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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. PETTIS. 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 bureau 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
discipline to the process, basically. That is really what I am talking about.
Mr. WAGGONNER. What you are really saying is we need a reorganization within the executive branch of the Government to better advise the President, that he may present better budgets to us?
Dr. SEAMANS. To give him a better understanding of where we are applying our research and development. This is our investment in the future. On the long-term basis this is one of the most important decisions an executive makes when he is President. And yet he has, I believe, too little visability of really what is happening, what is going on.
Mr. WAGGONNER. Does he have too little visability because within the framework of the executive branch of the Government the agencies you alluded to earlier are understaffed?
Dr. SEAMANS. No; I think it is just not put together in fairly simpletype functions each one of which can be readily understood.
I think it is a question of putting together the program in more understandable form.
Mr. WAGGONNER. Doesn't the President have the authority to do this by Executive order with the executive branch of the Government now?
Dr. SEAMANS. Certainly. And there is a report that is put out annually by the Executive Office-I guess it is by the Science Foundation, I am not quite sure—on where we are putting our dollars. But it is a pretty complicated report.
I spent some time with it. And I don't think it can be used either for the kind of decisionmaking I am talking about, nor can it be used to explain to the public what we are doing so that they have confidence that we have a proper set of priorities, and so that they in turn, incidentally, can indicate some displeasure if they don't like what is going on.
Mr. WAGGONNER. They don't seem to have any trouble demonstrating displeasure these days.
Dr. SEAMANS. They are demonstrating displeasure, but I am not sure they are very accurate in where they are placing their displeasure.
Mr. WAGGONNER. I certainly agree with that.
I think the seven points that you deal with here cover the spectrum. It just seems to me that every time we change administrations we have a reevaluation of our priorities and our goals are either accelerated or decelerated according to the whims of the man who sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I really don't know of a much better process if he brings around the people to properly advise him.
I would like to say that I think he made an excellent choice for the Secretary of the Air Force to advise him in that category.
Dr. SEAMANS. Thank you.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Seamans, I regret that I was unable to be here during the course of your testimony. Rather than ask any questions, I hope I might have the opportunity after reviewing the testimony and the questions asked of you by the committee to forward some questions to you of my own for the record.
Ďr. SEAMANS. I would be happy to respond to any questions you have.
Mr. DADDARIO. Fine. I am pleased that you were able to come. And I am happy to see an old friend, Col. Bruce Arnold, back on Capitol Hill.
(Questions submitted by the subcommittee to Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr.)
Question 1. It is common knowledge that the National Science Foundation has always had difficulty selling itself to Congress and the American public. What positive steps can you suggest that the Foundation might take to improve its image, extend its constituency and secure the funds corresponding to a national policy of continued preeminence for U.S. science?
Answer 1. When I appeared before your committee I stated that research and development funded by government must serve national objectives. Even basic scientific studies must demonstrate their relevance to the practical needs of the nation in order to justify continued governmental support. I believe the establishment of a national agenda for research and development would provide the National Science Foundation an opportunity to justify their budget requests on the basis of national goals. In addition, the National Science Foundation should devise means for determining the relative excellence of research results which are obtained under its sponsorship. Then it will be possible to explain to the Congress and the public at large the value of its program and this way extend its constituency well beyond the group that receives the research support.
Question 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 2. I don't believe the application of planning-programming-budgeting methods and techniques has had a measurable effect in the management or organization of Federal science activities. Planning-programming-budgeting methods are useful for development programs where milestones can be clearly identified and costs allocated against their attainment. However, in scientific investigation it is not possible to predict when significant data will be obtained. Consequently, it is not possible to program and budget funds against the time when important results will be available.
Question 3. It appears that what you are really suggesting in advocating the formulation of a national agenda for R. & D. is an alternative program structure for the entire Federal budget. Must we not then determine total national priorities before we can determine R. & D. priorities? Whose responsibility should this be, if not that of the Bureau of the Budget?
Answer 3. I was attempting to emphasize that research and development funded by the government must serve national objectives. In order to plan and determine R. & D. priorities that will have a beneficial effect on our future, we must first develop a set of national goals and concomitant priorities. The determination of both national priorities and R. & D. priorities must be accomplished by the participation of the President, the Departments and Agencies of government, and the Congress and, of course, must have the support of the public. These national priorities cannot be prescribed solely by the Bureau of the Budget although, of course, the Bureau of the Budget will have an important role in this regard.
Question 4. What annual Executive Office report showing fund distributions were you referring to in your testimony? Do you have any suggestions either for its improvement or discontinuation?
Answer 4. The National Science Foundation prepares an annual report entitled "Federal Funds for Research, Development, and Other Scientific Activities.” The report issued by Dr. Haworth in August 1967 included Fiscal Year 66, 67 and projection for 68. The report breaks out the research and development by type of work (basic research, applied research, and development), by discipline, i.e., oceanography, astronomy, geology, etc., by agency sponsorship, by type organization conducting the work (Government labs, non-profits, universities, industry). The report also shows Federal obligations for basic research conducted in foreign countries by region, country and agency. However, the research and development program cannot be correlated in this report against the kind of national objectives that I discussed with your committee. I believe it is possible to do so and if the budget were presented in this form it would provide the agencies of government, the Congress and the public with a much better understanding of those areas that are being neglected and those areas where too much emphasis is being placed.
Mr. DADDARIO. Our next witness is Dr. Myron Tribus, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Science and Technology.
Dr. Tribus, we are happy to have you here. We will see to it that your biographical material is placed in the record. Please introduce the gentlemen with you and proceed.
Dr. TRIBUS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Robert B. Ellert, who is Assistant General Counsel in the Department of Commerce is accompanying me.
(Dr. Myron Tribus' prepared statement follows:)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF DR. MYRON TRIBUS Mr. Chairman and members of this Subcommittee : Your committee report poses the question “Should the science activities of the Federal Government be centralized ?" My answer to this question will be as direct as the response of the young lady, who when asked, “Do you have trouble making up your mind ?" replied, "Well, yes and no."
The question of the control of science and engineering is too complex to admit a simple "yes" or "no" response. agree on the importance of the questions raised in the committee report. Their very importance suggests that we ought to analyze carefully the alternatives actually available to us, the problems which prompted the questions in the first place, and our attitudes toward the possible outcomes.
C. P. Snow and others have called attention to a growing cultural dichotomy between science and the humanities. I feel this type of attitude is generated in part by the fear that science and technology might become ends in themselves. This fear must be disabused. Science and technology are not ends in themselves. The process which controls science and technology must be responsive to human needs. I cannot emphasize this point too strongly.
The nature of control of such a program should be appropriate to the objectives. Our judgment of any type of control will be dependent upon our view of the role of the Federal Government in supporting research and development. Without agreement as to the responsibilities of Government, there will be no guidelines for research and development projects. Different expectations regarding the role of the Government will lead to different evaluations of the effectiveness of any arrangement, centralized or not.
In the private sector, research and development is usually carried out with a view toward a specific end product. The Federal Government, on the other hand, carries our research and development for a wide variety of reasons. The Federal Government conducts research to promulgate standards; for example, standards for auto safety, or for air pollution. The Federal Government conducts research and development in order to provide information for evaluation; for example, to guide purchasing by GSA. The Federal Government subsidizes the education of most of the engineers and scientists who study at the graduate level in the United States. For example, NASA and the AEC research and development contracts with universities have also served as a means of enticing young men into new fields. Project THEMIS, of the Department of Defense, is a frank attempt to create new centers of excellence in science and engineering throughout the country. The Federal Government engages in research and development to provide leadership in a field. For example, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, through its Taft Sanitary Engineering Center in Cincinnati, provides fundamental information on methods of sewage disposal. The Department of Commerce, through the National Bureau of Standards, provides fundamental information to the building industry.
As I have said, the Federal Government employs R&D for a wide variety of purposes. I need not dwell here upon the mission oriented research and development carried out by the Department of Defense, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Space Agency, the Federal Office of Saline Water, the Maritime Administration, and the Post Office, to name a few. At the present time, no one person or committee really knows in detail how much research and development is being done by the Government, or precisely for what purpose, although the National Science Foundation, through its Federal Funds for Science, has provided much useful data and analysis of the overall nature of Federal support of research and development.