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agement structures are not appropriate in scientific work-whether the structure is in the department, the university, or the Government.
Now the reverse situation is necessary in technology—the process of using scientific knowledge to attain a specific desired goal, whether that goal be a spacecraft to go to the moon, a new military weapon, a new industrial process, or a new consumer product.
To mobilize the talent and facilities to achieve such an objective requires management skills of the highest order. The Apollo project, for example, has required the most elaborate and sophisticated systems management structure, extending from the Administrator of NASA down through his staff structure, out into the laboratories and contractor facilities clear down to the worker at the bench, in the production line or at the launching facility. When 200,000 people are working toward a single objective, extraordinary management and leadership skills are essential to success.
By contrast to NASA, the head of the National Science Foundation does not manage the work of any of the scientists which his agency supports. 'He couldn't, he wouldn't, and it would spoil the whole enterprise if he tried. The NSF Director only manages an expert staff of his own whose job is to find the best investigators and to support them and see that the taxpayers' money is prudently accounted for.
It is absolutely essential when we are talking about the management of research to specify whether we are talking about science or technology-whether we are talking about the discovery of new knowledge or the application to specific ends of the knowledge we already have. Even though science sometimes merges almost imperceptibly into applied science and technology, the broad management principles I have stated still apply. A prime motto which we in Government must keep in mind is: We manage technology but we do not manage science. Or to put it another way: We must manage the process of technology; but we manage only the support of science. In technology we manage people; in the support of science, we only manage money.
The outstanding question to face them is whether we in Government manage properly the Federal funds for science. Do we manage those funds in such a way as to get the maximum benefits from our scientific endeavor and the healthiest possible broad base of science which is so important to our country's future?
Here we are at the heart of the problem and at the heart of our difficulty. We must sadly admit that both in the executive and legislative branches the management of Federal funding is inadequate indeed.
Let us take a look at how we do manage funds for science-and, again, I am speaking of science now, not technology. Many of the independent agencies of Government have found that in order to pursue and achieve their respective missions, they must put scientific knowledge to work. They must, in other words, carry on and support programs—sometimes very extensive programs--in applied science and technology. These programs range from the development of new weapons and techniques of defense, new mechanisms and facilities for space exploration, improved atomic weapons and nuclear reactors, on to new techniques for building houses, new transportation systems, new technologies for controlling air and water pollution and for improving the health of our people, and so on. We spend many billions
of dollars a year on these technological enterprises—and we must admit we have seen some pretty spectacular results. We do much better in financing some of these enterprises than others, but in general, when our Government knows what it wants in the technological field, we can find ways of getting it. And I say this in spite of our slowness in solving problems in urban housing, environmental control and other areas where political and other factors intervene to frustrate our attempts to put our technology to work.
However, my point right now is this: In a large number of these technological enterprises the Government agencies find that the scientific knowledge needed to implement their technology is often incomplete. To pursue our applied goals in medicine and public health, we need more basic knowledge in microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, and other areas.
In atomic energy, in space exploration, in defense, our technological efforst uncover gaps in our basic knowledge in physics, chemistry, geophysics, fluid mechanics, electronics, information science, and many other areas. As we attempt to build a superstructure of applied science and technology on the foundation of fundamental science, we often find that the foundation is inadequate and incomplete and we realize clearly how much more we could do if our basic science foundation were only strengthened. Realizing this, what do we do? We in Government do a very proper and necessary thing. We encourage every agency which has major technological enterprises underway to spend a portion of its funds to support fundamental science. Such agencies select those areas of fundamental science which appear to be most relevant to their agency missions, although the term "relevance" needs to be interpreted broadly since the results of science are always in part unforeseeable.
Nevertheless, some 80 to 85 percent of the Federal support of fundamental science in this country comes from the mission agencies who need a more adequate base of new knowledge to carry on their applied work and to insure that they will be able to meet future needs. All this is fine and appropriate. It is, in fact, quite astonishing that the sum total of all the needs of all mission agencies has added up to such a broad and healthy scientific enterprise in this country--including an extensive effort to train new scientists and engineers.
But, just here we meet our difficulties. It would hardly be expected that the sum total of all the mission agency needs, and the sum total of all the funds they have available, would inevitably and always add up to a total scientific program which either meets our capacities or fills our needs in all important fields. Nor would it be expected that the actions of all these departments and agencies, struggling independently with their budget problems, would always result in a total support of science which is adequately stable and adequately growing in such a way as to reap maximum dividends from the Nation's scientific talents. In recent years we have been made, as the chairman has indicated, vividly aware of just these weaknesses and inadequacies of our present system.
Now many years ago, during the closing days of World War II, this situation was foreseen by Dr. Vannevar Bush and some of his colleagues who prepared the brilliant and pioneering report entitled “Science,
the Endless Frontier." That report pointed out that there must be an independent agency which has the health and welfare of our Nation's total scientific enterprise as its sole mission and function. After that report it took 4 years of delay and legislative difficulties, but finally such an agency was created in 1950 and called the National Science Foundation.
At last, most of us thought, we have just the Government mechanism we need to supplement the efforts of the mission agencies, to formulate and insure the support of a broad and adequate national scientific program.
Well, the NSF has had a brilliant record. It has been a prime mainstay of our academic science effort. It has given support to many areas of science which did not come, or did not come adequately, within the purview of the mission agencies. It did put a great new effort behind the progress of graduate education in the sciences and has even contributed greatly to improving science education in the colleges and high schools. It has done much more—and yet we face today the feeling of many people that our Federal science structure is inadequate.
Why is it inadequate? Well, my own feeling is simply that the vision of Vannevar Bush and many others has never been adequately conveyed to the Congress and the people of this country. We are a practical-minded people and we see the values of scientific work when it yields immediately practical results. But we are not always foresighted people.
We are less ready to invest our money in things whose dividends may accrue only at some time in the distant future-or whose practical results may not be foreseeable at all. We in America have failed to see that it is the total structure of scientific knowledge that makes new practical applications possible—not usually just a single discovery whose results were foreseen in advance. Also we have never visualized our scientific enterprise as a great humane undertaking and a great cultural endeavor-one which has lifted the minds and spirits and supported the achievements of men for hundreds of years.
For all these and other reasons the National Science Foundation has failed to receive the appropriations it has needed to fulfill its obligations and opportunities. If the NSF had grown more rapidly we would, I suspect, not be worried today about our faltering scientific enterprise. We would not be worried about the huge gaps we see in fruitful and important scientific fields.
Let me give some concrete examples.
The Congress and many American people have been concerned in recent years that we are giving inadequate attention to the many areas of marine science. Many mission agencies of Government are indeed interested and concerned with the oceans, our coastal waters and estuaries, including the vast and mysterious motions of the seas which play an important role in our weather, and including the nature, preservation and enhancement of the seas' great resources of living things.
The mission agencies today spend nearly $500 million a year on the applied science and technology of the oceans. But if some areas of marine science are still neglected, it might be desirable to seek an increased budget for the National Science Foundation to supplement its already excellent program in this area.
We are concerned in this country, too, about the atmospheric sciences, about the weather and the possibilities of modifying it. Several agencies of Government are involved also in this enterprise, with a coordinating mechanism available in the Interagency Committee on Atmospheric Sciences of the Federal Council for Science and Technology.
That committee has seen the gaps in our programs. With adequate funding of its budgets the NSF could supplement the excellent but inadequate program which it has already initiated in the atmospheric science field.
Our current interests in this country and in the Congress are focusing on the problems of the quality of our environment. The President has created a new Cabinet-level Council on Environmental Quality to coordinate Federal efforts in this field, and several bills are before the House and Senate aimed to enhance the Federal efforts.
Many universities wish that there were better opportunities to initi. ate or expand research and training efforts in environmental problems-problems which involve not only science and technology but also social and behavioral science, economics, and political science.
Again, several Federal agencies have responsibilities and activities in this field—but again, there are serious gaps. An adequately supported NSF budget could support new research and educational efforts and institutes in this field--with vast benefit to the country. For this is an area in which we badly need new fundamental knowledge and many trained people.
I could go into other fields and other problems which are of importance to our national welfare and are important to strengthening the structure of science and opening up new potentialities for application. But my point is simple: We have already created an agency quite competent to carry out and fulfill these functions. We need only to use it more adequately and more wisely.
But let me turn to some of the specific suggestions which have been made for improving our Federal structure for science. These, I think, fall into two main categories: Those which propose a new Department of Science or Department of Science and Technology-at Cabinet level—and those suggestions which propose the consolidation of certain existing activities into a new independent or sub-Cabinet agency or institute. In all proposals that I have seen, the National Science Foundation becomes an essential part of the new agency.
The advantage claimed for the Department of Science and Technology-I will call it the Department of Science for brevity-is that it places a scientist at the Cabinet table. Though this sounds like an attractive feature, there are two drawbacks. In the first place, Cabinet members are politically appointed and are replaced with each new administration. And this is an essential feature of our form of government.
But the pursuit of science is not a political matter, and the head of an important science agency, plus, inevitably, his key staff people, should not change with each administration. The term, for example, of the Director of the National Science Foundation was purposely set at 6 years to avoid precisely this situation of changing in each administration.
This, I believe, was a wise move and an advantage which we should not relinquish in any structural change. In the second place, referring to the Department of Science, science is not a departmental matter but should, and does, pervade the whole Government. A Department of Science would tend to bring more and more scientific activities into its own purview, whereas the policy of the Government should be to spread them into the many agencies where science and technology are basic to the agency mission.
Finally, I should point out that the Science Adviser now normally sits with the Cabinet, representing not a single department or a single yested interest, but representing the President. His task is to urge and help all agencies increase their activities and their effectiveness in scientific and technological endeavors and not to bring these endeavors under his own supervision.
Thus science is already represented at the White House, and therefore at the Cabinet level. Also, the Science Adviser can advise the President as to the total national needs in science rather than the particular needs of a single department.
Let me turn to the other alternative of combining the Science Foundation with activities now housed in other agencies to form a new independent agency or institutes of advanced research and study as suggested in this committee's report. This arrangement would result, in the first place, in a lowering of the stature of the Foundation and its Director.
The NSF Director now reports directly to the President, and under
any of the new arrangements proposed he would report to another officer who in turn would report to the President. In view of what I have previously said, you can understand why I would not consider this an elevation or strengthening of our most important general science agency, the NSF.
Another aspect of such an agency or institute arrangement is that it combines two different kinds of functions: First, the support of science, largely in universities and research institutes; and second, the operation of scientific and/or engineering laboratories or enterprises.
I think experience has shown that when an agency has both operating and supporting functions, its operations must of necessity take precedence over its supporting activities. The chairman mentioned the problem of NASA with its budgetary tightness. It must support its own laboratories, and therefore its university support has to decline.
NASA, AEC, Department of Defense, and other agencies which carry on both operations and support naturally give precedence to their own operating responsibilities. The needs of a university for more funding of science can hardly take priority over the needs of an important Government laboratory for which an agency is fully and solely responsible.
I pay tribute to Department of Defense and other agencies which have maintained academic support in spite of many pressures. But usually, and particularly in these days, it is a losing battle. Since the universities of the Nation are the fountainhead of new knowledge in science as in other fields, their support is a critical element of the national science picture. This function should not be subservient to