B-170306, JAN 27, 1971, 50 COMP GEN 527

B-170306: Jan 27, 1971

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MAY BE REIMBURSED TO THE MEMBER FROM APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES UNDER APPROPRIATE DEPARTMENTAL REGULATIONS WHEN THE MEMBER IS OTHERWISE PROPERLY DIRECTED BY ORDERS OF COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO ATTEND THE MEETING IN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS. SINCE THE FEDERAL AGENCY MEETING IS NOT A MEETING OF A TECHNICAL. THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE REQUIRED BY SECTION 412 IS NOT NECESSARY. 1971: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 18. FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS) REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THERE IS ANY LEGAL BAR TO THE USE OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES TO REIMBURSE A MEMBER FOR REGISTRATION FEES INCIDENT TO THE ATTENDANCE AT A MEETING.

B-170306, JAN 27, 1971, 50 COMP GEN 527

MEETINGS - ATTENDANCE, ETC., FEES - FEDERALLY SPONSORED MEETINGS - MILITARY PERSONNEL THE REGISTRATION FEES INCURRED BY A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY, INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT A MEETING, CONFERENCE, OR WORKSHOP SPONSORED BY A FEDERAL AGENCY, MAY BE REIMBURSED TO THE MEMBER FROM APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES UNDER APPROPRIATE DEPARTMENTAL REGULATIONS WHEN THE MEMBER IS OTHERWISE PROPERLY DIRECTED BY ORDERS OF COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO ATTEND THE MEETING IN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS; BUT SINCE THE FEDERAL AGENCY MEETING IS NOT A MEETING OF A TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC, PROFESSIONAL, OR SIMILAR ORGANIZATION WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF 37 U.S.C. 412, THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE REQUIRED BY SECTION 412 IS NOT NECESSARY.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, JANUARY 27, 1971:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 18, 1970, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS) REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THERE IS ANY LEGAL BAR TO THE USE OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES TO REIMBURSE A MEMBER FOR REGISTRATION FEES INCIDENT TO THE ATTENDANCE AT A MEETING, CONFERENCE, OR WORKSHOP SPONSORED BY A FEDERAL AGENCY WHEN SUCH EXPENSE IS INCURRED BY HIM WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY. THE LETTER WAS FORWARDED HERE ON JULY 2, 1970, BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE AND THE REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 70-32.

IN HIS LETTER, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY ADVISED THAT THE ABOVE COMMITTEE HAS RECEIVED FOR CONSIDERATION A RECOMMENDATION THAT PARAGRAPH M4408 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS BE REVISED TO INDICATE THAT A REGISTRATION FEE AS MENTIONED ABOVE IS NOT A MISCELLANEOUS REIMBURSABLE EXPENSE. THIS CONNECTION, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT WHILE 37 U.S.C. 412 PROVIDES FOR THE USE OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL WHEN APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY CONCERNED OR HIS DESIGNEE, FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE ATTENDANCE OF A MEMBER OF AN ARMED FORCE UNDER THAT DEPARTMENT AT A MEETING OF A TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC, PROFESSIONAL, OR SIMILAR ORGANIZATION, IT IS SILENT REGARDING ITS APPLICATION TO BOTH PRIVATELY AND FEDERALLY SPONSORED MEETINGS.

HE SAYS IT HAS BEEN THE POLICY THROUGH THE YEARS, HOWEVER, TO APPLY ITS PROVISIONS ONLY TO MEETINGS SPONSORED BY PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS. HE ALSO STATES THAT EVEN THOUGH THE LAW DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF A REGISTRATION FEE, SUCH FEE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE PRIVATELY SPONSORED MEETING AND IS CURRENTLY REIMBURSABLE TO A MEMBER WHO PAYS IT FROM PERSONAL FUNDS.

ACCORDINGLY, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY HAS EXPRESSED THE BELIEF THAT THE ABOVE PROVISION OF LAW DOES NOT PRECLUDE REIMBURSEMENT TO A MEMBER OF AN ARMED FORCE OF THE REQUIRED REGISTRATION FEE PAID BY HIM INCIDENT TO HIS ATTENDANCE AT A MEETING SPONSORED BY A FEDERAL AGENCY, AND NEITHER DOES SUCH PROVISION REQUIRE PRIOR APPROVAL BY THE SECRETARY CONCERNED OR HIS DESIGNEE BEFORE TRAVEL FUNDS CAN BE USED FOR SUCH TEMPORARY DUTY. HOWEVER, HE SAYS THAT A QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF REIMBURSING A MEMBER FOR REGISTRATION FEES INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT A FEDERALLY SPONSORED MEETING.

SECTION 412, TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, READS AS FOLLOWS:

APPROPRIATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL MAY NOT, WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY CONCERNED OR HIS DESIGNEE, BE USED FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE OF A MEMBER OF AN ARMED FORCE UNDER THAT DEPARTMENT AT A MEETING OF A TECHNICAL SCIENTIFIC, PROFESSIONAL, OR SIMILAR ORGANIZATION.

THAT PROVISION OF LAW STEMS FROM SECTION 605 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, DATED AUGUST 1, 1953, CH. 305, 67 STAT. 349, 5 U.S.C. 174A (1952 ED., SUPP II). SIMILAR PROVISIONS, ON A FISCAL YEAR BASIS, WERE CONTAINED IN THE PRIOR APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1945 THROUGH 1953.

PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CHANGE 192 ON JANUARY 1, 1969, PARAGRAPH M4408 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, INCLUDED IN PART I, CHAPTER 4, RELATING TO MISCELLANEOUS REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY, LIMITED REIMBURSEMENT OF REGISTRATION FEES TO THOSE INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS OF A TECHNICAL, PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC, OR OTHER NON-FEDERAL ORGANIZATION, AS SET FORTH IN ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS OF THE SERVICE CONCERNED. BY CHANGE 192, PARAGRAPH M4408 WAS CHANGED TO PROVIDE, UNDER REGULATIONS OF THE SERVICE CONCERNED, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REGISTRATION FEES INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS SPONSORED BY FEDERAL AGENCIES, AS WELL AS MEETINGS OF NON- FEDERAL ORGANIZATIONS, AS PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED INCIDENT TO TEMPORARY DUTY.

CURRENT IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY (ARMY REGULATION NO. 1-211, DATED APRIL 24, 1970) AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE (AIR FORCE REGULATION 30-9, DATED OCTOBER 28, 1968), WHICH PROVIDE FOR THE ATTENDANCE OF MILITARY PERSONNEL AT MEETINGS OF TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC, PROFESSIONAL, AND OTHER SIMILAR PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS, EXPRESSLY EXCLUDE FROM THEIR APPLICATION ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES SPONSORED OR CONVENED BY FEDERAL AGENCIES. HOWEVER, THE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, PROMULGATED ON THE BASIS OF THE ABOVE-MENTIONED CHANGE 192 PROVIDE OTHERWISE. PARAGRAPH 5 OF SECNAVINST 4651.8H, DATED JANUARY 30, 1970, SPECIFIES THAT ATTENDANCE BY MILITARY PERSONNEL AT AND PARTICIPATION IN MEETINGS SPONSORED BY FEDERAL AGENCIES AND RECOGNIZED NON-FEDERAL SOCIETIES AND ORGANIZATIONS AND EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO SHALL ONLY BE AUTHORIZED WHEN THE CRITERIA CONTAINED IN ENCLOSURE (1) ARE MET.

ENCLOSURE (1) TO THE INSTRUCTION SETS FORTH CRITERIA AND PROCEDURES FOR AUTHORIZING ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS SPONSORED BY NON-FEDERAL ORGANIZATIONS AS WELL AS MEETINGS SPONSORED BY FEDERAL AGENCIES. PARAGRAPH 1AA) PROVIDES THAT EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE ATTENDANCE AT AND PARTICIPATION IN MEETINGS CONVENED OR SPONSORED BY FEDERAL AGENCIES MAY BE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF EXISTING MILITARY TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS; AND THAT WHERE A REGISTRATION FEE IS REQUIRED INCIDENT TO THE ATTENDANCE AT AND PARTICIPATION IN THESE MEETINGS, APPROVAL BY THE SECRETARY OR HIS DESIGNEE WILL BE REQUIRED.

WE FIND NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1953, OR IN THE PRIOR APPROPRIATION LAWS, INDICATING ANY INTENTION BY THE CONGRESS THAT THE LAW WAS TO APPLY TO MEETINGS SPONSORED BY OR HELD UNDER THE AUSPICES OF A FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY. AND THERE WOULD SEEM TO BE NO PROPER BASIS FOR CONSIDERING A FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY, AS SUCH, AS A "TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC, PROFESSIONAL, OR SIMILAR ORGANIZATION," WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF SECTION 412, TITLE 37 U.S.C.

THEREFORE, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT, UNDER APPROPRIATE DEPARTMENTAL REGULATIONS, APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES MAY BE USED FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF REGISTRATION FEES PAID INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT FEDERALLY SPONSORED MEETINGS OF THE TYPE INVOLVED WHEN THE MEMBER IS OTHERWISE PROPERLY DIRECTED BY ORDERS OF COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO ATTEND THE MEETING IN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS. ALSO, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT SECRETARIAL APPROVAL IS NOT REQUIRED AS IT OTHERWISE WOULD BE IF THE MEETING WERE SPONSORED BY AN ORGANIZATION WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF SECTION 412.