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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 on 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
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
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
Dr. 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.
Nr. Davis. I think one of the worst examples of queuing up is the telephone system. It is a real problem.
Dr. SEAMANS. 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 NÅSA 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. MOSHER. 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