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Serbian War Decorations
The most highly prized war decoration of Servia is the Medal for Bravery, established in 1885. It is made of gold for the first class and of silver for the second class. The gold medal of the first class is awarded to officers for deeds of great bravery in the face of the enemy and very rarely to non-commissioned officers for deeds of extreme daring and courage performed after all the officers present had been killed. The silver medal of the second class is awarded to non-commissioned officers and privates for deeds of especial bravery in action.
The obverse bears the head of the great national hero of Servia, Miloch Obilitch, who in 1389 at the battle of Kossova defeated the Turks, killing their leader, the Sultan Murad, with his own sword. The reverse bears the legend, " For bravery." The ribbon is blue.
The Medal for Military Merit was authorized by the king in 1883 to reward officers and men of the army for meritorious service in peace or war. The medal is of gold for the first class, awarded to officers, and of silver for the second class, awarded to non-commissioned officers and privates.
On the obverse is the crown of Servia and on the reverse the legend, " For Military Merit." The ribbon is blue and white.
Thus it will be seen that the bits of metal and the strips of multicolored ribbon that adorn the breast of our soldiers and sailors are not meaningless baubles chosen to satisfy a passing fancy. Each one marks some gallant deed on the bloody field of battle or wind-swept sea, some duty for the country well done or some years of faithful service under the flag in'the ceaseless struggle to insure " that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
U. S. NAVAL INSTITUTE, ANNAPOLIS, MD.
The appropriation system of the Navy Department constitutes a handicap against the uniform advance in industrial and administrative methods which has been and is being made from year to year. As military efficiency is of course affected by the degree of progress made in the industrial and administrative branches, it is important to remedy any defects known to exist therein.
It is unnecessary to say that this condition has been commented on from time to time. Two references only will be made.
Admiral McGowan in his report as paymaster general for the fiscal year 1915, said:
In addition to interfering with the proper distribution of costs, the present complicated method of making appropriations entails a great volume of unnecessary paper work and a mass of bookkeeping detail, the disadvantages of which are felt throughout the naval establishment.
Admiral Cowie in a lecture before the Naval War College, September 3, 1915, said:
The naval appropriations at the present time are very complex, and many of them carry identical clauses. Their consolidation would simplify all business transactions connected with purchases, permit more accurate cost accounting, facilitate the reporting of expenditures and result in an economical distribution of funds by administrative authority at the time the necessity for a particular expenditure becomes apparent.
The navy is in the fortunate position of not having to make any excuses for failure to produce. A request made to Congress to relieve us of the burden of the unsatisfactory appropriation methods cannot, therefore, be ascribed to weakness, but rather to a strength born of overcoming difficulties.
In the following article, it is first shown that the navy has made considerable progress in getting around the obstruction of the appropriation system. But we still carry the deadweight of it, and an attempt is made to indicate how it can be removed from our path without causing any disorganization of our work.
There never was a better time than the present for settling this problem.
The financial, or fiscal, system of the Navy Department runs so smoothly and has so well withstood the strain of the present war, that few outside of those in immediate touch with the details of the problem appreciate the difficulties which have been overcome in the past, or those which still remain to be cleared up. The navy methods for obtaining and handling funds and stores are believed to be superior to those of most other departments of the government; certainly when comparison is confined to the long-established executive departments, where old traditions and inherited systems tend to complicate the routine. Some of the recently instituted departments have undoubtedly been able to start with systems untrammeled by ancient customs, and should therefore be better off in this respect than the older institutions.
In order to obtain a clear idea of the present navy methods, it will be well to describe briefly how money is obtained and handled, and then to glance back over the changes which have been introduced in late years.
To obtain funds for a coming fiscal year estimates from the bureaus, based on reports from the various yards and stations, are submitted to the Secretary, gone over carefully and forwarded to the Secretary of the Treasury for transmission to Congress. These estimates are divided under headings, called appropriations, in accordance with the purposes for which the money is desired. Each bureau has its own group of appropriations, the titles of which indicate more or less closely the ultimate objects of expenditures. However, as the result of long custom, the titles of some appropriations give only a broad indication of the nature of the proposed expenditures, and in that case there is added a somewhat detailed wording intended to specify or describe in a general way the kinds of charges which are to be met under that appropriation. It must be remembered that formerly each bureau maintained a kind of independence, not only as an administrative section of the Navy Department, but also as a managing element of the yards and stations. Consequently, each bureau sought to incorporate in the appropriation bills wording to indicate its functions and to tighten its control over the matters in which it was interested. From time to time new activities were taken up and mentioned in succeeding appropriation bills, while more or less obsolete details were still retained, or eliminated only after considerable time. Thus the main or leading appropriations of the several bureaus contain descriptive wording which attempts to delimitate, in a certain degree, the functions of the bureaus, and which, from the manner in which this wording has been compiled, is unscientific and unsatisfactory.
In addition to the main appropriation of each bureau, other appropriations more specific in their nature are included in the bill. In many cases the objects of expenditures mentioned in these specific appropriations are also covered in general terms by the main appropriations, so that often payments can be made either from the bureau's main appropriation or from one or more of the specific appropriations.
Congress having gone over the estimates submitted, the appropriation bill is finally enacted into law. The final figures of the bill are reached only after careful inquiry by the Congressional committees, the Secretary, bureau chiefs, and others concerned appearing before these committees and explaining the needs of the service in detail. After the bill is passed and signed by the President, it is carried to the treasury books, and the money becomes available for use. On the treasury books the sums appropriated are recorded under the names of the several hundred appropriations mentioned in the act, and from that point on a credit and debit account is maintained for each individual appropriation covered by the bill. The same procedure is followed in the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts.
With the exception of the Navy Department, for reasons to be explained below, the general practice of the government when funds are to be drawn from the treasury, is to specify the particular appropriation concerned for each intended payment. Thus a disbursing officer having 20 payments to make, each under a different appropriation, must procure the amounts necessary under 20 different accounts, and must keep each one of these appropriation accounts separate and distinct from all the rest. The fact that he may have ample funds under other appropriation accounts would not permit him to make payment of any one of these 20 bills until new funds were obtained from the treasury