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STATEMENT OF GEN. BERNARD SCHRIEVER, SCHRIEVER & MCKEE
ASSOCIATES, INC. General SCHRIEVER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DADDARIO. I guess there is a doctor somewhere in the background.
General SCHRIEVER. Oh, well I have a few honorary ones, if you want to use that.
Mr. Chairman, first of all let me say that my comments are from a background of having been involved in much R. & D. activity in the Department of Defense, having worked very closely with such agencies as the Atomic Energy Commission and NASA, and also having used and had support from laboratories of the other departments of the Department of Defense, and having had to translate research, both basic and applied, into hardware downstream.
Since retiring I have spent considerable time on matters relating to the Department of Transportation, to HUD, and to a lesser degree HEW. So I speak from a somewhat different background, I think, than Dr. Long. And I have a very strong feeling that these agencies, the ones I have mentioned, and others, too, have a very strong requirement for their own research and development activity. And here I am talking about basic and applied research, and I think Dr. Long made that point also.
I perhaps feel a little more strongly on that point even than he does.
Now, my feeling here is that whenever any problems arise, and I have had them arise in the past a number of times, centralization seems to be the standard answer. You know, reorganize and centralize and you are going to have everything all fixed up nice and pretty. I just am very skeptical of this as a solution to the problem.
I feel that better coordination might well be accepted as a meansand I would like to put it this way: I favor giving science and technology more emphasis, rather than putting it in a management straitjacket. I think a centralized agency, would tend to put bureaucratic management procedures into an area where I don't think it really belongs. It certainly doesn't belong, in my opinion, in the basic research and applied research areas.
So, I would be very--well, I think I could say right now, based on my background, I would be opposed to a centralized agency. I would certainly support improved coordination.
I think what really is lacking in many of the agencies, and this has been an evolutionary process within the Department of Defense and NASA and AEC, is better planning, advanced planning, wherein the technologies, the state of the art, assumes an important factor with respect to what the objectives and mission of that agency or those agencies are.
I have found this to be almost completely lacking in the Department of Transportation. As a matter of fact, there are several congressional reports which point this out. I don't see it in HUD. I don't think you will ever have the basic and applied research programs that really tie into the missions of these organizations, until you improve the advanced planning activities in those departments. I think there is an awareness
of this and steps are being taken. I have certainly seen progress in HUD and in DOT in this regard. I think this is one of the very important factors that should not be overlooked when we discuss science and technology from a national standpoint.
I think really I am not qualified to speak at all on the educational side of the matter which Dr. Long dealt with. I think that what I have said really sums up my feeling on the matter of a centralized agency, let's say an operating agency having to do with science and technology in the country.
I would think to create such an agency would be a mistake and in the long run would prove counterproductive.
Mr. DADDARIO. Having made the comment about the necessity of planning the state of the art and the technology which can effectively be transmitted within that planning to the accomplishment of mission objectives, can you give some comment about HÙD and Transportation, the aims and objectives of both of those Agencies aimed at solving some of the major problems in our society and the ability to translate to those some of the experiences that we have had in the military and in other places to effect these ends? The transfer of Dr. Finger from his assignment in that Office which stood between AEC and NASA and his assignment to HUD, in the hope that he might be able to transfer the systems capability to the housing problems of the country is an effort in this direction. I wonder what comment you might have about that and what more needs to be done.
General SCHRIEVER. I have talked to Harold Finger and I think that was a very good move. As a matter of fact, if we want to talk about personalities for a moment, I think some very good moves have been made in recent months to focus on the planning problem and to bring some of the technologies to bear on problems other than those we normally consider in DOD and NASA.
I think Harold Finger's assignment in HUD is an extremely good one. He certainly brings to HUD the background and experience that should be valuable in bringing to bear both technology and planning to the urban problem.
Jim Begg's moving to the Department of Transportation is another move which I think is an excellent one.
Secor Browne, who is the Assistant Secretary for R. & D. in the Department of Transportation is another one. These people have the background. That is what I really had in mind when I said progress is being made in this direction. There is no instant solution to these things. It takes time to really establish the kind of planning activity that will be effective and can take advantage of technologies that do exist in solving some of our problems.
Mr. DADDARIO. Well, General Schriever, I would agree with that. When we earlier had a discussion about the national laboratories and the development within them of some flexibility, one of the nagging thoughts that comes to mind there is that if we did have this particular capability within these laboratories, that the transfer of people with the ability to take the state of the art and apply it to the problems of our society might be improved to an immeasurable degree.
I wonder if you have any comment if that might or might not be so.
General SCHRIEVER. I think it is so. Furthermore, there is a study going on right now, a joint study, really, a NASA-Department of
Transportation study, which deals with the problem of aeronautical research and development, but this applies across the whole board of aeronautical R. & D. in other words, not just aircraft but air traffic control problems, and so forth.
In reading Senator Anderson's subcommittee report which came out last year on this particular subject—this subcommittee report, incidentally, recommended that this study be conducted. I am sure that coming out of that will be a finding that the Department of Transportation should use NASA's laboratories to a much greater degree in solving some of its problems with respect to transportation.
I don't think at this stage of the game that every department needs to set up its own separate laboratories. I think you should take advantage of all the laboratories we have in existence, and certainly NASA provides tremendous support to the Department of Defense, and it can also provide tremendous support to the Department of Transportation and to HUD.
I think these things should develop. I would hope they would develop faster rather than slower.
Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Walker.
Mr. DADDARIO. I think at this stage of the game General Schriever threw the ball over to you for your part of this discussion.
STATEMENT OF DR. ERIC A. WALKER, PRESIDENT, PENNSYL
VANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
Dr. WALKER. Well, Mr. Chairman, you mentioned that I was president of the National Academy of Engineering, and I would like to testify as an engineer. This is going to limit my vision and point of view, but I think that there are some insights that ought to be brought out.
During the past few weeks I have been reading a great deal about what has been said about establishing a Federal Department of Science, sometimes called a Federal Department of Science and Technology. This is the point I want to attack. When I come across these articles it seems there is some pretty loose thinking about the establishment of a Department of Science and Technology. No one makes a clear distinction between what is meant by science on the one hand and technology on the other.
The word "technology” always seems to be thrown in as an afterthought. And I think we have seen this here this morning by Dr. Long talking about science and General Schriever talking about technology, mostly. No one seems to go into the problem of what the differences would be in the establishment of a Department of Science as opposed to a Department of Science and Technology.
As a matter of fact, in the reprints of the committee the phrase “Department of Science" seems to be used almost interchangeably with a Department of Science and Technology. In some places it seems you throw in the word technology as sort of an afterthought.
Let me say that I think there will be quite a difference in meaning and scope between a Department of Science and a Department of Science and Technology.
What are the differences between science and technology? Well, to me in basic terms the job of science is to inquire into the workings of nature and to seek an understanding of it, to accumulate scientific facts for the sake of accumulating scientific facts.
The task of engineering and technology is to use this information in the most practical and effective way possible to create the devices and systems that are needed for the comfort, convenience, and progress
They are quite different jobs. There has been a tendency in the popular mind to confuse the goals and purposes of science with those of engineering
So today some use the words “science” and “technology” almost interchangeably. And it is my impression that we, and the universities and Government, don't give enough attention to the technology end of it. Now, to some people science means learning the way nature works and only that. And there are people in the world who feel that to pursue scientific knowledge for its own sake is something that is pure and noble, while trying to put that knowledge to use is degrading and beneath them.
And this, in my belief, is one of the difficulties in England. It is the real reason that the universities over there have never become associated within industry as we have in this country. Most of the academic dons don't want to get involved in the commercial end of things.
And to a growing extent, I think this is coming true in this country. On the other hand, we in America for more than a century have been known as the country that really understands technology. We have had the Edisons and McCormicks and Alexander Graham Bells and so on, who often produced the devices and machines that people wanted and would buy, even if they didn't understand the science that stood behind their inventions.
Now, that becomes a lot more difficult to do today, to invent without understanding science, because things are a lot more complicated today. But indeed there are times when we take a chance and we produce new items without really understanding what goes on scientifically.
We had swords and Kentucky rifles long before we understood metallurgy. And we still use aspirin and they tell me we don't know why it works. Well, after World War II I think Americans realized that this country had been importing most of its science from abroad. We also realized with somewhat of a shock that we couldn't go on much longer depending upon someone else to make the discoveries so that we Americans could use them.
This was pointed out in the Steelman report, Vannevar Bush, “Science, the Endless Frontier,” some 20 years ago. And then this country embarked on an era in which we began to support pure science handsomely, and indeed it has paid off. But today I think many people would agree with me that perhaps our science is getting too far ahead of our technology.
By that I mean in many instances it would appear that basic knowledge is accumulating at such a rate and to such an extent that it can't possibly be used effectively without a more conscious effort to put it to practical use.
We are filling our laboratories with an almost unbelieveable amount of new knowledge. We ask ourselves what practical use we made of all the facts, theories, and discoveries. Should we not examine more critically the whole process of innovation by means of which this basic knowledge is put to practical use?
Now, putting basic knowledge to practical use is usually a long and expensive process. Usually it consists, first of all, of finding out what people want and what they will buy. People of this country want automobiles, good roads, and a cure for cancer. We also need a cure for air pollution.
We need clean water supplies and places to get rid of our garbage and solid wastes. We need ways of transporting people from here to there rapidly and safely. We need power systems that won't fail. And we need new systems of building, supplying, and living in cities. And most of these problems don't need much research. Most of the scientific facts we need are already known.
But what these problems really need is some good technology. Now, how does this technology takes place? Well, someone usually sees that there is a need and he has a bright idea as to how he can fill that need. You can call this discovery or invention or engineering. It is one and and the same thing.
I think engineering is just a sophisticated way of inventing something. But engineering tells us other things, too. For example, what metals we can use in the machine, how to make the device light enough and small enough to be useful, what principles one can use to make it attractive to a customer, and at the same time make sure it fills his needs at a price he can afford to pay:
This process of technology consists of taking applied research, developing some models, testing them, discarding them, doing some engineering on a successful model, and finally building something, testing it for customer acceptance, and it becomes something we have got in the arsenal of things we need.
Now, the motivating principle behind technology has usually been the chance to make a profit. If an industrial corporation can make a computer, an electric generator, or an automobile or anything people want and if they can protect their position by patents or manufacturing processes or good sales organizations, they find production worthwhile.
This puts people to work, pays stockholder dividends, and it ful. fills a need for the public. But unfortunately, the profit motive sometimes breaks down, especially in public areas, because there is not much profit in making some of the things the public wants.
And if the public is going to get some of these things it needs and wants, it is going to have to get them with the aid of the Federal Government, either through regulation or through the Government support of technology.
It is fairly apparent to most engineers that we can clean up our air pollution, for example. If we passed enough restrictive laws concerning the use of the air, such laws would force us to pay attention to the technology of doing so.
But there are more complicated problems like this, in which we know a great deal about the science and technology of the solutions