, APR. 1, 1958

TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JANUARY 21, 1958, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF COMMERCE FOR ADMINISTRATION, REQUESTING OUR OPINION WHETHER, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED HEREINAFTER, FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION MAY BE USED TO PAY THE EXPENSES OF SELECTED EMPLOYEES IN ATTENDING ADVANCED COURSES OF TRAINING AT LOCAL UNIVERSITIES UNDER THE MARINE ENGINEER AND NAVAL ARCHITECT TRAINEE PROGRAM.

IT IS STATED THAT THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION HAS A 30 MONTHS' TRAINING PROGRAM FOR SELECTED MARINE ENGINEERS AND NAVAL ARCHITECTS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THEIR EMPLOYMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRAINING AND DEVELOPING SUCH PERSONNEL FOR MORE RESPONSIBLE WORK WITH THE AGENCY. THE TRAINING PROGRAM INCLUDES PROVISION FOR SELECTED TRAINEES TO ENROLL FOR 1 SCHOOL YEAR (9 MONTHS) AT AN APPROVED UNIVERSITY FOR ADVANCED STUDY OF HIGHLY TECHNICAL AND SCIENTIFIC SUBJECTS AND SUCH TRAINEES ARE EXPECTED TO OBTAIN A MASTER'S DEGREE IN THE APPROPRIATE ENGINEERING FIELD AT THE END OF THIS PERIOD. AUTHORITY FOR THIS PHASE OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 201 (E) OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, 49 STAT. 1936, 46 U.S.C. 1111 (1), IN PERTINENT PART, AS OLLOWS:

"THE BOARD AND SECRETARY, UNDER SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS THEY MAY PRESCRIBE, MAY DETAIL ANNUALLY NOT TO EXCEED FIVE MEMBERS OF THE PERSONNEL OF THE BOARD AND SECRETARY FOR ENGINEERING, TECHNICAL, OR OTHER SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AT INSTITUTIONS FOR SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION AND RESEARCH, TO ENABLE SUCH PERSONS TO ACQUIRE ADVANCES AND SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE OR TRAINING OF PARTICULAR ADVANTAGE TO THE BOARD AND SECRETARY IN CARRYING OUT ITS FUNCTIONS UNDER THIS CHAPTER.'

THE PROPOSED TRAINING COVERS ADVANCED COURSES OF STUDY IN THE FIELD OF ENGINEERING THAT ARE TO BE TAKEN AFTER OFFICE HOURS EITHER AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY OR MARYLAND UNIVERSITY. THE COURSES EXTEND OVER A PERIOD OF TWO SEMESTERS OR 9 MONTHS; AND THE EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT ENTAILS THE PAYMENT OF TUITION, FEES, AND BOOKS, ESTIMATED ON THE BASIS OF 3 SEMESTER HOURS' CREDIT, TO COST APPROXIMATELY $100 FOR EACH TRAINEE PER SEMESTER. THE PURPOSE AND NEED FOR THIS TRAINING, THE COST OF WHICH IT IS SUGGESTED IS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO MARITIME ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATIONS UNDER OUR DECISIONS RELATIVE TO TRAINING WITHOUT REGARD TO THE SPECIFIC STATUTORY EDUCATION AND TRAINING AUTHORITY QUOTED ABOVE, ARE EXPLAINED AS FOLLOWS:

"THE REQUIREMENT OF OUR TRAINING PROGRAM THAT THE TRAINEE COMPLETE THE NECESSARY ADVANCED AND SPECIALIZED SUBJECTS FOR A MASTER'S DEGREE AFTER TWO SEMESTERS OF ADVANCED WORK HAS BEEN VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE TRAINEES, AS THE TIME ALLOWED IS AT LEAST ONE SEMESTER SHORTER THAN ORDINARILY REQUIRED BY THE SELECTED SCHOOLS FOR CANDIDATES ENTERING WITH A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN ENGINEERING. IT IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT REQUIREMENTS FOR UNDERGRADUATE WORK LEADING TO A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN THE MAJORITY OF OUR SCHOOLS OF ENGINEERING ARE NOT EXTENSIVE ENOUGH TO GIVE THE UNDERGRADUATES SUFFICIENT TRAINING IN MATHEMATICS AND/OR SOME BASIC SCIENCES, WHICH IS INDISPENSABLE FOR THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF THE POST-GRADUATE WORK. A RESULT OF THIS, STUDENTS ENROLLING IN POST-GRADUATE WORK SCHOOLS FOR ADVANCED DEGREES IN ENGINEERING ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE COURSES IN ADVANCED MATHEMATICS AND/OR BASIC SCIENCES IN ADDITION TO THE SPECIALIZED COURSES NECESSARY FOR THE PARTICULAR DEGREE FOR WHICH THEY ARE WORKING. SUCH COURSES ARE NECESSARY TO OBTAIN THE BACKGROUND FOR STUDYING SUCH OTHER COURSES AS ADVANCED THEORY OF SHIPS' STRUCTURES, HYDRODYNAMICS, SHIP MOTION, ETC. IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THIS SITUATION IN GENERAL CAN BE EXPECTED TO APPLY TO ALL OF OUR TRAINEES WHO ENROLL FOR POST-GRADUATE WORK. IT IS THE FEELING OF FACULTY MEMBERS WITH WHOM THIS PROBLEM HAS BEEN DISCUSSED THAT IT WOULD BE HIGHLY ADVANTAGEOUS IF OUR TRAINEES COULD ACQUIRE CREDITS FOR ADVANCED MATHEMATICS AND/OR BASIC SCIENCES PRIOR TO ENROLLING IN THE POST-GRADUATE SCHOOL FOR SUCH ADVANCED TRAINING AND DEGREE. * * *"

AS INDICATED BY THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, WE HAVE HELD IN A NUMBER OF DECISIONS THAT WITHOUT EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES MAY AUTHORIZE OR ASSIGN EMPLOYEES TO ATTEND COURSES OF INSTRUCTION OR TRAINING IN NONFEDERAL FACILITIES AND PAY THEIR SALARIES AND EXPENSES INCIDENT TO SUCH ATTENDANCE ONLY WHEN IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT THE PARTICULAR TRAINING INVOLVED (1) IS SPECIAL IN NATURE AND IS FOR A PERIOD OF LIMITED DURATION, (2) IS ESSENTIAL TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS MADE, AND (3) IS NOT OF A TYPE WHICH THE EMPLOYEE NORMALLY WOULD BE EXPECTED TO FURNISH AT HIS OWN EXPENSE.

THE CONGRESS HAVING SPECIFICALLY LEGISLATED WITH REFERENCE TO TRAINING EMPLOYEES OF THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IN PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS, ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION NECESSARILY INVOLVES CONSIDERATION AS TO WHETHER THE PROPOSED TRAINING IS OF THE CLASS OF TRAINING AUTHORIZED AND COMTEMPLATED BY THE LEGISLATION. FOR, IF IT BE CONCLUDED THAT THE PROPOSED TRAINING COMES WITHIN THE SCOPE OF TRAINING PROVIDED FOR BY THE STATUTE, THERE WOULD BE NO SOUND BASIS FOR CONSIDERING OR APPLYING THE CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY OUR DECISIONS AS AUTHORITY THEREFOR.

THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 201/E) OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, QUOTED ABOVE, PLAINLY INDICATE THAT THE CONGRESS RECOGNIZED THE ADVANTAGE AND NEED IN THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION FOR ADVANCED AND SPECIALIZED TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE OR TRAINING OF ITS PERSONNEL. AUTHORITY WAS THEREIN PROVIDED TO DETAIL ANNUALLY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE NOT TO EXCEED FIVE PERSONS FOR ADVANCED TECHNICAL TRAINING AT INSTITUTIONS FOR SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION AND RESEARCH. IN AMENDING THE PROVISIONS OF SAID SECTION 201/E) TO AUTHORIZE SUCH TRAINING IT WAS STATED AT PAGE 4 OF SENATE REPORT NO. 724, 76TH CONGRESS, 1ST SESSION, ON S. 1960, WHICH WAS REPLACED BY H.R. 6746 AND ENACTED AS THE ACT OF AUGUST 4, 1939, 53 STAT. 1182, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE PROPOSED AUTHORITY WOULD BE OF DEFINITE ASSISTANCE IN MEETING ONE OF THE COMMISSION'S PRESSING NEEDS, THAT IS, TRAINED AND SKILLED MARINE ARCHITECTS AND MARINE ENGINEERS. BECAUSE OF THE PRESENT DEMAND IN PRIVATE INDUSTRY, AND THE DEARTH OF MEN SO QUALIFIED, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO INDUCE ENOUGH EXPERIENCED MEN TO ACCEPT EMPLOYMENT WITH THE GOVERNMENT. UNDER THIS SECTION, IF ENACTED, THE COMMISSION COULD SELECT PROMISING YOUNG MEN ON ITS STAFF AND ARRANGE FOR THEM TO OBTAIN SUCH ADVANCED TECHNICAL TRAINING AS THE COMMISSION NEEDS IN CARRYING OUT ITS DUTIES.

THE PROPOSED COURSES OF STUDY ARE IN THE FIELD OF ADVANCED MATHEMATICS AND THE BASIC SCIENCES AND ARE TO BE UNDERTAKEN BY EMPLOYEES WITH A BACHELOR'S DEGREE IN ENGINEERING AS A PART OF A PROGRAM DESIGNED TO TRAIN AND DEVELOP SUCH PERSONNEL FOR MORE RESPONSIBLE WORK WITH THE ADMINISTRATION. WE HAVE SERIOUS DOUBT THAT THESE COURSES OF INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT WITHIN THE CLASS OF "ENGINEERING, TECHNICAL, OR OTHER SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION AND TRAINING" PROVIDED FOR IN THE LAW; AND IT IS IMMATERIAL THAT ATTENDANCE THEREAT IS TO BE AFTER OFFICE HOURS OR THAT THE PERSONNEL CONCERNED WILL THEREBY BE ENABLED TO OBTAIN A MASTER'S DEGREE IN ENGINEERING IN LESS THAN THE PERIOD OF TIME NORMALLY REQUIRED THEREFOR. CONSEQUENTLY, AND HAVING REGARD FOR THE FACT THAT THE CONGRESS LIMITED THE NUMBER OF PERSONNEL AUTHORIZED TO UNDERTAKE ADVANCED TECHNICAL TRAINING WITH THE APPARENT VIEW OF CONTROLLING THE COST THEREOF TO THE GOVERNMENT, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE PROPOSED TRAINING COMES WITHIN THE CLASS OF TRAINING AUTHORIZED BY THE STATUTE AND, THEREFORE, IT IS UNNECESSARY FOR US TO COMMENT UPON THE VIEWS ADVANCED BY THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY TO BRING THE PROPOSED TRAINING UNDER THE CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY OUR DECISIONS ON TRAINING, WHICH VIEWS, IT MAY BE STATED, ARE NOT ENTIRELY FREE FROM DOUBT. SEE 36 COMP. GEN. 621 AND THE DECISIONS CITED THEREIN, PARTICULARLY, 35 ID. 375, TO YOU.

IN THIS CONNECTION, IT APPEARS THAT THE DIFFICULTY ENCOUNTERED UNDER THAT PART OF THE TRAINING PROGRAM INVOLVING COURSES OF STUDY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IN PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS STEMS NOT FROM THE LACK OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR SUCH TRAINING, BUT FROM THE FACT THAT THE CONGRESS RESTRICTED THE NUMBER OF PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO SO PARTICIPATE THEREIN. THE TIME THE SENATE SOUGHT TO AMEND THE CITED SECTION 201 (E) TO PROVIDE FOR ADVANCED TECHNICAL TRAINING AT PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS, IT WAS PROPOSED TO LIMIT SUCH TRAINING TO TEN PERSONS. WHILE THE AMENDMENT AS PASSED REDUCED THE NUMBER TO FIVE, IT IS CLEAR THAT IF NO LIMITATION HAS BEEN IMPOSED, OR IF THE LIMITATION WERE SUFFICIENTLY HIGH, THE QUESTION PRESENTED WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN RAISED. THUS, THE REFERRED-TO DIFFICULTY PROPERLY SHOULD BE RESOLVED BY OBTAINING LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY TO INCREASE THE LIMITATION ON THE NUMBER OF PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO UNDERTAKE TRAINING IN PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS.

ACCORDINGLY, IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION PRESENTED, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE PROPOSED TRAINING MAY NOT BE UNDERTAKEN AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WITHOUT REGARD TO THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 201/E) OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, AS AMENDED.