« PreviousContinue »
world has over 3 billion human inhabitants, and this number will grow, according to a present estimate, to over 6 billion by the year 2000.
Supplies of fuel, minerals, and water have also failed to keep pace with the demands of a rapidly expanding population. Much of the earth's surface is covered by water, but it requires processing and distribution to accommodate it to man's needs. The supplies of coal, gas, petroleum, and many other materials are diminishing; hence, means must be found to create new supplies and/or to find substitutes.
The third point, improving the quality of life.
All seven categories of this agenda affect the life of the man in the street. But this category perhaps affects him most personally. Add a question in here: What can be done to keep the alarming population explosion within bounds?
An individual cannot achieve his full potential without good health and appropriate education. People cannot be expected to live in squalid conditions with inadequate housing and insufficient goods and services, nor should they be subjected to fear of theft or bodily harm.
The causes of crime have deep roots. Consequently, major efforts are needed if the causes of crime and the criminal are to be brought under control.
A society in which many are affluent and most are adequately housed, clothed, and fed cannot countenance a minority without adequate subsistence. Ways must be found to provide welfare on a more equitable basis, so that the recipient is inspired rather than degraded. Surely domestic tranquility can be assured only by improving the quality of life of all our citizens.
Fourth, improving transportation. Roadways, particularly in and around metropolitan areas, are becoming hopelessly clogged. Aircraft flights are delayed because of traffic congestion en route, to and near airports, and because taxiways and terminals are inadequate to accommodate the burgeoning volume of travelers. Near-misses of aircraft in flight are much too frequent, and catastrophic collisions have occurred.
Just recently I read an article that indicated that in the past calendar year, 1968, the FAA indicates there were over 2,200 near midair collisions and there were 35 collisions.
Delays in transit are often greater than the direct flying time; these delays are expensive for operators and infuriating to passengers. More effort must be expended on the development of new types of air, land, and seagoing vehicles. Consideration must also be given to passenger loading and unloading, and to more adequate en route control.
Fifth, improving communications. Much travel could be avoided if communications were improved. Switchboards are often clogged, and delays in placing calls are frequent. I am amazed in the past year, while my family has been split between here and Cambridge. Sometimes I have been here and they have been there and sometimes vice versa, and it is seldom that you can place a call in the evening and have it go through between these two points.
Individual communications require more than written or voice transmissions; additional information for the visual senses is required to resolve delicate issues, and to plan and schedule complex programs.
Here I am getting at the need not only to be able to talk back and forth, but to be able to visually look at charts and even to look at facial
expressions which sometimes in delicate negotiations are more important than what is really said.
Greater bandwidth is needed, but electromagnetic interference is already acute; the allocation of the frequency spectrum is a major national and international problem. A modern society cannot endure without effective communications.
My sixth point is encouraging economic growth. The role of the he still has the need to be changing rapidly as technology advances, but he still has the need to be creatively useful. Each man must have something that he is doing that he considers important.
Education and motivation cannot provide this opportunity unless challenging jobs become available in increasing numbers. Most important, we must provide constructive incentive for today's youth. Our economy must grow so we must invest capital and manpower in programs for the future.
My seventh point, assisting international development and providing national security. The welfare of the United States is linked to international development; we in this country cannot live in splendid isolation from the rest of the world. We are intimately tied to the rest of the world for reasons that are economic, cultural, and moral. At this stage of international development, however, we must also be vigilant lest our national security be threatened. President Nixon stated the issues succinctly in his inaugural address: "With those who are willing to join, let us cooperate to reduce the burden of crime, to strengthen the structure of peace, to lift up the poor and the hungry. But to all who would be tempted by weakness, let us leave no doubt that we will be as strong as we need to be for as long as we need to be."
The preceding list is illustrative of the kind of framework needed to evaluate research and development projects. Competing projects should be assessed on the basis of their potential and actual contributions to the fulfillment of fundamental national needs.
The real question is this: Can the Nation identify and rank its needs in such a way as to permit responsible Goverment action toward their fulfillment? The statement of needs implies consideration of the future as well as the present.
Let me interject here, Mr. Chairman, that to me one of the lessons of the Apollo 11 flight is that we were able to identify an objective that could be sustained for a period of 8 years, starting in 1961, leading to the flight in 1969. The objective was one that could be understood; some people may question whether it was wise or not. But it was a simple objective that people could identify with, that people could work on, that people could understand. And we must have these kinds of objectives, perhaps never again quite as elegant as this one, but we still must break down our total objectives into specific individual objectives that people can work on.
National needs must be understood if we are to become a mature society capable of making good decisions for the right reasons. But, as I stated in my lecture, I don't believe that centralizing research and development decisions in a new agency is an effective solution.
The decentralized nature of the American system of resource allocation is desirable, provided we can make each agency and department of Government responsible for attaining some portion of our national goals and objectives. Each must have within its organization a scientific and technical capability necessary to manage research and development related to its mission. A new agency responsible for all research and development would destroy this capability, which is the strength of the present system and provides the flexibility needed to manage the total research and development effort.
In the final analysis, the effectiveness of a research and development program is most influenced by the overall level of confidence of the personnel involved and by the goodness of fit” between individual talents and responsibilities. Highly competent scientists, engineers and administrators are in great demand. To attract such professionals, prospective assignments must be challenging. The ability of the space program to attract competent personnel cannot be understood apart from the challenge of the task. Similarly, success in attracting competent personnel in other action programs will largely depend on the extent to which such programs will provide challenging assignments.
Nevertheless, we can neither plan, budget, nor implement national research and development programs effectively, until we establish a recognized set of national objectives. A national agenda for research and development is needed as a guide for both Congress and the executive operating agencies, but should leave methods and procedures to those more intimately involved in the work. In this way, we can continue to benefit from the diversity and decentralized control of our scientific activities while consciously, rationally, and productively allocating our large, but limited, resources for the betterment of our society.
That concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Brown. Thank you, Dr. Seamans. That is a very valuable and provocative statement, with a number of excellent ideas. I tend to think, however, in listening to the complete statement, that you feel that there is little need for change; at least you haven't suggested any specific changes, which might bear upon the methodology for achieving some of the things that you have suggested as necessary, which has been a characteristic of the previous witnesses also.
We are honored to have the chairman of the full committee here this morning. I wonder if he would like to make a statement or ask a question of the witness.
Chairman MILLER. I am very happy to be here to greet Dr. Seamans, who is an old friend. He is wearing another hat now,
but we will never let him forget his relationship with this committee over the years.
Dr. SEAMANS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am very happy to be here.
Mr. Brown. Mr. Mosher?
I, too, am delighted to have Dr. Seamans here. I should think he would be feeling wonderfully good these days considering his part in the Apollo 11 achievement.
I am bothered somewhat by the question implied in George Brown's comment. Your statement says, “The real question is simply this: Can the Nation identify and rank its needs in such a way as to permit responsible Government action toward their fulfillment ?" I repeat, “The real question is simply this.” It seems to me that is a little oversimplification.
You suggested an excellent set of goals, an agenda. But there remains the question as to whether we are effectively organized to meet these goals. And your statement as it stands, seems to me to imply that no consideration of reorganization or rearrangement in the agencies is necessary.
I think we would all agree that the decentralized nature of the American system of resource allocation is desirable. That is certainly true. And I think you are correct that a new agency for all (emphasis on the word all) research and development would destroy that capability. And yet, I think there is reason to doubt that our present arrangement of agencies and their interrelationships and the present devices by which they communicate with each other and coordinate, and the present devices by which we make these decisions is perfection.
The very fact that we are holding these hearings implies that this committee, at least, thinks that something better might be done.
Now, are you simply implying that there is no need for reorganization ?
Dr. SEAMANS. I think that I was misleading if I implied that everything is perfect. I don't think everything is perfect. I think there are improvements that can be made. I think that some reorganization might very well be in order. Let me make that clear.
I do get troubled though when so much emphasis is placed on how we are going to do jobs and so little emphasis on what we are trying to accomplish. I think our first point of order, if you will, is to consider what we are trying to do. Now that doesn't mean that we shouldn't also worry about how we go about it. As a matter of fact, this lecture that I gave in an attempt to analyze the space program, gets into first the decisionmaking process, and then the implementation. And they are obviously both important, and there is obviously a very close tie between the two. That is what I call the action process. You have got to make the right series of decisions and you have got to be able to implement them.
And I was talking here primarily about the decisionmaking process. I had thought when I originally started on this I might get into ways and means for putting different emphasis on the decisionmaking process by getting into certain organizational factors, if you will. But I ran out of time on this back in February. I do have some thoughts what might be done. I purposely did not say who puts together this agenda, what team of people, how it gets reviewed, both in the executive branch and in the Congress. I felt that if I got into this I would take away from what I think is the more important point, which is that we must have objectives.
I certainly agree that the implementation is as important as the decisionmaking. The word "simply," I believe, implies solely which is the wrong connotation. When I correct my statement I will eliminate the word.
Mr. MOSHER. I think we all agree that first things must come first, and certainly an adequate agenda of goals comes first. But I am glad that you
do indicate that we should consider better ways to implement those goals, once we have listed them, or agreed upon them.
Have you had a chance to—just as a practical matter--have you had a chance to study the Stratton Commission's report and its proposals
for more effectively reaching our national goals so far as the use of the seas is concerned ?
Now, there is an example of a report that does establish goals and then goes ahead to recommend some organizational changes to more effectively reach those goals.
Have you had a chance to study that report, and do you feel that these are good recommendations?
Dr. SEAMANS. I did have a chance to talk to Dr. Stratton before the report was written, and I have seen the report. I will have to confess that I can't discuss it in detail at this time.
I think as it comes to mind, the general conclusion is that if we are to make progress in oceanography we must consolidate our effort in oceanographic research. And with this I agree. I think that another reason that Apollo 11 is flying back toward the earth today is because we had an agency, a single agency for all research in space other than that directly related to the military.
I think the fact that NASA was set up, that folded within NASA were competent teams from the NACA and from the Army and from the Navy, all put together with a single objective, if you will, of space exploration, and with an agency that was reporting in at a 'high level and then went to the President, definitely made it possible to carry out the program more effectively than if the work had been fragmented.
Mr. MOSHER. So you are citing NASA really as a prime example of where a reorganization within the Government, given a decision as to the goal, where reorganization was necessary and where it has proved very effective. And this might well happen in the future to reach more effectively our use of the seas and other such goals.
Dr. SEAMANS. Yes, but obviously there are pulls in many directions. And it is obviously a very complex matter to think of all the present agencies and departments and how they might be shifted around to line up, say, with the goals that I have listed or some other set of goals.
Mr. Mosher. Not only a complex matter, but politically a very sensitive matter.
Dr. SEAMANS. Well, that is part of the complexity. You are dealing with people.
Mr. MOSHER. Yes.
Dr. SEAMANS. But I think certain of these areas you can readily identify with given departments and agencies.
For example, international development and national security, clearly is identified with the State Department and Department of Defense.
Transportation is clearly the Department of Transportation.
Communications, however, doesn't have a central authority. Responsibility is fragmented between the networks, industry, Comsat, the FCC and NASA.
The quality of life gets into Housing and Urban Development, and Health, Education, and Welfare. In the matter of our basic resources, obviously Interior and Agriculture are two departments involved.
This whole area of understanding, forecasting and controlling our environment, again is fractionated. I don't think I am wise enough to say exactly what groups ought to be involved. But I believe the most