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AGO 1952 No. 386 - August 27, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

CIVIL DEFENSE ‑- GROUND OBSERVER CORPS ‑- EXPENDITURE OF STATE FUNDS FOR OPERATION OF ‑- WHERE UNDER SUPERVISION AND CONTROL OF UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

The Ground Observer Corps being under the direction and control of the United States Air Force, the use of state civil defense funds for the maintenance of the Ground Observer Corps on continuous duty is not authorized.

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                                                                 August 27, 1952

Admiral D. E. Barbey, Director
Department of Civil Defense
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 386

Dear Sir:

            By letter of August 8, 1952, you state that the United States Air Force has assumed responsibility for the training and operation of the "Ground Observer Corps."  You further state that the Air Force has recently decided to place the Ground Observer Corps on continuous duty and that:

            "It now appears that expenditure of state funds may be involved.  Inasmuch as the Ground Observer Corps was called to duty and is under operational control of the Air Force and is, in reality, a part of the early warning system of the Air Force, the question has arisen as to the legality of expending civil defense funds in connection with this activity.  * * *"

            It is our conclusion that the Ground Observer Corps being under the direction and control of the United States Air Force, the use of state civil defense funds for the maintenance of the Ground Observer Corps on continuous duty is not authorized.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Under the Washington Civil Defense Act of 1951 (chapter 178, Laws of 1951) the governor is authorized and empowered through the director of civil defense to "cooperate" with the heads of the Armed Forces (§ 6 (3) (b)).  Where, however, as is the case with respect to the Ground Observer Corps, the operation of an organization is under the direct supervision and control of the United States Air Force, we do not believe that the Washington Civil Defense Act contemplates the expenditure of state funds for the operation of such an organization.

            It is, therefore, our conclusion that in the absence of direct supervision and control over the Ground Observation Corps by the state civil defense department, there is no authority for the expenditure of state funds for the operation and maintenance of the Ground Observer Corps.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

FRED L. HARLOCKER
Assistant Attorney General

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