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The Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology serves as the chairman of both the President's Science Advisory Committee and the Federal Council for Science and Technology.
The reorganizations accomplished by Plan No. 2 are logical extensions of the existing structure and constitute the essential next steps in gearing our organizational arrangements to present-day needs. The reorganizations do not contemplate any significant change in the basic mission and role of the National Science Foundation, the President's Science Advisory Committee, and the Federal Council for Science and Technology.
In the field of basic science, and especially in relationships between universities and the Government, the President expects the National Science Foundation to take leadership and to make policy suggestions. The Foundation will provide studies and information on which sound national policies can be based. The new Office of Science and Technology will utilize the Foundation fully for these purposes.
The Foundation has demonstrated its effectiveness in administering major programs in support of basic research and education in the sciences. New demands have been imposed on the Foundation, however, by the rapid expansion in the size and complexity of its programs. This rapid growth is evidenced by the fact that the Foundation's annual budget has increased in 10 years from $8 million to $358 million. We believe that the Foundation's ability to cope most successfully with the administrative burdens resulting from rapid growth will be enhanced by strengthening the position and stature of the Foundation's Director.
The reorganization plan strengthens the position of the Director as the operating head of the agency without derogating from the responsibility of the National Science Board for overseeing the Foundation's activities. Rather the changes are designed to clarify lines of authority and responsibility within the Foundation.
The provisions of the plan relating to the Foundation were discussed with and are acceptable to the National Science Board.
The plan transfers from the National Science Foundation to the Office of Science and Technology only those functions which the Foundation could not effectively perform--the evaluation and coordination of Federal programs. The President's message transmitting the plan to the Congress points out:
* * * the Foundation, being at the same organizational level as other agencies, cannot satisfactorily coordinate Federal science policies or evaluate programs of other agencies. Science policies, transcending agency lines, need to be coordinated and shaped at the level of the Executive Office of the President drawing upon many resources both within and outside of Government. Similarly, staff efforts at that higher level are required for the evaluation of Government programs in science and technology.
The organization and functions of the President's Science Advisory Committee and the Federal Council for Science and Technology are not affected by the reorganization plan, although staff services for the Committee and the Council will be provided by the Office of Science and Technology.
Both the Committee and the Council have made unique and significant contributions to the formulation of science policies and the administration of science programs. The President's Science Advisory Committee, which includes many of the Nation's distinguished scientists, has been an excellent source of advice to the President on major developments in science and technology.
The Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology has utilized both the President's Science Advisory Committee and the Federal Council for such important activities as a series of systematic appraisals of selected fields of research and development of interest to the missions of many agencies.
From these efforts, comprehensive programs are being developed in such fields as oceanography, materials research, atmospheric sciences, and high-energy nuclear physics. Similar efforts are continuing in other fields of science, and particular attention is being given to the needs for research in the broad area of natural resources.
A principal objective in the development of these “national" programs is to strengthen U.S. scientific knowledge in areas important to our progress and growth and to the accomplishment of the missions of many Federal agencies through coordinated planning of the research and development effort.
In the main, the existing organization structure has worked well. But there are conspicuous gaps and deficiencies, both from the viewpoint of the President and the Congress. A study by the Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery of the Senate Committee on Government Operations concluded that present arrangements do not provide the President with adequate full-time professional staff help and create difficulties in executive-legislative relations. We concur in both of these conclusions.
The Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology now gives the President advice on scientific and technical questions. He and his office function in much the same way as other professional and institutional advisers to the President such as the Bureau of the Budget and the Council of Economic Advisers.
The day-to-day working relationships among the Office of the Special Assistant, the Bureau, and the Council are extremely close. Many of the responsibilities of the Special Assistant are much more like those of officials in the Executive Office of the President than of White House staff.
While moving science into the White House was a necessary and desirable step in 1957, the continued location in the White House inhibits the establishment of satisfactory longrun arrangements for meeting the President's need for professional staff assistance on matters involving science and technology.
The present location of these responsibilities also has raised problems from the congressional viewpoint. As a personal Presidential adviser, the Special Assistant has not been available for testimony before congressional committees.
We recognize that the Congress at times will desire the testimony of an official who can speak authoritatively on the Government's scientific activities from an overall, rather than departmental, point of view.
The Director of the Office of Science and Technology, in the same way as the Budget Director and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, will be free to appear before congressional committees.
The Office of the President has been profoundly affected by the emergence of science and technology as a major force in public policy. More and more, the decisions which confront the President involve difficult and irretrievable commitments concerning complex technical questions affecting our security and our position in the world.
No matter how extensive the authority delegated to heads of departments and agencies, the President must assume responsibility for the decisions that are taken and the results that follow.
It is the President's view that establishment of the staff arrangements provided by Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1962 is essential to assist him in carrying out his responsibilities most effectively.
I urge that the Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1962 be permitted to become effective.
What I would like to say in summary, Mr. Chairman, boiled down in layman's terms here, what is involved is that the President has found since 1957, in both the Eisenhower administration and now in the Kennedy administration, that he needs a small, full-time staff to help him in the field of science and technology, because these problems are so much now involved in policy decisions.
What this plan would do would be to establish this outside the White House Office, but in the Executive Office of the President on roughly the same basis as the Budget Bureau, the Council of Economic Advisers, the National Security Council, and the Office of Emergency Planning
This would establish it, then, as a permanent staff. It would not cost any more money in the sense that we do not contemplate here a large office. This is a very small office. It is made up of 27 people at the present time. There are 14 professional, and I think 13 other employees.
The budget for this operation is, in the current year, running about $700,000. About $100,000 of that is required to finance the President's Science Advisory Committee. This is a committee made up of part-time consultants who meet with the Science Adviser on special problems. The rest of the Office would cost around $600,000.
We would not contemplate any significant expansion in this as a result of this reorganization.
The other thing that this does, as I pointed out in my statement, is that it would make it possible to have someone who is at this level in Government and who is responsible for scientific policy overall to come before committees of Congress to testify; whereas he is now precluded from doing that by virtue of the fact he is considered a part of the President's immediate personal staff and therefore by tradition has not been available for testimony.
So I don't think we are proposing anything here that is drastic. What we are really doing is regularizing something which seems to have worked pretty well, and we think it important and we hope the committee will feel the same as we do about it.
Chairman Dawson. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. It says in section 3(a) (1): * * * There are hereby transferred * * * So much of the functions conferred upon the Foundation * * * as will enable the Director to advise and assist the President in achieving coordinated Federal policies for the promotion of basic research and education in the sciences.
From time to time who defines how much "so much” is?
Mr. STAATS. This will be something that will be worked out as they go along, Congressman Smith. We recognize that the Science Foundation, by virtue of the fact it is going to be engaged in large numbers of studies on basic research and on education and is in the business of making grants, as authorized by the Congress, will have policy proposals to make.
It is not in a position at the present time to establish these policies as they apply, say, to the Atomic Energy Commission or the Department of Defense or the Space Agency.
But it may well have ideas as to how each of those agencies could strengthen their programs in the field of basic research and in the field of education.
So what we want them to do is to make these recommendations to the Office of Science and Technology, which would then take the lead in trying to resolve it on a Government-wide basis.
Mr. SMITH. But who would have the authority in case there was some doubt as to how much the “so much” is? Who would have the authority to determine how much is transferred?
Mr. STAATS. We would not anticipate any difficulty on this. But if there should be any difficulty, then it would be the President.
Mr. Smith. It would be by Presidential directive?
Mr. SMITH. I wondered, too, about the significance-although I don't think it is too important-of this designation of ex officio for the Director.
You would make the Director ex officio a member of the National Science Board. In what respect is he not a full-fledged member?
Mr. STAATS. He would be a full-fledged member. He is ex officio because he receives his appointment as the Director of the Science Foundation, and the ex officio simply means he would have this position as a member of the Board in a secondary capacity.
But he would receive his appointment from the President as the Director of the National Science Foundation.
Mr. SMITII. In section 22 it says: There is hereby established in the National Science Foundation a new Office with the title of Director of the National Science Foundation.
In section 23 you say: The following agencies, now existing under the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, are hereby abolished: * * *
(2) The Office of Director of the National Science Foundation. You create them in one place and then abolish them in the other.
Mr. STAATS. That is purely a technical and legal problem, Congressman Smith, in order to be able to establish the new Office on this basis. It is necessary to terminate it on the old basis and reestablish it.
Mr. SMITH. My only other observation is that if there is a more complicated way of doing this little job, I don't know how it could have been done.
Mr. SEIDMAN. Mr. Smith, this is one of the problems of drafting reorganization plans under the provisions of the Reorganization Act, which do impose certain restrictions.
Mr. Smith. It is hard to believe they have to be this complicated.
Mr. ANDERSON. Mr. Staats, did I understand you correctly in your statement to suggest that, with the adoption of this plan, the present post of Special Presidential Assistant or Adviser-I believe that is the post held by Mr. Jerome Wiesner at the present time—that that would be abolished completely?
Mr. STAATS. He would not be on the White House staff. He would then become the Director of the Office of Science and Technology.
To state this point fully, there has been some discussion that the President might in addition designate him as his personal science adviser. But this would not be his official title. His official title would be the Director of the Office of Science and Technology.
Mr. ANDERSON. I ask that for this reason : Certainly one thing about this plan I would personally applaud is the suggestion you have made that it would make this official more accessible, readily accessible, to the Congress; that you wouldn't have the claim of executive privilege.
But of course if he is going to divide his time as Director of the Office of Science and Technology, and in addition to that be the President's personal adviser, wouldn't we still have the same problem?
Mr. STAATS. I personally do not think so. I don't think there would be any more difficulty, for example, than we have in the Budget Bureau, or the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers has had in this regard.
I think there have been from time to time matters which the President has regarded as confidential, and therefore we have not been free to testify on. But this is relatively a very small percentage of the matters. I don't think they have really presented any difficulty.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Would the gentleman yield on that point? Mr. ANDERSON. Yes. Mr. HOLIFIELD. I think this is parallel to a situation which existed with Admiral Strauss when he was Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. In addition to that, he was the President's special adviser on atomic matters.
There was some discussion between the committee members and Chairman Strauss on this very point that you raise. It is an important point, Mr. Anderson.
The drawing of the line was based on the Atomic Energy Act, which required the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission to keep the committee currently informed on those matters pertaining to the administration of the act.
The area of privilege was in his private discussions with the President in the development of a common understanding between President Eisenhower and Chairman Strauss.
The committee recognized that here was an area which the President could call anybody in and talk to them on a confidential basis. But when that policy, whatever policy they may have agreed upon, became fixed, and if it needed implementation by the Joint Committee legislatively, he would come before the committee and make a proposal