Limited Duty Officers
A. Origin and Intent of Congress
1. Manpower requirements of the rapidly expanding Naval Establishment prior to World War II required a substantial departure from the peacetime laws pertaining to the procurement, appointment and promotion of officer personnel. These needs were recognized by the Congress early in 1941, and legislation was approved on 24 July 1941 that superseded the then existing Act dealing with the selection and promotion of Navy Officers. Public Law 703, 78th Congress, 3rd Session, which was approved 23 June 1938, had governed officer promotion and retirement until the Act of 24 July 1941 authorizing temporary appointments during war or national emergency. Understanding the needs of a rapidly expanding Naval Establishment with correspondingly greater officer personnel requirements, Congress enacted Public Law 188, 77th Congress, 1st Session, which provided, among other things, the granting of temporary commissions to first class and chief petty officers and to warrant officers of the Regular Navy. Those temporary appointments remained in effect until after the end of World War II, at which time the Navy Department was faced with the necessity of establishing a peacetime alternative to retain the services of thousands of career specialists in their most useful capacities.
2. In 1946, a committee working under the chairmanship of the Chief of Naval Personnel developed a draft of a proposed officer personnel bill to succeed the wartime provisions still in effect. This draft attempted to incorporate the best and most workable features of such prior laws as had been in operation since the technique of officer selection was introduced in the Navy in 1916. This committee recognized the necessity for introducing a channel whereby present and future petty and warrant officers might work toward and obtain commissioned status. The Navy Department's recommendations were transmitted to the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives and were substantially introduced as House Bill H.R. 2537, 80th Congress. Hearings on this bill were held by subcommittee No. 1 of the House Armed Services Committee.
3. The Secretary of the Navy (John L. Sullivan) furnished the Chairman of the Committee with the Department's official comments on the bill, in a letter dated 18 March 1947. With respect to the provision dealing with the commissioned officer status of petty and warrant officers of the Regular Navy, the Secretary said:
"H.R. 2537 would create another new group composed of officers having a background of at least 10 years of enlisted and warrant officer service. This group, limited duty only officers, would constitute a number not in excess of 6.22 percent of the number of unrestricted line officers and would be included in the authorized strength of the line. Appointments would be made originally in the grade of ensign, and subsequent promotions, up to the grade of commander, would be by selection. Such officers would be retired upon the completion of 30 years service. Limited duty only officers will retain the specialties acquired as enlisted men and warrant officers with the greatest number being appointed for limited service in the line in specialties similar to those of warrant officers and a lesser number in the Supply, Hospital and Civil Engineer Corps.
"As to the details of distribution of limited duty only officers, percentages in grade would be based upon the number of unrestricted line officers in such grade, exclusive of those carried as additional numbers in such grades, the percentage of ensign and lieutenant (junior grade) combined would be 6.04; lieutenants 7.22 percent; lieutenant commanders 8.62 percent; and commanders 3.64 percent. The percentages of distribution are designed to produce the highest degree of career security consonant with the objective of maintaining the necessary degree of competition for promotion and the machinery for eliminating substandard officers.
"Provision would be made whereby officers with limited duty designations would be given the option, upon having twice failed of selection for promotion by successive boards, of being discharged or retired upon the same basis as other officers of the same grade, or of reverting to the status of warrant or chief warrant officers.
"The foregoing provisions relating to the advancement of warrant officers up to and including the grade of commander are intended to increase the opportunities offered to those who are serving in the status of enlisted men and warrant officers. They would eliminate the extremely narrow basis upon which such enlisted and warrant personnel as demonstrate unusual proficiency in their specialties and outstanding qualities of leadership may now be appointed commissioned officers. Previously, lack of formal education and age disadvantage have greatly limited the opportunity for attaining commissioned status and reasonable assurance thereafter of opportunity for promotion."
4. Rear Admiral Sprague, then Chief of Naval Personnel, was called to testify on the bill on 1 April 1947. His testimony with respect to the proposed establishment of a category of limited duty career Navy Officers is reported in the committee hearings as follows:
"We got lots of comment on the limited duty only feature, which was new. Some people said, "Well, they ought not to go further than lieutenant commander." Others said, "They ought to go on to be captains, and flag officers, if they can get there."
"The theory of the limited duty only officer was to use a man who was a specialist and use him in his specialty. We felt that we hit it about the middle."
5. Following Admiral Sprague's testimony, Commander Martineau testified at considerable length on many sections of the bill.
6. Quotation from letter signed by Acting Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan to Honorable Walter G. Andrews, Chairman of the Committee of Armed Services:
"Limited duty only officers would retain the specialties acquired as enlisted men and warrant officers, the greatest number being appointed for limited service in the line in specialties similar to those of warrant officers, and a lesser number in the Supply, Hospital, and Civil Engineer Corps."
7. Statement of Rear Admiral T. L. Sprague, USN, Chief of Naval Personnel at the hearings on the Officer Personnel Act of 1947:
"One of the outstanding features of this bill is the creation of a new category known as limited duty officers. This will be restricted to the enlisted men and warrant officers who have established outstanding records in the Navy. Under this bill these men would be assured the opportunity for a reasonable commissioned career while, at the same time, enabling the Navy to use their specialized skills and practical knowledge. They will not be required to compete with the general line officer who has always had the advantage of youth and a better formal education. For many years opportunity has existed for enlisted men to attain commissioned rank without attending the Naval Academy, but in doing so, they have been at a disadvantage in competing with general line officer of broader qualifications. The establishment of limited duty officers is a definite step forward, both in recognition of outstanding enlisted men, and in the benefits that will result to the service."
8. Commander Martineau's testimony before hearings:
Mr. Kilday. "I think you ought to explain for the record just what you mean by a limited-duty officer, because in the Army that term has been interpreted to mean that he has physical limitations."
Commander Martineau. "The limited-duty officers, as we have defined in the bill, means that those officers will perform duties simlar to the duties that they performed in their former enlisted or warrant specialty. It has no connection whatsoever with physical limitations. Does that answer your question, sir?"
Mr. Kilday. "In other words, if he was in the engineering department as an enlisted man, then he would be commissioned as a limited duty officer and continue to perform, in a higher degree of responsibility, the same character of duty that he performed as an enlisted man?"
Commander Martineau "That is exactly correct."
9. Commander Martineau's testimony again:
"9. Question. Section 404(k), subparagraph (1), pages 185-186, authorizes the Secretary of the Navy to fix the standards for admittance by LDO's into unrestricted categories, but no standards are specified in the bill. How does the Navy propose to operate this provision? Will identically the same standards be applied to LDO's desiring this transfer as to unrestricted officers? Will professional or other examinations be given to determine the LDO's fitness to enter the unrestricted line or staff corps?
10. Commander Martineau's testimony again:
Answer. The details of fixing the standards required of LDO's for transfer to unrestricted officer status have not been settled, but research work is being done to fix such standards. The procedure as to professional and other examinations will necessarily have to be adequate to insure that the officer is qualified, since he will have to compete thereafter on equal terms for promotion with other unrestricted officers.
10. Question. Since LDO's, even though officers, are to be restricted to duties comparable to those they performed as warrant officers, and since it is anticipated that very few of them will be able to qualify for unrestricted officer status, why wouldn't the best solution be to provide for higher warrant officer grades? This would avoid entering into the line of the Navy this new group of officers who may or may not develop resentments because of their special designation as compared with unrestricted officers holding the same grades.
Answer. Limited-duty officers are not to be restricted to duties comparable to those performed as warrant officers; they will be limited to duty in the technical fields indicated by their previous warrants or ratings. By giving them full-officer status with the proper rank, their ability and experience can be utilized by the Navy in positions of much greater responsibility and authority than would be the case if they remain warrant officers. The experience of the war has shown that in such technical fields such personnel, when given the proper rank and position, turned in high-creditable performances. No grounds can be seen for resentment on the part of limited-duty officers, because of the special designation. Such designation constitutes opportunity they would not otherwise enjoy and they can, if qualified, transfer to unrestricted status.
"Mr. Short. Yes, I wish you would differentiate between the two classes.
Commander Martineau. All right, sir. First, however, I would like to add at this point that this limited-duty feature is one of the lessons that the Navy learned in the war. Every ship in the Navy had aboard what were called temporary officers, the USN(T)'s. They were officers who had permanent status as enlisted men, but who were serving under temporary commissions. They rendered in nearly every case outstanding service, provided that their commissioned service was restricted to the field that they knew and had leaned as enlisted men and warrant officers. The service was so valuable that it is considered to be a very sound step to continue that for the peacetime Navy. It is another means of the Navy recognizing the increased need for specialization. These limited-duty officers will be in a sense practical specialists."
11. After hearings had been held by the subcommittee on H.R. 2537 pertaining to Navy Officer Personnel, and on H.R. 2536 dealing with similar matters for Army and Air Force Officers, the two bills were merged and reintroduced as H.R. 3830.
12. The House Armed Services Committee reported H.R. 3830 out by a unanimous vote. The committee report on the bill to the House included the following comments (p. 7 of House Report No. 640) on the limited duty officer section:
"Another departure is the introduction of limited-duty officers into the Navy Officer Corps. These officers are to come form enlisted and warrant-officer ranks only. This program gives the Navy enlisted man an opportunity to advance to officer grade as a member of a restricted group. He can rise as high as commander and is given a protected career along the way. The Navy support for this innovation was, briefly, that under this bill those men would be assured the opportunity for a reasonable commissioned career while, at the same time, enabling the Navy to use their specialized skills and practical knowledge. They will not be required to compete with the general line officer who has always had the advantage of youth and a better formal education. For many years opportunity has existed for enlisted men to attain commisoned rank without attending the Naval Academy, but in doing so, they have been at a disadvantage in competing with the general line officer of broader qualifications. The establishment of limited-duty officers is a definite step forward, both in recognition of outstanding enlisted men, and in the benefits that will result to the service. The committee was especially pleased that this proposal has become feasible and desirable from the Navy standpoint and that Navy enlisted men are now to have a reasonable opportunity to advance into the Officer Corps and to serve therein with a protected status.
"Another new group produced in the Navy Officer Corps as a result of this legislation will be the special duty only officers. By means of this category, the Navy plans to provide the increased specialization now required in such fields as hydrography, law, communications, intelligence, photography, etc. These specially qualified officers are now to be permitted to devote their time and effort exclusively to such specialties rather than be required also to qualify for the broader, more diverse duties of the general line officer."
13. The subsequent course of the bill, legislatively speaking, appears to have been without particular significance for Section 404, and after passage by both Houses of Congress and approval by the President, it became known as the "Officer Personnel Act of 1947", Public Law 381, 80th Congress, 1st Session.
14. Throughout the legislative history of the bill, there were subtle indications that Section 404, in establishing a protected career channel to commissioned status for enlisted men, was one of the politically most popular provisions considered. The reasons for such political popularity are obvious on several counts: (1) Without some such plans, many Regular Navy wartime temporary officers
would have to revert to petty or warrant officer status upon termination of temporary commissions; (2) Numerically, enlisted personnel (and their families) greatly overshadow the Regular Navy Officer Corps (and their families); (3) Active and vocal organizations, working on behalf of career Navy enlisted personnel, are respected and heard.
B. Detail and Assignment to Duty
1. It has been stated that during the legislative development of the Officer Personnel Act of 1947, neither the members of the Committees nor spokesmen for the Navy Department commented on the use that would be made of the limited duty officers authorized by Section 404 of Title IV, nor as to the relationship of limited duty officers to warrant officers. Paragraphs A.8, A.9, and A.10 should dispel any doubt as to the intended use and assignment to duty of limited duty officers. There is, however, an area of unresolved doubt as to what additional responsibilities were to be given to limited duty officers that would differ from the duties and responsibilities of warrant and commissioned warrant officers. Both limited duty officers and warrant officers come form a common origin, viz. enlisted petty officer rates; but where, and in what manner they differ and depart is not as clear as it might be.
2. A realistic appraisal of the intended use of limited duty officers is possible if it is recognized that Section 404 serves two purposes. The first provided transition into the peace-time Regular Navy for those former petty officers and warrant officers who attained commissioned officer status as temporary officers under Section 2 of Public Law 188 - 77th Congress, approved 24 July 1941. Many of these temporary officers had been promoted to ranks as high as lieutenant commander, and having completed many years of service, expected to round-out a full retirement career. The creation of the limited duty officer class offered an avenue through which qualified wart-ime temporary officers might pass into the Regular Navy as commissioned officers at their attained rank and without the necessity of reverting to their permanent enlisted or warrant status. Without such an opportunity to retain in peace-time the rank attained in war, a certain inequity and unfairness would have been felt and resented by many.
3. The second stated purpose of Section 404 of the Officer Personnel Act of 1947 was to establish a channel for the future appointment of petty officers and warrant officers into commissioned status via the initial grade of ensign. Where the first objective was to deal with a war to peace transition problem, the second was to establish a continuing flow of ensigns from the enlisted ranks. In both cases, such officers would be limited in the area of their billet assignments to technical responsibilities similar to those of their petty officer or warrant officer specialty. If there is any doubt in the minds of those reading the above, as to Congressional intent with regard to billet assignment, I quote Section 404 (a) of the Officer Personnel Act of 1947:
"Sec. 404. (a) The President is authorized to permanently appoint in the Regular Navy, in commissioned grades not above the grade of commander; commissioned warrant officers; warrant officers; chief petty officers; and petty officers, first class, of the Regular Navy, for the performance of limited duty only in the technical fields indicated by their warrants or ratings. Such appointments shall be effected by and with the advice and consent of the Senate."
4. Acceptance of commissions by this latter group of officers was based on the premise that they would be restricted to the performance of duties as indicated by their previous warrant or enlisted ratings. It is not believed that they should be involuntarily required to qualify for deck, engineering, ordnance, or such other duties as commanding officers may assign.
5. It is my belief that it was the intent of Congress that these limited duty officers so appointed should perform restricted duty, much the same as their warrant officer counterpart now performs, with increased responsibility, but in any event, limited to the technical fields as indicated by their warrant or rating. It is not considered that it was the intent of Congress that these officers should be broadened to the extent that they would eventually become unrestricted line officers, for were such the case, why the restriction as to the highest rank a limited duty officer might attain?
6. Current assignment, detail and administration of limited duty officers in the Bureau of Naval Personnel appears to be carried out by "ground rules," which vary from rank to rank and subject to change as Detail officers are rotated from the Officer Distribution Division. Attention is invited to two problems in the administration of the limited duty officer law. The first is the fact that wartime temporary officers drawn from enlisted and warrant ranks, were not limited by law or regulation to their rated field; they were unrestricted officers and served fully with other officers of the Regular Navy and Naval Reserve. Their appointment to limited duty officer status did not change their status in the eyes of "Detail," and they continue to be assigned to duty based on their previous USN temporary officer qualifications for unrestricted billets. A second method of adjustment to peace-time status is provided the wartime temporary officers by Title III of the Officer Personnel Act of 1947. This title permits the continuation of temporary commissioned officers in the Regular Navy, unrestricted as to duty, indefinitely. This device permits those war-time temporary officers to maintain their attained rank, unrestricted as to duty assignment, without applying for or being selected for limited duty officer status.
7. It appears that billets will not be written for limited duty officers, and ship and station complements and allowances will continue to be computed as heretofore. The number and rank of commissioned and/or warrant officer billets will be determined by the intended mission of the ship or station, without regard for the fact that some officer billets may be filled by limited duty officers. Thus, the nub of the problem in administering the limited-duty officer program rests in the proper detail of this group to the several commands and activities. In normal circumstances and for day-to-day work, a ship or station assigned its complement of warrant officers plus some limited duty officers would be in a very strong position from a "technical" view, but weaker from a "command" position than if all its officers were unrestricted. However, in emergencies where a need for succession to command may or does arise, extensive staffing of key departmental or divisional positions with limited-duty officers might prove to be a handicap.
8. As to detailing, upper limits of limited-duty officers assignable to type commands should be developed for the guidance of the officer detail desks, so that no commanding officer is improperly handicapped by a shortage of unrestricted duty
officers capable of succeeding to command. Such maxima would necessarily vary by average ships and shore stations according to their size and function; but the need for further study of this problem is clearly indicated. Commanding officers having limited duty officers in their organization should be periodically surveyed as to adaptability of such officers in relation to the needs of the activity; commanding officers should also be permitted to request the assignment of either unrestricted officers or limited duty officers when replacements or additions are to be detailed.
9. It is believed that a clarification and delineation of the intent and specific wording of Public Law 381-80th Congress, is sorely needed and should be obtained and promulgated by BuPers to all commands at the earliest practicable date. This is considered to be absolutely essential for the prospective limited duty officer and for the benefit of those who hold to the theory that a star above an officer's stripes requires him to perform unrestricted duties, completely ignoring their own professional education and the specific wording and intent of Public Law 381-80th Congress. They choose to ignore the fact that a majority of the newly appointed limited duty officers (ensigns) have never been exposed to, nor are they interested in, navigation, ordnance or any of the related subjects required of a general line officer (1100/1300) and no opportunity is offered to obtain this background except through the "school of experience."
10. If a decision is obtained that is contrary to the concept held by the writer, it is believed that applicants for LDO should be advised of BuPers intent "prior" to and not "after" appointment. In this connection, it would appear that any broadening into unrestricted status defeats the purpose and intent of Public Law 381-80th Congress, and consequently would, in the opinion of the writer, appear to militate against any further input of personnel into LDO category when the procurement of unrestricted line and staff officers from enlisted and warrant sources may be obtained in accordance with BuPers Instruction 1120.7A.
C. Succession to Command
1. Bureau of Naval Personnel Instruction 1210.1 of 16 September 1952 was issued in an attempt to clarify existing directives in relation to eligibility for command at sea and succession to command in ships and other activities by line limited duty officers.
2. Paragraph 1.a.(1) of above cited BuPers Instruction states: "Any officer of the line designated for limited duty only who is ordered as commanding officer or executive officer of a ship by the Chief of Naval Personnel will be considered as having been specifically designated within the meaning of paragraph 4A(3) of BuPers Instruction 1120.18 of 30 June 1953 and hence is eligible to succeed to command at sea under the provisions of Article 1380(1) U.S. Navy Regulations."
3. Paragraph 1.a.(2) of BuPers Instruction cited in paragraph 1 above also states:
"Other than those ordered as commanding officer or executive officer of a ship by the Chief of Naval Personnel, line limited duty officers attached to and serving in ships shall be designated as eligible to succeed to command at sea by the first commanding officer who authorizes them to perform all deck duties afloat. This designation will take the form of an official letter to the officer concerned with a copy to the Chief of Naval Personnel. No further designation by subsequent commanding officers is necessary. A limited duty officer who has been designated as eligible to succeed to command at sea is also "eligible for command at sea" within the provisions of Article 0602, U.S. Navy Regulations."
4. Paragraph 3A(4) of BuPers Instruction 1120.18 of 30 June 1953 states in part:
"The billets in which limited duty officers will be utilized may also be filled by unrestricted officers. Therefore, no billets will be designated to be filled only by limited duty officers."
This letter also lists the twelve technical fields in which limited duty officers may be classified, and indicates the normal path of advancement; but the letter is silent with respect to the qualifications for these categories or how those officers will be detailed and assigned to duty in relation to warrant officers and unrestricted officers.
5. The command responsibility relationship of limited duty only officers to unrestricted officers is made in paragraph 3A(3) of BuPers Instruction 1120.18 of 30 June 1953, which states: "Line limited duty officers are eligible to succeed to command when fully qualified and specifically designated. Supply Corps and Civil Engineer Corps limited duty officers will be eligible for succession to command of those activities which are commanded by officers of their respective corps."
6. There is absolutely nothing contained in Public Law 381-80th Congress relative to "Succession to Command." The preceding 5 paragraphs are devoted to quotations from various sources relative to "SUCCESSION TO COMMAND" by limited duty officers. However, it is to be noted that references cited are silent as to the qualifications for the twelve technical fields in which limited duty officers are classified and are equally silent as to HOW a limited duty officer in any of the twelve cited fields, with the possible exception of Deck and Aviation Operations, can become fully qualified and succeed to command of a ship without violation of that part of Section 404(a) of Public Law 381-80th Congress, which states in part:
"The President is authorized to permanently appoint in the Regular Navy in commissioned grades .......... for the performance of limited duty only in the technical fields indicated by their warrants or rating ..................."
7. There are no written qualifications for limited duty officers.
8. In support of any argument as to WHO should be permitted to become fully qualified and succeed to command, the following paragraphs are devoted to this subject.
9. Article 158(3), U.S. Navy Regulations 1920 (now obsolete), stated that all commissioned warrant officers and warrant officers, excepted chief and warrant boatswains, and gunners were "restricted to the performance of duty in their departments." This was later modified in 1942 to provide for Torpedomen. This is construed to permit Boatswains, Gunners and Torpedomen to be assigned to unrestricted performance of duty, which incidentally included command, whereas all other commissioned warrant and warrant officers were restricted to the performance of duty in their departments.
10. Article 1301(4), U.S. Navy Regulations 1948, provides that: "Commissioned warrant officers and warrant officers of the Navy classed as of the line include: Chief boatswains, chief gunners, chief torpedomen, chief electricians, chief radio electricians, chief machinists, chief carpenters, chief ship's clerks, chief aerographers, chief photographers, boatswains, gunners, torpedomen, electricians, radio electricians, machinists, carpenters, ship's clerks, aerographers and photographers."
11. Article 1882, U.S. Navy Regulations 1948, states: "Commissioned warrant officers and warrant officers may succeed to command of an activity in conformity with the following:
In ships, commissioned warrant and warrant officers who are authorized to perform all deck duties afloat may succeed to command.
Within other commands of the naval service, any commissioned warrant or warrant officer, with a designation appropriate to the functions of the activity may succeed to command."
12. Article 1301(2), U.S. Navy Regulations 1948, provides that "Officers of the line of the Navy include those officers in the grade of ensign and above: (e) Designated for limited duty in technical fields appropriate to the line warrant grade."
13. Article 1380, U.S. Navy Regulations, states: "Officers of the line designated for limited duty may succeed to command of an activity in conformity with the following:
In ships, officers of the line of the Navy designated for limited duty, who are authorized to perform all deck duties afloat, may succeed to command.
Within other commands of the naval service, any limited duty officer with a designation appropriate to the function of the activity may succeed to command."
14. The above cited references are equally silent as to HOW an individual in (line limited duty) categories, other than the Deck and Aviation Operations, can be "authorized to perform all deck duties afloat" and at the same time remain in his technical field as indicated by his previous warrant or enlisted rating.
15. In view of the foregoing, the exact wording of Public Law 318-80th Congress and Congress' intent, it is apparent that officers appointed for limited duty only may perform limited duty in positions [of] much greater responsibility and authority than would be the case had they remained warrant officers, but such duty is limited to the technical fields indicated by their previous warrant or rating. Since the Officer Personnel Act, above cited, contains no express provisions against the succession to or exercise of command by officers appointed for limited duty only, it appears that the eligibility of any limited duty officers for command nature may be regarded as included in the technical fields indicated by his previous warrant or rating, i.e., Line, Deck and Aviation Operations categories. It is contended that all other categories of limited duty officer would not be authorized to perform all deck duties afloat, and consequently could not succeed to command.
D. Transfer to Restricted or Unrestricted Status
1. War-time temporary officers were drawn, as has been previously stated, from enlisted and warrant ranks and were not limited by law or regulation to their rated field; they were unrestricted officers and served fully with other officers of the Regular Navy and Naval Reserves. Public Law 381-80th Congress appears to take cognizance of this fact, and subsections 404(1), 404(m) and 404(n) permits removal of the limited duty restriction, allowing qualified officers to pass into the unrestricted duty field, on application, and upon determination by the Secretary of the Navy in accordance with rules to be prescribed by him. The "rules" prescribed by the Secretary of the Navy are presumably contained in SecNav Instruction 1210.1 of 20 February 1953 and from which paragraph 4.d. is quoted for information:
"d. For officers above the grade of ensign, be qualified to stand officer-of-the-deck watches under way and in port in the case of applicants for the category of unrestricted performance of duty in the line of the Navy."
2. Again there is silence with regard to the question as to "How" a limited duty officer in any of the 12 categories can become qualified to stand officer-of-the-deck watches underway and in port and continue to remain in his technical field. The exception to this is the LDO Deck and Aviation Operations categories.
3. Limited duty officers upon designation for unrestricted performance of duty, pass into the unrestricted duty field, and when they do so, lose the protected status of the limited duty officer, forfeit their statutory right to revert to warrant status, and compete fully in promotional selection with all other officers of the Regular Navy. In such competition they are at a distinct disadvantage because of comparative educational shortcomings.
4. It is believed the limited duty officers transferred to unrestricted status should be afforded the same educational opportunities as is given to LXT and LXR, as well as NROTC and Naval Academy graduates, with due regard given to the fact that very few, if any, have more than high school or equivalent education. The average limited duty officer cannot compete with college or Naval Academy graduates, except in fields where he has ":over-specialized" to the exclusion of other subjects considered not necessary or for which he did not have time to complete. If this cannot be afforded them, it is believed their careers as unrestricted officers will be jeopardized by these educational shortcomings and it is therefore recommended that Section 404(1), (m) and (n), be repealed.
1. The concept of a warrant officer is that of a top-technician, a doer-supervisor, which has been recognized as a Navy need for at least 150 years; such officers perform a vital and indispensable service in War as well as in peacetime.
2. The desirability and value of providing an avenue of promotion to commissioned officer status, other than commissioned warrant officer, for enlisted personnel has always been recognized and is, in fact, a basic American tradition standing from the War of Independence.
3. It appears that the Limited Duty Officer legislation was enacted with full consideration of the needs of the Navy for such specialists along with the continued employment of warrant officers; the present problem is how to best utilize limited duty officers in their specialties now that the legislation is on the books.
4. Limited Duty Officers and Warrant Officers are the only group of officers in the Naval Establishment for whom there is no Bureau "sponsor" except the unrestricted officer, who is sometimes prejudiced and biased to the extent that some recommend disestablishment of limited duty officers and/or warrant officers.
5. Those responsible for the detail and assignment of the approximately 700 limited duty officers of the line, exclusive of aviation categories, should have no more prerogative in the assignment to duty of these officers than is had with regard to the assignment of Staff Corps officers.
6. Limited Duty Officers are the only group of officers in the Regular Naval Establishment for whom no specific billets are written. While distinct billets for limited duty officers need not be created, a careful billet analysis of the needs of each ship type and shore station type should be made to determine where and in what proportions limited duty officers can be detailed wherein their services can be utilized in their specialty. Detailing officers should be governed by the results of such analysis.
7. The time has come when the approximately 1300 Limited Duty Officers in the Regular Navy be recognized for their worth as practical specialists and assigned to duty in keeping with the expressed intent of Congress and the exact wording of Public Law 381-80th Congress. Those principally affected are those of the line, excluding aviation, whose assignment to duty outside their specialty, without benefit of formal training, jeopardizes their careers.
8. The Grenfell Board, in it's hearings, although not contained in the Board Report, brought to light the fact that Limited Duty Officers are resented by some unrestricted officers; that their origin was considered to have been "social legislation;" and in general there is no "demonstrated" requirement for their services in the post-war naval establishment, particularly when in a reducing Navy any splinter groups from the unrestricted line are considered unnecessary.
9. Career-minded petty officers having promotional potential may, in some instances, have a maximum usefulness in restricted technical fields--these men should be channeled into the warrant officer ranks, in other instances more ambitious petty officers will be found to have a latent capability for responsibility in commissioned officer grade above commissioned warrant status--these men should be channeled into the limited duty officer group. A continuing program should be designed and developed, to embrace on-the-job training and experience in fields related to the limited duty officer's specialty, together with other intensive courses (schools and correspondence) designed to develop executive ability and to broaden their technical horizons.
10. It is recognized that there will always be a segment of career-minded petty officers who desire training for unrestricted duty after appointment to warrant and/or limited duty status; these officers can be ear-marked at an early date in their careers and efforts to train them increased. It is felt that the Navy will be losing a valuable manpower potential if it fails to induce as many of these officers as possible to submit applications (VOLUNTEER) for such training and eventual qualification for unrestricted responsibilities. However, it must be recognized that these individuals are generally at a distinct handicap from an educational standpoint, if they are not given the same opportunities as their fellow officers.
11. Broadening of newly appointed Limited Duty Officers INVOLUNTARILY, through career planning is not only a violation of the intent of Congress and Public Law 381-80th Congress, it is a shameful waste of highly trained enlisted specialists, if the end-products are not well-rounded unrestricted officers. If INVOLUNTARY broadening is contemplated, a broad, dual in-service and formal training program should be developed and be so designed as to equip these limited duty officers for eventual unrestricted duty to bring them to the educational level of LXT, LXR and Naval Acadcemy Graduates.
Source: "Rank" ZV file, Navy Department Library.