B-160117, OCTOBER 19, 1966, 46 COMP. GEN. 340

B-160117: Oct 19, 1966

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1966: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 16. WHILE HE IS ON A PERMANENT DUTY ASSIGNMENT OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES OR ITS POSSESSIONS. IS OFFICIALLY DETERMINED TO BE ASBSENT IN A STATUS OF MISSING. OR DETAINED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY AGAINST HIS WILL. VIRTUALLY ABOLISHED THE FORMER ENLISTED MEMBERS' DEPOSITS SYSTEM AND SUBSTITUTED A PROGRAM WHEREBY A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO IS ON PERMANENT DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES OR ITS POSSESSIONS MAY DEPOSIT DURING THAT TOUR OF DUTY NOT MORE THAN HIS UNALLOTTED CURRENT PAY AND ALLOWANCES IN AMOUNTS OF $5 OR MORE WITH ANY BRANCH. WAS "/1) TO PROVIDE AN ATTRACTIVE SAVINGS PROGRAM FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES STATIONED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

B-160117, OCTOBER 19, 1966, 46 COMP. GEN. 340

SAVINGS DEPOSITS - INTEREST - MILITARY PERSONNEL - MISSING, INTERNED, ETC., PERSONS. UNDER THE SAVINGS PROGRAM AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1966, IMPLEMENTED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11298, PRESCRIBING THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST ON DEPOSITS OF THE UNALLOTTED CURRENT PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON PERMANENT DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, THE HEADS OF THE DEPARTMENTS CONCERNED MAY NOT ADMINISTRATIVELY PROVIDE FOR THE DEPOSIT OF THE UNALLOTTED CURRENT PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF MISSING OR INTERNED MEMBERS. THE 1966 ACT CONTEMPLATING THE VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION OF MEMBERS AND THE REDUCTION OF THE ADVERSE BALANCE OF PAYMENTS POSITION OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE MISSING PERSONS ACT PROVIDING FOR CREDIT TO THE PAY ACCOUNTS OF MEMBERS FOR THE BENEFIT OF DEPENDENTS WITHOUT AFFECTING THE BALANCE OF PAYMENTS PROGRAM, NEITHER ACT PERMITS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SAVINGS PROGRAM FOR THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF MISSING OR INTERNED MEMBERS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, OCTOBER 19, 1966:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 16, 1966, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (COMPTROLLER) TRANSMITTING DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 385, INVOLVING A REQUEST FOR DECISION ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:

MAY REGULATIONS BE ISSUED WHICH WOULD PERMIT THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED TO DEPOSIT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 10 U.S.C. 1035, NOT MORE THAN THE UNALLOTTED CURRENT PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO, WHILE HE IS ON A PERMANENT DUTY ASSIGNMENT OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES OR ITS POSSESSIONS, IS OFFICIALLY DETERMINED TO BE ASBSENT IN A STATUS OF MISSING, MISSING IN ACTION, INTERNED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, CAPTURED BY A HOSTILE FORCE, BELEAGUERED BY A HOSTILE FORCE, BESIEGED BY A HOSTILE FORCE, OR DETAINED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY AGAINST HIS WILL.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1966, PUBLIC LAW 89-538, 80 STAT. 347, AMENDING 10 U.S.C. 1035, VIRTUALLY ABOLISHED THE FORMER ENLISTED MEMBERS' DEPOSITS SYSTEM AND SUBSTITUTED A PROGRAM WHEREBY A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO IS ON PERMANENT DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES OR ITS POSSESSIONS MAY DEPOSIT DURING THAT TOUR OF DUTY NOT MORE THAN HIS UNALLOTTED CURRENT PAY AND ALLOWANCES IN AMOUNTS OF $5 OR MORE WITH ANY BRANCH, OFFICE OR OFFICER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE AND RECEIVE INTEREST ON SUCH DEPOSITS AT A RATE PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT NOT TO EXCEED 10 PER CENTUM A YEAR ON SUCH DEPOSITS UP TO A MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $10,000. BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11298, DATED AUGUST 14, 1966, THE PRESIDENT PRESCRIBED THAT SUCH DEPOSITS SHALL ACCRUE INTEREST AT THE RATE OF 10 PERCENT PER ANNUM, COMPOUNDED QUARTERLY.

THE PURPOSE OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1966, AS STATED IN S. REPT. NO. 1422 TO ACCOMPANY H. R. 14875, WAS "/1) TO PROVIDE AN ATTRACTIVE SAVINGS PROGRAM FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES STATIONED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, AND (2) TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT BY WHICH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ACTIVITIES CONTRIBUTED TO AN ADVERSE BALANCE OF PAYMENTS POSITION FOR THE UNITED STATES;, IT WAS CONTEMPLATED THAT PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAM WOULD BE A COMPLETELY VOLUNTARY ACT ON THE PART OF THE ELIGIBLE MEMBERS.

THE MISSING PERSONS ACT OF MARCH 7, 1942, CH. 166, 56 STAT. 143, AS AMENDED, 50 U.S.C. APP. 1001-1016, PROVIDES FOR CONTINUING OF CREDIT OF PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF ANY PERSON WHO IS IN ACTIVE SERVICE AND IS OFFICIALLY REPORTED TO BE ABSENT IN A STATUS OF MISSING, MISSING IN ACTION, INTERNED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY, CAPTURED BY A HOSTILE FORCE, BELEAGUERED BY A HOSTILE FORCE, BESIEGED BY A HOSTILE FORCE, OR DETAINED IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY AGAINST HIS WILL. THE ACT FURTHER GRANTS RATHER BROAD AUTHORITY TO THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY DESIGNATE, TO INITIATE, CONTINUE, DISCONTINUE, INCREASE, DECREASE, SUSPEND, OR RESUME PAYMENTS OF ALLOTMENTS FROM THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF SUCH PERSON.

IT APPEARS THAT THIS AUTHORITY CONTEMPLATES GENERALLY, ALLOTMENTS FOR THE FINANCIAL PROTECTION OF THE MEMBER'S DEPENDENTS AND NOT ALLOTMENTS SOLELY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PERSON HIMSELF, SUCH AS THOSE FOR THE PURCHASE OF UNITED STATES SAVINGS BONDS, ENLISTED MEMBERS' DEPOSITS, ETC., EXCEPT SUCH VALID SAVINGS ALLOTMENTS AS HAD BEEN VOLUNTARILY EXECUTED PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF HIS ABSENCE. FURTHERMORE, IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE PROPOSED DEPOSITS OF UNALLOTTED CURRENT PAY AND ALLOWANCES WOULD NOT SERVE THE SECOND PURPOSE OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1966, SINCE AMOUNTS CREDITED TO THE MEMBER'S PAY ACCOUNT WHILE HE IS IN A MISSING STATUS WOULD NOT ORDINARILY ENTER THE ECONOMY OF THE COUNTRY IN WHICH HE LAST SERVED AND THEREFORE WOULD NOT AFFECT THE BALANCE OF PAYMENTS POSITION OF THE UNITED STATES IN ANY WAY.

IT IS OUR VIEW THAT NO AUTHORITY IS CONTAINED IN THE MISSING PERSONS ACT OR IN 10 U.S.C. 1035 WHICH PERMITS THE ADMINISTRATIVE ESTABLISHMENT OF ANY SAVINGS PROGRAMS WHICH ARE NORMALLY VOLUNTARILY INSTITUTED BY THE MEMBERS THEMSELVES. ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC LEGISLATION AUTHORIZING SUCH ACTION, THE QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.