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serious long-term problem we face is the understanding of our environment, and doing something about our environment. And if I may, I would like to use an analogy of a spaceship, because that is all the earth is; it has got its expendables and storables and it is a small sphere in the dimension of the universe, and we have got, as I have stated, 3 billion astronauts aboard and most of them poorly trained for the mission. And we are not doing a very good job of flying this machine, and we better get on with it and figure out how we can maintain this spacecraft so it will serve mankind in the years ahead. Hence we have got to get some focus to this understanding.
NASA is clearly working in this area, out beyond the atmosphere, and other agencies are working within the atmosphere, and on the ground, and in the sea. But this needs more focus.
Mr. Mosher. I am sure we all agree with that. Just now, in listing these various goals you propose, and then suggesting the several departments that would deal with each goal, by doing that you have implied that there has to be a very effective coordination between these various departments that would focus on any one goal. And I guess that is the prime question we are raising in this committee: How is this coordination better managed, better attained than we are now doing it?
That is all the questions I have.
Mr. Davis. Mr. Chairman, I want to again welcome Dr. Seamans back home. I feel like this is where you really belong, even though you have put on another hat, as circumstances would have it.
Two or three thoughts ran through my mind as I listened to your very excellent presentation this morning, and one of them is this: How much behaviorism enters into practically every problem that you touched on?
For example, the population explosion. Now, I have read and I believe that in the animal kingdom, which specifically includes humans, everytime there is a rather dramatic increase in the food supply, there is also a dramatic increase in the population of that particular species of animals. I think that is probably happening to the human species on earth today. This committee has devoted a lot of attention to that. But my essential point is that we are working our way into behaviorism pretty rapidly.
In two other topics that you touched transportation and communication. Human behavior enters very heavily. In the problems of these areas we run into this phenomenon of queuing up. I don't know if you have put much thought on that or not. But let's say a bunch of airplanes are stacked up in the air, and not allowed to land. Well, what you have got basically there is a queue. It is the same thing you run into when you line up to buy a ticket to the theater or to a baseball game. This is a most interesting aspect, of human behavior and a very difficult problem. I subscribe to much more study being devoted to this phenomena.
Another thing I wanted to do is express vigorous agreement with you in saying that the trip to the moon did give us an objective. It is something that Dr. Von Braun has mentioned hundreds of times, in the last few years. I don't know if we will be able to do that again, as you pointed out.
I think we can get a little bit too passionate about reorganizing things. For example, we have an Agricultural Department, a Postal Department, a Space Agency, and you name it, we have got it.
Well, every one of these agencies is engaged quite heartily in trying to push back the frontiers of knowledge that relate to the functions of the agency. And they are all engaged in research and development to a certain extent. So I think it would be highly impractical to say let's just bunch all R. & D. into one agency. I just don't think it would be workable. I think you could depend on every agency devoting full time and attention to its own problems and making progress.
I will be self-indulgent enough to say that I had had the though that you expressed, and that is that the earth is really a spacecraft. We are rapidly overcoming the obstacles to a higher standard of living, but we are doing it at an expense. And that expense is, we are polluting the air and ruining our water.
I meant to ask some questions. I wound up talking. But thank you very much.
Ďr. SEAMANS. When I said that we have no focus for communications, I was, of course, overlooking the Post Office, which is, after all, responsible for communication. I was thinking in electronic terms.
Mr. Davis. I think one of the worst examples of queuing up is the telephone system. It is a real problem.
Dr. Seaxans. It really has surprised me in the past year, both with the exchange up in the Boston area--and in the Washington areaI don't know whether the number of phone calls has gone up dramatically in the last year or two. I know they are rebuilding the whole exchange in Boston so I judge this is something that they had anticipated. But it is surprising how long one has to wait even for local calls, much less long-distance calls.
Mr. Davis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
With the financial constraints that our Government faces today, obviously we can't afford any serious duplication of effort, whether it is in research or something else. I am a little concerned, as I look around me, because I think that I see some duplication of effort. So my first question is: Is this really necessary, or does it exist ? Maybe my vision is not as good as yours. And now that you have had the opportunity to wear two hats, so to speak, one civilian and one military, I think there has been in times past some duplication in those two fields.
The second part of my question is this: Whether we like it or not, isn't it true that there is a kind of an umpire developing here in our Government as to who gets the money to do what? It is based a little bit on the old saying that the fellow who pays the fiddler calls the tune, and in this case I think maybe the Bureau of the Budget and the appropriations mechanism is deciding for us how this is to be done and what projects are to have priority.
I would appreciate your observations.
Dr. SEAMANS. First, on the matter of duplication, I think you have to distinguish between research and development. In the report of your subcommittee you talk about basic research, applied, developed, engineering, demonstration, and so on.
I think in the area of basic research, those involved are the best able to determine what they can do that will contribute to advancement in knowledge and understanding; that this isn't something that can be regulated, if you will. Only those who are really doing the work understand all the nuances of what they are doing with respect to other activities and other laboratories.
I believe that the individuals involved are looking for new ideas, new knowledge, and not really interested in replowing old ground. I think here you have a case where there really is pretty reasonable communication between those engaged in these activities. However, when you get to development there is an opportunity for duplication which is unwarranted where you can have, say, in NASA and DOD developments going on that could be done at less cost if the two efforts somehow or other were better coordinated.
Now, this is a matter that we have attempted to control, where we have got the Aeronautics and Astronautics Coordinating Board, which Dr. Foster cochairs with the Associate Administrator of NASA.
We just can't say we have done a perfect job. We can say that we have worked pretty hard at it. But I think this is something that has to be continually watched as we go along. And there has to be a way for those who are working and developing in areas that are in close proximity to one another, technologically speaking, to have some way of insuring that there is good coordination between the two. Mr. MOSHER. Would the gentleman yield? Mr. PETTIS. Yes; I yield.
Mr. MOSHIER. Was the Air Force's decision to end the MOL program based in part on any feeling that there was duplication of effort between the Air Force and NASA?
Dr. SEAMANS. No; it actually was not. We were well aware that this was a matter of concern, and rightly so. The problem there is that the work in the Department of Defense is classified. Disclosure of experimental details would have made people realize that the objectives that we had for the MOL were not duplicative with NASA's plans for Apollo Applications.
Now, before the decision was made, but when it appeared that it might be necessary, for budgetary reasons, to cancel MOL, I was in touch with Dr. Paine. We are both serving on a space task group anyway, so this was easy to do.
I told him that this might be happening, and he assured me that when it came close to the time, that we would set up a mechanism for reviewing everything going on in the MOL program to see what we could spin off into the Apollo program. And this is going on. And some things will be transferred to NASA because it will help them get on with their program; other things may be continued as part of DODfunded experiments, but carried on Apollo Applications.
Mr. MOSHER. Well, the principal consideration, you have just implied, was budgetary. But there also is the implication that if NASA is going to pick up some of these experiments and do some of the MOL missions, this increases NASA's budget problem.
This has been one of the basic considerations of this committee, as to how that type of decision should be managed: where one agency, DOD, decides not to do anything further in a field but it is so impor
tant that someone else has to pick it up, then who makes these decisions ?
Dr. SEAMANS. Let me also say that in, say, the MOL decision, not only is consideration given to possibly transferring some of the residuals to NASA, but also continuing certain of the work-or supplementing the unmanned program in the DOD.
So that it is more complicated than just, say, Apollo vis-a-vis MOL.
Mr. MOSHER. But the machinery by which these decisions will be made is presently just a matter of voluntary coordination and cooperation between the Air Force and NASA?
Dr. SEAMANS. Well, that part of the decision is between the two agencies, but the ultimate decision on a matter of this sort must involve the President.
Mr. MOSHER. Of course. And the Congress.
Dr. SEAMANS. And the Congress. And obviously the Bureau of the Budget. And you are going to hear from the Bureau of the Budget shortly. They are very much involved in this type decision.
Mr. PETTIS. This is right along the line of my question. Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. I wonder just how much decisionmaking we do. Doesn't it really come down to the Bureau of the Budget, which can override any of us, or the agencies as well?
Mr. MOSHER. Or the Appropriations Committee.
Mr. PETTIS. Right. I am not suggesting it, but I am just wondering if maybe some of these decisions aren't a wee bit whimsical and capricious in the light of the fact that these men are not scientists who may be allocating the funds which are necessary to carry out these experiments in research.
Dr. SEAMANS. Well, in my testimony I pointed out that within the executive branch we have the Bureau of the Budget, and also have the President's Science Adviser, Dr. DuBridge, to take the case of MOL, was also involved in this decision.
So it isn't just made along budgetary lines.
Mr. PETTIS. Well, I wasn't really thinking so much about what Congressman Mosher was talking about as I was the overall scope of your presentation this morning, which dealt, really with society's great needs. MOL is one project. But I was thinking about these other great needs across a broad spectrum of our society.
And then there has to be an allocation, and a set of priorities established.
Dr. SEAMANS. Well, in this connection, far be it from me to recommend how a President or an executive office should be run. That is a very personal matter for the people involved, and ties in with their own proclivities.
At the same time, I think it would be healthy to have reviews carried out by the Executive Office, including the President, Vice President, heads of departments, Bureau of the Budget, science adviser, wherein research and development is considered as an entity. The entire R. & D. program should be matched against a set of total goals, to see whether some of the goals that we feel are terribly important are really not receiving sufficient effort.
Mr. PÉTTIS. Now I think you are hitting the nail on the head.
Dr. SEAMANS. But as I say, I was a little loath to get into this in too much detail because of the pressure of time.
Mr. PETTIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WAGGONNER. Dr. Seamans, on page 10 of your statement, you say "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."
What existing agency can be used to coordinate, within the framework of the seven points you outlined, the establishment of these priorities for planning purposes and then putting them into effect? Dr. SEAMANS. Well,
I guess this part of the picture is not too clear. What I was concerned about was the thought that there would be a new large agency that would be manning a great percentage of the research and development of the country, that part that is funded by the Federal Government, and that by doing this somehow or other everything would be coordinated.
I don't think that would work. On the other hand, I don't mean to imply from this that there shouldn't be some kind of an appropriate research and development board, or some such group that would be assigned to the President, who would on the one hand keep track of what our goals are, and on the other hand keep track of where the funding is going, and be able to talk back and forth about goals on the one hand and allocation of resources on the other.
Now, you have certainly a lot of the elements of that already in the President's Science Adviser, the Office of Science and Technology as well as the Bureau of the Budget. Now, whether they should be reconstituted to do this, I think should be more a subject for the next people who are going to testify here, who are from the Bureau of the Budget.
Mr. WAGGONNER. It would seem to me that there is no way to do what you are talking about unless you create some sort of a czarist bureaŭ to be able to dictate or at least make final recommendations to the legislative branch of the Government what these priorities ought to be, and ultimately it is still up to the legislative branch of the Government to decide whether or not they want to accept these recommendations as appropriate to pursue these recommended goals.
Dr. SEAMANS. That is just the thing I wouldn't want, a czar. I feel that there isn't any human being in the country or the world who knows enough about the total area of science and technology to be put in that position. I think you have got to involve the President and the Vice President and the heads of the departments and agencies on the one hand, and the Congress on the other, and what needs to be done here is to permit them to do a better job, give them better understanding of needs on the one hand and resource allocation on the other.
Mr. WAGGONNER. Bob, that is the last thing I would want, too, but aren't we back where we are right now with the President sitting in that chair? How do we improve upon that?
Dr. SEAMANS. Well, I think you improve on it by applying more