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And fortunately, several universities have moved to establish multidisciplinary institutes. But these are now primary plans on paper. It is perhaps too soon to expect people to learn each other's language, be able to focus on a common problem and come up with a concerted solution. The direction is most favorable. The accomplishment is still inadequate.
Mr. DADDARIO. Well, this committee has supported the idea that the National Science Foundation ought to support multidisciplinary activity. My question here goes only to the idea that in our academic institutions there is this capability; whether it has been done poorly or not is not as important as the fact that it could be done in these places. In fact, it must be done.
Dr. WENK. I am reminded, Mr. Chairman, of some poet's statement about the uselessness of a "song unsung." This is the way I would consider the situation in the university today. The potential is certainly there, because all of the knowledge needed exists in those pigeonholes. But there is very great difficulty pooling these talents in order to solve some of society's problems today. Moreover, the leaders in the universities have not had support by their own internal administrations; in fact they have found opposition by the chairmen of departments who have a long tradition of maintaining a healthy, strong department in one discipline but do not recognize the new additional feature that has to be superimposed on that.
This is not an either/or proposition, incidentally. It is adding the warp to the woof of knowledge, and this is a very simple way of saying something about our whole society today: At the same time that we find greater need for specialization because of the great expansion in knowledge, we need to find a way to synthesize this knowledge and provide some cross linkage. This is perhaps the most difficult problem we face.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Wenk, the committee is going to have to take advantage of you and bring you back, because we still have part of your statement to hear. There are questions which this committee should ask you as one of the most important witnesses about the management and administration problems before us. We certainly cannot go into them in sufficient detail at the moment. As chairman of the committee I apologize to you for not having been able to put two witnesses before us this morning, and we would appreciate it if you would come back.
Dr. WENK. I would be pleased to come back, Mr. Chairman. You have a fascinating and very difficult challenge here, and it seems to me it is one that deserves the kind of time that you and your members are willing to invest in it. I would be pleased to come back.
Mr. DADDARIO. I appreciate it, Dr. Wenk.
This committee will adjourn until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning at this same place.
(Whereupon, at 12:21 p.m., the committee was adjourned to reconvene at 10 o'clock on Wednesday, July 23, 1969, in room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building.)
CENTRALIZATION OF FEDERAL SCIENCE ACTIVITIES
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 1969
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND ASTRONAUTICS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, RESEARCH, AND DEVELOPMENT,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10:08 a.m., in room 2325, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Emilio Q. Daddario (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Brown. The subcommittee will come to order in the expectation that Mr. Mosher will be here momentarily.
I would like to indicate for Mr. Daddario that he is unavoidably detained due to the funeral of a longtime friend this morning, and that he will be here as soon as possible. He has asked me to temporarily chair the meeting until he gets here.
Our first witness this morning will be Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Secretary of the Air Force, who is familiar to the committee in previous capacity with NASA. And we are very happy to welcome you here this morning, Dr. Seamans, and look forward to your testimony.
STATEMENT OF DR. ROBERT C. SEAMANS, JR., SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE; ACCOMPANIED BY COL. WILLIAM BRUCE ARNOLD, AIR FORCE LEGISLATIVE LIAISON; AND COL. E. C. MIKE COOK, MILITARY AIDE TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE
DR. SEAMANS. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee. I appreciate the opportunity to appear today before you to discuss my views on the question of whether Federal science activities should be centralized.
As Congressman Daddario indicated in his letter of June 20, I was fortunate to have nearly a year as a member of the faculty at MIT following my NASA activities and prior to the assumption of new responsibilities as Secretary of the Air Force. My appointment at MIT provided an unusual opportunity to meet with students and faculty and to discuss with them new scientific, technical, and administrative developments. As the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor, I held a chair that was established in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in honor of the man; that is, Dr. Hunsaker, who was not only head of the department but also served with distinction as the Chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, which eventually gave birth to NASA.
The only official duty required of the Hunsaker Professor is to deliver the annual Minta Martin Lecture. This lecture, cosponsored by MIT and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is given at MIT, the University of Maryland, and other suitable locations. I completed the writing of the Minta Martin lecture, somewhat under pressure, I might say, prior to becoming the Secretary of the Air Force and gave the lecture at MIT on March 11, 1969, at the University of Maryland on March 20 and in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 24, and I will submit to the committee a copy of the lecture.
Mr. Brown. That is to prove that you actually did your work while you were there at MIT.
Dr. SEAMANS. That's correct. I want to make it absolutely clear, Mr. Chairman.
The lecture described the origins and development of the U.S. space program. I attempted to analyze the processes of decisionmaking and implementation involved in our commitment to a manned lunar landing and return in this decade. In this connection I discussed and attempted to evaluate both the competitive and cooperative aspects of space exploration. Finally, I suggested a framework for evaluating
I research and development programs in terms of our national objectives and then attempted to apply this evaluation process to our Nation's space effort. Since your committee is engaged in studying the management of research and development sponsored by the Federal Government, my statement here this morning will draw heavily on the section of my lecture that relates to the evaluation process and the need for a national agenda for research and development.
Research and development funded by Government must serve national objectives. Over the long run, even basic scientific studies must demonstrate their relevance to the practical needs of the Nation in order to justify continued governmental support. The requirement to demonstrate relevance is particularly important when research and development projects make use of large capital outlays supplied from public funds.
Improvements in communications and education have meant that the American public is better informed and better able to evaluate the costs and benefits of national actions. More than ever before the “man on the street” stands as a constant critic of decisions concerning allocations of public resources. If research and development efforts are to be supported from the national treasury they must demonstrate their usefulness to him. We need to define a national agenda for research and development which can be understood and accepted by the “man on the street.”
In the allocation of resources for research and development, each scientific area and every advanced development project has its advocates. At different stages projects are evaluated by various departments or agencies, the Executive Office, committees of Congress, and Congress itself. Where, then, are priorities established !
The American system of government is pluralistic and pragmatic. The decisions involving research and development allocations tend to be made on a piecemeal basis; a system of priorities is an output of, rather than an input to, such decisionmaking. It is true that the Bureau of the Budget and the President, with the support of his science
adviser, play a prominent role in determining the overall pattern of research and development allocations. However, the decentralized nature of American government tends to create a situation whereby decisionmaking remains fragmented; the executive, the legislature, and the public continue to review research and development primarily on a piecemeal basis. Overall management of Federal research and development is so compartmentalized that there can be no assurance that resource allocations are effectively matched to national needs.
What is needed, I believe, is a national agenda for research and development which can serve as a general foundation for the multitude of specific decisions that must be made. Such an agenda should serve as an aid to the pluralistic decentralized system of decision making. In order to plan research and development so that it will have a beneficial effect on our future course, we need to develop a recognized set of national goals.
The agenda, summarized in this statement, is intended as an illustration of the kind of framework needed for decisionmaking purposes. The agenda is not all-inclusive, I am certain. Indeed, many may feel that it overly emphasizes certain aspects of our national life at the expense of more important goals. It should, however, serve to illustrate the kind of document which ought to be created by the leaders of Government. In practice, such an agenda must be continuously updated to remain relevant in changing times.
The agenda is organized into seven categories. The order in which the categories appear was decided on the basis of what appeared to be a logical sequence rather than on the basis of which categories were more important; we cannot afford to neglect any of these categories, in my view.
The first of these, understanding, forecasting, and controlling our environment.
Man has contended constantly with the elements, and the battle is far from won. Even now millions of people are left homeless every year; their crops are ruined; lives are lost; and property worth hundreds of millions of dollars is razed or damaged by storms, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.
Meanwhile, man has added to his plight by increasing pollution and congestion that threaten the delicate balance of our ecology. Unless the trend is checked, we are in danger of passing a point of no return when nature can no longer cleanse itself of the pollutants we are pouring into our rivers, lakes, and oceans, and into the air we breathe. (The carbon dioxide content of the earth's atmosphere, for example, is rising at the rate of 0.2 percent per year.)
There is a need to understand the physical processes that influence our environment. With increased understanding, we can better predict and eventually control these processes. Ultimately air, land, and water pollution must be reduced; adverse weather must be predicted and controlled; and our natural surrounding must be preserved.
The second item, supplying basic resources: Food, fuel, minerals, and water. For millions of years there has been a continuing struggle to obtain enough to eat. Even today this struggle has not ended; millions of people around the globe are starving or near starvation. Meanwhile, our population continues to multiply exponentially. Today the