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if they remain outside the new agency. Although it might be argued that the totality of NIH is today relatively unrelated to any other activity of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, actual transfer of the totality of its programs is a complex and largely political decision. I suggest that only the extramural programs of NIH should be given consideration at this time and perhaps only the fundamental research, research training and institutional support programs should be so transferred with all the more clinical programs remaining where they are presently managed.
Were it deemed appropriate to transfer the National Institutes of Health in their entirety, or almost so, to this new Agency, then the logic of transfer of the Bureau of Standards to the new Agency becomes at least equally compelling as does transfer of the National Laboratories” of the Atomic Energy Commission. The Bureau is today a far cry from a "National Bureau of Weights and Measures." It engages in highly sophisticated science, much of which is as remote from the immediate interests of the Department of Commerce as are the current programs of the NSF. Similarly, the high energy physics support programs of the AEC and a large fraction of the activities of the National Laboratories of that Commission no longer bear a clear relevance to the Commission's principal functions: weapons production, development of technologies for nuclear power, and fostering of the use of radioisotopes for civilian purposes.
In short, as we have already noted there would be required a decision concerning the character of any new agency. Should it or should it not have responsibility for the management of in-house laboratories engaged in fundamental and exploratory applied research? In my view, it would ease the transition from current organizational arrangements to avoid this problem, that is, not to bring into the Agency, until some later date, the in-house laboratories of the AEC, Department of Commerce or the National Institutes of Health, and perhaps others, while accepting responsibility for the science-supporting functions of these agencies with respect particularly to academic research and education. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is clearly a rather special case. Certainly, as long as the Space Agency continues to manage the Apollo or post-Apollo applications programs, involving manned space flight, that Agency should remain independent and free standing. However, were its activities to subside to a program exclusively of unmanned, instrumented space probes, then, fusion with the new Agency, when and if it acquires in-house laboratory functions, would appear entirely logical.
With these relatively minor modifications in principle, I find myself in support of the general concept formulated as the model new agency described in the report. It differs little from my earlier suggestion that there is need for a new agency which could be brought into being by fusing the statutory authorities of the National Science Foundation, the Endowment for the Humanities and Arts, certain of the programs of the National Institutes of Health and the higher education functions, or perhaps only the graduate education functions of the Office of Education.
Were such an amalgamation to occur, then it would become possible to simplify many procedures, rationally to manage a somewhat more
desirable form of H.R. 35, and to arrange for Federal support of graduate research education along the lines proposed in the first annual report of the National Science Board.
Finally, should no reorganization of Federal science supporting and conducting agencies occur, no problem is more acute than bringing the appropriation to the NSF to the level of about a billion dollars per year as soon as possible. Under those circumstances, many of the difficulties and problems to which proposals for reorganization are addresssed could then be solved by the activities and programs of NSF itself. As I noted, I recognize that many of my colleagues are apprehensive with respect to an amalgamated science support structure simply on the grounds that the consolidated enterprise would receive less financial support than would its fragmented components.
However, this is a classic instance of the aphorism which stat's that, in human affairs, the urgent always seems to have priority over the important. In the long term, it is essential and inevitable that an amalgamated research and education agency of the Federal Government be brought into being, a circumstance which will not be without awkwardness and difficulty as regards the committee structure of the Congress. If temporarily, reorganization also engenders a small degree of fiscal trauma—the operational word is small—the fact remains that over historic time such an agency would be in a better position to assure that science and the technology it makes possible are appropriately supported and managed so as to make maximal contribution to the welfare of the American people.
Thank you for the privilege and opportunity to be with you this morning.
Mr. DADDARIO. Thank you, Dr. Handler.
Dr. Handler, in view of the recognition of the necessity of multidisciplined research activities—and I think all agencies doing research today do have that concept of the multidisciplinedo you not feel that unless some vertical organization is forthcoming and in the reasonably near future, that all we will have will be an escalation and an enlargement of the horizontal growth to where every agency that today is involved will have a complete multidisciplinary establishment of its own?
Dr. HANDLER. Mr. Cabell, the alternative is a single Federal agency to do everything, which is I think not acceptable.
Mr. CABELL. Well, I won't go quite that far.
You are taking a more logical approach, I think, a softer approach, rather than just one supra-agency.
Dr. HANDLER. Yes.
Mr. CABELL. My thrust is that unless we do work toward a little more vertical development, the horizontal development will just get completely out of hand.
Dr. HANDLER. Well, I think that that is the task of the Congress, to balance out these structures. What I have asked is that we have an adequate horizontal arrangement and that what we call “mission agen
cies," the current vertical structures which understand their social purposes and have to arrange to attain their missions, be adequately manned. The other problem is where the bottom of that vertical structure should be I think, and how to arrange a Federal horizontal structure.
Mr. CABELL. Well, in reading some of the testimony and hearing some of it, I find that those who are agency related recognize that this vertical organization is highly necessary for all the agencies but their own.
Dr. HANDLER. Yes. Well, I tried to steer a middle course, I think, sir.
Mr. CABELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Handler, you and others have set a goal for funding so far as the National Science Foundation is concerned of billion dollars a year. How are we going to accomplish this, taking into consideration the competition that exists under the present organization of mission oriented agencies, in particular with the National Science Foundation in the area of fundamental research and in many instances fundamental research not associated with missions?
Dr. HANDLER. My assumption, sir, was that as our expenditures for Vietnam subside, there will be some money available for domestic social purposes.
But as we do this, as the opportunities to increase total Federal support of science and applied science reappear and the Congress feels so minded, then the growth of the NSF budget in this regard would be disproportionate as compared to that of other agencies.
I am not suggesting in any sense that we take funds away from other agencies as we do this. As funds become more available, we should grow the NSF disproportionately for some years.
Mr. ĎADDARIO. Shouldn't we learn from the time in which we find ourselves, where all agencies being under the financial gun there is a more harmonious relationship between these agencies and many of them do look to the National Science Foundation to do its basic research. The Department of Defense and the AEC have, because they find themselves in this position, transferred something in the area of $19 million to the National Science Foundation.
Dr. HANDLER. Not money. They have only transferred activities.
Mr. DADDARIO. Without the moneys I would expect that when the time came when moneys were more available, that unless we were to come to some understanding about how our science matters were to be organized you would recede back to the point where the competition for funds not being so great, these agencies would fight harder for additional fundamental research activity.
Dr. HANDLER. I think they should do just that. But the actions at least of the Defense Department aren't entirely based on budgetary restrictions. In considerable measure that was å policy decision. The Office of Naval Research, as I understand it, as a matter of policy decided that the field of high energy physics as it now exists really is so remote from ONR’s proper missions that it cannot justify the support of that scientific field. That is a policy statement.
Mr. DADDARIO. Yes, but it came to that policy statement at a time when it was under the financial
gun. Dr. HANDLER. That sharpened its decision undoubtedly.
Mr. DADDARIO. The policy statement prior to that time was it would do this work.
Dr. HANDLER. My point is that we have seen the same thing in many agencies in these last few years. When they confronted the budgetary stringencies which were restrictive they had to assign their own internal priorities in science; the field of science most remote from the mission is the one that got the short shrift. And I suppose that, had I been director of a mission agency, that is precisely what I would do. You in the Congress would look to that director to see that he accomplished his goals for society, and those programs which relate to the agency's mission at the turn of the century or in 1985 are the ones which could subside for a year or two——is certainly the decision he must take. Again, the urgent drives out the important.
But it seems to me there ought to be one agency to which the Congress can look and understand that its goals are always about tomorrow, and it is always building a platform with which all other agencies and American society in an unforeseeable future will be strengthened. That is the role of the NSF and should be the role of the new agency in very large measure. Just as it is of the Office of Education which produces tomorrow's citizens.
Mr. DADDARIO. Obviously this committee should look at this activity even if no organization were to occur as a result of these hearings. The way in which fundamental research is being conducted and the transfer of this from one agency to another is by itself a very important problem.
Dr. HANDLER. Yes.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Handler, the National Academy of Sciences has conducted several studies in various disciplines, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and others and their need for support. As we look at priorities and we try to come to some judgment about how we should choose amongst these priorities in the various disciplines, what should be our approach? We presently have a committee on discipline comprised of practitioners in that discipline who recommend the funds for that particular discipline. I wonder if somewhere in the overall planning we should not determine some way through which we have an opportunity to have an overview of this activity in all of the disciplines to see if we can come to some judgment beyond that of what ought to be in each discipline, but how can we establish priorities amongst all of them.
Dr. HANDLER. Well, as you know quite well, this is the one question with which the scientific community has had the greatest trouble in coming to grips.
We can set goals for internal priorities within a discipline. We find it very difficult to make the apple and orange comparison between disciplines.
But in point of fact, that kind of thinking does go on all the time. It happens in the Office of Science and Technology. It certainly happens in the annual exercise of preparing the budget request for the National Science Foundation. NSF is the one agency which deals with
all aspects of science, and it has to decide, within what it hopes for its appropriation in a given year, where to put its resources. Now, to some extent that consists of "listening for the squeaky wheels” and providing funds to wherever the clamor has been greatest most recently. But not entirely.
For example, the buildup of funds for the support of chemistry has come as a result of recognition that there is no single Federal “mission agency” which bears a 1-to-1 relationship to chemistry itself. It isn't the basis of the activities for some other Federal agency. On the other hand, fundamental research in chemistry, largely in the universities, is the basis for what is now the $40 billion per year chemical industry. And so NSF takes it upon itself, with that as a consideration, to strengthen chemistry. Allocations for the support of physics were made in the light of knowledge of what was going on at the Atomic Energy Commission and other physics supporting agencies, and so forth.
The programs within the life sciences which NSF is supporting are managed in full understanding of what the Department of Agriculture and HEW are doing. So to some extent, inside NSF there has been this kind of balancing decision with respect to priorities, decisions which are never black and white. Nothing in this system is wrong; it is just that some things are more right than others at a given time.
To explain the basis for those decisions would be extremely difficult even after they have been made. You would be hard put to explain precisely what you did, why it is that you arranged to distribute funds as you have.
In some areas it is a very simple thing to do. In areas of big science, priority setting can be relatively easy. You decide to buy a big telescope or you do not. That is a single, overt decision arrived at by considering the needs of astronomy and of all of science, and much simpler than deciding how much more money to put into systematic biology, where there never is a big step function in the funding.
Yet we have done fairly well, I think. When considering whether to fund another 150-inch optical telescope, we know that the funds are going to come out of the totality of the rest of the program and can predict the consequences. So NŠF really does, in-house, engage in the kind of exercise which you are discussing. Yet again, I must confess that a restrospective justification of the precise allocation of its resources in any one year would be very hard indeed. There is no discipline which we would choose to shut off, nor is there any discipline to which we would allocate all our resources. There has to be some place in between which is rational. And that derives from the educational requirements of the Nation, the requirements of the Nation for new knowledge, the requirements of the Nation for new trained people.
Some decisions are much more difficult. Let's say there are 25 universities, each of which would like a new 40-inch telescope. But we already have numbers of 40-inch telescopes. Given the current number of 40-inch telescopes, we can learn as much astronomy as we can with any larger number of 40-inch telescopes. It would just take longer.
On the other hand, a new 200-inch, fully instrumented telescope might cost as much as all those 40-inchers, but it has one other prop