« PreviousContinue »
And each agency, in the absence of some such legislative declaration of purpose, each agency develops its own set of assumptions, its own premises of action, and with great variety among them. I think this impedes comparability, and impedes cooperation and coordination.
If we had some fairly succinct but meaningful statement of overall Federal purpose, it seems to me it would in at least a mild way help us to put together the pieces.
Mr. DADDARIO. Well, gentleman, we are already beyond our scheduled time, and the statements have been, as most of the members have said, filled with material that can be helpful to us.
I would hope that, once we have had an opportunity to analyze these statements, other thoughts may come to mind; then we might have a chance to ask you further questions about this for the record. We would appreciate it if we might do that. Dr. REAGAN. Certainly.
(Questions submitted by the subcommittee to Dr. Michael D. Reagan:)
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. Perhaps the biggest step that NSF could take to "sell itself” better would be to recognize that government is not like science. In science, the evidence is supposed to speak for itself. In government, support must be built for programs; citizens and legislators must be persuaded of the value of programs—the facts do not speak for themselves.
I have the impression that NSF has been inept and lackadaisical in its Congressional and public relations. I would hope that the new Director would take a much more positive attitude that his predecessors apparently did toward the political processes by which authorization and appropriation decisions are made. One of the concrete steps would be greater efforts to acquaint legislators on the relevant committees with NSF programs and officers in greater degree. Another would be to keep every Congressman and Senator informed of NSF funds supporting research/education in his district or state.
NSF does have a constituency. In fact, it has three constituencies: the scientists; the colleges and universities; and the school teachers aided by summer institutes. I have the impression that none of these areas of programmatic support has ever been systematically tapped. Why not some area conferences to which NSF could invite representatives of its various constituencies for briefings on the agency and for program suggestions and criticisms? Why not a newsletter to all beneficiaries, institutional important developments in the agency, including legislative and appropriations happenings? In short, NSF should frankly recognize the legitimate role of interest groups in our political system, for informing policy makers, and build a conscious support system among its constituencies.
As regards the general public, too, NSF could do more. I recall seeing some years ago, for instance, a travelling AEC exhibit on the atom. Why not travelling NSF exhibits, to high schools and small colleges, to show what basic research is, and to exemplify some of the ways in which basic research underlies major technological developments? NSF could also provide prizes at science fairs.
Question 2. What is your opinion concerning the effects on management or organization of Federal science activities which have resulted from the application of planning-programming-budgeting methods and techniques ?
Answer 2. I do not have sufficient information about the application of PPB to science activities to permit an informed reply to this question.
Question 3. In recent years there has been considerable discussion of the need for an annual report on science and technology. You too have made this recommendation. What do you think such a report should contain? Should it be a review of the immediate past or a blueprint for the future, or both?
Answer 3. An annual Presidential report on science and technology should be only in small degree a review of the year past. In major part, it should be a real attempt to articulate an Administration position on the forthcoming year's special needs for emphasis and priority, an attempt to grapple with and present reasoned positions regarding selected major issues of science policy each year.
Mr. DADDARIO. This committee will adjourn until 10 a.m. on Monday at this same place.
(Whereupon, at 12:08 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene the following Monday, July 28, 1969, at 10. a.m.)
CENTRALIZATION OF FEDERAL SCIENCE ACTIVITIES
MONDAY, JULY 28, 1969
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10:10 a.m., in room 2325, Rayburn House Office Building, the Hon. Emilio Q. Daddario (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. DADDARIO. This meeting will come to order.
As I recall it, Dr. Wenk, you were on page 8, were you not, of your report?
Dr. WENK. Yes, Mr. Chairman; perhaps for the sake of continuity I should highlight in a minute or two the points made earlier, because these do furnish a springboard for later discussion.
Mr. DADDARIO. Fíne. Proceed as you like.
STATEMENT OF DR. EDWARD WENK, JR., EXECUTIVE SECRETARY,
NATIONAL COUNCIL ON MARINE RESOURCES AND ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT
Dr. WENK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Development.
I believe you have had laid before you a number of propositions from wise and perceptive men that some of the imperfections in our Federal apparatus bear correction by reorganization. You have said, Mr. Chairman, that you are examining the problems but do not have a commitment to any specific remedies.
I think the point of my testimony is to get at the question, "What are we organizing for?” In order to get a better appreciation of the problem, I tried to set forth six items that were of special concern to me. The first is an inability to apply science and technology to urgent social problems of our time. Second, an increasing cleavage between science and the humanities. Third, a difficulty of imbedding science and technology in public decisionmaking by the Federal Government, and also by State and local governments. Fourth, the prevailing absence of long-range views. Fifth, still-primitive processes for sorting out priorities. And sixth, a lack of progress in public understanding of the role of science.
The part of the testimony which I have covered so far, Mr. Chairman, is focused particularly on this question of science not serving our
society. I concluded that section with four observations: First, that we do have a problem today in articulating science to the problems of our society. The loss of interest in science has been fairly widespread, to some extent reflecting an interval of time since the 1957 Soviet space shot, which, among other effects in this country, caused the budget of the National Science Foundation to undergo its sharpest percentage increase.
The second point was that this failure to increase public understanding of the dynamics of science, at the same time as its potency for contributing to our national welfare increased. And we have lost some time.
Third, that the desire of the scientific community in the past to isolate science from politics has created a breakdown in understanding of science's values and purposes.
Then I went on to point out that in my view there is a fourth problem, perhaps the most serious one, which has special relevance to this issue of Federal organization—that is the imperfect linkage between knowledge producers and consumers. We have not sufficiently considered the institutional framework by which scientific discovery, exploration and inventions are carried through the processes of engineering and technology to meet public purposes.
We have done quite well in the case of defense, in the case of nuclear energy, and in the case of our space program; but we have not done well on the civilian side.
The point of this observation is that when we consider Federal organization, I would caution against isolating science and technology into an organizationally "pure” status, in which leading a life of its own it could inadvertently contribute to further splintering. Therefore, I would favor looking very hard at steps for strengthening science and technology in the existing civilian agencies—and I am talking about this now across the board-and also at the mechanisms by which the wellsprings of new knowledge can both contribute to and be influenced by our social concerns.
Now, Mr. Chairman, going back to the prepared statement, I see I have skipped all the way up to page 11.
Mr. DADDARIO. I think that is about where you were, in fact. My own notes indicate that you had just finished the first full paragraph, bringing you down almost to the middle of page 11.
Dr. WENK. I think you are correct, Mr. Chairman. Why don't I go ahead with the next action Long-Range Planning and Policy Research?
Mr. DADDARIO. All right.
Dr. WENK. Let me now turn to the third and fourth problems of long-range planning and the need to undertake policy research to imbed science, science and technology, more effectively in public decisionmaking
Let me be clear, first, about what I regard as policy planning. I would suggest that it include:
(1) Identification of unmet needs and opportunities;
(4) The pros and cons of alternatives and the selection of priorities;
(5) The identification of the necessary resources to achieve these goals-Federal, State, local and private—and ways of mobilizing them;
(6) The delineation of impediments to progress and strategies for their circumvention, including politically conflicting interests and the areas of agreement as well as disagreement among these interests;
(?) Processes of feedback during implementation to afford corrective action; and
(8) The definition of new institutions or relationships between public and private sector needed to meet mutual interests. One fundamental property of such policy planning is the adoption of a long-range view. We need “pre-crisis,” not “post-crisis,” planning. Sometimes it would seem that humans possess a genetic defect which rejects the notion of long-range planning. But no matter how cruel the discipline, we no longer can advance without a clear destination or a map of the pitfalls that lie ahead.
I believe it will be of great historical significance that President Nixon just a few short weeks ago established a White House staff to look to the future—to determine the direction the Nation is moving and to offer alternative courses.
As the President said:
We can no longer afford to approach the long-range future haphazardly. As the pace of change accelerates, the process of change becomes more complex. Yet, at the same time, an extraordinary array of tools and techniques has been developed by which it becomes increasingly possible to project future trends and thus to make the kind of informed choices which are necessary if we are to establish mastery over the process of change.
Mr. Chairman, you and your colleagues have expressed that same sentiment in examining the need for a technological early warning system.
In governmental planning, we enunciate purposes in general terms on which everyone agrees, but we are inclined to be timid when we are obliged to take that one next step of being specific. We have to make a choice of one direction over another and that choice means stepping on someone's toes. From where I sit, Washington has wall-towall toes. I believe that the essence of planning is not only the illumination of alternatives but choices in terms of goals—and here I mean specific goals—each of which is amenable to the preparation of a plan for accomplishment. That is almost the definition of a goal-a plan which set forth the targets, the impediments, and the resources needed, and states very clearly 'where we would like to be in 1980 or 1990.
Last week we learned the meaning of such a goal-of sending a man to the moon. We have learned that one act of political leadership expressed by the President and supported by the Congress made it possible to define all the intermediate steps—and to meet alternative claims for funds that were often expressed vaguely.
We are in an unprecedented position today to plan in the presence rather than in the absence of fact. We have the machinery to collect information, to structure and to analyze it. We lack the people equipped by interdisciplinary knowledge and inclination, however,