Page images
PDF
EPUB

on the basic side, and others have focused on the application, and still others, a smaller number by a large margin, have been able to range over the problems of both.

Since the objective of your studies is really to get at the effectiveness of the organization, the instrumentalities of government to do for our country the best with science, I think we ought to look at the record, and I think we should never forget that the instrumentalities of government, that we now have, figured very markedly in bringing science and its application in this country to an extremely high level. So it isn't as if we are examining something that is failing in its entirety. We are examining it from the standpoint of trying to find a possibly better way of doing it, improving it still further.

Ỉ have come to the conclusion—and this is a personal conclusionthat reorganization is not a crying necessity, but that rather we need a strengthening of some of the things we have.

Let me take what I consider some important issues for government on the basic side of science. In the first place, I think it must be recognized that the source of our scientists today—that is, the colleges and the universities that are producing the people who can do either basic or applied science for this country-those sources are dependent overwhelmingly on Federal support, and I think we should make much clearer what we are doing with a good part of our Federal science expenditures.

We are essentially enabling the colleges and universities to present outstanding education and to develop a goodly supply of scientists and engineers, and I think somehow we have got to work out better the plans, the long-term plans, to continue that development.

There is no question that when there is a change in direction or the amount of support by the Federal Government, the universities and colleges receive a tremendous impact from that.

Now, I am not saying that they should get everything they ask for, but I do think that it would be very well to make sure that the agencies of Government recognize the importance of giving a long-term stability to this aspect of science. This is on the basic side, and it deals not with the basic science itself, but with the supply of future scientists, engineers, and others who will carry out the work in the future.

Mr. DADDARIO. Dr. Stever, Dr. Piore on Tuesday drew an analogy to industry. His point was that industry is able to adjust to its changes much more readily.

One of the reasons for his recommendation, for a greater degree of reorganization, than you indicate, was so that the changes in funding would not be as drastic. It could be handled better. They could overcome the problems that exist wherever an agency imposed a cutback. This develops a dislocation of activity and a severity even beyond the real financial cutting.

Dr. STEVER. I agree with this. If there is one strong reason for having a more centralized organization of science, essentially, it is to provide for better long-range advanced planning for this kind of thing. It goes beyond simply the supply of money, the yearly supply, because if there were better advanced planning, one could see changes in direction, the kinds of scientists who are going to be needed in greater supply in the long-term future, and one could plan for the. longer term.

а

[ocr errors]

There is no question that this is one of the strongest reasons for centralization on the basic science side. If we can get better advanced planning, I think this would be definitely a plus.

Now, there may be other ways of doing it. The current agencies have some experience at thinking of these problems. If the administration and the Congress directed these agencies--the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Education, the agencies which have an input into the supply of science—to do a little more in this advanced planning of how the changes are going to come, I think that we might also accomplish it that way. But I really do think that this is possibly the biggest gap in the present organization, the fact that it has set up some good mechanisms to carry out this support, but it possibly hasn't seen in advance the changes in our society. That would be the greatest criticism.

Mr. DADDARIO. This would require not just advanced planning, but a close relationship of the political choices with the scientific choices so that they work harmoniously.

Dr. STEVER. Absolutely. You know, there is a long leadtime on this supply of scientists and engineers and all others who are involved. After all, at the present time, a lot of our young people in the colleges are getting quite excited about developing their lives to solve the particular problems that are emerging very rapidly in our society, but they are going to take 4 years to get through undergraduate college and 3 or 4 years to get through graduate college, and then some experience before they are really going to have an immense impact.

So advanced planning is very important simply because of the long leadtime of turning out this kind of a person.

Mr. DADDARIO. Unless you have advanced planning in a more significant and visible way than it is presently, you prevent kids from taking that long course. Dr. STEVER. I think this is right, and I do believe that this may

be the biggest gap in the effectiveness of your science operations as af. fected by Government.

By the way, that also extends over into the application of science, but I believe there can be a shorter leadtime in changing direction with respect to the application of science than there is with respect to the supply of the basic scientists in the different fields.

For example, right now I feel that we could reorganize a lot of our Government effort in the application of science on a much shorter time scale to address some problems, and I don't have to list them. They are all the social, the urban and the environmental problems that are on everybody's minds today and everybody can give a long list.

I actually think we do not need to take as long as we may take with respect to reorganizing, redirecting, those laboratories and units for the application.

Let me tell you why I feel that. We have had experience doing it. We have had experience in redirection of scientific and engineering effort in World War II and the time constant; we did it when we had an emergency there, in about 2 or 3 years. We rearranged the lives of many people, and had them producing important things for that war. After all, the radar labs that were started just about a year or two before we got into the war were producing by the time we got into the war and by the middle of that war—this is a time scale of only 4 or 5 years—they were in tremendous operation, and I actually think we could repeat that.

We did it with NASA, too. There was another emergency when we turned to, and I actually think this is something which our Government ought to do.

I think we can establish centers pointing toward these new problems, getting at them with not just a submarginal but a major effort. We can establish both Government laboratories and Government-supported laboratories, and I don't even mean just science laboratories; we can turn out all the other people needed to attack these complex issues.

I think, at the same time we do that, in order to operate efficiently we might want to look over the other government labs and governmentsupported efforts to make sure that some of them are phased out when they are not as relevant as they were or to convert some to these new issues.

Mr. DADDARIO. The point you just raised has been threading through these hearings.

How do you adjust yourself to the society's needs? You hear from the people who are in charge that they wouldn't feel these restraints if we would be allowed to phase them in and out over a period of time. Yet this is no answer to the fact that they have not set up a timetable for phasing in and out.

This is only a part of the major problem. If you begin developing in the country the ability to shift your laboratories from one phase of activity to another, you are going to have to develop a planning capability which is more national in scope than they presently are.

Dr. STEVER. Yes, I will agree, and let's look to the experience.

In the first place, to tackle the problems in front of us, we need more than just the physical sciences which we have gotten so well organized in this country. We need more than the life sciences. We need the social sciences as well, and the political sciences. In other words, these are complex issues.

Now, when we attacked the problem such as our military problems, going back to World War II, we had planning and the political side of this in the military organizations themselves, and so the laboratory approach, the research approach, the development approach, the engineering approach, was essentially added onto a large and complex operation in our military, our defense structure.

When we tackle these modern problems, we are going to have to remember that science alone isn't going to solve them, but I don't think they are going to get solved without science. So our real problem, as we convert, is to bring all the phases together. As you know, I was a member of a National Science Foundation Commission on the social sciences, and as far as I am concerned, one of the most important kinds of recommendations that that group came out with was this idea of developing broader scale centers to tackle these problems, centers which don't just depend upon an engineering group, for example, tackling transportation through the city, because there is also sociology involved in that and politics and political science. We have got to find ways to do this better.

Now, we, at the present time, in our studies for tackling those complex problems are at a very high level in the Government right here in this

а.

Congress and in the highest levels of the administraiton. It may be that we want to take some steps to get that broad combining at some lower levels, centers throughout the country either supported by Government or partially supported by Government, possibly located at academic institutions, possibly located entirely independent. Certainly industry would be involved in this, but I do think our biggest problem is to work out ways of organizing on a broader basis to tackle these problems, almost on an emergency basis, because the people of the country are really forcing us to attack these on an emergency basis, and furthermore events are, too, because problems like pollution have shot up now where they are at the critical angle of advance.

Mr. DADDARIO. How ought this be done?

Dr. STEVER. Well, as I look to this—and this really is an addendum in a slightly different attitude with respect to my paper here—on the application side we are either going to have to upgrade certain agencies of Government which are responsible for these, so they are much more powerful than they are now, or we are going to have to add new organizations for the application of science.

We do an immense amount of talking about transportation and pollution and the other problems, and we have not yet organized the application of science, these technologies, as well as we should, and we have lots of experience doing it.

The Department of Agriculture is a long term and a very early example of successfully developing an agency of the Government to use in bridging science and technology. The Department of Defense has done it. We can go through and find examples, but I am not sure we are moving fast enough with some of our new agencies such as the Department of Transportation and Housing, urban things. We have not somehow gotten them up to the power to tackle these problems.

Mr. DADDARIO. Yes, Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brown. Can I offer a comment at this point ?
Mr. DADDARIO. Yes.

Mr. Brown. It seems to me, from the theoretical point of view, there is a substantial difference between the nature of the problem that faces the Department of Transportation and, say, some of our organizations concerned with pollution and the Department of Agriculture which you cite as a successful example of coping with the problem and the Department of Defense.

I will suggest what I think this difference is, and I would like you to comment on it. It seems like in, say, the Department of Agriculture, we had an organization set up to serve a certain clientele, the farmers, in a fashion which would enhance their contribution to the total welfare and there was no substantial adverse clientele; that is, there was no one who would say, well, we don't need to improve our agricultural technology. There might be a slight question of the amount of resources to devote to it, but there wasn't a countervailing power structure. Whereas, in the Department of Transportation and some of the other things we are getting into, we are running into a real problem of a countervailing power; that is, the influences which are opposed to the role and function and enhancement of that particular department.

a

a

a

a

a

I don't want to overstress this, but it does seem to me, for example, when we think in terms of the need of urban mass transit-and I have seen this in California—that all of the automobile and all of the highway interests are resisting strongly the diversion of funds and research and the other actions necessary to accomplish an urban mass transit program which would be nonautomotive or nonhighway using in its effect. Therefore, we have another order of magnitude of the problem involved.

Dr. STEVER. Yes, sir; I agree. Your last statement I agree with a 100 percent. It is a higher order of magnitude problem. However, if you look at all of the groups, you will not find any of them that doesn't say we need better transportation, a better solution. They disagree as to the means, and I am sure they will scrap. It is the same way with pollution. I don't think you will find anybody in industry or outside that doesn't say we have got to solve our pollution problems. They disagree as to the means, but I do agree with you it is a higher order problem because there are very strong units which would like to solve it one way versus another, and this means it is a governmental problem of higher order.

It probably also means it is a technical problem and scientific problem of higher order, but I do think we have to address it. I agree with the last part of the statement.

Mr. Brown. The defense situation is similar. There are very few who argue with the need of harnessing the best efforts of the Nation behind a program of progessive defense. Of course, the Congress puts a few roadblocks in the way, but basically there is no argument with the need. It is rather how large the need is.

Dr. STEVER. Mr. Brown, let me say that in past talks here I believe I have distinguished the interest of young people in two different kinds of science and engineering, one of which I called performance-limited and the other I called society-limited. Performance-limited science and engineering is the kind of thing we get into when we are involved in a space program or astronomy, scientific research, or the development of new accelerators in physics, and even many military problems where the goal is to do the best with the knowledge and capability we have in science, and when a young person, a scientist, says this is place I can make the raost of my techniques and education.

The problems we are now dealing with are what we call societylimited. It isn't as if we could tell some people to go out and make the best high-speed underground train possible, because we know that re hare other influences affecting that. But I do think that that is the nature of our time in history. We are going to have to find ways of coing at the higher order problems, and I really think that is the problem facing your generation of law makers and this generation of administrators, to bring our Government to a place where it can solve that kind of thing.

I think that we need great strengthening of the agencies which are essentially application agencies, that are mission-oriented agencies. In this respect, I would separate that function from what I said about basic science; that is, the colleges and universities which are to supply the workmen who will enter these fields.

« PreviousContinue »