Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1978
Among the closest ties the Army has to civilian life are the domestic activities known as special functions. From its long-time association with civil works programs to more recent environmental protection and energy conservation drives, the Army reflected the tenor of society. Although the two did not always agree on solutions to common problems, the disputes and occasional litigation demonstrated that both were parts of the whole.
In the nineteenth century the Army, played a major role in the development and westward expansion of the nation. As time went by, most of the Army's responsibilities shifted to other agencies. It now has only one major civil works responsibility, developing and maintaining the nation's water resources. The Corps of Engineers, which administers civil works programs, investigates and surveys water projects ranging from flood control to recreation.
Including supplements, civil works appropriations for the fiscal year were almost $300 million more than last year, totaling close to $2.8 billion. The following tabulation shows the breakdown (in thousands of dollars):
|Operation & maintenance, general||768,870|
|Flood control, Mississippi River & tributaries||253,081|
|Flood control & coastal emergencies||18,000|
|Special recreation use fees||6,000|
|Alaska hydroelectric power development fund (deferred in FY 78)||5,450|
As usual, the largest appropriation was for general construction, which covers a variety of projects. However, a comparison reveals there were no new construction plans or projects during fiscal year 1978, while there were nineteen new plans and twenty-five new projects in 1977.
General Construction Project Breakdown Fiscal Years 1977 and 1978
|FY 77||FY 78|
Several major dam failures, such as the 1976 failure of the Bureau of Reclamation's Teton Dam in Idaho, prompted Congress to pass the National Dam Inspection Act of 1976. The Corps of Engineers received unprecedented congressional authority to inspect all dams, public and private, across the country. In November 1976 the Chief of Engineers presented a report to Congress which included a national dam inventory, responses from state and federal agencies on dam supervision, guidelines for safety inspections, and a recommendation for a comprehensive national safety program.
Meanwhile an Engineer task force reviewed corps design, inspection, and evaluation procedures related to dam safety. In response to a request from the President, the corps prepared a review of management practices affecting safety. It also established procedures for upgrading corps dam projects with potential safety hazards in light of modern standards and technology.
In December 1977 the corps initiated a program under the National Dam Inspection Act to inspect more than 9,000 nonfederal dams whose failure would cause heavy damage. Selection and scheduling of the inspections were determined in agreement with state officials. Barring unforeseen delays, the program should take four years to complete. This fiscal year there were more than 1,790 inspections.
Many corps dams were used for hydropower, irrigation, or as reservoirs. The Corps of Engineers operated and maintained a total of sixty-seven hydropower projects, with 313 generating units and a potential capacity of 17.8 million kilowatts. That total was about 11 percent of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's estimate of the conventional hydroelectric power potential of the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), approximately 3 percent of U.S. generating capacity, and over 4 percent of U.S. electric energy.
During the year the corps installed twelve new units and added 1.4 million kilowatts to its capacity. Five units were added at the Chief Joseph project on the Columbia River in Washing-
ton, each with a 95,000-kilowatt capacity. Six new units with 135,000-kilowatt capacities boosted the output on the Snake River, Washington. Three went to the Little Goose plant, and three went to Lower Granite. A 61,000-kilowatt unit went to the Laurel River hydroplant in Kentucky.
Over 54,000 kilowatts were added by rewinding and improving the capacity of generators at four other plants. Five new projects were under construction, with seventeen units that will have an installed capacity of 902,000 kilowatts. Nineteen units were being added to four plants. Their capacity is over 1.7 million kilowatts. The year's largest construction contract was awarded to S. J. Groves, Peter Kiewit, and Granite Construction; they will build jointly the Bonneville Second Powerhouse in Oregon and Washington.
Among major construction efforts continued during the fiscal year were the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in Alabama and Mississippi and the Red River Waterway in Louisiana. Developing and maintaining the U.S. navigation system was an important corps function, encompassing about 25,000 miles of inland and intracoastal waterways.
The corps continued its training programs in water-related land resources development for foreign engineers and researchers. During the year twenty-five trainees participated from Argentina, Brazil, India, Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan. They were trained in planning and executing dredging works, harbor engineering, river basin planning, flood hydrology and protection, coastal engineering, and planning, designing, and maintaining hydroelectric powerplant equipment.
Environmental Protection and Preservation
This fiscal year the Army spent $128.8 .million on environmental programs, almost $20 million less than last year. However, expenditures in fiscal year 1979 were projected at almost $253 million, and the 1980 budget request contemplated over $216 million for environmental projects.
The budget increases were prompted by a letter, the Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent to the Army and other agencies in October 1977. It discussed failures to comply with federal and state standards to reduce air and water pollution. The 1977 amendments to the Clean Air Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act for the first time required federal facility managers to conform to state and local government procedures.
With over 130 major and 1,200 minor installations in the
United States, the Army found itself under pressure. At the third worldwide Army environmental conference at Colorado Springs in March, the Chief of Engineers called for renewed efforts and pledged additional funding to environmental program managers. He ordered an immediate survey of all installations to validate known or suspected pollution sources and approved placing the Army pollution abatement program under the Huntsville, Alabama, division. Other Engineer districts were to provide full nonreimbursable engineering services to all major commands and installations constructing pollution abatement projects.
As a result special pollution surveys were conducted of 129 major commands and installations and 1,153 Army Reserve centers. The surveys identified over 300 problems requiring further study to determine if pollution standards were violated and to evaluate the corrective measures that would have to be taken. The studies were estimated to cost $3.4 million, of which $2 million was available and obligated before the end of the fiscal year. Eighty-two pollution abatement projects, estimated to cost $157 million and including twenty-five due to the survey, were placed in the fiscal year 1980 military construction program.
Despite the surge of interest and funds, in August the Secretary of the Army expressed concern about whether the standards could be met. He offered to send Army representatives to meet with the EPA staff to discuss the Army's problems. Since several states had already filed suit against the Army under the old pollution violation laws, the Army faced the prospect of becoming the defendant in an increasing number of cases.
One of the main problems confronting the Army and the nation was disposing of liquid wastes. Recycling wastewater and the organic nutrients it contains has interested EPA since the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. In 1977 Congress provided additional incentive to use the land treatment process, and EPA issued a policy statement strongly urging its use. EPA indicated that sanctions might be applied when land treatment was unfairly dropped from consideration.
The Army was heavily involved in land treatment in both its civil and military programs. In civil works the Corps of Engineers researched and participated in land treatment through the urban studies and reservoir recreation area programs. Under the urban studies program the Army considered wastewater management planning as part of total resources management, and land treatment was one of the alternatives. In reservoir recreation areas the Army broadened land treatment. In the
fiscal year ten systems were planned, designed, and/or constructed and ten more were under consideration.
On military reservations or installations the Army was using ten land treatment systems. Similar facilities were planned for Camp Bonneville, Washington, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and Helemano, Hawaii. At Fort Polk, Louisiana, Fort Dix, New Jersey, and Camp Bullis, Texas, planners were studying advanced treatment methods.
The Army continued researching improved land treatment techniques using slow infiltration, rapid infiltration, and overland flow design systems. The center for such research was the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory at Hanover, New Hampshire. Supplementary efforts were conducted at the Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi and by contract at various universities and by the Surgeon General of the Army and the Agricultural Research Service.
The two principal research objectives were improving criteria for designing land treatment systems, especially by monitoring the management and performance of existing systems and greenhouse and field simulation studies; and developing a computer model reflecting both the optimum design and the most cost-effective method. The model would assess data on moisture flow through the soil and soil solution chemistry and biology. Thus far research has proceeded on schedule and should be completed by fiscal year 1980.
As a result of the research five draft technical letters have been prepared on infiltration capacity measuring procedures, overland flow design criteria, agronomic design guidance for slow infiltration systems, design criteria for forest systems, and regional site selections. They will be distributed when completed.
The Army, EPA, and the Department of Agriculture have together prepared a manual on process design for land treatment of municipal wastewater. The Army and EPA were sponsoring training courses on land treatment. They were prepared at Cornell University and will be given at various schools. They were also developing a computer model for planning the design, cost and effectiveness of land and conventional wastewater treatments.
Efforts to expand land treatment were impeded by the lack of general acceptance of the method. The Army and EPA have agreed to develop a demonstration program to publicize its financial, health, and environmental safety benefits. During the past year the Army tried without great success to arrange cooperative efforts with civilian communities for disposing of
wastewater on federal or nonfederal lands. However, several promising sites on military lands will be considered for further evaluation.
In March the Army completed on schedule the dredged material research program authorized by the River and Harbor and Flood Control Act of 1970. The program investigated the environmental impact of dredging operations and the disposal of dredged material and considered alternatives which were technically, environmentally, and economically feasible. The Army has increased its knowledge of the processes and mechanisms involved in environmental impacts, and, more importantly, worked out methods for predicting effects before a dredging project is carried out or a permit issued. District planners and designers now have the means to evaluate various methods and to reduce damage from conventional disposal operations. The research also dispelled many uncertainties about the practicality of new disposal methods.
Congressional amendments of 1977 to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act required the Corps of Engineers to obtain a water quality certificate from a state before discharging dredged or fill material into American waters, except when Congress specifically authorized or appropriated funds for a construction project in light of an environmental impact statement considering the effects of such discharge. For the first time the states had regulatory powers over dredged material discharged by the corps. Hence the corps would have to meet state disposal and water quality requirements whenever dredging operations became necessary.
The military environmental quality technology program was funded at $8 million as a result of a congressional reduction of $2.36 million. During the year efforts were directed at developing environmental effects data, abatement technology for munitions plants, automated procedures for preparing environmental impact assessments, and reducing noise pollution from Army operations. Two processes for treating wastewater from TNT production and two for treating plant wastewater from load, assembly, and pack operations were under study to determine their economic practicability. Laboratory tests on three monitoring instruments of pollutant levels at munitions plants led to the installation of prototypes at an operational facility for on-site testing.
The Army also took steps to establish interim water quality standards for wastewater from manufacturing plants producing TNT compounds and white phosphorus. The standards were
based on findings of the effects of variable dosages on aquatic and mammalian life. Long-term testing of the effects of nitroglycerine and 2.4-dinitrotoluene on laboratory rodents indicated they were carcinogenic. As a consequence interim water quality criteria have been recommended to reduce that potential hazard.
To help the Army respond to future demands for environmental impact assessments required by law, the environmental technical information system was expanded. The system should be in use -by the end of fiscal year 1979.
Each year the Secretary of the Army presents an environmental quality award to the installation making the best effort to preserve its environment. The 1977 award went to Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pennsylvania, for its conservation and reforestation activities, its efforts with EPA to cement electroplating wastes, and its thorough environmental education, training, and information programs.
The Army Energy Program
In the field of energy conservation, the Army continued using the consumption totals of fiscal year 1975-approximately 275.4 trillion British thermal units (BTU's)-as the standard of comparison. Despite a severe winter, the Army reduced its consumption to approximately 256.7 trillion BTU's, a saving of about 6.8 percent. As in the previous fiscal year, the Army made savings in all energy sources except purchased electricity, steam, and aviation fuels. Installations used 84 percent and vehicles 16 percent of the total energy consumed. The following table compares fiscal years 1975 and 1978:
Army Energy Consumption
(in trillion BTU's)
|Installation Operations||FY 75*||FY 78||Percent Saved|
|Liquefied petroleum gas||2.27||1.95||14.10|
|Petroleum heating fuels||61.50||58.60||4.72|
* Minor adjustments in the baseline figures for FY 75 are due to mission and installation transfers, with their FY 75 consumption baseline, between the military departments, and some minor error corrections.
To help the Army reduce its energy use, a plan was initiated in 1976 to develop a base-wide use and control plan for each installation. The plan permitted the Army to determine where cuts could be made and what the costs would be. This year studies were under way at thirty-seven installations, including seven Defense facilities and the U.S. Military Academy, to investigate all known types of energy conservation that were reasonable, practical, and economical.
At several installations the Army was using an energy monitoring and control system of sophisticated automatic control and surveillance devices that informed operators precisely how much and where energy was being consumed. The Army has three such systems in use, three under contract, and has asked for seventeen more under the military construction program for the next three fiscal years. The Army expected the dollar savings in energy and manpower to match the cost of the systems in as little as two years.
In February 1978 the Army advisory group on energy and the Chief of Staff approved an Army energy plan developed through staff input and contractor support. The general features of the plan included portraying the world, national, and Department of Defense energy environment in which the Army must operate; identifying medium-range (1985) and long-range (2000) Army objectives and goals; summarizing existing and new Army programs necessary to meet these goals; and projecting energy costs and consumption for the year 2000.
Taking this information into consideration the plan established specific goals for 1985 and 2000. First, energy consumption would be reduced by 45 percent by the year 2000 by cutting back vehicle fuel usage 10 percent by 1985 and holding at that level until 2000, by lowering energy use at facilities by 25 percent by 1985 and by 50 percent by 2000, and by expanding information and incentive programs. Second, the Army would cut back its dependence on nonrenewable and scarce fuels by the year 2000 through a 20 percent increase in the use of synthetic and/or alternate fuels for vehicles and by raising their efficiency by 15 percent, by eliminating the use of natural gas, and by reducing the use of heating oils by 75 percent. And third, the Army would strive for a position of leadership in the pursuit of national energy goals. Assuming the next two decades are relatively stable, all these objectives could be attained without sacrificing overall readiness.
During the year there were two major developments in the distribution of bulk petroleum fuels. At the end of March the
Vice Chief of Staff approved a staff study on bulk petroleum fuels distribution in a theater of operations. A program advisory group was set up to ensure that the study recommendations were carried out. The Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics became the Army focal point for integrating all facets of the fuels distribution system; a project office for fuels was established to handle equipment and readiness; and a project officer from the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development, and Acquisition was appointed to oversee funding to support materiel acquisition.
In the second development, in August the Deputy Secretary of Defense approved an Army proposal to transfer the Zweibrucken-Huttenheim pipeline system in Germany to NATO on 1 January 1979. This should improve overall bulk petroleum support to NATO forces in central Europe.
Research and development activities explored all avenues that might lead to the use of less energy, whether by adapting energy saving devices to present equipment or vehicles, by managing or controlling consumption, or by building more efficient facilities. A computer-aided energy analysis system was developed, for example, to predict energy consumption in buildings by simulating heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems, where climate, type of construction, and building orientation are considered. The Building Loads Analysis and System Thermodynamics (BLAST) program, as it was called, also computed life-cycle costs on the basis of user-supplied, or program default capital cost, maintenance cost, operating cost, and utility rate schedules. The BLAST system has been made available to other service and civilian agencies. To assist in the management of energy use the energy consumption, reporting, and analyzing system, a technique to forecast energy consumption, has been provided to facilities engineers.
Military standards to determine the feasibility of employing waste-derived fuel at installations were under development; technology evolving from that process has already been applied to construction projects at Forts Monmouth and Bragg. Two solar energy projects were in operation at Fort Hood, as reported in last year's summary, and, in addition, ten solar projects were under construction at various installations and fifty more were in the design phase.
Early in 1978 the Army participated in a joint Department of Defense-Department of Energy study on cooperative energy ventures. As a result the Army has been given a major role in photovoltaic development and utilization, solar heating and cool-
ing of Defense buildings, a wood-fired central heating plant, a pyrolysis plant for converting wood to liquid fuels, establishing energy "showcase" installation, and synthetic fuels. Work on all had begun by the end of the fiscal year.
The Army nuclear power program suffered when the power barge Sturgis was withdrawn from Ft. Belvoir in June, decontaminated; and towed to Savannah, Georgia, to become part of the James River Reserve Fleet in September. The Sturgis was prepared for long-term storage by reworking its hull and installing intense intrusion and humidity control systems.
The Army engaged in numerous court actions during the fiscal year ranging from claims against the government for damages, injuries, or deaths allegedly caused by official experiments or negligence to labor and contract disputes.
Suits rising from LSD experiments continued being filed in U.S. district courts. There was also litigation based on injuries allegedly suffered in a 1950's nuclear test. Money damages were being sought against the United States and several individual defendants.
The case of Mabel Nevin et al. v. United States was being tried in the U.S. District Court, Western District of California. The family of a man who was 75 at the time of his death filed an $11 million suit claiming his demise was caused by negligent transporting, disbursing, and testing of a bacterium in San Francisco Bay in 1950. The victim died of infection two months after the Army had conducted bacteriological warfare tests in the area to determine susceptibility to offshore bacteriological attack.
In a similar case, Betty Palmer v. United States, the plaintiff filed suit for $3.6 million in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, claiming that her husband, an employee of Pine Bluff Arsenal, had died from nerve gas poisoning. The suit was dismissed because she had failed to file an administrative claim under the Federal Torts Claims Act. If she refiled, it would apparently have to be under the Federal Employees Compensation Act.
A number of defamation actions, characterized variously as constitutional torts, common law torts, or violations of the Privacy Act, were filed during the year. If brought to court, the cases will test the limits of official immunity as clarified in the recent Supreme Court opinion in Butz v. Economou. The court rejected the absolute immunity defense of federal officials in
constitutional tort lawsuits and held that such officials were entitled to qualified immunity, but for certain "exceptional situations." The individually sued defendants in the case of Berlin Democratic Club v. Brown were among the first to attempt to set forth "exceptional situations" entitling government officials to absolute immunity. At the end of the fiscal year the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected all motions before it and certified argument solely on the absolute immunity defense.
The constitutional challenge to the Dual Compensation Act of Puglisi et al. v. United States was resolved in favor of the government in April when the Supreme Court refused to review it. The constitutionality of discharging service members for homosexual tendencies was also under consideration. One case involved a purported marriage of a transsexual. A due process challenge to the immediate release of reserve officers sentenced for felonies by civil courts was defeated in the case of Alberico v. Alexander in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. The plaintiff's appeal was pending at the end of the fiscal year.
Litigation continued on cases involving passing over officers for promotion by boards without reserve officers and on alleged breaches of enlistment contracts.
Several Army officers have brought class actions for release from their active duty obligation after participating in the Armed Forces health professional scholarship program. The program was designed to replace the draft and to encourage physicians to enlist through financial assistance in medical school and residency training. The actions charged that the Army did not provide the variable incentive pay or promotion opportunities it had promised and failed to furnish modern equipment; they also alleged that there were ambiguities in the contracts. One physician went so far as to unilaterally terminate his commission in protest, enter private practice in the state of Washington, and refuse to obey orders assigning him to Korea. He was subsequently returned to Walter Reed Medical Center, charged with violations of the Uniform Code of Military justice, and was awaiting a general court-martial at the end of the year.
The Army had to contend with increasing numbers of equal employment opportunity class actions. Investigating these cases required a great deal of time and effort. During the year the Army had fifteen actions in progress. One, James v. Schlesinger, was decided in favor of the United States on whether the plaintiff had the right to sue. Two others involving black employees in Alabama were being settled out of court. Monetary relief to the
class members, personnel administrative reforms, and payments of attorneys' fees should result in substantial costs to the Army.
Foreign civilian personnel cases .were also on the rise, principally in Italy. One significant decision by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation held that the United States was not liable for retroactive cost of living allowances for the years they were not paid as separate pay items to Italian employees of the Army. That decision should bear heavily on a number of cases pending before lower Italian courts.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) brought suit against the Army challenging a contract award to a private firm to provide instrument training to undergraduate rotary-wing pilots at Fort Rucker, Alabama. This function was previously performed by federal employees. The union charged that the contract was an illegal personal services contract; that the Army failed to follow its own and other government regulations, including those on comparative costs and analyses; that the Department of Labor issued an erroneous wage determination under the Service Contract Act; that the Army violated the Veterans' Preference Act; and that the Army attempted to evade Congress' moratorium on contracting out certain services. The government's motion to dismiss and for summary judgment was pending.
The court dismissed a challenge against the Army for contracting out various stevedoring functions at Bayonne, New Jersey, which had been carried out by government employees. The AFGE has filed an appeal.
Teachers working for the Department of Defense in overseas dependents schools sought the same entitlements, primarily quarters allowances, received by teachers living in the United States. Three suits were pending charging the different pay systems violated statutes and the Constitution. Since the litigation crossed service lines, the Defense General Counsel's office assumed supervisory responsibility for the government's defense.
The Army was appointed executive agent for the Department of Defense in the case of the National Lawyers Guild v. Attorney General. The Judge Advocate General's office has handled requests for Defense and Army documents in the action and coordinated requests for Navy and Air Force documents.
During the fiscal year the Army had to file affidavits in an increasing number of lawsuits to protect Army classified documents in the custody of other government agencies. The Army was named as a defendant in only a few of the suits. In two suits
brought against the Central Intelligence Agency, the Secretary of the Army had to assert the privilege of protecting state and foreign secrets in Army-originated documents in CIA files.
The number of claims recovery actions under the Medical Care Recovery Act reached a record high during the year. Collection actions resulted in a return of over $4.6 million for calendar year 1977, an increase of $111,000 over the previous year.
Several favorable decisions by state insurance commissions have enabled the United States to recover medical care costs under various no-fault insurance laws and the medical payments clause of the injured party's insurance policy. State decisions in Florida and Kentucky have spurred U.S. attorneys to initiate actions to recover additional payments when no-fault insurance laws were in effect.
Medical malpractice suits were on the rise throughout the nation, and the Army had eighty-five such suits pending at the end of the fiscal year. The Army sought to hold down the number of suits by disposing of them at the administrative level. Several large judgments in non-Army malpractice cases led to the settlement of similar Army cases.
In the case of Massey et al. v. United States, the District Court of the Southern District of Georgia found the United States liable for damages resulting from an ammunition plant explosion that caused twenty-nine deaths and fifty injuries. Even though the plant was privately owned and operated, the owner was fulfilling a government contract. In the first suit, the plaintiff received a judgment of $450,000. A motion for reconsideration has been filed. An appeal would be made to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
For the most part actions under the Freedom of Information Act concerned the release of historical or political documents. During the fiscal year the use of the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to technological data with commercial value came to the fore. In Siemens Corp. v. United States, the firm sought highly sophisticated electron beam lithography data which has great industrial and military importance. The case was pending.
Contract disputes were another constant of Army litigation this year. In the early 1970's high inflation rates and the 1972 Presidential wage and price freeze caused strain between the United States, certain contractors, and their subcontractors. In the case of Libby Welding Co. v. Electric Machinery Manufacturing Co., being tried in the U.S. District Court, Western District, Missouri, Libby held government contracts and subcontracted
for supplies. Because of the wage and price freeze and inflation, some subcontractors refused to perform at the contract prices. The Army Contract Adjustment Board granted Libby $4.6 million to satisfy the subcontractors, but Libby and Electric Machinery could not agree on a settlement price. Libby then sued Electric Machinery to establish an equitable figure. Since Libby had no real economic stake in the suit, the Army asked for and secured the intervention of the Department of justice to protect United States' interests.
The Army's vulnerability to lawsuits under the liberal U.S. legal system augured that the judge Advocate. General's office would not be idle in the years ahead.
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Last updated 7 September 2004