B-144239, JAN. 25, 1961

B-144239: Jan 25, 1961

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF OCTOBER 5. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT ISSUED TO AIR FORCE MEMBERS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY AFFILIATE RADIO SYSTEM (MARS) IS CONSIDERED "PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT" UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 8003 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IT WAS STATED FURTHER. THAT IF THE PROPERTY WERE TO BE CHARGED TO THE WEIGHT ALLOWANCE. A DECISION IS REQUESTED ON TWO QUESTIONS AS FOLLOWS: "A. "B. IF THE ANSWER TO QUESTION A ABOVE IS IN THE NEGATIVE. AS SUPPLEMENTING REGULAR COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN AIR FORCE INSTALLATIONS WHEN OTHER MEANS OF COMMUNICATIONS ARE OVERLOADED. COMMAND OR CONTROL IS EXERCISED FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS ELECTRONICS.

B-144239, JAN. 25, 1961

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF OCTOBER 5, 1960, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT ISSUED TO AIR FORCE MEMBERS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY AFFILIATE RADIO SYSTEM (MARS) IS CONSIDERED "PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT" UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 8003 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE LETTER HAS BEEN ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 60-33, BY BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

THE LETTER STATES IN PART THAT A MEMBER OF THE AIR FORCE WHO HAS QUALIFIED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE MILITARY AFFILIATE RADIO SYSTEM, HEREAFTER REFERRED TO AS MARS, AND WHO HAS BEEN ISSUED MARS EQUIPMENT, HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN AUTHORIZED TO SHIP HIS MARS EQUIPMENT WITHOUT CHARGE AGAINST HIS PRESCRIBED HOUSEHOLD GOODS WEIGHT ALLOWANCE, UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. IT WAS STATED FURTHER, THAT IF THE PROPERTY WERE TO BE CHARGED TO THE WEIGHT ALLOWANCE, MANY MEMBERS MAY DISCONTINUE THEIR MEMBERSHIP IN MARS AND THIS ACTION WOULD VIRTUALLY ELIMINATE PARTICIPATION BY ACTIVE-DUTY AIR FORCE PERSONNEL IN THE MARS PROGRAM. ACCORDINGLY, A DECISION IS REQUESTED ON TWO QUESTIONS AS FOLLOWS:

"A. MAY SURPLUS AND EXCESS COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT ISSUED TO AIR FORCE MEMBERS OF MARS BE SHIPPED AS PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT UNDER THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 8003 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS?

"B. IF THE ANSWER TO QUESTION A ABOVE IS IN THE NEGATIVE, CAN SHIPMENT BE AUTHORIZED AS PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT THROUGH AN APPROPRIATE CHANGE TO THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, OR WOULD A CHANGE TO SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, ALSO BE REQUIRED?

AIR FORCE MANUAL 102-3, DATED MAY 25, 1959, SETS FORTH THE MISSION OF THE AIR FORCE MILITARY AFFILIATE RADIO SYSTEM (MARS), AS SUPPLEMENTING REGULAR COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN AIR FORCE INSTALLATIONS WHEN OTHER MEANS OF COMMUNICATIONS ARE OVERLOADED, OUT OF COMMISSION, OR DO NOT EXIST; PROVIDING EMERGENCY BACK-UP COMMUNICATIONS FOR ALL AIR FORCE COMMUNICATION CIRCUITS, AND PROVIDING COMMUNICATIONS FOR USE IN IMPLEMENTING THE DOMESTIC EMERGENCY PLANS OF THE NUMBERED AIR FORCE COMMANDS. ALSO, AMONG OTHER PURPOSES, MARS OPERATES TO CREATE INTEREST AND FURTHER TRAINING IN MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS, PROMOTE STUDY AND EXPERIMENTATION IN MILITARY RADIO COMMUNICATIONS, AND PROVIDE AN ADDITIONAL SOURCE OF TRAINED COMMUNICATIONS PERSONNEL. COMMAND OR CONTROL IS EXERCISED FROM THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS ELECTRONICS, USAF, THROUGH THE COMMANDING GENERALS OF EACH AIR COMMAND.

WHEN ORGANIZED, MARS WAS RESTRICTED TO ACTIVE-DUTY MILITARY MEMBERS AND INACTIVE RESERVISTS. LATER, THE PROGRAM WAS OPENED TO CIVILIAN MEMBERS WHO NEED NO MILITARY AFFILIATION TO JOIN OR TO MAINTAIN MEMBERSHIP IN THE PROGRAM. MEMBERSHIP IS AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUAL CIVILIAN OR MILITARY AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS LICENSED BY THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION. WHILE MEMBERSHIP IS VOLUNTARY, ACTIVE AIR FORCE PERSONNEL WHO ARE GIVEN MEMBERSHIP MUST POSSESS A CURRENT FCC AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE OR A LICENSE ISSUED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR APPROPRIATE COMMAND IN WHICH THEY ARE SERVING. ALSO, THE APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO OPERATE UNDER PERTINENT AIR FORCE REGULATIONS AND POSSESS A STATION IN OPERATION (AFM 102-3, PAR. 5). WHEN THE APPLICATION IS APPROVED, THE MEMBER IS ASSIGNED TO A TRAINING NET (PAR. 6A (2) (B) (, AND HIS MEMBERSHIP WILL BE CANCELED FOR FAILURE TO MAINTAIN, WITHOUT SUFFICIENT REASON, A MINIMUM NUMBER OF HOURS OF CREDITABLE PARTICIPATION, AS ESTABLISHED BY THE MARS DIRECTOR, DURING EACH 3-MONTH PERIOD (PAR. 11A (2) ). IT HAS BEEN INFORMALLY REPORTED THAT IN THE GREAT MAJORITY OF CASES THE PRINCIPAL DUTIES OF MEMBERS PARTICIPATING IN THE MARS PROGRAM ARE IN THE COMMUNICATIONS FIELD.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE MARS PROGRAM, SOME SURPLUS AND EXCESS GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT IS ISSUED TO INDIVIDUAL AIR FORCE MEMBERS. GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE EXCESS EQUIPMENT IS DROPPED UPON THE ISSUE TO AN INDIVIDUAL AND IT THEN BECOMES HIS COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY. HOWEVER, LEGAL TITLE REMAINS WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND THE MEMBER MAY NOT DISPOSE OF THE SURPLUS EQUIPMENT THROUGH BARTER OR SALE. THE MEMBER MUST USE THE PROPERTY IN ACCORDANCE WITH PROCEDURES SPECIFIED BY MAJOR COMMAND MARS DIRECTORS.

PARAGRAPH 17 OF AFM 102-3, PROVIDES THAT MARS EQUIPMENT UTILIZED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THAT MANUAL AND AFR 102-3, IS CONSIDERED TO BE PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT WITHIN THE AUTHORIZATION OF PARAGRAPH 8002 (8003) OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND MAY BE SHIPPED WITHOUT CHARGE AGAINST WEIGHT ALLOWANCES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL. IT FURTHER STATES THAT NO ADDITIONAL AUTHORITY FOR SUCH SHIPMENT IS NECESSARY FOR MARS MEMBERS UNDER COMPETENT TRAVEL ORDERS.

IT HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ASCERTAINED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS A SIMILAR MARS SET-UP AND REGULATIONS THAT PARALLEL THOSE OF THE AIR FORCE. (SEE SR 105-75-1, JUNE 12, 1953, AND COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC BULLETIN 30, DATED AUGUST 18, 1954.)

AUTHORITY FOR SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF A MEMBER UPON A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION IS CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 37 U.S.C. 253 (C), AND REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO. FOR YEARS PAST, REGULATIONS HAVE PROVIDED THAT THE WEIGHT OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT SO SHIPPED WOULD NOT BE CHARGED AGAINST THE BASIC WEIGHT LIMITATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF THE PERSON CONCERNED. SUCH PROVISION IS FOUNDED ON THE GOVERNMENT'S IMMEDIATE INTEREST IN MAINTAINING READY ACCESSIBILITY OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT FOR PERSONS REQUIRING THEIR USE IN THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT. 32 COMP. GEN. 223. THE CURRENT REGULATIONS ARE CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPHS 8000-3 AND 8003 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH WERE ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE ABOVE STATUTORY AUTHORITY.

PARAGRAPH 8000-3, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, DEFINES "PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT" AS FOLLOWS:

"THE TERM "PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT" INCLUDES PROFESSIONAL BOOKS AND PAPERS, PROFESSIONAL INSTRUMENTS (NOT OFFICE EQUIPMENT), AND PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT OF CHAPLAINS, INCLUDING BUT NOT RESTRICTED TO COMMUNION SETS, STEREOPTICONS AND SLIDES, FOLDING ORGANS, MOTION PICTURE PROJECTORS AND FILMS, AND PRINTING OUTFITS. ALL ITEMS MUST BE REQUIRED BY THE MEMBER FOR REFERENCE OR OTHER PURPOSES IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES.'

PARAGRAPH 8003, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES:

"WHEN CERTIFIED BY THE MEMBER AS NECESSARY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, SHIPMENT OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT UNDER THESE REGULATIONS SHALL BE IN THE SAME MANNER AND UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS AS OTHER HOUSEHOLD GOODS EXCEPT THAT THE WEIGHT THEREOF SHALL BE WITHOUT CHARGE AGAINST THE PRESCRIBED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE. AS USED IN THESE REGULATIONS, AUTHORIZATIONS AND LIMITATIONS PERTAINING TO HOUSEHOLD GOODS WITHIN PRESCRIBED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS APPLYING TO PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS BUT WITHOUT LIMITATIONS AS TO THE WEIGHT OF SUCH BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. SUCH BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT WILL BE PACKED SEPARATELY AND THE CONTAINERS WILL BE MARKED "PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT.' THE WEIGHT OF SUCH CONTAINERS WILL BE SHOWN SEPARATELY ON THE BILLS OF LADING OR OTHER SHIPPING DOCUMENTS.'

AS INDICATED ABOVE, THE PRIMARY MISSION OF MARS IS TO SUPPLEMENT REGULAR COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN AIR FORCE INSTALLATIONS WHEN OTHER MEANS OF COMMUNICATIONS ARE OVERLOADED, OUT OF COMMISSION, OR DO NOT EXIST, AND TO PROVIDE A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION IN EMERGENCIES. THUS MARS IS AN OFFICIAL ORGANIZATION WHICH APPARENTLY DOES, OR COULD, SERVE A VERY USEFUL PURPOSE IN CASES WHERE NECESSARY. SINCE THE AIR FORCE REGULATIONS REQUIRE THAT ACTIVE MILITARY PERSONNEL WHO ARE GIVEN MEMBERSHIP IN MARS POSSESS AN OPERATING RADIO STATION AND MEET MINIMUM PARTICIPATING REQUIREMENTS EVERY THREE MONTH PERIOD, IT WOULD SEEM THAT, SO LONG AS MEMBERSHIP IS MAINTAINED IN MARS, PARTICIPATION MAY REASONABLY BE REGARDED AS A PART OF THE MEMBER'S OFFICIAL DUTIES. HENCE, WE BELIEVE THAT THE EQUIPMENT ISSUED TO HIM TO BE USED IN PERFORMING THOSE DUTIES MAY BE CONSIDERED AS REQUIRED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES SO AS TO BE CONSIDERED PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF PARAGRAPHS 8000-3 AND 8003 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THEREFORE, IF THE MEMBER CERTIFIES THAT HE IS A MEMBER OF MARS AT THE TIME OF SHIPMENT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND THAT EQUIPMENT OF THE TYPE HERE INVOLVED IS NECESSARY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, WE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE SHIPMENT OF SUCH EQUIPMENT WITHOUT CHARGE AGAINST HIS PRESCRIBED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT. QUESTION A IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY, MAKING UNNECESSARY AN ANSWER TO QUESTION B. ..END :