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From 1956 until 1959, Dr. Wenk served as Chairman of the Department of Engineering Mechanics, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas. There he directed industrial and governmental research on liquid-fuel sloshing in missiles, low-cycle fatigue analysis of pressure vessels, flutter of hydrofoils, and low cost systems of building construction. In 1957 he originated the concepts for deep-running submarines reflected in both naval and research submersibles, and designed the deep diving research submersible ALUMINAUT.
Entering the field of science policy, Dr. Wenk was appointed in 1959 the U.S. Congress' first advisor on science and technology in the Library of Congress' Legislative Reference Service, and authored policy studies on space telecommunications that underlie legislation establishing COMSAT; on management of scientific information; and on oceanography.
In 1961 he was appointed to the White House staff as Assistant to the President's Science Advisor (the staff became, the following year, the Office of Science and Technology). There he served as executive secretary of the Federal Council for Science and Technology-a "science cabinet” dealing with Presidential questions of science programs involving 23 Federal agencies, patent policy, laboratory administration, and university grants. He also served as staff specialist on Federal organization for science, on science legislation, long-range planning, and on oceanography; and as staff director for a Presidential study on engineering and scientific manpower.
Dr. Wenk returned in 1964 to the Legislative Reference Service, Library of Congress, to head a new Science Policy Research Division, in response to Congressional recommendations for strengthening its own advisory staff. Studies were undertaken for committees in both House and Senate, and members of Congress of both parties on legislative issues concerning weather modification, space exploration, environmental pollution, aeronautical reseach, technical aids to small business, ADP for the Congress, and science policy planning. He authored an analysis of Presidential advisory machinery and policy studies underlying the National Science Foundation Act of 1968 and the Marine Resources and Engineering Development Act. He served concurrently as science advisor to the Librarian of Congress.
Dr. Wenk was appointed to his present position by President Johnson in August, 1966, and served under Vice President Humphrey when the Marine Sciences Council was first established by law to advise and assist the President to advance effective use of the sea. During this time, the Council undertook new initiatives to extract marine protein to meet world hunger, to launch an International Decade of Ocean Exploration, to begin framing an international legal regime for seabed development, and to formulate contingency plans for oil tanker disasters. Three annual reports were prepared by the Council for the President and transmitted to Congress.
Dr. Wenk has been a special university lecturer; is author of numerous professional articles in applied mechanics, submarine design, ocean engineering, marine affairs and science policy. He has served as reviewing editor of journals Engineering Mechanics and Experimental Mechanics, and has been national president of the Society for Experimental Stress Analysis; Chairman of the ASCE Research Committee and a member of the executive committee of its Engineering Mechanics Division; and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a Registered Professional Engineer and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Pressure Vessel Research Committee, and the National Society of Professional Engineers.
He was elected to honorary societies Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, and Chi Epsilon; has been a Sigma Xi and William M. Murray lecturer, is recipient of Dr. Sci. (Hon.) degree from the University of Rhode Island, and in April 1969 was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
Mrs. Wenk is the former Miss Carolyn Lyford of Melrose, Massachusetts. They have three sons, and live in Garrett Park, Maryland.
STATEMENTS-LETTERS FROM WITNESSES UNABLE TO BE PRESENT
LITTON INDUSTRIES, INC.,
Beverly Hills, Calif., July 22, 1969. Hon. EMILIO Q. DADDARIO, House of Representatives, Committee on Science and Astronautics, Washington, D.C.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN DADDARIO : Your May 27 letter arrived as I had begun an extended trip out of the country. I have just returned and am pleased to reply at this time.
I expect the subject of organization of Federal Science activities will be considered by the President's Advisory Council on Executive Organization of which I am Chairman. My remarks at the moment, however, are not on behalf of that Council; they are my own preliminary thoughts which deal more with the principles I believe are applicable to the consideration of science in our society than they offer an explicit and detailed response to the many points so well discussed in your report.
Executive organizations are most effective, in my experience, when their primary levels of responsibility are centered on the results they are expected to achieve, and only subordinately on the means for achieving those results. To get to the moon is an end objective; to develop better vehicles for doing so is a means, as are better fuels and control systems for those vehicles. It is true that better fuels, control systems, and a myriad of other technologies used in our moon program also have applications other than in that program. Yet true effectiveness in spurring the development and application of science and technology comes from an organization challenged and motivated, and responsible, for end results. Such an undivided responsibility to perform has the same effect in obtaining the best use of our resources as does the force of the market in the private sector.
Science, one of our most potent resources, is a means, not an end of itself.
In my mind, to organizationally centralize the means, that is science, and then expect the most desirable ends to flow out of the undirected pursuit of the means will not only fail to enlist the marvels of science toward realization of our national objectives, but will be enormously more wasteful of our scarce scientific resources (by mis- or non-application) than any savings that might be made in overhead by centralization or even in eliminating "duplication”. Those arguing for centralization will say the scientific endeavors will not be undirected but will be directed by the best scientific leadership available. But is that leadership responsible for and measured by the results to which the means (science) are applied-improved defense, improved health, improved education, improved transportation, improved environment, improved housing, etc.? Scientific bureaucracy is no different than administrative bureaucracy. If not led in executive and goal oriented fashion, the continued practice of the means soon becomes an end of itself, the original goal having been subverted by the practitioners of the means to ones of their own organizational survival and perpetuation, regardless of changing need.
In allegory fashion, suppose that in the very early days of man when the wheel, a sharpened stone, and fire were the only "sciences” known, it had been proposed to have a department of science, regardless of end application. Do you suppose that the water wheel, the cart wheel, the grinding wheel, cooking, tempering, smelting, hunting, fighting, and stone carving would have evolved in their increasingly perfected forms? Each need gives rise to its own particular
variations in the development and application of the "scientific” means, and provides the impetus for their development and use, rather than the reverse. It is true that the discovery of new means open new vistas for need fulfillment, but once these discoveries are exposed as feasible, or possible, the needs finally assume command and develop the means to their utmost.
In effect, scientific knowledge is centrifugal. New scientific knowledge arises at a point, information of its existence spreads, then knowledge about how it can be applied spreads further, not by being pushed from the point of discovery but by being pulled by need to the "rim” of application. Science is perfected, advanced and is adapted to all possibly useful ends under the impetus of need fulfillment. How much less would plastics and computer technologies permeate our society today if the scientific knowledge had been under scientific management instead of applications oriented management?
I could develop this theme further but I hope I have been clear about my basic thought. I do believe there is need for a central cognizance across the many scientific activities of the Federal Government, not to direct them, but to be a central communication "switchboard”. Such a central communicating responsibility would acquaint each of the separate activities with the potentially applicable work of others and also be responsible for perceiving the possible applications of new scientific developments that might not be perceived by the individual laboratory. But a central information switchboard is far from the same as centralizing responsibilities for Federal Science. Sincerely yours,
Roy L. Ash.
BELL TELEPHONE LABORATORIES,
Murray Hill, N.J., July 23, 1969. Hon. EMILIO Q. DADDARIO, Chairman, Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Development, House of
Representatives, Rayburn Office Building, Washington, D.C. DEAR MIM: I had planned to come to Washington on the 29th but find that I cannot be there. I've talked to Dick Carpenter, hoping that my absence would not upset plans. I gather that Sam Lenher and Harris will cover things very welland I'm not at all sure that I would add very much.
Having read the Committee print "Centralization of Federal Science Activities” I have just a few observations and suggestions. The proposed organization (p. 57) I believe has considerable merit. At the outset, at least, the new agency should be oriented towards research and higher education rather than towards applied science and technology. Hence, I would delete the “National Institute of Applied Science”. A decision to include it at a later time could be made after the new agency had become viable. Perhaps the new agency could do both. I would prefer to wait and see. (These comments answer questions D-3 and D-7 of p. 108.)
While the organizational questions being debated are important and the proposed plan a very reasonable one it seems to me that the basic issue before the Congress is adequate support for science and education to produce people and ideas to keep the country healthy. I would hope that the NSF and related budget matters could be corrected before we tinker too much with form.
I don't believe there is any special relevance between my Bell Laboratories experience and the organizational matters under discussion. The few points I might make are covered in my testimony before your Committee of December 11, 1963.
Finally, the leading article in NATURE, Vol. 222, June 21, 1969, p. 1107 entitled “Should There Be One Man in Charge?" you will find interesting. With best regards, Sincerely,
SHOULD THERE BE ONE MAN IN CHARGE?
Congressman Emilio Daddario's sub-committee on Science, Research and Development seems determined to breathe life into the old controversy about the virtues and defects of a single central management for federal science, possibly even a science ministry. This is almost explicitly what he says in the introduction to a report which officials of the Library of Congress have prepared under the title Centralisation of Federal Science Activities. For one thing,
Mr. Daddario promises—some will say threatens—that there should be hearings on the subject in the near future. For another, he says that “during the past several months, I have come to feel that some change in the Federal Government organization for scientific activities is necessary”. It is true, of course, that congressmen can hold hearings until everyone has talked himself dry and the Administration may yet not budge if it is otherwise inclined. So far, there is no sign of which way the wind is blowing, if it blows at all. Yet there is nothing to be lost in a thorough public examination of the dispute between central and diffuse management of science.
Much of the report is concerned with the recent history of the controversy, and the staff has been able to assemble an impressive list of statements from distinguished people about the desirability of change. Most recent science advisers seem to have been persuaded by the experience that some change of the machinery is necessary, while Dr. Phillip Handler is quoted as saying that "the time has come to resurrect the idea of a department of science”. Even Dr. L. DuBridge, the new man, dares to concede that “I am not saying that the present organization in government for carrying out research and development is the final one". On the principle that there is hardly ever anything really new, the report is able to trace the beginnings of the movement for central management to the 1880s, when the National Academy of Science seems to have mustered wide support for such a plan. Its own contribution to the argument is a design for a particular piece of government machinery called the National Institutes of Research and Advanced Studies which might function as a central manager of federal science. Everybody is at great pains to point out that this scheme is nothing more than a means of fixing ideas—something to argue about. In practice, however, there is enough guile in its design for it to be a possible model of the future pattern of organization.
What is the kite which the committee's document seeks to fly? One guiding principle seems to have been to give as little offence as possible, and certainly the proposal now put forward would not threaten the supposed supremacy of the President's Science Advisor as the chief purveyor of advice to the White House. The scheme would also allow the mission-oriented agencies to go about their business much as they have been doing in the past ten years. The new organization would consist largely of a grouping together of existing organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, with the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities thrown in for good measure. Under the same umbrella would be fitted other grantgiving bodies now waiting in the wings or even in the imaginations of interested groups—a National Institute of Ecology (which has the Ecological Society of America as would be foster-parent), a National Social Science Foundation, a National Institute of Advanced Education (which would take over from the Office of Education responsibility for the support of graduate education) and a National Institute of Applied Science. The last of these as yet non-existent organizations is in many ways the most interesting and the most contentious, for it would be built around the National Bureau of Standards but would also include sereral other public laboratories removed from agencies such as the Atomic Energy Commission—the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, for example.
How seriously should this scheme be regarded? And how effectively will it serve Mr. Daddario's purpose of further stimulating the debate about the central science agency? The first thing to be said is that the great compilation of opinion about the defects of the present system and the merits of some other unspecified system, although fascinating, is not directly relevant to the proposal for the National Institutes of Research and Advanced Learning. Many of those who have in the past been advocating some kind of change could easily emerge as merely lukewarm supporters of what the committee has proposed. The question to decide is what kind of organization would provide the best insurance against the defects of the present system for providing Federal support for science and technology in the United States. It is important in this connection that discontent about the lack of funds in recent years should not become the chief incentive for arguments in favour of a more central organization. In the climate of the past two years it it quite possible that a central agency for the support of basic science would have been even more vulnerable to demands for economy from the budget makers than the existing network of organizations has been. Given the complexity of the relationship between Congress, the administration and the outside world, there is undoubtedly some truth in the argument of those who argue for the present arrangements on the grounds that a plurality of grant-giving agents is some kind of an insurance against parsimony from on high.
The arguments for change are, by comparison, overwhelming. The most glaring defect of the present system is the way in which the National Science Foundation, ostensibly responsible for the general support of academic research outside the special interests of the NIH, should have so small a budget. Rather less than a sixth of the Federal Government's spending on university research-$1,517 million in the new fiscal year—comes from the NSF, which spends a third of its total budget on general support for higher education in one form or another. The weakness of the NSF is, to be sure, justified on the grounds that the agency is intended only to be a kind of "balance wheel", making good the deficiencies of other agencies. Yet such a task is virtually impossible. Intelligent grant-giving requires that agencies should be able to take a long view of the field in which they operate. It is no wonder that several of those whose opinions are collected in the Daddario Committee's report are compelled to draw attention to the difficulty of winning money for the NSF in Congress. By the same test, there should be no surprise at the way in which several participants complain of inadequate support for fields such as chemistry, although, from outside, the slow pace of growth in radio-astronomy is, for example, a still more obvious defect. But all this implies that there is a great need to concentrate in the NSF some of the expenditure on university research now channelled through other agencies$275 million from defence, $109 million from NASA and $96 million from the AEC. The balance between the NSF and the NIH (which spend $666 million a year in the universities and colleges) should be re-assessed but not necessarily changed. And all this should be done whether the NSF remains independent or becomes a part of something like the National Institutes of Research and Advanced Learning.
The desirability of the committee's general umbrella for the support of academic research is more problematical. To be sure, it would be good if a greater sense of cohesion, between existing grant-giving agencies could somehow be created. It would also be sensible if policy on the development of graduate schools could be more firmly directed ; many of the difficulties of the past few years have come about because of the tacit understanding with Congress that money provided to universities under the general heading of research is really intended to help with educational developments of a more general kind. But there is a danger that if the National Science Foundation were separated entirely from responsibility for a strategy for higher education, there would be an end to the constructive interaction between grant givers and recipients which had produced, for example, the constructive and challenging recommendations of the National Science Board. There will also be some dismay at the prospect of the National Institute of Applied Science assuming responsibility for government laboratories which may have outlived the purposes for which they were originally created. Experience in Europe in the past few years has demonstrated clearly that there is nothing quite as dead as a laboratory of applied science without an immediate application as a goal.
The trouble, of course, is that by seeking to avoid trouble, the committee's proposal has also managed to avoid the chief difficulties in the present pattern of the administration of academic science in the United States. Where change is needed most urgently is in the system by means of which the pattern of research in the universities is determined not by the careful deliberations of the grantgiving agencies but by the way in which a more arbitrary pattern of research is superimposed on these by the mission-oriented agencies. One obvious illustration of the folly of the present arrangements is the way in which funds for experiments to be carried out on satellites in orbit about the Earth—or even more distant places—are probably easier to come by than funds for equally costly but potentially more lasting experiments on the Earth. Certainly expenditure on space science (most of it sound and estimable) is running well ahead of expenditure on radio-astronomy.
The long-term remedy is to be sure that the funds for the basic research which agencies like NASA are willing to undertake should be channelled through the NSF. Less formally, the Science Advisor at the White House could stop unbalances at the source, by making sure that the large agencies do not by accident become dominant sponsors of university research at the same time.