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Mr. DADDARIO. We hope Mr. Ink, that we might have a chance to discuss these either by your coming back here or informally some time before we close the record and write our report.
Mr. Ink. We would be very happy to do so.
Mr. DADDARIO. We appreciate ever so much your both coming. Thank you.
Mr. Ink. Thank you.
Mr. DADDARIO. This committee will adjourn until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock at this same place.
(Whereupon, at 12:30 p.m., the committee was adjourned to reconvene the following morning, Thursday, July 24, 1969, in room 2325, Rayburn House Office Building, at 10 a.m.)
CENTRALIZATION OF FEDERAL SCIENCE ACTIVITIES
THURSDAY, JULY 24, 1969
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND ASTRONAUTICS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, RESEARCH, AND DEVELOPMENT,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10:05 a.m., in room 2325, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Emilio Q. Daddario (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. DADDARIO. This meeting will come to order.
The witnesses this morning are Mr. Don Price, dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard; Dr. Hunter Dupree, professor of science history, Brown; and Dr. Michael Reagan, professor of political science, the University of California at Riverside.
Gentlemen, this morning, as these hearings continue, I wonder if we might not proceed first with Dr. Dupree, then with Dr. Reagan, and then you can sum up, Mr. Price, and by that time, we will be in a pretty good position to ask some questions.
If you would proceed, please, Dr. Dupree.
STATEMENT OF DR. HUNTER DUPREE, PROFESSOR OF SCIENCE
HISTORY, BROWN UNIVERSITY
Dr. DUPREE. Thank you, Mr. Daddario.
My position and experience as a historian have brought me repeatedly to consider the problem of central scientific organization in the U.S. Government, but always from a vantage point outside the scientific community. Scientists are to me fellow scholars and fellow faculty members, but the scientific community as it has functioned in the United States over the past 30 years has been for me the subject of historical investigation rather than a group to which I have belonged. My loyalty, therefore, in making this statement must go to an analysis of the scientific community rather than to a defense of it. While I consider that my previous expositions of the history of the relation of science to the Federal Government still have an essential validity and still contribute to explaining the reasons for the diffuse and pluralistic character of the system of science support which has accomplished its brilliant results in the period since World War II, they do not take into account the changed atmosphere surrounding the Government-university partnership since 1964. The problem facing the committee today is not so much a collapse of the partnership at the Government end as it is a collapse at the university end. My experience as a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, until 1968 and also the change of perspective afforded by taking up duties at Brown University for the eventual academic year of 1968– 69 has contributed to the emphasis I shall place today on the changed atmosphere at the university end of the partnership as the generator of dislocations in the Government's machinery for science.
That science has a role in the attainment of national goals in the United States is no recent aberration. Science and nationalism have grown up together over the last two centuries, and the institutions of American democracy, including those responsible for providing national security, have both used science and supported it continuously from the writing of the Constitution to the present. Such a statement will undoubtedly displease two major groups in our society.
One group-the scientific community-likes to think of itself as completely international and removed from any allegiance to goals set externally to themselves. The organs of the community turn out stacks of reports entitled some variant of “Basic Research and National Goals,” but they usually talk about other subjects because they see the connection between science and the Nation state as both recent and ephemeral.
“The idea of governmental support of research is, forgetting the alchemists, not much more than 30 years old.” This is from a report entitled "Basic Research and National Goals."
This not untypical ahistorical stance on the part of a scientist is so firmly ingrained that no amount of historical evidence is likely to convince him that science and the Government of the United States are linked in partnership not merely for health of science but for the realization of the essential purposes of American democracy as well.
The other major group which can have no use for the full Government-science partnership in the American Nation is the New Left. They can see no further than the phrase, the military-industrial complex, and they condemn it out of hand. Indeed, their standard of truth as personal authenticity and their insistence on the inhumanity of large organizations generally means that they can condemn any connection between science and Government as tainting a pure activity with complicity in killing. A corollary of their policies would be the dismantling of the partnership of the Government, the universities, and that part of the industrial sector which is most thoroughly based on research. Such a dismemberment appears to them as a very great advance over the present situation and a freeing of science from evil companions. Since the New Left, like the scientists, is ahistorical, the argument that the partnership is built of deep traditions in American democracy seems to them irrelevant.
Recent observers such as Alvin Weinberg have opened a continuing discussion of scientific choice as a necessary prelude to the allocation of scarce resources for research. Weinberg's scientific, technological, and social criteria presumably come into play only when the money gets scarce, which means to him in the decade of the 1960's. Yet no time in American history has the resource allocation for research had an infinite reservoir; scientific choices on scientific, technological, and social criteria were being made long before the vocabulary was invented.
No better example of the exercise of scientific choice exists than the series of decisions made by Vannevar Bush and James B. Conant and their colleagues in 1940 and 1941. They decided to go for the exploitation of electronics and nuclear fission. At least by implication they decided not to go for jet aircraft and rockets. They also decided to bypass taking overall responsibility for scientific choice so that they could concentrate on weapons of possible use in World War II. Hence the goals of a more efficient industry and a brighter future for the people as a whole they temporarily set aside. Likewise they deemphasized the pursuit of basic research because of its lack of contribution to the then present conflict. They gave full priority to the crucial period beyond which was no tomorrow if they failed.
Having made this set of choices the leaders set up a flexible system by which they tied those laboratories useful to their projects, both in the universities and in industry, to teams of individual scientists of their own personal choosing. The institutions of peacetime were left intact but tied together by the newly-designed instrument of the research contract. If the leaders designed the system, the rank-and-file of the scientific community made it work by contributing both their brains and their enthusiasm. Even the critics of the OSRD from the semi-Marxist left of the American Association of Scientific Workers had as their main theme the inadequate mobilization of scientific talent for the war effort.
The results of the OSRD system spoke for themselves at the end of the war. The public and the scientists agreed in accepting the proposition that a New World had dawned with the mushroom cloud. After brooding during their confinement over being the only humans who understood what had happened within the confines of the Manhattan project, the physicists sallied forth from the laboratories to tell the world in 1945 and 1946 of the scientific revolution which had taken place. The story they had to tell was uniquely dramatic, but they missed the point that there had actually been no revolution at all.
Instead, the leaders of the scientific community had grafted an openended and pluralistic system of science support onto the American political system without disturbing a single major institution in the century-and-a-half old American Republic. The American presidency had gained a vast new power to accomplish the purposes of the Nation. The Congress, though left out during the war years, understood the process well enough to appropriate more money for scientific research than any other legislative body in history. The scientists, rather than returning a penurious freedom, took the large sums of money entrusted to them and built a research establishment transcending anything that Europe or ancient Islam had ever produced.
The Government largely left control of the decisions of scientific choice in the hands of the scientists themselves. What seemed to be decision by Government was usually decision by scientists organized on disciplinary lines and speaking for Government agencies rather than for their home institutions. The research contract, developed bv the OSRD and applied in the postwar world to both universities and industry, opened the way for a federalism by contract in which the barrier between the public and private sectors of the Nation was significantly altered to the advantage of both. Scientists could work for universities on public problems. Decisions throughout history reserved for governments alone were put out by contract to non-governmental institutions.
The contract—the villain of the liberals in the late 19th century as the subverter of the public interest—now became the means of bringing the leverage of intellectual power, formerly available only outside the Government, to bear on those public issues with which the Government had to cope. If a Socialist revolution had accomplished half this program, it would be (1) more famous than the October revolution of 1917, and (2) easily explainable in a few catch-phrases such as revolutions have always provided for the interpretations of their histories. A nonrevolutionary change, on the other hand, is infinitely hard to explain because it does not break its myriad ties with the past.
The scientists of the post-World War II period knew that the nonrevolution which made the new age of science possible rendered a return to the 1930's impossible. They also knew that science itself, with its long traditions and ways of proceeding known only within its own community, had changed little, but that the scale on which they now felt able to operate had changed greatly. In 1945 and 1946 they became a political movement to educate the American people to the facts of atomic energy, but quickly they learned that they did not need to go into the general political arena permanently to make their system of science support operate. Therefore they withdrew from macropolitics and concentrated on making the interrelated system work to their own advantage. They were firmly convinced that their advantage was also the advantage of science. Many of their leaders deeply believed in addition they could serve science and the Nation simultaneously. The substantive research results of the postwar era abundantly bear them out.
The interrelated system had three main parts(1) the Government, which provided the financing and presided over the decisionmaking process; (2) the universities, which provided the scientists and upgraded their research facilities; and (3) that segment of industry which, dependent on the Government as a customer for sophisticated military devices, adopted a Government-financed research way of proceeding. Most of the industry which produces consumer goods lay outside the umbra of the research contract and the interrelated system.
The scientific community and the Government learned to live together in this three-part system, but because no revolutionary slogans were available they could not describe it to the American people or even to themselves in realistic terms. Therefore, what was really one system seemingly broke into two component parts: (1) basic research, which had its definitional principle the proposition that its results were not useful, and (2) the military-industrial complex (the term is an anachronism, at the present time), which had as its definitional principle the proposition that the military security of the Nation depended on research. The record is abundantly clear that the scientific community accepted responsibility for both these components. Indeed the arguments for basic research were developed to their highest degree of sophistication within the military departments themselves. Scientists who argued for the freedom and support of basic research