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committee on Appropriations which handled the independent agencies including NSF, that it would be my recommendation that that committee should look forward to the time and work toward the time when the budget of the National Science Foundation would be at least a billion dollars a year. I think this is a modest and a reasonable level to which that agency should still be devoted. It started on the way up. At the time I said that, I suppose the budget was more like $300 or $400 million. It started on the
way up and got to $500 million and got stuck there. It is still my guess that we ought to now try to change the trend and shoot toward, in the next few years, a billiondollar level for the National Science Foundation.
I am sure that we can identify important areas of science that would justify this expenditure. I have mentioned some of the areas here which are of national interest and importance to our national purpose, which are now inadequately funded or inadequately carried on. Now, this can't happen this year or next year. But I think that is the direction in which we should move. And even this assumes that the other agencies at least maintain their support of academic science at the present level or a level that at least grows with the inflationary costs. The total academic science picture of the country is inadequate. The Science Foundation I think should have a larger fraction of it, but that doesn't mean by taking it away from other agencies but by building up the gaps and repairing the inadequacies through additional support of the National Science Foundation. Now, you would think I was the Director of the National Science Foundation the way I am talking. I am a devoted friend of the Science Foundation and spent 10 years on its board. You can understand why I believe in its purposes. But as I have come into my present position it has seemed to me more and more that here is an opportunity to really build a structure of science in this country by strengthening and greater prestige and support of the Foundation, and this is more important than any structural revamping that I have been able to think of.
In other words, we have got a mechanism there, we don't need to change it, we just need to recognize its functions, its importance, and give it support. It is precisely the agency which can fill in gaps, which can do things other agencies won't or can't do and can move us forward in the science field.
Mr. MOSHER. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MOSHER. I certainly welcome your emphasis Dr. DuBridge, on the National Science Foundation and your emphasis on the way we have neglected it. We in Congress have neglected it. And I agree on the necessity for better funding and better support in expanding the NSF.
Nevertheless, I am somewhat troubled for fear this emphasis that you are giving to the National Science Foundation will perhaps give the impression—the impression to the public and to the scientific community—that you believe a more adequate NSF will in itself solve all our problems in the area we are discussing here, that if we increase our support for the National Science Foundation this will be enough. I am sure you don't intend to leave that impression.
On page 26, for instance, you say, “My point, however, is simple. We have already created an agency quite competent to carry out these functions. We need only to use it more adequately and more wisely.”
Now, you say your point is simple. I suggest it is overly simple. Just for an example, a couple of pages earlier you were talking about the recognized needs in the marine sciences and our problems in developing an adequate program as to the use of the oceans. And, of course, I know you are very much aware of the Stratton report and its recommendation that there be created "NOAA," a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. But on page 24 you seem to suggest that really all that is needed in this area is an increased budget for the National Science Foundation.
Well, now, the needs in the oceans go so far beyond the need for basic scientific activity, I wouldn't want anyone to interpret what you say on page 24 as implying that there is no need for a NOAA; that all we need to do is to turn it over to the National Science Foundation.
The Stratton report emphasized repeatedly the lack of fundamental technology in the use of the oceans, and I am sure you don't want to assign that job of developing technology to the National Science Foundation.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. I hope you will notice that I underlined in at least my copy that some areas of marine science are still neglected. And I want to emphasize that throughout most of my statement I have been talking about science, not technology.
Mr. MOSHER. This is the point I am underlining, really. And I want you to underline it.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. Right.
Now, I do believe that there are areas of applied science that do need strengthening, and I haven't really addressed myself to the question of how one can strengthen the applied science and technology of certain areas which are not fully supported now or fully the responsibility of a single agency now. I think it is quite possible that an independent agency for oceanographic science and technology might be a good idea. I don't think I agree with the Stratton commission recommendation of the particular structure of that agency, partly because of the political difficulties of robbing a lot of other agencies of their activities. I think ocean science, like a lot of other areas, has interests in many areas of Government. Surely the Navy isn't going to give up their interest in it to a new agency.
Mr. MOSHER. The Stratton report doesn't suggest that. Quite the opposite!
Dr. DuBRIDGE. It doesn't say that but I only suggest that as an extreme illustration. But there are other agencies I think need to have activities in the marine area. It is certainly true that the sum total of their agency activities in the applied science of the oceans is now inadequate. And it is possible that a new agency would be very useful there. I don't know-I would have no suggestions right now as to how to construct it. But it would be an applied science agency for a particular mission. When we needed an agency to develop atomic energy, we created an independent agency to do that, because it was not within the realm of other existing agencies. When we needed something to increase our efforts in space, we created an independent agency to do that. Maybe it is time to think about an agency which will increase
our efforts in the fields of the oceans. And I didn't intend in my remarks to say that that might not be a good idea.
Mr. Mosher. The main purpose of my question was to get you to emphasize that your prepared remarks here today do not pretend to cover all the potential reorganizational needs in this area. Just by improving the National Science Foundation alone we cannot solve a lot of the problems.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. No, only in science.
But I hope that your committee will keep these two things separate, consider them separately: The strengthening of science, and the strengthening of applied science and technology.
And I think most of my remarks are addressed to the first and not to the second.
Mr. MOSHER. I hope that you in the executive branch, and I certainly hope that we in the Congress, won't back away from considering some necessary reorganization simply because of reasons of political expediency and because we recognize the political difficulties. You mentioned the political difficulties that are involved in the creation of NOAA.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. Yes.
Mr. MOSHER. I feel strongly that we must not back away from doing our duty there simply because we recognize that it is going to be terribly difficult.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. No, the political problems there I leave gladly to you. And I have no special competence to advise you on them.
Mr. MOSHER. Well, the executive branch is going to have to take the initiative.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. We will have to study these problems.
Mr. MoSHER. You are going to have to bite the bullet, more than just study.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. And there are studies going on in the administration on the Stratton report and its recommendations.
Mr. MOSHER. Just where is the basic consideration of that Stratton report? Is it going to be in the Marine Resources Council, or is it in the OST?
Dr. DUBRIDGE. No, it is a combined effort of the various agencies within the Executive Office of the President, including the staff of the Marine Council and the staff of OST but including also the staffs of other agencies like the Council of Economic Advisers, the Bureau of the Budget, and so on. In addition, of course, there is also the new Advisory Committee on Government Organization which I mentioned that is looking into that question.
Mr. MOSHER. Does that have any staff?
Dr. DuBRIDGE. Oh, yes. Mr. Thayer is now the chief of staff for the so-called Ash committee. I don't know just how many people he now has on the staff but the Bureau of the Budget has agreed to assist him in staffing by assigning some of their own people to this job. The staffing is going forward and Mr. Thayer and his associates are at work.
Mr. MOSHER. I am a little afraid that this committee is going to hear too often that we will have to wait until the Ash committee reports.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. I realize that, sir.
Mr. MOSHER. And I certainly hope the Ash committee is adequately staffed and really gets to the job and does it.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. Well, it is a tremendous job and I don't know what an adequate staff would be. It might take a thousand people to really look at the complex problems of Government organization. The way they are working now they will at least certainly identify the problems and see to what extent they can get into them.
I only mention that that is one of the executive office agencies that is taking a look at the Stratton report.
Mr. MOSHER. Mr. Chairman, we could push this subject for quite a while, but I will return it to you.
Mr. DADDARIO. Mr. Brown?
Mr. Brown. Yes. There are a number of things I would like to discuss with you, Dr. Du Bridge, but I doubt if we will have time to do that.
I think you properly make this sharp distinction between applied science and technology and basic science; and that the organizational difficulties that we run into in Government frequently are more in the applied science and technology field. I would like to question you, if that doesn't stem from the fact that in a period of rapid change in technology and in various other areas, we sometimes find ourselves without an agency that has a concern with the particular function that we are talking about; at least an overall concern. Oceanography is a good example of this, as it was true of space before we created NAŠA.
How can we identify the areas in which there isn't a mission oriented agency? It would be in an area that is obviously of great national concern. Is there somplace in the whole structure of Government which is charged with or should be charged with this responsibility of making sure that there are no major gaps within the areas of responsibility of mission agencies? You pointed to this gap problem in your own remarks.
Dr. DuBRIDGE. Well, I did throw out the suggestion that a central institute or agency for applied science is a conceivable structure to think about. I have not thought deeply enough about it to have any final suggestions to make. I did point out that it is a possible structure, and I pointed out one drawback to it, namely, that a general purpose applied science agency might not be necessarily the best way to push forward in these various applied science fields, in those areas at least where existing agencies do have a strong urge and responsibilit“and need for applied science work.
I mentioned some agencies where they do have a strong urge to do applied science work, do have a responsibility for doing it, and they should be the ones to do it. There may be other areas—the marine area might be one, the environmental area might be another—where no single agency or department now has enough of a responsibility, where it is an important enough part of its mission to really push this applied science field ahead more vigorously. And, therefore, a new agency with that mission might be required. Now, it could be a separate agency or it might be a subdivision of some new applied science institute. I think it is conceivable to think of an applied science institute as a feasible and possibly a desirable feature of the Federal structure.
I would start with it rather small, with just a couple of different functions now, and not try to rob all the other agencies of their applied science functions. But start with a few things, like marine, environment and so on, and see if one could get applied science activities established in that agency, and then maybe it would be a suitable one to grow into other national fields for which no existing agency has adequate mission or responsibility or an adequate urge to push forward the field.
I would like to reflect on that problem. I really didn't get to that in my statement, and I dismissed it a little lightly, and I just haven't had time to develop ideas on that particular question of an applied science institute. I think it is worth thinking about.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. DuBridge, we will certainly think about it and we would appreciate anything you wish to do to supplement your own thinking on it. We will leave time so that that can be done for the record, if you like.
Mr. BROWN. Let me ask you, in connection with our support for basic science, you have indicated that here the problem is one of our commitment rather than structure. The problem that we have here in the Congress—and I am sure the executive branch has it also—is how do you measure the desirable degree of commitment. You have indicated that this is under study for the 1971 budget.
There is a typical measuring rod which Congress and most people apply to other types of things, and that is does it have a payoff ; you know, the cost effectiveness measuring stick. If it is effective, I mean if it produces results, we will commit the necessary funds for it, because under this yardstick you get back more than you put into it. Now, this is difficult to measure in basic science, and it is questionable whether it should even be used as a measuring rod.
The other kind of measurement that could be used—and I am only suggesting this and asking for your comment—is are we supporting all of the able and competent scientists who would devote their energies to basic science if they had the resources to do it? In other words, are we at present precluding the use of a large body of competent scientists because we are not supporting them in basic science? Are they being, say, forced into applied science or technology or becoming salesmen because we just don't have the support for them? Can that be measured and would that be a reasonable index?
Dr. Du BRIDGE. Yes; I will take your first question first about the payoff.
It is certainly true that the specific payoff for work in chemistry or physics or in astronomy cannot be foreseen and cannot be measured quantitatively. I think if one is looking for payoff in monetary terms in basic science, you have to look back into history and take the whole progress of science in the last 200 years, and say what has it done for the world, and what has it done for the United States. And then you begin asking, well, what would our life be like in America if we hadn't had this 200 years of progress in so many fields of basic science.
Mr. Brown. You understand there are some people who say we would be better off ?
Dr. DuBRIDGE. Right.
I think the way in which you can answer the assertion that “we would be better off” would be to look at, say, some major country where