Page images
PDF
EPUB

have grown.

With regard to science and technology across the board, the problem that first struck me as warranting attention is that of the coupling between the knowledge producers and the knowledge consumers that to me is lacking in every single area of social purpose for which science can make a contribution. Therefore, my approach would be not to pull science and engineering out of these social-purpose-oriented agencies and integrate them into a new Department of Science and Technology, but rather to strengthen the transmission line from the research bench to the fellow who has got the problem in each of these areas of concern. Each one is a little different. Not only are they different in terms of the science, they are different in the social institutions by which science and engineering is applied. And they are different in terms of the non-Federal customers of that research. Getting the benefits of that research to the nongovernmental participant, that strikes me as the most difficult. It is there we go back to my earlier point of the cleavage between science and the humanities, where some people may even have a resistance to scientific ideas—not only a natural human resistance to change, but also a resistance to science and technology because of some emotionally charged attitudes that I believe

Mr. DADDARIO. Well, isn't it possible that the way we are organizing has kept them in these compartments and has prevented them from coming together and working under a more harmonious relationship?

Dr. WENK. Yes. Yes; this is certainly true. However, I think you can identify this relationship between science, technology, and social goals, quite properly, as sort of a vertical linkage and flow of information. As we set our priorities, both in the executive and the legislative branch, we think in terms of social purposes-that is, of one goal versus another-rather than in a competition among funds within each major R. & D. budget.

What I am saying is that even though we catalog all the Federal research and development for purposes of understanding, when we make decisions on priorities in science and technology we do not look at the total R. & D. pie and then slice it. We look at the amount of science and technology that should be supported on the basis of the opportunities afforded by science and of the needs for research reaching down in that particular category of social purposes—the needs for research related to transportation, the needs for research related to the prevention of crime, the needs for research related to managing our environment. And it is here that I believe that we have an imperfect connection between those who sense the problem and can identify the needs and those who can provide the information to solve it.

I think it is that vertical function now which is too weak.

Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Wenk, along these lines, I will submit a whole series of questions to you for the record, because we do have Dr. Handler as a witness.

(Questions submitted by the subcommittee to Dr. Edward Wenk, Jr. :)

Question 1. It is common knowledge that the National Science Foundation has always had difficulty selling itself to Congress and the American public. What positive steps can you suggest that the Foundation might take to improve its image, extend its constituency and secure the funds corresponding to a national policy of continued pre-eminence for U.S. science?

Answer 1. Without accepting the premise that the NSF has always had difficulty selling itself—I should like to repeat the broader point from my prepared testimony that science has had difficulty selling itself to the Congress and to the American public. The NSF, however, does have an opportunity to help mitigate that problem: by describing in specific terms how science and engineering contribute to the public weal; by reciting the payoff of science investments in the long run and the need to continue to sustain the long term as well as the short term point of view; to express the meaning of science and engineering in terms of public policy questions rather than in terms of scientific questions; to improve the substance as well as the mode of communication between science and the non-scientific world, and in so doing to counter isolation from the political domain; and finally, to take advantage of the new authorization for policy level staff to strengthen the Foundation's capabilities both regarding its internal planning and its interface with other Federal agencies and the many communities of interest beyond that of science itself.

Question 2. Will you elaborate on how you believe Congress might improve its organization and staffing in order to deal more knowledgeably with matter relating to science and technology.

Answer 2. This was responded to in supplemental information provided on August 18.

Question 3. With respect to your suggestion for the creation of multidisciplinary research institutes to focus on social goals, please enumerate the areas which you believe should receive consideration.

Answer 3. This was also responded to previously as to candidate areas for multi-disciplinary research institutes. I should like to elaborate, however, on the role of such institutions

1. To develop a multi-disciplinary base of technical competence that would provide facts and analysis for subsequent decision-making.

2. To conduct research needed to fill gaps in that knowledge.

3. To provide an improved coupling between the different institutional interests related to the issues ; i.e., Federal and State governments, industry and academia.

4. To provide a meeting place between the general public whose welfare is intimately involved in each of these topic areas and those who will make the decisions concerned.

Question 4. You have now had experience in a focal position on two major Executive Office coordinating bodiesthe Federal Council for Science and Technology and your present assignment. Under what conditions can voluntary interagency coordinating bodies be effective? What have you found to be the major drawbacks to coordination by this means ?

Answer 4. The success of Executive Office level coordinating bodies depends upon :

1. Expression of interest by the President in specific topic areas that cross different agency lines and have a Presidential priority, but fail to be the prime responsibility of any single agency.

2. Provision of sufficient professional staff to develop facts, analysis of issues, and recommendations for action-after consultation with the agencies and other interests involved, but independent of such special interests.

3. Some ability to review and comment on the funding involved.

4. Determination that such a body has an important role to play and a willingness to take a bold position even on unpopular recommendations—without watering down the decisions to some ineffective common denominator.

Question 5. Has the application of planning-programming-budgeting methods and techniques had measurable effects on the management or organization of Federal science activities in your field of interest? Please elaborate.

Answer 5. It is difficult to have quantitative answers from PPBS in the field of science and technology because both costs and benefits may be subject to many uncertainties. The concept, however, has validity, particularly when planning is conducted with adequate specificity in terms of goals, each one of which is matched by plans for achievement, and where limitations are recognized in applying cost-benefit criteria to societal and economic goals. The limitations of such planning should also not be permitted to squeeze out flexibility or opportunities for higher risk undertakings.

Mr. DADDARIO. But I do have another question which relates itself to some of the questions asked of you by Mr. Mosher, because in this whole matter of organization I think we have got to look at the admin

[blocks in formation]

cern.

istration and policy of how we in Government deal with science. You have cautioned us to increase our involvement with those people in the scientific technical community who can give us advice. This committee has established a whole series of connections along that line for a long time. We are now in an area where the country is seeking tax reform in the sense of beginning to deal with whether or not the Congress will strengthen or weaken this

capability. There is a proposal, as I understand it, before the Ways and Means Committee at the moment which cautions the learned societies that they must not engage in political activities. They eliminate the words “no substantial part,” which would mean that they would engage not at all.

Isn't this one of the policy problems which this Congress should look to ? Shouldn't we watch carefully legislation which prevents us from having these advisory connections?

Dr. WENK. Mr. Chairman, I was not aware of that provision, and I have to agree with you completely, that this is a matter of great con

As one who has participated in a number of engineering professional organizations, I have taken the initiative to try and encourage them to think through these issues and to volunteer spontaneous comment or views, or try to make it clear that they were available if they were asked. This is one of the important mechanisms by which you can gain a better understanding of science and technology than we have had before.

And I must agree with you completely, this is a matter of concern. I was not aware of this provision.

Mr. DADDARIO. Well, your reply to Mr. Mosher compels me to ask these questions and to say, that I have written to the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Mills, and to every one of its members advising of the activities which have taken place in this area over the last 4 or 5 years during which we have tried to spell out what the responsibilities of these societies are and to open up doors of opportunity so that we may seek advice in a better way than that which presently exists, and to indicate that the courts have—the Supreme Court itself having reviewed some of these matters—begun to establish a precedent which allows for this to develop in a meaningful way. It would be my hope that these doors would be kept open and that the Ways and Means Committee would not go further than perhaps to spell out and develop guidelines which would further illustrate its feelings about what "no substantial part” might mean.

Dr. WENK. I am not sure what those who proposed that legislation were trying to guard against. It is not my impression that these professional societies, except those that have publicly identified themselves as lobbying organizations, do in fact lobby.

Mr. DADDARIO. At any rate, I bring this up because I think that is an important point, and also to illustrate that as this committee looks at this particular problem, it goes beyond organization; it goes into the way in which we develop policy and the way in which what we do manage, and that this all fits together in what the committee will eventually recommend. Although I would expect that somewhere along the line, we should do better. I would think that-my offhand observation of the testimony before us and the study which this committee

has undertaken in the past would mean that we should do better than to leave things where they are, including the feeling that Dr. DuBridge's office, now having responsibilities in environment, urban affairs, space, marine sciences, a whole multitude of other things, ought to be strengthened to have the manpower capability and the facility capability to perform these functions in more than a perfunctory way.

Dr. WENK. Several years ago I had the occasion to look at the role of the Office of Science and Technology and I believe the essence of that analysis was that their capabilities should indeed be strengthened.

If I could just comment on this last point you raised, Mr. Daddario, and that is the matter of the professional organizations' involvement. Let me just say from the point of view of my own responsibility, I have tried at least to practice what you have heard preached here. In marine sciences, we have specifically gone to all of the industrial and professional organizations that we know have interest and specifically solicited advice. This was done quite overtly. The interesting thing is that we got some, and in one or two cases it is known that the Government doesn't agree with the advice that we received. But nevertheless, this it seemed to me was a very necessary part of understanding how this works.

We have gone to the American Fisheries Institute, we have gone to the National Petroleum Council, we have gone to the Marine Technol. ogy Society, to the American Society of Civil Engineers, and specifically to the two academies, Academy of Science and Academy of Engineering, in what is going to be a long-term continuing request for advice.

I really believe the Government has got to do this, and I believe that it should be made clear that legislation might inadvertently cut off this mechanism of really understanding what it is that the country needs.

Mr. MOSHER. Mr. Chairman, isn't that proposal aimed not only at learned societies and not so much at learned societies as foundations and other institutions? I think it would be a disaster, myself.

Mr. DADDARIO. I was limiting my comment to the engagement in no substantial part rather than the other complicated factors dealing with the foundations which we could go into, but simply to talk about that from the point of view of the committee's involvement on that subject and the way in which that does fit into the hopes and ambitions of this committee and is a proper part, too, of development of our ability as a committee of the Congress to provide for the Congress better advice specifically along the lines Mr. Mosher has inquired about.

I do not believe, either, that the only time a society should offer its advice is when it has been asked because there may be times when it has something of particular importance which it should come forth with.

Dr. WENK. I agree.

Mr. DADDARIO. Even if it has not been asked. Because there could be many occasions when this could be so. That involves itself in the no substantial part. There ought to be flexibility, I believe.

Well, Dr. Wenk, I do have a whole series of other questions, and we do want Dr. Handler to finish his testimony today. We thank

you for having come. We appreciate your candor.

Dr. WENK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. DADDARIO. Thank you. Dr. Handler ? I need not say anything more about our next witness, Dr. Philip Handler, than that this is the first time he appears before this committee as Chairman of the National Science Board and as President of the National Academy of Sciences rather than when he appeared on the last occasion as president-elect of that academy. His biographical background and relationship to this committee is well known.

Let's go as far as we can go, this morning, Dr. Handler.

STATEMENT OF DR. PHILIP HANDLER, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL

ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Dr. HANDLER. Thank you very much.

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I am most pleased to appear before you this morning to participate in what I consider to be a most timely discussion of a major problem in our society. I would like to join Mr. Mosher in applauding the lyrical statement by Dr. Wenk which I thoroughly enjoyed, and to most of which I couldn't conceivably take exception,

Although I wear several titles, it is not in those capacities that I speak this morning. The views I shall present are entirely personal, since, in this instance, I am not as yet empowered to speak for the membership of either the National Academy of Sciences or of the National Science Board. Neither group, as such, has, as yet, addressed these problems or arrived at a consensus. The Board does, however, hope to speak to this problem sometime this fall and bring to you and to the President, a well considered statement documenting the case in some detail. What I have to say this morning, however, is a purely personal statement.

The Federal Government is today the principal patron of science and science education in these United States. This situation stems from the fact that science is useful rather than from the fact that the intellectual structure of science, largely erected within our own lifetimes, is a magnificent heritage which we shall leave for succeeding generations, entirely analogous to the gift of the cathedrals of the middle ages or the great art of the Renaissance. It is because science breeds technology which is applicable to the solution of the diverse problems of our national life as well as to our national defense that the Federal Government provided about $2.25 billion toward the support of fundamental research in the last fiscal year and almost twice that much for the support of what is called applied research. Support of science on that scale has not been the result of a conscious, overt, planned decision on the part of the Federal Government. It is, rather, the sum of a multitude of lesser decisions made within the White House, a variety of Federal agencies, and the congressional committees which have legislative and fiscal oversight for those agencies.

In one set of actions the Federal Government did overtly and deliberately recognize the contribution which science had already made to our national life and which it was expected to make in the future-actions which, seemingly, were intended to assure that that

« PreviousContinue »