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directly and very significantly involved in supporting the basic scientific research that underlies much of the progress in our mission-oriented programs and in the science education that has given this country so many of the advantages it holds today. This is the message it must sell to the American public and Congress.
The major problem of image-building related to this is that it is difficult for most people to grasp the significance of basic research and education to technological progress. It is equally difficult for them to appreciate the importance of properly administering programs supporting basic science. Sufficient support to the “right" research at the "right” time can have a great effect on our national well-being over the years. With some hindsight today people are seeing how we might have been better off environmentally, technologically and in other ways, had our resources for basic science and science education been allocated certain ways.
Perhaps NSF can do more to show how their efforts and resources directly and indirectly affect, and could affect, the public. They can do this through their own regular public information channels and perhaps by emphasizing to the people and organizations they support the need for more effective public relations. The report, “Technology in Retrospect and Critical Events in Science," prepared by the Illinois Institute of Technology, under contract to NSF, was a start in this direction. More must be done along these lines.
In addition to emphasizing the importance of the basic research and science education they support, the NSF might also point out their expanded role, in accordance with the new legislation of 1968 (Public Law 90 407), which grants them involvement in applied research, the social sciences and programs of international cooperation, all of which are receiving more public attention and acceptance in a world demanding more positive results from science in solving man's problems.
Question No. 2. 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 No. 2. The government-wide application of the PPB system in 1966 had no major impact on the management or organization of scientific activities in the AEC since the underlying planning-programming-budgeting methods and techniques had been previously developed and applied in the AEC. The BOB establishment of formal PPB requirements, however, has led to increased emphasis on consideration of alternatives, on significant programmatic issues and, in applied development, on the use of economic analyses in making program decisions. Also, in 1966 the AEC's Office of Assistant to the General Manager for Program Analysis was established to provide guidance and assistance in the preparation of special analytic studies for which our program divisions (including scientific program divisions) have been and still are responsible. Under AEC's cost-based program budget system, we have budgeted and managed scientific programs in terms of costs by project in applied development and by functional area in basic research since 1950. Longer range program planning in the AEC has followed these same project or functional classifications since 1956. The program divisions and subordinate units are organized along project or functional lines; thus, the AEC does not have to prepare complicated “cross-walks” to reconcile planning and programming classifications with budget classification, and has had no difficulty in establishing responsibility for management of scientific activities by organization on a functional basis.
The AEC over the years has prepared a number of special studies in the scientific field. In development fields such as civilian power reactors, and other specific applications for reactors and isotopic energy sources, economic analyses have been used. In basic research, however, we have been constrained in the application of this technique due to the extreme difficulty in quantifying outputs which are essential for meaningful utilization in cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analyses. On the basis of our experience with this technique, it is our judgment that it is not too fruitful in basic research areas. There has been considerable multi-year planning of our basic research activities and studies of these programs have been made; for example, in the Controlled Thermonuclear Research Programs and in the High Energy Physics Program.
Question No. 3. Since the AEC is admittedly successful, should it be given more responsibility for research peripheral to nuclear energy (e.g. desalting—now in Office of Saline Water, thermal waste effects-FWPCA, ecology-basic knowledge—NSF, medical applications of isotopes-NIA). Who judges these projects vis-a-vis other nuclear projects on overall priority basis?
Answer No. 3. The AEC is currently carrying out studies related to desalting, thermal waste effects, basic aspects of ecology, and medical applications of isotopes. The AEC work in each of these areas falls clearly within AEC responsibilities as confined and directed by the Atomic Energy Act. These areas are peripheral only in the sense of having a well-defined interface with responsibilities of other federal agencies, but not at all in the sense of depending on especially broad interpretation of AEC authority. Certainly much, and probably most of the work of the AEC bears on national objectives for which the AEC shares its concern with other agencies. Weapons development work obviously demands close coordination with the Department of Defense. Work concerning nuclear systems for space applications similarly demands intimate coordination with NASA. In all our efforts, we must take full account of responsibilities assigned by Congress to other agencies. Such agencies, including AEC, frequently have central responsibilities for a given area of research and development, and thus need to assign priorities in that area which AEC must take into account.
A variety of mechanisms have been developed to ensure adequate coordination including, as a somewhat unusual example, the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office which is staffed jointly with AEC and NASA employees. Another mechanism is that used between AEC and OSW wherein there has been continuous close coordination in the pursuit of development activities and projects in the nuclear-desalting areas. Wherever there are areas of joint responsibility, as there must be in any grouping of federal activities within a reasonably small number of agencies, procedures have to be worked out for drawing a line separating the work of the different agencies.
As I understand this question the principal thrust concerns whether the AEC feels adequate account is taken and use made of the record of success to which we point with pride. I feel the present mechanisms for mapping the boundaries between agency activities are fundamentally sound, and that within these mechanisms and boundaries, AEC's talents are generally being used appropriately. Major reliance is placed within the executive branch on informal discussions, supplementing formal agreements, between agencies. The AEC is seeking no expansion of its statutory authorities. We have, as I have said, a full agenda of exciting and important work in the nuclear field. In areas involving any degree of joint responsibility we will continue to indicate our interest in programs of national importance whenever they are within our authority and range of competence. We will also continue to perform work for other agencies in our facilities to the fullest possible extent, along the lines indicated to your Subcommittee in past hearings.
The primary responsibility for judging the priorities of projects in the nuclear area, including comparisons of projects only distantly and those rather closely related to activities of other agencies, belongs squarely to the AEC itself. The AEC should not and does not make these judgments without the benefit of appropriate discussions with other agencies. Clearly, the Bureau of the Budget and other arms of the administration, as well as the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and other parts of Congress dify our recommendations in accordance with their overriding responsibilities.
Question No. 4. How large a staff would OST need to do the coordinating job you see as necessary? How can the Federal Council do more than it is at present to increase interagency coordination, since it is subject to the limitations of an advisory voluntary interagency coordinating body?
Answer No. 4. I cannot give a precise number, or even percentage in relation to OST's current staff size, that it would need to do a more comprehensive coordinating job. My judgment is that the current staff of about 50 is too small; it is also my judgment that an immediate doubling of the staff might make it too unwieldy. Somewhere in between would be an optimum size, at least initially, with which to undertake more effective coordination.
With respect to the FCST, I believe that it is limited in the sense that it cannot direct individual agencies to coordinate with other agencies. However, the FCST can sponsor and oversee the activities of more interagency committees, such as the Interagency Committee on Atmospheric sciences, which, being composed of working members of individual agencies, and chaired by an OST staff member, can exchange and consolidate all sorts of information about their respective programs. These in turn can be very useful to the individual agencies, the BOB, OST and FCST in dealing with problems associated with the particular fields involved and in planning their activities in these fields. The
FCST can also sponsor and oversee the activities of Ad Hoc Interagency Committees to deal with special one-time problems.
Question No. 5. The AEC was an early supporter of ecological studies, which is to its credit. With the obviously growing Federal concern over ecological matters, however, there seems to be good reason to bring together in one department those scientific and technological products upon that environment. TO uhat extent would you favor arrangements to bring more closely together the ecological resources developed by the AEC, the PHS, Interior and perhaps some of the military departments?
Answer No. 5. We are in favor of establishing new arrangements, and strengthening present arrangements, for coordinating the ecological activities undertaken by various arms of the federal government. It is both the nature of ecology and the growing federal concern over environmental problems which had led us to seek and actively support arrangements for identifying common problems and developing unified approaches to their solution. I think a particularly fine example of this approach is that undertaken by the Energy Policy Staff of OST in connection with its study and recommendations regarding environmental factors influencing the siting of power plants. As you know, Commissioner Ramey is a vigorous participant in the activities of this group. We strongly supported the establishment of the President's environmental Quality Council and now look forward to participating in its activities as a promising mechanism for increasing the effectiveness of our ecology programs in meeting environmental problems; both those that are specifically related to developing nuclear technology and those that are broader based.
I believe environmental assessment and development of methods to minimize environmental impact to be an essential part of the development of new technologies. I do not believe that these activities can be meaningfully separated. Therefore, the assignment of separate responsibilities for technology development and environmental assessment does not appear to be an effective way to proceed.
Mr. DADDARIO. Thank you.
Dr. Wenk, we regret that it is such a late hour, but we will keep going as long as we can.
I am not going into any long analysis of your biographical material; it is enough to say that you have been before this committee many times. We are happy to have you here, and will try to keep going to complete the statement, if we might.
STATEMENT OF DR. EDWARD WENK, JR., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY,
NATIONAL COUNCIL ON MAI RESOURCES AND ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT FOR THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, RESEARCH, AND DEVELOPMENT, COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND ASTRONAUTICS
Dr. WENK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Development.
It is a genuine privilege to appear before your subcommittee today and to reexamine with you this critical relationship between science, society, and the Federal Government. Your subcommittee has a conspicuous record of concern over the health of science. But you have also set benchmarks in your inquiries into the way science contributes to the health of the Nation—and the policies and practices of the Federal Government that are key elements in the ability of this Nation to realize the fruits of scientific discovery.
Your prefacing statement in the committee report, Mr. Chairman, on "Centralization of Federal Science Activities” sets the stage, how
ever, not on the basis that things are going well but that they are going poorly.
A number of wise and perceptive men have recently recommended to you that imperfections in our Federal scientific apparatus may be corrected by major reorganization for science. Major surgery is often a clear remedy for our troubles. But as we examine symptoms of the malady-or maladies—besetting science affairs and undertake a diagnosis, I would suggest we should consider reorganization but one alternative remedy. Otherwise, we can be enchanted into a game of switching organizational boxes without asking, “What are we organizing for?"
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Wenk, rather than saying things are going poorly, I would say that they could be improved.
Again I would \ike to say that we have analyzed this from a standpoint of in a sense saying, do we stay where we are or do we go all the way from there to the centralization of all of our activities. We have thrown in some other ideas in between which can be studied. This shows that we have no preconceived conceptions about what needs to be done.
But I would doubt that at this stage of the game we would say that we are doing things so well that we should keep everything the way it is.
Dr. WENK. Mr. Chairman, I share that view with you completely. To restate my own characterization of the problem: Science and technology yet met our aspirations in relation to social goals and in relation to a characteristic of American science, that we are always trying to do a little better. And I believe this is what I sense in your report and a point of view I would like to share with you.
Mr. DADDARIO. I would add, Dr. Wenk, that there are great changes already taking place in many of our laboratories, as illustrated by Dr. Seaborg this morning in his testimony. This would give an indication that these changes are taking place so that they must be considered in any review of the way in which our science resources are not only being handled, but how they will affect all of us in the time ahead.
Dr. WENK. I concur completely.
Mr. Chairman, your committee opened its hearings with testimony from Dr. Lee DuBridge, the President's Science Adviser.
I have read his prepared statement and find myself in substantial agreement with the main thrust of his arguments—that accumulating knowledge and understanding has a critically important role in a complex society, that a vigorous basic research enterprise deserves steady support, and that science should be afforded the greatest possible freedom in order to flourish. Put in other terms, our Nation must be farsighted enough to recognize that investing in basic research and graduate education at a level in proportion to the needs has paid off handsomely in the long run.
On this foundation laid by Dr. DuBridge, I should like to turn to technology, its role in our society, and what I would like to suggest are some of the problems associated with it. Six of these are especially worrisome:
(1) A frustrating inability to apply science and technology to the more urgent social problems of our time;
(2) An increasing cleavage between the two cultures : science and the humanities;
(3) Difficulties of imbedding science and technology in public decisionmaking by the Federal Government, and by State and local governments, and the inadequacies of machinery to develop the factual background to foster wise political choice;
(4) The prevailing absence of long-range views, that has already entrapped us in sins of the past and portend even more pitfalls for the future;
(5) Often primitive processes to sort out priorities; and
(6) A lack of progress in public understanding of science and of the role of knowledge and of discovery in society. When thinking people gather, conversations frequently turn to this nagging paradox: Because of the promise of science and technology, our Nation, along with all mankind, has within its grasp a life free from hunger and famine; from poverty and despair; from disability and disease; and from tyranny of one man over another.
Our agricultural productivity has been increased so that one farmer, who 50 years ago fed himself and three of his compatriots, today feeds 27. We have learned many secrets of the genetic code, and how to transplant some living organs. We have tamed the genie of peacetime nuclear power. Our living standards, products of our technological age, are fabulously high. Science and technology have vastly accelerated and strengthened man's capabilities to bend understanding of the natural world to his desires.
In contrast, we are faced with increasing problems of urban conflict, airport congestion, and inadequate housing; chemical, acoustical, and esthetic pollution of our environment; a loss of privacy! a world population outstripping its food supply; a growing disparity in economic vitality between the developed and the development nations; and a continuing rash of wars generated by political instability associated with economic handicaps.
It seems to me clear that we have not channeled our technological skills successfully to serve the purposes of humanity.
With the launching of Apollo 11, and with its magnificent success, we have demonstrated an engineering achievement that transcends in sheer complexity and daring engineering advances of all time. There is no doubt about our ability to construct complex mechanisms and make them work-when the requirements are spelled out in technical terms. But how about when requirements are spelled out in social terms? Have we failed to match our technological prowess in weapons development, nuclear energy, and space with wisdom to meet our incandescent social needs?
Here, science is in trouble because society itself is troubled. We are troubled because we are dissatisfied with our progress toward social goals which is slower than that toward material goals that science and technology have in the past helped to satisfy.
To extend our inquiry further, we should ask ourselves about the extent of the relationship between our technological age and social unrest. Could it be that some of the underlying causes may have their roots in scientific and technical developments that have occurred faster than man and his institutions could absorb them, or could evolve in a technological age ?