B-154508, AUG. 6, 1964

B-154508: Aug 6, 1964

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 5. THE SECRETARY STATES THAT THE PROPOSED POLICY STATEMENT WAS INFORMALLY CLEARED WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR OFFICE BUT BEFORE IMPLEMENTING THAT POLICY CERTAIN PROBLEMS CONFRONT THE NAVY WHICH NEED TO BE RESOLVED. THE PROPOSED POLICY STATEMENT WAS ISSUED TO IMPLEMENT THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN A REPORT OF MARCH 30. IN THE REPORT WE POINTED OUT THAT PROSPECTIVE CREW MEMBERS WERE PLACED ON TEMPORARY DUTY AND ALLOWED PER DIEM PAYMENTS. EVEN THOUGH THE DUTY INVOLVED WAS FOR EXTENDED PERIODS IN EXCESS OF 6 MONTHS AND THE MEMBERS LIVED UNDER PERMANENT-TYPE DUTY CONDITIONS AND DID NOT INCUR EXTRA LIVING EXPENSES AS A RESULT OF THEIR DUTY ASSIGNMENTS.

B-154508, AUG. 6, 1964

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JUNE 5, 1964, FROM THE UNDER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY REQUESTING A DECISION ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A PROPOSED POLICY STATEMENT INVOLVING THE ISSUANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY OR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS TO PROSPECTIVE CREW MEMBERS ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT CONSTRUCTION SITES IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONSTRUCTION AND FITTING OUT OF NUCLEAR SHIPS. THE SECRETARY STATES THAT THE PROPOSED POLICY STATEMENT WAS INFORMALLY CLEARED WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR OFFICE BUT BEFORE IMPLEMENTING THAT POLICY CERTAIN PROBLEMS CONFRONT THE NAVY WHICH NEED TO BE RESOLVED. THE SUBMISSION HAS BEEN ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 64-20.

THE PROPOSED POLICY STATEMENT WAS ISSUED TO IMPLEMENT THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN A REPORT OF MARCH 30, 1964, B-146740, ON OUR REVIEW OF UNNECESSARY PER DIEM PAYMENTS TO PROSPECTIVE CREW MEMBERS DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF NUCLEAR POWERED SUBMARINES BY THE NAVY. IN THE REPORT WE POINTED OUT THAT PROSPECTIVE CREW MEMBERS WERE PLACED ON TEMPORARY DUTY AND ALLOWED PER DIEM PAYMENTS, EVEN THOUGH THE DUTY INVOLVED WAS FOR EXTENDED PERIODS IN EXCESS OF 6 MONTHS AND THE MEMBERS LIVED UNDER PERMANENT-TYPE DUTY CONDITIONS AND DID NOT INCUR EXTRA LIVING EXPENSES AS A RESULT OF THEIR DUTY ASSIGNMENTS. WE RECOMMENDED THAT THE PROSPECTIVE CREW MEMBERS BE ASSIGNED TO THE CONSTRUCTION SITE UNDER PERMANENT DUTY ORDERS WHEN THE DUTY AT THAT LOCATION WILL EXCEED 6 MONTHS AND THAT THE GOVERNING REGULATIONS BE CHANGED TO LIMIT TEMPORARY DUTY AND PER DIEM PAYMENTS TO PERIODS OF NOT TO EXCEED 6 MONTHS IN SUCH CASES.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT ORDINARILY A SHIP UNDER CONSTRUCTION IS READY TO DEPART FOR ITS ULTIMATE ASSIGNMENT WHEN COMMISSIONED AND IN LINE WITH THAT FACT, THE POLICY STATEMENT, AS THE UNDER SECRETARY SAYS, PROVIDES GENERALLY THAT PROSPECTIVE CREW MEMBERS WILL BE ORDERED TO THE CONSTRUCTION SITE IN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS IF THE ANTICIPATED DATE OF REPORTING IS LESS THAN 6 MONTHS PRIOR TO COMMISSIONING. IN SOME CASES, HOWEVER, THE SHIP UNDER CONSTRUCTION WILL NOT DEPART THE CONSTRUCTION SITE UNTIL SOMETIME AFTER COMMISSIONING AND, AS THE UNDER SECRETARY POINTS OUT, WHEN, IN SUCH CASES, THE PROSPECTIVE CREW MEMBERS ARE TO REPORT AT THE CONSTRUCTION SITE MORE THAN 6 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE DATE OF ACTUAL DEPARTURE, THE POLICY STATEMENT CONTEMPLATES THE ISSUANCE OF PERMANENT DUTY ORDERS, REGARDLESS OF THE DATE OF COMMISSIONING. THUS, THE NET EFFECT OF THE POLICY STATEMENT AS WE UNDERSTAND IT IS TO REQUIRE THE ISSUANCE OF PERMANENT DUTY ORDERS IN ANY CASE WHEN A PERIOD OF MORE THAN 6 MONTHS WILL ELAPSE BETWEEN THE DATE OF REPORTING AND THE ACTUAL DEPARTURE DATE OF THE SHIP FROM THE CONSTRUCTION SITE.

THE UNDER SECRETARY STATES THAT THE DRAFT STATEMENT HAS NOT YET BEEN ADOPTED AS THERE ARE SEVERAL FACETS WHICH INDICATE THAT SOME MEMBERS WOULD BE UNDULY PENALIZED WHILE OTHERS WOULD BENEFIT FROM ITS ADOPTION. IT IS STATED THAT THOSE MEMBERS WHO WOULD NOT RELOCATE THEIR FAMILIES AT THE BUILDING SITE WOULD, IN MANY CASES, BE PENALIZED IF THEY WERE ORDERED FOR DUTY. THESE MEMBERS, IT IS STATED, FREQUENTLY WOULD SAVE THE GOVERNMENT MONEY IF THEY LEFT THEIR FAMILIES AT THE PREVIOUS DUTY STATION EVEN THOUGH THEY MAY BE ORDERED TO THE CONSTRUCTION SITES FOR TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS. ON THE OTHER HAND, MEMBERS WHO BRING THEIR DEPENDENTS TO THE BUILDING SITE, OR AT LEAST MUST MOVE FROM THE OLD DUTY STATION BECAUSE OF HAVING TO VACATE PUBLIC QUARTERS AT THE OLD STATION, WOULD BENEFIT FROM ORDERS PLACING THEM IN A DUTY STATUS AT THE CONSTRUCTION SITE. ANOTHER SITUATION, THE SECRETARY SAYS, WHERE A DUTY STATUS AT THE BUILDING SITE WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO MEMBERS WITH DEPENDENTS IS WHERE MEMBERS ARE SCHEDULED FOR OTHER TEMPORARY DUTY UNDER CONSTRUCTION EN ROUTE AND THE HOME PORT OF THE SHIP IS ASSIGNED AT A LOCATION OTHER THAN THE BUILDING SITE.

THE UNDER SECRETARY FURTHER SAYS THAT THE ABOVE SITUATIONS ARE NOT LIMITED TO NUCLEAR POWERED SHIPS AND CITES AS AN EXAMPLE A REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PROSPECTIVE COMMANDING OFFICER, U.S.S. CHICAGO (CG 11) WHICH IS BEING CONVERTED AT THE NAVY SHIPYARD, SAN FRANCISCO. IN THIS SITUATION IT IS STATED THAT OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN WERE IN RECEIPT OF TRANSFER DIRECTIVES TO THE U.S.S. CHICAGO PRIOR TO PROMULGATION OF CNO LETTER OF NOVEMBER 26, 1963, DESIGNATING A HOME PORT OF SAN DIEGO. IT IS STATED THAT SUCH PERSONNEL, MANY OF WHOM WERE IN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS, WERE THEREFORE FORCED INTO A DECISION CONCERNING MOVEMENT OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM THEIR LAST DUTY STATIONS. WITH A COMMISSIONING DATE OF MAY 2, 1964, AND A COMPLETION OF CONVERSION AND FITTING OUT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1964, IT IS STATED THAT SOME PERSONNEL DEEMED IT ADVISABLE TO MOVE THEIR FAMILIES AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THESAN FRANCISCO AREA. IT IS STATED THAT THOSE WHO TRANSPORTED THEIR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO THAT AREA WILL NOW BE REQUIRED TO MOVE THEM AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE WHEN THE SHIP DEPARTS FOR SAN DIEGO IN SEPTEMBER. THE UNDER SECRETARY'S LETTER ALSO CONTAINS COMMENTS FROM THE COMMANDER, PUGET SOUND NAVAL SHIPYARD, CONCERNING TEMPORARY DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH FITTING OUT, ETC., OF SHIPS. THOSE COMMENTS REFER TO OUR DECISION, B-152690, DATED DECEMBER 4, 1963 AND TO SECNAV NOTICE 7220, DECEMBER 26, 1963, WHICH PRECLUDES TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO AND FROM THE PLACE OF FITTING OUT, ETC., WHEN TEMPORARY DUTY ORDERS ARE FOR MORE THAN 20 WEEK'S DURATION. IS STATED THAT AS A RESULT OF OUR DECISION AND THE NAVY NOTICE, MORALE PROBLEMS HAVE ARISEN BECAUSE PERSONNEL ARE BEING DENIED THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES FROM 6 TO 9 MONTHS UNLESS THEY MAKE A PERSONAL FINANCIAL SACRIFICE.

THE UNDER SECRETARY CITES AS ANOTHER EXAMPLE A SITUATION WHICH HE SAYS IS DEVELOPING IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW SUBMARINE TENDER WHICH IS BEING BUILT AT BREMERTON, WASHINGTON, AND IS SCHEDULED TO BE COMMISSIONED ABOUT NOVEMBER 1, 1964. HE SAYS THE CREW WILL COMMENCE REPORTING ABOUT MAY 1, GENERALLY WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF THE COMMISSIONING DATE AND THAT FOLLOWING COMMISSIONING THE SHIP IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN IN THE AREA ABOUT 2 MONTHS, AFTER WHICH SHE WILL UNDERGO SHAKEDOWN TRAINING AT GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA, AND THEN POSSIBLY HAVE HER POST SHAKEDOWN AVAILABILITY AT NORFOLK BEFORE PROCEEDING TO HER HOME PORT WHICH IS BEING ASSIGNED AT CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, EFFECTIVE UPON COMMISSIONING, ALTHOUGH SHE MAY NOT BE EXPECTED TO ARRIVE AT CHARLESTON UNTIL ABOUT MAY 1965. IT IS STATED THAT IF THOSE MEMBERS ARE ASSIGNED OR ORDERED ON A TEMPORARY DUTY BASIS, THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT THEY WILL BE SEPARATED FROM THEIR FAMILIES FOR WELL OVER A YEAR.

THE UNDER SECRETARY STATES, THAT PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTING A POLICY BY WHICH MEMBERS WOULD BE ORDERED TO NEW CONSTRUCTION, ETC., ON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION BASIS WHERE IT CAN BE ANTICIPATED THAT THE PERIOD OF TIME BETWEEN REPORTING AND COMMISSIONING WILL BE LESS THAN 6 MONTHS, OUR DECISION IS DESIRED AS TO WHETHER, IN CASES LIKE THE SUBMARINE TENDER MENTIONED ABOVE, WE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO TAKE EXCEPTION TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION PAYMENTS UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:

"A. ALL MEMBERS ORDERED TO THE PRECOMMISSIONING CREW WOULD BE ORDERED ON A PCS BASIS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE TIME INTERVAL BETWEEN ARRIVAL AT THE SITE AND COMMISSIONING DATE.

"B. IF THE ABOVE PROCEDURE WOULD BE OBJECTIONABLE, WHAT IS THE MINIMUM NUMBER OF MONTHS SUCH MEMBERS COULD BE ORDERED TO CONSTRUCTION SITES IN A PCS STATUS?

"C. MAY SUCH FACTORS AS THE LENGTH OF FAMILY SEPARATIONS INVOLVED IN SUCH DUTY BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHAT IS "IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT" ? "

IT HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT WHETHER AN ASSIGNMENT TO A PARTICULAR STATION IS TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT IS A QUESTION OF FACT TO BE DETERMINED FROM THE ORDERS UNDER WHICH THE ASSIGNMENT IS MADE AND, WHERE NECESSARY, THE CHARACTER OF THE ASSIGNMENT AND THE DURATION THEREOF, AND THE LOCATION OF THE MEMBER'S PRINCIPAL DUTY ASSIGNMENT. 24 COMP. GEN. 667; 27 ID. 253; 33 ID. 103; AND 36 ID. 757. A PERIOD OF NOT TO EXCEED 6 MONTHS IS CONSIDERED A REASONABLE TEMPORARY DUTY LIMITATION UNDER ORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES. 38 COMP. GEN. 853. PARAGRAPH 7007 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS RELATES TO INDETERMINATE TEMPORARY DUTY AND SUBPARAGRAPH 1 OF THAT PARAGRAPH PROVIDES THAT WHEN A MEMBER IS ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM HIS PERMANENT STATION UNDER ORDERS WHICH DO NOT PROVIDE FOR RETURN TO HIS PERMANENT STATION, OR WHICH DO NOT SPECIFY OR IMPLY ANY LIMIT TO THE PERIOD OF ABSENCE FROM THE PERMANENT STATION, TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS AUTHORIZED AS SET FORTH IN THAT PARAGRAPH. SUBPARAGRAPH 2 PROVIDES WITH REFERENCE TO SUCH INDETERMINATE PERIODS OF TEMPORARY DUTY THAT WHEN THE PERIOD IS CONTEMPLATED TO BE FOR A DURATION OF 20 WEEKS OR MORE AT ANY ONE DUTY STATION AND THE ORDERS DO NOT PROVIDE FOR RETURN TO THE PERMANENT STATION, TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS AUTHORIZED FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THE DEPENDENTS TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION NOT TO EXCEED ENTITLEMENT OF TRAVEL FROM THE PERMANENT TO THE TEMPORARY STATION.

IN OUR DECISION OF DECEMBER 4, 1963, B-152690, 43 COMP. GEN. - , CITED IN THE UNDER SECRETARY'S LETTER, THERE WERE INVOLVED ORDERS WHICH DID NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE A PERIOD OF TIME FOR THE TEMPORARY DUTY BUT THEY DID IMPLY A LIMIT TO THAT TEMPORARY DUTY IN THAT THEY PROVIDED FOR TEMPORARY DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH THE FITTING OUT OF THE VANCOUVER WHEN COMMISSIONED. WE HELD THAT THE ORDERS WERE, IN SUBSTANCE, PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS TO THE SHIP WITH INTERVENING PERIODS OF TEMPORARY DUTY, SUCH TEMPORARY DUTY BEING LIMITED TO THE FITTING-OUT PERIOD OF THE VANCOUVER AND, HENCE, NOT OF AN INDETERMINATE INTERMEDIATE NATURE WITHIN THE MEANING OF PARAGRAPH 7007 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. WE ALSO POINTED OUT THAT HAD IT BEEN CONTEMPLATED THAT THE DUTY IN OUTFITTING THE VANCOUVER PROSPECTIVELY AT ANY TIME WOULD EXCEED 6 MONTHS, PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS TO THE SHORE STATION INSTEAD OF TO THE SHIP WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED. IN THIS REGARD IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE 20-WEEK PROVISION REFERRED TO ABOVE APPLIES ONLY TO INDETERMINATE TEMPORARY DUTY AND DOES NOT OPERATE TO CREATE ENTITLEMENT TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS IN THE CASE OF DETERMINABLE PERIODS OF TEMPORARY DUTY OF 20 WEEKS OR MORE.

AS THE UNDER SECRETARY SAYS, THE POLICY STATEMENT WAS DISCUSSED INFORMALLY WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THIS OFFICE. ON THE BASIS THAT IN THESE SHIP CONSTRUCTION CASES THE CONSTRUCTION SITE REASONABLY MAY BE VIEWED AS THE MEMBER'S POST OF DUTY UNTIL THE SHIP DEPARTS EN ROUTE TO ITS ULTIMATE ASSIGNMENT AND DUTY ORDERS ISSUED ON THAT BASIS WOULD BE CONSISTENT WITH THE VIEW EXPRESSED AND CONCLUSIONS REACHED IN THE ABOVE- MENTIONED DECISIONS AND THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 3003-2 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND WOULD BRING SUCH DUTY ASSIGNMENTS SUBSTANTIALLY INTO LINE FROM THE STANDPOINTS OF LOCATION AND TIME WITH ALL OTHER DUTY ASSIGNMENTS, OUR REPRESENTATIVE ADVISED THAT WE WOULD HAVE NO OBJECTION TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE POLICY STATEMENT. IN THIS CONNECTION THERE WAS NOT OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT UPON BEING COMMISSIONED A SHIP BECOMES A ,GOVERNMENT VESSEL" AND UNDER THE POLICY SET FORTH IN THE STATEMENT A MEMBER ASSIGNED TO THE CONSTRUCTION SITE IN A TEMPORARY STATUS PRIOR TO THE COMMISSIONING DATE BUT LESS THAN 6 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE DEPARTURE DATE MAY BE SUBSISTED AND QUARTERED ABOARD THE SHIP BETWEEN THE DATE OF COMMISSIONING AND THE DATE OF DEPARTURE. WE DO NOT BELIEVE, HOWEVER, THAT A CHANGE FROM SHORE TO SHIP FOR MESSING AND BERTHING PURPOSES NECESSARILY OPERATES TO CONVERT THE MEMBER'S DUTY ASSIGNMENT TO THE CONSTRUCTION SITE TO A DUTY ASSIGNMENT ON BOARD THE SHIP. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE MEMBER'S PER DIEM ENTITLEMENT REMAINS FOR DETERMINATION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 4205-5 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS UNTIL THE DEPARTURE DATE OF THE SHIP.

APPLYING THE FOREGOING TO THE SITUATION OF THE SUBMARINE TENDER DESCRIBED IN THE UNDER SECRETARY'S LETTER, WHERE IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT THE SHIP IS TO REMAIN AT THE CONSTRUCTION SITE FOR A PERIOD OF 8 MONTHS AFTER THE MEMBERS OF THE NUCLEAR CREW BEGIN TO REPORT, THE ISSUANCE OF PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS TO THE CONSTRUCTION SITE WOULD BE PROPER FOR THOSE MEMBERS WHO ARE EXPECTED TO BE AT THE SITE FOR 6 MONTHS OR MORE BEFORE THE SHIP DEPARTS. CF. B-152690, DECEMBER 4, 1963, MENTIONED ABOVE.

QUESTION A IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

AS INDICATED BY THE ANSWER TO QUESTION A, WE WILL NOT QUESTION THE ISSUANCE OF PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS IN ANY OF THESE SHIP CONSTRUCTION CASES WHERE IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT MORE THAN 6 MONTHS WILL ELAPSE BETWEEN THE REPORTING DATE AND THE DATE OF THE DEPARTURE OF THE SHIP, AND NO ANSWER TO QUESTION B IS REQUIRED. IN ANSWER TO QUESTION C, IT IS OUR VIEW AS INDICATED ABOVE THAT THE QUESTION OF WHETHER PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS OR TEMPORARY DUTY ORDERS SHOULD BE ISSUED IN ANY OF THESE CASES SHOULD BE RESOLVED ON THE BASIS OF THE LENGTH OF TIME BETWEEN THE DATE OF THE MEMBER'S REPORTING TO THE CONSTRUCTION SITE AND THE EXPECTED DATE OF DEPARTURE OF THE VESSEL FROM THAT AREA. CONSEQUENTLY, SUCH MATTERS AS THE LENGTH OF FAMILY SEPARATION MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS GOVERNING OR CONTROLLING FACTORS IN DETERMINING THE TYPE OF ORDERS TO BE ISSUED OR THE PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY NATURE OF THE MEMBER'S DUTY ASSIGNMENT AT THE CONSTRUCTION SITE.