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General Sturgis. I explain that in the next few words of my statement.
Senator McCLELLAN. You may proceed.
CIVILIAN WORK FORCE
General Sturgis. The important and complex responsibilities assigned to the Corps of Engineers require a highly trained civilian work force, vitalized by a steady inflow of young technical talent. The maintenance of this work force is a continuing problem, with many complications. Two major obstacles are the difficulty of inducing young graduate engineers to accept a career in the corps, mainly because of the low salaries which must be offered, and the lack of an adequate number of supergrade spaces (GS-16, GS-17, and GS-18) to provide for the recognition of our highly responsible professional and technical personnel.
The corps has developed a thorough college recruitment and rotational training program to induce college graduates to choose a career with the Corps of Engineers, and to insure that they are thoroughly indoctrinated in the diversified work of the corps as a first step in their career. The college recruitment program, though vigorously prosecuted, has failed to produce an adequate number of young engineers for the past several years, due primarily to the inability of the Government to offer salaries competitive with private industry.
For example, a study by the Illinois Institute of Technology reveals that engineering graduates from the class of 1953 received an average of $362 per month on their first assignment. This finding is corroborated by another survey by New York Coopers Union, which developed an average salary of $360. Discussions with other engineering schools reveal that engineering graduates are initially receiving from $350 to $100 per month with greater opportunity for rapid advancement in the offing.
The entrance salary for graduate engineers in Federal employment is $284 per month (grade GS-5). With such a wide variation in entrance salaries, relatively few young engineers desire to enter Federal employment, especially in view of the gradual reduction of other incentives which formerly could be used to partially offset the smaller Federal salary.
Considering these facts, it is my firm and deep conviction that Government salaries in the profesional field of engineering must be made more competitive with those offered by private industry in order to provide for a regular inflow of a reasonable cross section of the national talent. What we do today has a very great effect upon the future efficiency of our civil servants and Government administrators.
And I might say, sir, that the vital part of our future program is getting young men. We have a national shortage of engineers. It is recognized everywhere. Nothing has been done in any way to take cognizance of the continuing and even increasing national shortage of engineers as far as the Government is concerned. We in the corps have 18 percent of all engineers in the Government service. So you can see the vital effect on us as an engineering organization.
Senator McCLELLAN. Is the pay in the Corps of Engineers comparable or substantially the same as the pay for Government engineers in other branches of Government?
General STURGIS. Yes, sir, except that I am not sure that I can give you a complete answer because I do not know whether we have the same number of supergrades.
Senator McCLELLAN. You are not authorized to offer the college graduate engineer a salary commensurate with that which he can get in private enterprise as a beginner, and then your grade scales of promotion do not offer much incentive to him that he can soon reach a higher salary; whereas, in private enterprise he can be promoted at will.
General STURGIS. Yes, sir. Say 20 years ago we had a very healthy influx of people who were looking for the career, because there was not the great national shortage of engineers as there is at the present time. I am not an expert at it, but it is my understanding that as you look in the colleges today, very few young men are taking the scientific courses or mathematics as they once did. Therefore, there is a very long-range situation facing us. You may also remember that in the old days of 20 years ago or 15 years ago the engineers were distinguished as professionals. They were the P grades. There was a great deal of prestige and a marked differential in salaries.
While it is quite understandable there be recognition to the managerial type of people, still the original reason for that P grade was the professional quality of the individuals, the expense of their education and everything else.
In that commonization of GS grades we have lost sight of the fact that the engineers are professionals and in the second place, we have lost sight of the fact, or have not recognized the fact, that there is a national shortage of engineering personnel. That has had a very marked effect on us in the last several years, and I felt I should bring it to the attention of the committee.
Senator McCLELLAN. Unless this situation is remedied, will there be a continued deterioration in the efficiency of the Corps of Engineers because of lack of competent personnel ?
General STURGIS. Yes, sir. Of course, now we have older people who should be rewarded by GS-16 and GS-17 grades, and these older people are the backbone of our organization. But as they pass out of the picture, then our deterioration will become increasingly rapid.
The work force of the corps, while accounting for only 21,2 percent of total Federal personnel, employs approximately 18 percent of the total engineering personnel in the Federal service. Our program is carried out, and this technical force is maintained, with an allowance of only 3 supergrade positions (2 GS-16 and 1 GS-17). The need for additional positions in these grades is urgent to eliminate compression of grades, establish desirable career patterns, increase employee morale, and provide for recognition and retention of many highly responsible professional and technical personnel in the face of a serious national shortage of engineers and scientists.
As to the extremely high quality of our civil personnel in key positions throughout the corps, I think it is a tribute to their efficiency and the nonpartisan character of the corps that not one of our key people holding policymaking or highly significant technical positions
had to be changed or replaced during the realinement of those positions in all other departments of Government during the past year.
ASSIGNMENT OF SUPERGRADES
On the other hand, analysis of the situation in other agencies and bureaus with similar responsibilities indicates that the Corps of Engineers should receive further recognition insofar as supergrade positions are concerned. The Secretary of the Army fully concurs in this conclusion but is unable to offer any assistance to the corps in the foreseeable future in view of the limited number of supergrade spaces allotted to the Department of the Army.
It is firmly believed that additional supergrade positions for the civil works program are justified and appropriate because of the scope, complexity, and importance of the program and also because of the many precedent statutes which have authorized supergrade positions for other agencies and departments since the Classification Act of 1949.
FLOOD CONTROL PROGRAM
Another problem of very great concern and perplexity to me is the continuing exposure of great cities and alluvial valleys to disastrous floods. The Federal flood-control program is an enormous undertaking. The annual appropriations aggregate large sums, and substantial progress has been made and is being made. But some of the most urgent flood-control projects authorized and initiated over a decade ago are still uncompleted.
In the event of disaster, the Government and particularly the Corps of Engineers will be held responsible by the suffering communities. The city of Los Angeles is an example. Not only is that project far from complete, but the rapid growth of population and urban development is actually outstripping the progress on the flood-control works. The Kansas Cities are still exposed to the same catastrophic disaster suffered in 1951. In my opinion, these grave hazards and others must be removed as soon as possible.
FURTHER DISCUSSION OF BEACH EROSION
Of similar nature, though less spectacular than damaging river floods, is the ever-present problein of beach erosion. Since 1930 the corps has worked with State and local agencies in seeking economical means of protecting our shores from the destructive effects of wave action. As our knowledge of shore processes has increased, the local and State governments have looked more often to the corps to provide them with the assistance they require. The corps has pioneered in this field and though gratifying progress has been made, work must continue if the serious erosion problems which exist on both coasts and the Great Lakes are to be solved.
I am particularly concerned that our beach erosion development study program be prosecuted vigorously, for much remains to be done before techniques can be considered adequate in the full sense of economic application. While the sums allotted to this activity of the corps are relatively small, the communities faced with an expensive
shore-protection problem are materially assisted by the work done thus far in this field.
Senator McCLELLAN. In that connection, you think there should be local contribution, do you not!
General STURGIS. There is required a very heavy local contribution, sir, in connection with beach erosion.
Relatively in that connection, they have nowhere to turn. There are no consultants or experts in the country who are organized and attacking this problem as we have in our Beach Erosion Board. Therefore, it is common or basic knowledge that we are developing and promulgating in that field; and if we do not do it, it will not be done.
Uninterrupted navigation is essential to prosperity and high levels of economic activity in this country and to our national-defense strength. But for several years we have been risking serious interruptions to vital navigation routes because of the obsolescence of structures and the lack of minimum adequate means to maintain channels properly. As soon as the fiscal conditions will permit, these deficiencies also should be eliminated. In the meantime, the calculated risks loom increasingly larger each year.
Senator McCLELLAN. In that connection, General, based on the present budget, the one now before the Congress for civil functions, are we even keeping pace with the needs in these fields ?
General STURGIS. No, sir. As I mention later, it is my opinion we are not.
Senator McCLELLAN. Even taking into account the general rate of expenditures as indicated by the past fiscal year or the present fiscal year and the one proposed for 1955, are the needs growing greater than the amount of constructive work we are able to do with the amount of money now being expended ?
General STURGIS. Naturally, you take on those rivers like the Ohio, and many others, where the developments were accomplished and the structures have mostly outlived their planned useful life; and, on the other hand, the commerce is increasing in leaps and bounds. You can appreciate that situation. In my opinion we do not have a satisfactory obsolescence program as you would have in industry in connection with our navigation channels and our locks and dams.
I firmly believe that a stable economy in the United States needs wise and steady development of our natural resorces, including realization of the potentialities of our river systems. Conversely, the lack of reasonable progress on these developments tends to weaken the economy. Unquestionably, the pressing demands on the public funds must be placed in proper priorities and balanced against the abilities of the citizens to provide the wherewithal for the Government's activities.
I believe, however, that water-resource developments are not now keeping abreast of the growing economy of this country. These projects are truly capital investments in productive activities. They must be expanded in consonance with the economic progress of their regions as soon as it is possible to do.
Senator MCCLELLAN. Would you say they are keeping abreast even with the increasing dangers and hazards of floods?
General STURGIS, I do not believe they are keeping abreast, sir.
Senator McCLELLAN. In other words, in the Kansas Citys, still we have not gotten that area protected, notwithstanding the tremendously devastating floods that occurred there just a few years ago.
General STURGIS. That is correct.
Senator McCLELLAN. Under similar conditions, they would recur again? General STURGIs. Yes, sir.
Senator MCCLELLAN. Is that not also true in many areas and in many other valleys
General STURGIS. Yes, sir.
General STURGIS. Yes, sir.
SECTION V, OPERATIONS IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1954
General STURGIS. At the start of the fiscal year 1954 there was availoble for the civil-works program an unexpended balance, on an accrual basis, of $261,323,487, exclusive of the revolving fund. For 1954 there was appropriated $123,186,600. Thus, there was available for expenditure the sum of $684,510,087 for the accomplishment of the program then scheduled and set forth in the data presented to the committees last year. Excluding certain mandatory transfers to other agencies and the revolving fund, this amount becomes $682,312,440.
Subsequent to adjournment of Congress, the President instructed that all governmental programs be reviewed with the objective of a further reduction in expenditures. The civil-works program was reviewed accordingly, and it was estimated that by rescheduling certain of the construction work and by deferring some work until a later date, we could reduce fiscal year 1954 expenditures and obligations by about $41 million below those originally contemplated. This amount has been placed in budgetary reserve.
The attention of the committee is invited to the fact that every effort is being made to maintain the schedules of construction and completion of projects that include power and are actual revenue-producing projects.
M`NARY, CHEF JOSEPH, GARRISON, AND FORT RINDALL DAMS Particularly noteworthy is the construction progress on MeNary and Chief Joseph Dams in the Columbia Basin and Garrison and Fort Randall Dams in the Missouri Basin. Excellent construction weather prevailed throughout the fall months and our contractors were able to continue their activities during a time when it would normally be expected that they would be limted or shut down.
Work on the Folsom Dam in California has continued to progress at any encouraging rate even though during the course of excavation for the left abutment a serious fault zone was encoutered. Corrective work was necessary and our reschedule indicates that it is feasible to continue construction operations geared to the power-generation date of the Bureau of Reclamation.