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COMMISSION ON COMMUNICATIONS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 1929
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, on Monday, May 20, 1929, at 10.30 a. m., in room 412 Senate Office Building, Senator James Couzens presiding.
Present: Senators Couzens (chairman), Pine, Howell, Metcalf, Brookhart, Glenn, Kean, and Dill.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order. Captain Hooper, you may proceed to tell us what you have in mind. You have been here at several of our hearings and know pretty well what we are asking about.
Captain HOOPER. I think so.
STATEMENT OF CAPT. S. C. HOOPER, DIRECTOR OF NAVAL COMMUNICATIONS, NAVY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Captain HOOPER. I will say, Mr. Chairman, that I have had an opportunity to hear the questions asked some of the witnesses, particularly those propounded to General Gibbs, and therefore Í have prepared a paper, and think I have covered the whole subject, so that if interruptions could be avoided I would be able to present the matter in perhaps a clearer form, and then questions could come
The CHAIRMAN. We will try to hold the committee in check as much as possible during the presentation of your main statement.
Captain HOOPER. The naval communication system is under the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, administered by the Director of Naval Communications. * Operation, traffic, and policy come under this section. The Bureau of Engineering, Radio Division, handles research, material, and maintenance.
The naval communication policy is as follows:
(1) To maintain and operate a naval communication system based on the requirements of the fleet in war.
(2) To reduce by thorough indoctrination the number and length of communications.
(3) To provide and operate radiocompass stations as required.
(4) To develop such radio communications as may aid maritime and aviation interests.
(5) To cooperate with the radio and cable organizations of the United States and other countries and to safeguard the communication interests of the United States, both public and private.
(6) To develop and maintain within the fleet the best forms of communications for battle efficiency, stressing aviation and submarines.
(7) To use naval radio communications to assist in the furtherance of American interests abroad.
Naval communications provides the nerve system within the fleet, and connecting the fleet with the Navy Department and district headquarters, over which information flows, and over which orders are given. The service must provide for instantaneous multiple distribution of orders and information to the various forces over wide areas and regardless of disposition; disposition and action through chains of military command; direction finding; radio tracking; tactical and strategical communications; communication through deliberate interference; creation of interference; speed; accuracy and 'secrecy of communications; communications on the surface, in the air, and submerged; interception of enemy traffic; interception of own traffic; communication of spots from aircraft spotting for firing ships, and from information scouting ships and planes.
Senator Dill. Right there I should like to ask a question: Has the Navy conducted successful experiments with a submerged antenna, I mean submerged in water?
Captain HOOPER. We have, for reception only.
Captain HOOPER. No; or at least, not to the extent that we have been able to transmit successfully.
The CHAIRMAN. You may go ahead with your statement.
Captain HOOPER. The total plant value of the Navy ship and shore systems is $18,000,000. Total annual maintenance, exclusive of operating personnel, $1,300,000. An equal amount is expended for modernizing to increase efficiency and reduce interference with broadcasting reception.
Navy radio on shore operates a primary chain connecting Washington with San Francisco, the Canal Zone, Hawaii, Samoa, Guam, Porto Rico, Virgin Islands, Great Lakes, Alaska, and the Philippines. It has a secondary chain of fleet feeder and relay stations--one in each naval district and a third chain of coastal stations for direct communication with Government vessels. Also a radio station at each naval air station for communication with aircraft, and a chain of radio compass stations along the coasts.
There are a total of 108 radio stations, averaging from 1 to 10 transmitters per station. Of these, 18 are high and medium power stations, 51 are radio compass stations, and the remainder coastal stations. Our service provides the mariner with time signals, weather, hydrographic, derelict and ice bulletins, and assists the Weather Bureau in collection of weather reports from shipping.
There are a total of 336 Government frequencies out of a total of 2230
Senator Dill (interposing). Government frequencies, do you mean, for the Army, the Navy and all governmental services?
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir; assigned by the Government.
Captain HOOPER. There are a total of 336 Government frequencies out of a total of 2,230, 136 peace-time naval frequencies, assigned by the President, after recommendation by the interdepartmental radio advisory committee. Of these 20 are experimental, 46 are in the international frequency portion of the spectrum (above 6,000 kilocycles), half fleet and half shore, 28 are low frequencies for fleet and shore use, and 30 for local use mostly within the boundaries of the fleet maneuvering areas.
Senator Dill. Your Army has a Signal Corps.
Captain HOOPER. Naval communications.
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir; I am the head of that department, but under the Chief of Naval Operations. I am his assistant in charge of that division.
Senator Dill. All right.
Captain HOOPER. There are, roughly, 100 officers on communication duty afloat and on shore, one-half of whom are postgraduate radio officers highly qualified, and nearly 3,000 operators; also 150 civilian telephone and telegraph operators. All of our naval aviation officers are qualified radio operators, at least those below the grade of lieutenant commander.
The total annual traffic on our shore system amounts to 60,000,000 words, including relays, or 25,000,000 words of original traffic. Of this, 8,000,000 is for other Government departments, representing a saving of over $1,000,000 per year. The strictly naval traffic, if handled on commercial systems, would cost the Government, roughly, $3,000,000 per year, or a total saving of $4,000,000 per year, not counting relay costs, which would bring this figure up considerably beyond the total expense of shore systems, including shore personnel, but not including cost of personnel afloat. One hundred and seven thousand ships, 12,000 naval and 37 aircraft obtained a total of 214,000 radio compass bearings, to assist their navigation during 1928, from the Navy's compass stations.
The actual cash receipts for handling commercial dispatches over naval radio amounts to $100,000 per year, and is gradually decreasing.
Senator HOWELL. That was very much larger several years ago, was it not?
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir. Shortly after the war we were handlling commercial messages over a number of our transoceanic circuits.
Senator HOWELL. And about what were your receipts then? Captain HOOPER. Well, I imagine the receipts were $700,000 or $800,000 a year then. We also handled a good deal more commercial traffic through our coastal stations at that time as there was nobody else to do it.
The CHAIRMAN. And that has all been supplanted by commercial stations, has it not?
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir. As fast as commercial stations are installed and begin giving satisfactory service, our policy, in accordance with the law, has been to withdraw.
Senator Dill. Did that commercial service interfere with the work of the naval service?
Captain HOOPER. In some places it did, and in others it did not. It did add considerable to the overhead.
Senator DILL. I see.
Captain HOOPER. And it took the time of officers from their strictly naval duties, and so forth.
Senator Dill. The radio bill that first passed the Senate provided for a continuation of commercial service by the Navy.
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir.
Senator DILL. But that provision was taken out of the bill in the conference between the House and the Senate.
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir. Senator Dill. What is your impression as to the desirability of the Navy doing commercial business?
Captain HOOPER. We would prefer to avoid that and to confine ourselves strictly to our own business, because we have only a limited personnel for the whole Navy, and every officer and man that we put on commercial business takes one man from the fighting ship.
Senator Dill. Do you consider the press business of the Philippines as a commercial business now?
Captain HOOPER. Yes, sir; but that is not so heavy but what we can handle it without any hindrance to our own work.
Senator HOWELL. As I recall the matter, about 1921 or 1922 the receipts of this division of naval communications from commercial business was about $1,225,000 a year. It paid in the neighborhood of 4 per cent upon the total investment of the Navy.
Captain HOOPER. I will be glad to get those figures and put them in my statement, if you desire.
Senator HOWELL. And at that time it was urged that the business did not interfere with the work of the Navy Department, or with the work of the communications branch of the Navy Department. But there has been a constant duplication right alongside these naval stations, and yet we have to maintain them just the same.
Captain HOOPER. We have to keep personnel there.
Senator DILL (interposing). As soon as a naval station begins to make money then a private station comes in and the naval station can not operate any more.
Senator Howell. The naval station could do it, but the private station comes in and insists that it shall not do it.
Senator Dill. The law provides for that.
Senator HOWELL. I fully realize that, but it is a useless duplication, and it would seem that wherever there is an opportunity to save the taxpayer any money, in case it interferes with private interests at all, the taxpayer must forego this saving, and we must take the cost of the service out of his pocket just exactly the same as if there was not this opportunity to pay or help pay the cost. And this has been praticularly so with radio.
The CHAIRMAN. Captain Hooper, you may proceed with your statement.
Captain HOOPER. The maintenance of the Navy's Alaska-Bremerton circuit, Alaskan terminal, plus the seven coastal and compass stations in Alaska is $65,000 per year, excluding cost of enlisted personnel $130,000—approximately 50 operators.