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Whether we can continue this thrust remains to be seen. There is a danger we may become has-beens in the scientific world community.
For the reasons I have indicated, I feel this is a very good time to review the structure in the Federal Government and, at the same time, determine whether we wish to continue to be world leaders. In analyzing the current state of affairs, we must deal with the missions of various agencies, we must deal with science both as an intellectual and a practical field, and we must decide what is needed and in what direction we ought to go in science generally. That implies an element of scientific planning we have not done and an element of scientific policy that is yet to be formulated. We also need to be concerned with the health and stability of the institutions that must perform the work, for, without these institutions, the missions of the various agencies cannot be accomplished and scientific work cannot be done. Thus, these are the three elements: The mission, the health of science, and the health of our institutions.
Some of the executive departments and agencies have very clear and specific missions given to them by the President or the Congress. Others have very broad missions also defined by executive action, by legislation, and by appropriations. The mission of the Department of Defense is very clear. The mission of the Department of Labor is very clear. In its mission, the Department of Defense must rely heavily on science and technology. It must maintain contact with the best that is thought and done in all our institutions, in industry, in the universities, and in its own laboratories.
Similarly, the Department of Labor, with its broad responsibility for our manpower, must be directly coupled to the best thinking and the best work that will give it new insights into the general area of manpower and how the dynamics of our economy relate to employment, et cetera. I realize the Department of Labor has other responsibilities, but this is just one example.
Other agencies have very broad responsibilities that deal more with national goals and purposes. The National Science Foundation is an example. In a phrase, it is responsible for the health of American science.
Similarly, NASA has a broad responsibility which one can best characterize by a single word: space.
In trying to differentiate between a functional responsibility in our society and a broad responsibility that deals with national goals and hopes for the future, we raise a different set of problems. How should support to various scientific fields be allocated? What instruments and facilities are needed? Which are the pacing items that determine the dynamics of our sciences? Are we producing the necessary manpower to continue our scientific activities? What are the shifting needs of our society in terms of technology and culture?
Finally, let me turn to the institutions in which the work is done: industry, the universities, nonprofit laboratories, Government laboratories, et cetera. Each has a different tradition. Each serves more than a single function in our society. Each has a different reaction time to various external forces, the current problems, such as fluctuations in its budget or fluctuations in our economy. Industry is so structured and managed that it can react quickly.
Research, development, and the technological effort in industry normally are small in comparison to the total operation of the firm. Thus, in industry, any modification of programs, fluctuation in budgets, fluctuation in missions, are accomplished without too much trauma. Problems are created but the organism has learned how to deal with them rapidly.
In contrast, the universities have a very long reaction time. They cannot modify programs rapidly. The graduate schools have only one basic activity: research and the training of the next generation of scientific manpower. Thus, when faced with modification of budgets, programs, or missions, they lack the ability to make the necessary adjustments rapidly. The total expenditure for research and training in universities has evolved in this fashion in order to serve society best. The integrity of the university, let me repeat, depends on just one principal function—research and training.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Piore, at this point you seem to indicate that cutbacks in budgets affect the Government research program and training program, especially in the universities, much more than the actual amounts of dollars would indicate because they have this extra difficulty in adjusting.
Dr. PIORE. Yes, they have no hidden pockets of money, you know, to move from one function to another, in contrast to a large industry which can move large sums of moneys from one function to another and even retain its people. They may do a different job. Similarly, Defense can move money from one part to another with much greater facility than an agency like the Natural Science Foundation that just has one function. It has no opportunity to move money from one pocket to another.
Mr. DADDARIO. We should look to as we come to some judgment about the administration and management of our resources, we should determine how we could develop a better approach to these adjustments that you are referring to.
Dr. PICRE. This is very important. One of my solutions is to have a Department of Science with the ability to move pockets of money from one place to another. If you have an organization like the National Science Foundation with a very broad function and with a very specific set of customers, they will always be under the potential pressiires of modifications, either by the executive or the legislative branch. What I am trying to suggest is a broader department, a Cabinet department, where there can be some political responsibility as adjustments are necessary.
And when I talk of political responsibility, I talk in terms of the best concept of politics.
My concern is that just augmenting or doubling the National Science Foundation does not get rid of intelligent planning when you have to adjust budgets.
Mr. DADDARIO. That is the reconciliation of the political and scientific choices that you pointed out in your third paragraph on page 4. How do you meet these various challenges?
Dr. PIORE. This country has a great future. During long periods of time, budgets will be adjusted. There is no way of avoiding it from time to time. One wants to have institutions in Government that can
take it and have a minimum impact on our nongovernmental institutions and nongovernmental customers. That is what I am probing at. I may not give you a very good solution, one that is acceptable to even my own colleagues quite apart from the Government administrators.
Let us not forget the nonprofit laboratories which are a new phenomenon. They have been created since World War II. Here again some are basically in the image of the university. They represent large or small facilities whose principal users are the universities. Others have broader programs, covering a whole spectrum of interests whose principal public is not to the universities but to other parts of our society.
Any discussion on how the executive branch should be structured to insure the health of American science must consider the three factors that I have tried to identify: the missions of the agencies; the content of science, which implies planning; and the institutions. American science is in a transitional period. The problem, as I see it, is whether we are to continue to be strong in this area or whether we will become a less important factor in the world scientific community. If we choose the latter, as a policy, ultimately our economy, ard of living, and our ability to deal, for example, with our environmental problems and the health of our people will diminish.
Through the years the mission agencies have dominated the support of science. More specifically, they have dominated the support of science in our graduate schools. They have had a broad view of the scientific areas that were important to their future in discharging their missions. They have asked the universities to start new activities, create new structures within the academic departments, and this has been very good for the health of science in the United States. With budget cuts, however, they have narrowed their views on which scientific areas are important to their mission. This has been accelerated by congressional debate. They are gradually removing themselves from the support of laboratories in universities involved in classified and unclassified areas which they have helped to start.
By so doing, they have introduced instabilities in the universities where much of our science is done over the last two decades, basically, by the scientific community. Another important aspect that has not been debated is that they have warped the distribution of effort among the scientific fields that has evolved very thoughtfully over the last two decades, basically by the scientific community. They have stopped support of certain unique instruments and facilities that are required and often represent the cutting edge of work in many scientific areas. The National Science Foundation, it is true, even with its limited resources and continued static or reduced budget, responded in a very limited way to reduce the perturbations in our universities. It is just as important to try to maintain a certain balance among scientific fields.
It appears, by continued congressional debate and legislative action, that in the immediate future the mission agencies will continue to narrow their fields of interest.
Thus, the stability of our scientific enterprise is at stake. As I have stated, industry can react to such modifications without having its institutional structures or integrity affected. On the other hand, the
actions now being taken threaten the intergity of our universities, as do the actions that will continue to be taken as budgets are adjusted and, I expect, reduced, although I hope not.
I hope and strongly urge that the budget reduction process be stopped. However, even if it is stopped, we still have the problem of balancing our scientific effort through various fields. There is no way at the moment to deal with that problem.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Piore, you raise the question of balance. I believe this is important. In fact, it is one of the goals of the National Science Foundation. The point, you are getting at here, is that as the missionoriented agencies detach themselves, the National Science Foundation with limited budget and flexibility will include programs which shift from the mission agencies to it and have difficulty in maintaining balance.
Dr. PIORE. That is the point I tried to make. I think it is very difficult at this time to maintain the balance. An easy solution to all this would be to double the budget of the National Science Foundation, give executive and direct administrative power to the Office of Science and Technology, and leave the structure alone. This is an unrealistic solution, in my book. Neither in Government nor in industry can executive power be given to any coordinating group, because no one there is responsible in the operational sense.
This is the experience in Government and large industrial enterprises.
Mr. DADDARIO. You mentioned the Federal Council for Science and Technology. I don't believe its record shows it can in fact be responsible for all the operations?
Dr. PIORE. It can issue reports. It can try to persuade people. It has no leverage at all except that. Unless you get a consensus, you cannot move on any problem. I am always nervous about moving with a consensus. The legislative process is another thing. Here we are trying to get something done. I sit in a very large corporation, where I have a great deal of leverage, but I have no operational responsibility. It is always difficult for the person like myself to convince the person who has operational responsibility to do something that is not in his narrow interest.
What one is trying to do in creating a Department of Science is to have one person who has responsibility to the President to execute something
Now, the policies to be executed require a great deal of wisdom and a lot of other things, but let me go on. Bush and the militarv after World War II created the Joint Research and Development Board. It never worked. It had to be abolished and another structure organized. Now there is an operating person, a Director, Dr. John S. Foster, Jr., Director of Defense Research and Engineering. He has much more leverage on the three military departments, and he has authority that represents that of the Secretary of Defense.
To me this is a very important administrative procedure. Coordination will produce a lot of paper and a lot of reports. Two years from now they will be reproduced again with different signatures on them. But we will not get a big dish built for astronomy, for example.
I was deeply involved a decade ago in pushing the creation of the Office of Science and Technology. At that time it looked like the best
solution. Ten years later one has to take another look. That instrumentality may be very important for the White House, but it just does not pull the American scientific effort together.
I would like to have a Cabinet officer. I would like to have people assume again in a very broad sense political responsibility. Coming down here this morning, I saw in the newspaper that the AFL was meeting somewhere, I believe, it was Atlantic City. It has an executive committee of 20 or 30 people. I doubt whether five have heard of the National Science Foundation. Let us take the chamber of commerce, which has a board of directors. I doubt whether five have heard of the National Science Foundation.
We need exposure. American science needs exposure and a realization by our policymakers in labor, industry, and elsewhere, of the importance of science. I see no way of getting that with money alone. You have got to let the people see and let the people be committed to a national policy that they want to support science. We lack this instrument at the moment.
That is why I come back to the Cabinet department.
In looking at this organization, my approach would be to state some principles and ground rules and not try to be specific. The reason is that we must first get agreement on what we are trying to do and what benefits will accrue. If one gets very specific the argument shifts from principles to details and we may lose sight of what we are trying to accomplish. The details would require shifting programs by Executive order with moneys--but I do not know whether that is possible without congressional approval. It would require taking large groups from existing departments and moving them to a new department. It would require a detailed analysis by organization people. It is my view that, if one tells the organization people what one is trying to accomplish, they are in a better position to work out the details.
I would obviously absorb the National Science Foundation in any new organization. I would place within it agencies with broad missions. I mean agencies such as the proposed oceanographic agency, which, as I understand the debate, would have a broad mission to make the Nation strong in oceanography and the technology needed for oceanography.
Chairman MILLER. Would you like to know something, Doctor, off the record ?
(Discussion off the record.)
Chairman MILLER. For the record, as long as you had mentioned this wet NASA, I think if you go back to when shortly after the National Science Foundation or the National Academy of Science rendered its very fine report of oceanography and we started to try to pull it together, we found seven agencies of Government interested in it. One didn't know what the other was doing. There wasn't one place you could go and get this information. So we started in with setting up a clearinghouse for scientific information. Before we could get a bill over, Dr. Wakelund, who was then Assistant Secretary of Navy, and very much interested in it, got an Executive order that brought the seven agencies together; and the first thing we did was to establish a clearinghouse that still exists down in the old weapon