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existing laboratory—the way they are organized and managed, their approach to problems, their ties to older, now lower priority, problem areas—may work against their ability to cope effectively with new problems. While the human: resources of the organization are undoubtedly most important, it should also be noted that the facilities and equipment that are appropriate for the old problems may not be appropriate for the new problem. There are some cases where an existing laboratory organization has broadened the scope of its activities and worked effectively on new problems. AEC's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as you know, now has approximately 15% of its funding coming from sources other than Atomic Energy Commission programs. Cases such as this, however, are few in number, and due in part to the individuals and specific circumstances involved, rather than conclusive demonstrations that this experience can be broadened into a general approach, although I am personally more favorable toward this approach than some.
The second approach, that of shifting the Federal funds to the laboratories with the higher priority problems, can be criticized on the grounds that the Federal Government is not taking maximum advantage of its investment in an existing facility and organization, or that the process of creating new organizational arrangements and research and development teams for the new problems is inefficient. Further, it is generally recognized that it is extremely difficult to identify promptly those organizations where efforts should be reduced, to overcome the inertia connected with funding that effort, and actually to reduce the size of or terminate a laboratory operation. Nevertheless, it is not clear that reshaping existing teams and organizations to address new problems is more efficient or less difficult.
I believe that we recognize the importance of assembling the right mix of human resources needed for a particular problem area, adopting an approach to the solution of the problem that is appropriate, and creating the organization framework that is needed for an effective attack. Whether this can be done most effectively by reshaping existing laboratories is a question that I think requires additional discussion, and perhaps can best be decided on a case by case basis.
I should like to direct some comments to the matter of Federal support of the social sciences and the organizational implications of such support. It is obvious that the nation is faced with growing problems requiring decisions and actions based on sound social, political and economic data and on better knowledge about human attitudes and behavior. This has naturally led many to the belief that more research in the social sciences is needed, and sometimes to the further conclusion that a separate organization for general support of the social sciences is the best way to promote expansion of this field. Let me add, however, that much research on social problems is needed which goes well beyond the social sciences. I think, for example, of the engineering research related to housing. This indicates the need for a greater cooperative effort among social scientists and natural scientists working on social problems.
On the other hand, there are those who view the present Federal support of the social sciences—let alone any expansion—with suspicion. The seeming lack of relevance of many Federally-financed research projects and the sensitivity and controversial nature of the subjects dealt with make the social sciences an obvious target of attack. This suggests that a separate organization for the social sciences would be highly vulnerable to programmatic and budgetary constraints.
When the pros and cons of a separate organization for the support of the social sciences are weighed-together with the general reluctance to proliferate Executive Branch organization—the Bureau continues to conclude that the need or desirability of a separate organization has not been persuasively established as yet.
More and more mission agencies are exhibiting an interest in the support of social science. Regardless of whether a separate organization is later found to be desirable, agencies with important social goals should be encouraged to utilize social science more effectively in support of those goals.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we have referred today to some of the issues which we feel are of underlying importance in this discussion of changes in Federal science organization. We appreciate the opportunity to rai-e these matters with you today and wish to express the hope that these overview hearings will contribute substantially to an increased understanding of these problems. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee.
Mr. INK. I would appreciate that, because as I have listened to the testimony, I have been making some changes. Very candidly, I think I could write the testimony better now than before I heard the earlier part of the hearing.
First of all, I share the view that putting forth these kinds of issues and these kinds of prototypes in advance of a position on the part of the committee, I think, is very useful in terms of stimulating discussion. And I have found the report very useful.
As you know, this administration is also concerned with improving organization in the Federal Government, and the President in April did announce the creation of the Advisory Council on Executive Organization, which is concerned with broad questions of organization in the executive branch.
Mr. MOSHER. Mr. Chairman, is that the so-called Ash committee?
Mr. INK. Yes, sir; that's correct. And I mention it not only because of the breadth of its concern, but also because this council has been asked, for example to review several areas in the field of science, including the proposal made by the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering, and Resources, that there be a new Federal agency created, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency. It was desired that this be looked at in the context of broad organizational requirements.
And I would, Mr. Chairman, mention again, none of these points are new to the committee, but several I would like to mention anyway. I am not a scientist, but Í spent some 15 years in this kind of field, so the problems of science are of great importance to me personally. It is difficult to resolve some of these issues without looking at other organizational problems. For example, in the Department of Commerce, what disposition, if any, might be made of ESSA clearly has to be looked at not only in terms of ESSA but also in terms of the broad context of the Commerce Department.
Mr. MOSHER. Mr. Chairman, could I interrupt you again?
Mr. MOSHER. Before you move away from the Ash Council or committee, whatever you call that, just tell me briefly, does it have an independent and adequate budget, and does it have the funds and authority to staff itself adequately? I can't see that the Ash commission is going to come up soon with adequate answers to the problems posed to it unless it is very excellently staffed. Can you tell me whether it is?
Mr. INK. It does have funds and it does have—it is developing some staff of its own—not a large staff. I think their staff will be roughly comparable to that portion of the Bureau of the Budget in the field of organization. But the exact numbers haven't been decided.
Mr. Mosher. They are in the process of staffing it?
Mr. MOSHER. Where do these funds come from? You say it has been funded. Where does the
money come from? Mr. Young. It is coming from Presidential funds and I recall that some of the people's time is being volunteered.
Mr. MOSHER. They are borrowing people?
Mr. INK. Furthermore, they are drawing heavily upon our staff in the Bureau of the Budget. We are developing much of the material for them. And through us they are drawing heavily from the departments and agencies so that in terms of man-hours the bulk of the effort really comes from the departments and agencies, and what we are able to put into it. The evaluation, of course, is provided by the council itself.
Mr. MOSHER. Mr. Chairman, are we perhaps going to have Mr. Ash come before us and ask how he expects to operate? This has such a direct bearing on the considerations of this committee I just wondered.
Mr. DADDARIO. We have invited Mr. Ash. We have not had a reply from him as yet and we believe it would be helpful to the committee if he would come.
Mr. INK. Mr. Chairman, I am sure there are also a number of ques. tions and issues which have been raised by the committee which the council will not cover. Some of these the Bureau of the Budget will be working with, and some of them I think some of the departments will.
Mr. DADDARIO. Mr. Ink, you raise a very good point that the way things are being managed generally in various places adds to the problem. We recognize this in the Congress—the way that it is presently structured makes this job much more difficult because of some of the jurisdictional problems. We made a recommendation some time ago, that the weather modifications activity of the National Science Foundation be taken out of the NSF.
Mr. INK. Yes.
Mr. DADDARIO. We thought that it ought to be put in ESSA, that after that was done that ESSA ought to be taken from Commerce and placed into Interior. This shows you that it does get a little complicated.
Mr. Ink. Well, I don't need to tell you the complexity.
also does fit the thinking of the committee, as I understand it, and that is that organizational change is not an end in itself, but a means to improve the achievement of program objectives, and therefore I would like to underscore the kind of issues which I think the committee is raising, asking the question of organizing for what.
Mr. DADDARIO. I agree with that statement, but we ought not to allow it to be used as a reason not to organize.
Mr. INK. No, I would certainly agree with this. And also, it should not be interpreted that organization is not important in itself, because organization can be extremely important. But it is within the context of what we are trying to achieve that organization must be studied. And that is why I like the approach of the committee.
One of the points I make in my testimony is that the extent to which one begins to draw together a large number of research activities in the interest of getting better planning, better coordination, in the interest of minimizing the opportunity for duplication, one begins to develop large organizations which I think tend to reduce the flexibility in program planning, flexibility in research, and can, if we aren't very careful, tend to stifle creative science. Large organization tends to bring with it layering and administrative complexity, and we substitute one type of complication in decisionmaking for another. So that this is one of the difficult offsetting problems that we have to deal with, and it is one which we are so much concerned with in other types of organizations. The Cabinet departments have this difficulty, typically. And it is one problem that I would like to stress here in considering these various options.
The committee, I know is tremendously interested in the national laboratories. I mention two approaches--and there are many. One approach is to broaden the charter of existing laboratories both in-house and contractor operated laboratories—and then provide the laboratory management with the funds and resources that can be used to pursue activities in areas of high national priorities.
Mr. DADDARIO. Do you see in that regard, Mr. Ink, any problem so far as the Bureau of the Budget is concerned in accountability if you were to allow such flexibility of funding?
Mr. Ink. I think the problem of accountability can be handled.
Mr. DADDARIO. Are you giving some thought to that so far as making recommendations or hasn't it reached that stage?
Mr. Ink. It has not reached that stage. But I believe this can be met.
Another approach, of course, is to reduce the Federal resources that are being devoted to supporting laboratories that are working in areas of declining or lower priority and create new institutional arrangements for new problems. And of course, the merits and drawbacks you are familiar with. Certainly the first approach of flexibility in a multidisciplined laboratory does have an advantage from being able to use existing organizations, existing facilities, existing expertise. It avoids the problems and expenses of sudden curtailment or termination of activities and the cost of establishing these new institutions.
Characteristics of the personnel in an existing laboratory, their approach to problems, however, sometimes work against their ability to cope effectively with new problems. It is sometimes difficult for å laboratory, as with other institutions, to respond quickly to new changes. It is difficult for them to pare down or phase down an effort as other priorities come. This is true of any kind of an organization. It is not, as I see it peculiar to science.
While the human resources of the organization are, I would think, most important, the facilities and equipment that are appropriate for the old problems are not necessarily appropriate for the new. There are some cases where existing laboratory organization, however, has broadened the scope of its activities, and I think has worked effectively on new problems.
Now, I use as an example in my testimony the AEC Oak Ridge Laboratory which I understand has approximately 15 percent of its funding coming from sources other than Atomic Energy Commission programs.
And having worked on that some years ago to develop that flexibility, I probably am personally more optimistic than some that this has greater applicability in other areas. I must say, however, that I don't think that experience, or the other experience we have in this area, is extensive enough to provide a conclusive demonstration that this is an approach that we ought to use generally. And I suspect that no one approach is one that should be followed as a general rule, because I think the circumstances vary from one laboratory to another, and from one program to another. So my inclination is to plead for flexibility. But I do not think that we have studied these in enough depth to reach firm conclusions.
Mr. DADDARIO. The flexibility ought to come about, Mr. Ink, because it does meet certain requirements rather than have that flexibility come at a time when the sponsoring agency is looking for something else to do.
Mr. INK. Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. And we have had both. We have had both, And as has been mentioned here earlier, I don't think any of us are really satisfied with our mechanism for priority setting and goal setting in the Federal Government. And the problems in this area I think are reflected in what we are talking about right now. It is not easy to project down to the laboratory level these priority shifts—it is difficult for them to be reflected in terms that are meaningful at the laboratory level. It is hard for them to be enunciated very promptly. So as we now stand, it is somewhat difficult to develop this kind of flexibility, although in theory I think it has a lot of merit.
Mr. Chairman, I know the time is limited. I would like to associate my thinking with several comments that have been made earlier this morning concerning the centralization of research and say that with respect to whether there should be more centralization of basis research, I am not sure.
I can see some strong reasons for doing this, but I am skeptical of the idea of centralizing mission research. I feel that generally speaking, this ought not to be separated from mission agencies if the research program is to contribute effectively to the missions of the agencies. And it seems to me the experience that we have had, although there are exceptions, the experience we have had in Defense and NASA, and AEC, for example, tend to support this.
Mr. Brown. May I raise a question at this point?
Mr. Brown. Í have been thinking with regard to this question of mission-supported basic research. There are some anomalies in this as you look back over the last 30 or 40 years. When you look at the posture of the Defense Department today which is related to missiles, nuclear weapons, and so forth, most of the basic research which resulted in the development of the Defense Department's more sophisticated systems did not originate in the Defense Department.
This point was made by the previous witness from the Commerce Department, and it struck me at the time when he said that something like-oh, I forget the figures that he used,-only about 20 percent of