White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, 25th Anniversary Symposium (pt.1) MIT
CHARLES M. VEST: I want to start by thanking all the many people who've worked so hard to organize this event for us. And I want to extend a very warm welcome to all of you joining us here this morning in Cambridge. As some of you know, my tenure as president of MIT has been punctuated by almost monthly visits to Washington, sitting down with our federal leaders, and making the case for the value and the potential of investing in science and technology-- that is, giving advice, whether it's asked for or not. For the most part, however, I must say I've received a quite hospitable reception.
But I must say occasions like today are a tremendous relief where we can just relax and preach to the choir. We're here today to celebrate something very important-- the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and its impressive record of influence and accomplishment, during a quarter century in which science and technology have become absolutely integral to the vitality of our economy and our society as a whole. It's a privilege to have so many past presidential science advisors joining us for this morning's symposium.
But I want to address for one moment someone who's no longer with us, but who in a very real sense is responsible for all of us being here. Most people believe that the new administration in Washington is the second Bush White House, but in a very important sense it's the third, because when Vannevar Bush became the de facto science advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt, he together with Bill Golden, who assumed a similar role with President Truman, changed America forever. It is almost impossible to exaggerate the role that science and technology have played in America's success since the end of World War II, in terms of our economy, national security, health care, and general quality of life. And that is in large part because of Vannevar Bush, Bill Golden, and other visionaries who followed him in that role-- people like Jim Killian, Jerry Wiesner, and all of you who are here today.
After the war, defense remain the dominant driver of physical science, technology, and provided the basic underlying rationale for the support of advanced research and education. And the benefits of this success ended up extending far beyond normal basic national security considerations. But as we all know too well, with the end of the Cold War, much of the broad-based support of science and technology slipped off the radar screen of national priorities.
But I believe we have come to a moment when America needs a passionate new commitment to investing in science and technology. And those of us who understand that need have a special obligation to make it happen. Although we no longer face a single great nuclear superpower, a strong commitment to broad-based fundamental research is still vital to our national security. It's vital to our ability to alleviate suffering and to create opportunity for people around the world. It is vital to improving the health and safety of our citizens, including the disadvantaged and the physically challenged. But perhaps above all, it is absolutely vital to maintaining and extending the benefits of America's economic success.
The truth is that this country's overall prosperity in the last half century is due in no small measure to what I like to refer to as America's innovation system-- a three-way partnership among academia, industry, and government. Our universities educate new generations of scientists, engineers, and students who in turn generate the new ideas. Industry translates these ideas into new products, new services, and moves them into the marketplace. Federal and state governments adopt the policies that make it all possible, and indeed provide the necessary basic financial support.
This winning combination has served our nation well. In the half century since World War II, fully half of the growth of the US economy has been due to technological innovation-- half. And I don't have to tell this audience that tomorrow's economic strength will spring almost entirely from the technologies emerging from our laboratories today. The next few decades are obviously going to be an exciting time to be involved in leading edge science and technology research and its translation into the marketplace in the form of new products, processes, and services. In fact, the promise is so great that it's easy to take for granted that our economy will always be run by the engine of innovation.
But I'm here to say that we cannot let America make the mistake of taking this for granted. The engine of innovation can run only if governments supply the fuel of basic support for fundamental research. The plain truth is that as a nation we are not doing what we must do to ensure our future strength in innovation. In recent years, the number of engineers graduating from our universities has decreased by over 20%. Over half of our doctoral candidates in mathematics and the physical sciences in our nation's universities come here from abroad with an increasing number returning home upon completion of their studies.
And there's another trend that's disturbing, though perhaps easier to correct. Federal spending on research and development as a share of the nation's gross domestic product is lower than it was just 15 years ago. If America is to have a bright future, we need to lay the necessary groundwork today, through education and through policy and research.
First, as we all know by now, we need to improve our K through 12 education system. America's technology-driven economy demands that our educational institutions supply the innovative thinkers who create new industries and who provide the workers who will fill ever more demanding jobs that these new industries generate. Singapore, Japan, Australia, Hungary, England, Canada-- all of these countries leave us in the dust in the tests of student achievements in mathematics and science. Our high schools must not by default deny American students the chance to pursue careers in these ever increasingly important fields.
Second, we need to attract more of our young citizens, especially minorities and women, into careers in science, mathematics, and engineering. As a nation, we simply cannot prosper without drawing on the talents of this large segment of our population. Only about 5% of the 24 year olds in this country have earned degrees in the natural sciences or engineering-- 5%. By that measure, we now trail countries like Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom. Just a decade ago, we were leading them by a mile. Our colleges and universities must make scientific and engineering education more attractive and accessible to bright young men and women. Their workplaces must provide the incentives and opportunity to make the most of that talent.
Third, we need to make sure that we are educating our young scientists and engineers not only in the rigors of their own fields but also in the broader skills that it takes to make things happen in the real world. At MIT, we're addressing that challenge through our Technology and Policy Program, or TPP as we call it. Founded in 1976, TPP is now the largest program of its kind in the world, and it fills a critical gap. Traditional engineering education rightly grounds students in the fundamentals of engineering science and application and hones their technical skills.
The TPP tries to make sure that students also gain an in-depth understanding of the other disciplines, such as economics, law, and politics, that ultimately may have just as much impact on which ideas make it into the marketplace or onto the floor of Congress and why. As an aside, if you're interested in learning more about TPP, I encourage you to look at the materials on display adjacent to the registration tables upstairs.
Well, that's a bit about the educational groundwork. Let me turn to the questions of policy and research. I would say that above all, we simply need to invest more in research across the board. Now, lots of people don't want to hear this, but I believe it's essential. While other nations are increasing their R&D commitments, US investment in broad-based fundamental research, which takes place largely in our universities, is slowing. Certainly industry can and should do more in this regard. At least here at MIT, we're working very hard to cultivate new partnerships with industry in creative ways. In fact, over 23% of our research sponsorship now comes from industry.
But there is also a legitimate necessary ongoing role for federal support of fundamental science and engineering research and advanced education, period. Recently we've all been very, very pleased that the federal government is making an accelerating commitment to research in the biomedical sciences. But truthfully, it's a bit like giving shoes to only one of the champion runners in a relay race. Today, for every dollar that we invest in life science research, we invest only about $0.50 in the physical sciences, engineering, and all the other related fields combined. 30 years ago, we invested roughly equally in the physical sciences, in engineering, and in biomedical research. Our federal investments today, in my view, are dangerously lopsided.
Now, there is a legitimate question-- is this truly an imbalance? Is it really lopsided? Or is it simply a reflection of the fact that this is the golden age of advancement in the life sciences, whereas physical science and engineering are mature and should slip onto the back burner? I believe that it is indeed a fundamental and corrosive imbalance. In this era of intellectual interdependence, when the most interesting and important ideas are emerging at the surprising overlaps and intersections between previously unrelated fields, that unbalanced investment represents a serious strategic error. And there may be no one in the country more better equipped to understand why than the people in the room today.
Finally, as leaders in this field, I believe we personally need to battle the troubling tendency to try to separate science policy from technology policy. It makes no sense to me. This is an intensely interdisciplinary time. Is bioengineering, for example, science or is it technology?
Brain research certainly sounds like a basic scientific field and is, but it would never have been achieved at its current level of sophistication without concurrent joint development of the most advanced kinds of technologies. We must insist on a coherent sustained strategic national commitment to science and technology together. And we must realize that we have not one or two but three partners in this mission-- academia, government, and industry.
As people with the expertise and experience to appreciate these problems and all of their dimensions, I believe it's our job to work hard to make the case in Washington for prompt and continuing action. We need to persuade federal leaders that broad-based fundamental research is an investment, not a cost, that innovation is not something that will just take care of itself, that our future economy, jobs, and security will simply not grow on trees, that the OSTP and the president's science advisor are not some marginal academic constituency but rather represent vital interests of the American people as a whole.
This 25th anniversary of OSTP in its current guise comes at a propitious time to think together about American science and technology policy. The people we are privileged to have gathered here today have led us from World War II to the World Wide Web. Looking backward at our journey, we can come to understand what role science policy has made in creating the infrastructure, the human capital, and the opportunities that have driven one of the most remarkable periods of transformation and change in economic strength in our history.
Looking at the present, we can see strengths and weaknesses but above all opportunity. Just imagine-- we have essentially completed sequencing the human genome. We now know the dictionary of life. We have a breathtaking new understanding of how humans have evolved and how we fit into the total plethora of living things. These insights are simply staggering.
We suddenly have extensions of our eyes and our hands that allow us to work at nanoscale in science and in technology. We can create new materials and devices that are structured one atom or molecule at a time. This will lead to materials with remarkable new properties, to hugely greater strength to weight ratios, to low power, high performance computing, and to medical diagnostic and treatment strategies difficult to believe today.
We have a world that is increasingly tied together through the internet and made accessible by the World Wide Web. The information base that this makes available virtually everywhere and on an as needed basis has begun to totally transform the way we all live and work and learn. Its potential for democratization and empowerment is truly unprecedented in human history. Information appliances are starting to turn the corner toward readily serving our personal and collective purposes rather than making us slaves to an endless progression of computers, fax machines, pagers, cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, et cetera. High-resolution functional magnetic imaging, gene knockout technologies, and our increased understanding of cells and of complex systems have set the stage for a quantum leap in our understanding of the brain and mind and memory, with potentially huge payoffs in improved mental health, communication, and teaching and learning. Boundaries are disappearing-- boundaries between nations, boundaries between disciplines, boundaries between science and engineering, the boundaries between what is fundamental and what is application.
In many ways, the knowledge structures and techniques of the life sciences, physical sciences, and information science are simply merging. I hope that our discussions today will be conducted in the context of this enormous field of opportunity and change. But as we sharpen our focus, it seems to me that moving into the future with no office of technology policy to serve Congress and with few people and structures in place in the new administration yet, we must think together about how we in the science and engineering and policy communities can serve our nation well as it faces great challenges in both the near term and the long run.
Our president and our Congress have many issues with which to grapple that demands serious and objective knowledge and advice based on sound science and engineering. Just to note a few, energy and environment, including a sound strategy around global climate change and sustained economic development, new biomedical research, diagnostics, and therapies, based on learnings from stem cell research, development of a new space transport, the stewardship of our nuclear stockpiles, understanding and deployment of genetically modified organisms in agriculture and medicine, facing new challenges to our security, bioterrorism, cyberterrorism, urban warfare, and indeed thinking about the broad issues associated with the vulnerability of our increasingly complex infrastructures, launching the new systems biology that will move us from the sequenced human genome to a world of improved health and quality of life.
We have our work cut out for us. The bottom line is this-- it's not what we already know, it's what we don't yet know that's going to make all the difference to our future. So today, as we celebrate all the progress that OSTP has achieved over the past 25 years, I hope that we can also come together in another way-- to persuade our many friends in Washington that when it comes to funding broad-based fundamental research, now is not the time to leave the dance floor.
It's now my pleasure to introduce Dan Hastings, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and one of the chief organizers behind today's celebration. Dan received his undergraduate degree from Oxford University, but I'm proud to say that he is also one of our own. He received his PhD from MIT in Aero/Astro in 1980, returned to the department as a faculty member in 1985.
His extensive published record is concentrated on issues related to interactions between spacecraft and their environment, space propulsion, space systems engineering, and space policy. Currently he's focused on space systems and space policy and widely recognized for his work on tethers, plasma contactors, and high voltage arcing on solar arrays. But Dan also has a powerful interest and experience in the broader questions of policy that concern us today, especially but not exclusively when it comes to space.
From '97 to '99, he served as Chief Scientist of the US Air Force, leading several influential studies on where the Air Force should invest, in space global energy projection, and options for science and technology workforces in the 21st century. He currently serves on NASA Space Science Advisory Council. Among his many honors are the Air Force Distinguished Civilian Award. He's a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. Ladies and gentlemen, my colleague, Dan Hastings.
DAN HASTINGS: Credit where credit is due, the initial idea for this was not mine but Duncan Moore's who's sitting right there, who actually suggested this to me at some dinner party that we were at in Washington. And so we put together this dais. The dais is actually organized around lunch as the fulcrum. In the morning, we're going to hear about the discussion of OSTP from the people who, of course, were the integral participants in it, as the leaders of OSTP. And then we'll sort of focus around lunch, where President Shapiro will talk to us.
And then in the afternoon, we're going to hear about some of the issues that are on the plate right now in terms of things that the current administration is going to have to face in the next several years. So this is one take on those issues.
So with that, let me actually start by introducing the first panel, which is going to focus on some of the pre-OSTP years. And we have three distinguished speakers here. I'm going to introduce each of them. Each of them will have actually no more than 20 minutes to speak, and then there'll be some time for questions. For those of you on the panel, there's students here who'll be showing you the time so that we can actually stay on time with respect to this. And then at the end of the three talks, there'll be some more time for questions in general to the panel. And essentially, we'll run all of the panels in like manner.
So first of all, let me start by introducing William Golden. William Golden is Chairman Emeritus of the American Museum of Natural History, an officer and trustee of several scientific and educational organizations, including New York Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Mt. Sinai Medical Center Hospital and Medical School, National Humanities Center, the Hebrew Free Loan Society, Barnard College, Black Rock Forest Consortium. He's also the director of several business corporations, including General American Investors Company and Block Drug Company.
Mr. Golden was co-chairman of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government. He was Special Assistant to President Truman, and as such he designed the first president's science advisory apparatus in 1950. And he was presidential advisor on the initial program from the National Science Foundation. He's edited and co-authored several books on science advising to the highest levels of government, including Science Advice to the President, 1980, Science Technology Advice to the President, Congress, and Judiciary, 1998, Worldwide Science Technology Advice to the Highest Levels of Government, 1991.
Next who's going to speak is Ed David. Ed David is president of EED, Inc, advisors to industry, government, and universities in technology, research, and innovation management. Dr. David's current engagements in business include 20 boards of directors and technical advisory boards, both nationally and abroad. He's also Vice President of the Washington Advisory Group, developing corporate academic research partnerships. Dr. David has served as Science Advisor to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology from 1970 to 1973.
From 1977 to 1986, he was president of Exxon Research and Engineering Company. He spent the first two decades of his research career at Bell Telephone Labs, latterly as the executive director. He also served as US representative to NATO Science Committee. He received his PhD in electrical engineering from this institution, from MIT.
And then Guy Stever. Dr. Guyford Stever has broad experience as a scientist, engineer, educator, administrator. He's a board member of the Science Service University's Research Association, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a member of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government from 1988 to 1993, Director of the National Science Foundation from 1972 to 1976, during which he also served as Science Advisor to Presidents Nixon and Ford. He was the Science and Technology Advisor to President Ford and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from '76 to '77, so he was actually the first director of OSTP.
Before joining NSF, he was professor and department head here at MIT from 1945 to 1965 and President of Carnegie Mellon University from 1965 to 1972. As director of NSF, he strengthened NSF's highest priority mission as supporter of basic research. Under his tenure, NSF's growing biological and social science activities were separated from physical and mass sciences into an independent division.
As Science Advisor, he helped convince President Ford to re-establish the White House Science Structure and then was directed by President Ford to work with Vice President Rockefeller, Congress, and OMB to that end. The 1976 Science and Technology Act created the Office of Science and Technology Policy, with the president's S&T Advisor as director. And he was then appointed to that and put in place there in 1976. I should also point out, he was also one of my predecessors as Air Force Chief Scientist. I never let him forget that. So with that, let me ask Mr. Golden to come up and give your remarks.
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: Good morning. I'm going to start by quoting Groucho Marx, who once remarked as he stepped up to the podium, before I begin to speak, I have something important to say. Now, it's not what I would like it to be and what you might think I'm going to say, who the next president's Science Advisor is going to be, because I don't know that either.
But I do want to say that we have here the greatest, largest collection of presidential science advisors to the President of the United States in the history of the United States. And I think it's worth mentioning them. They might even be able to get photographed.
There's Allan Bromley, there's Ed David, there's Don Hornig, there's George Keyworth, there's Jack Gibbons, Neal Lane, and Guy Stever. Some of them, like Guy Stever, were both Science Advisor to the President and Director of the National Science Foundation, Neal Lane being another such a one. It's quite remarkable, I think, and we're all glad to be here. And I'm certainly glad to see all of them alive and prospering.
The time is limited, and I'm going to be just really touching on things rather rapidly as to the history, since mine goes back essentially to the Precambrian. And we're concerned with the history of the future rather than the history of the past. But I'll go over the past in somewhat fragmentary fashion.
In the summer of 1950, the Korean War broke out. And things began to stir as to what should be done about science and technology by the government-- the OSRD, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, having been so important in the winning of World War II. President Truman was pressed by various people, including Congressman McCormick of Massachusetts, who was then a leader of what was called the Big Four in the Congress-- the Speaker, I think he was, of the House. They wanted him to re-establish the Office of Scientific Research and Development. They wanted to do some other things.
I got a call at that time when my wife and I were at the Grand Canyon vacationing. And the call was from the Budget Bureau, the Bureau of the Budget, it was then called, Charlie Stauffacher, Assistant Director who I had known in the Navy. He said, Bill, would you come to Washington and help us by advising President Truman as to what he should do about actions in relation to the outbreak of the Korean War?
Well, I couldn't resist that. And a couple of days later, I was in Washington meeting with Fred Lawton, who was then the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, Charlie Stauffacher and Elmer Staats, who were the two assistant directors. I agreed to be advisor to President Truman on this matter and started work within a very few days by interviewing people I thought were knowledgeable or should be knowledgeable about the subject and approach it with an open mind.
I very quickly came to the view that it would not be sensible to re-establish the Office of Scientific Research and Development at that time, that it was premature, and that was not the thing to do. But the thing to do was to have it in mind, possibly to establish it later, if developments in the war made that seem appropriate.
I did relatively quickly come to the idea that the President of the United States should have a science advisor reporting directly to him. And I tried this out on various people who I interviewed. I interviewed many members of the scientific community, government officials, former government officials, businesspeople, academics, and tracked somewhat over 150 people. And I really worked very hard-- day, night, and weekends for about two and a half months-- and then submitted my report to President Truman on December 30, 1950.
The interviews I recorded in somewhat uncharacteristically orderly fashion for me. Every night I dictated my memoranda for the [INAUDIBLE] to an antique Edison dictating machine, which probably none of you has ever seen, and I had never seen before in a sense. But it recorded on a wax cylinder, which was then erased in due course by shaving the cylinder. At any rate, as I recorded them each night and here in this book, probably [INAUDIBLE] mark of 420-some odd pages are the interviews which people have subsequently found of some interest.
This has never been published as such, but it has been-- Xerox copies are available in various libraries, including the Library of Congress, the American Physical Society, Columbia University, the Hoover Library, the Eisenhower Library, and the Truman Library. I think I've made them all. So if any of you people are interested in the written at the time interviews of people of greater or less prominence, they are available.
Now, if someone can put on a transparency, the first one of those would just display-- list the-- let me have the other one first, another one first, the one that's called "Alphabetical List of Interviewees." There'll be several pages. We'll just display them.
I have a few Xerox copies of these papers, which I can leave here at MIT for those who want to see it. Does that start with Archibald Alexander? This is to give you the general idea. You recognize some names, and some you won't. It's not there for the purpose, except to indicate the number of times I saw some of them, and in effect the table of contents. I think we can show the next page too, if you would. I think that's enough to give you the general concept.
I've referred to publications other than my own memoranda. And I think we might show that list now. That's three pages there. And again, just to give you the idea-- and I will leave a Xerox copy for anyone who may want to look into these-- of varied interests, some of which I was editor and co-author, such as Science Advice to the President, which Chuck Vest referred to previously.
It may be of interest-- there are articles in these books by everyone of the Presidential Science Advisors who is here, as well as some who are no longer living. In fact, every Presidential Science Advisor up to date, or yesterday's date, is represented by an original article written by them for me in these volumes. And I've written some relevant papers as well. The only one missing is Oliver Buckley, who was the first Science Advisor.
I'll turn to that. I think that's enough of the display of that. You can take that off. It gets to be a distraction.
Just to wave an actual book at you, or two of them, to show they exist-- this is Science Advice to the President, which the second edition contains today material that did not appear in the first. This little book, published by the AAAS Press and not very easy to get is excerpts from the 420-page book prepared by a member of the National Science Foundation's staff-- and he has a very good article in it himself, namely Bill Blanpied, who some of you know is an old timer in the National Science Foundation, who is now the National Science Foundation's representative in Japan. Bill Blanpied did a splendid job, I think, of excerpting, including in there certain documents such as a summary but not the full copy of my report to President Truman.
In my report, I recommended that the national-- that the, excuse me, that the OSRD not be revived at that time, which was the end of 1950, but that it be kept in mind for possible activation later on, or something equivalent to it, but that the president appoint a Science Advisor to himself, or have one appointed. And this was done-- quite some time passed, several months, while we-- that being the Budget Bureau people on the White House staff and I-- went through names of people we thought were qualified who might be interested.
I won't go through the list. Lee DuBridge, who at that time with President of Caltech, a very prominent scientist in World War II and the OSRD-- some later called him the Eisenhower of Science-- was one of the first thoughts. He declined on the grounds that he couldn't leave Caltech. Another was Mervin Kelly, who probably won't be remembered by many of you, but who was an outstanding BellTel Labs scientist, and was outstanding in assisting the military throughout that whole period of time.
Mervin Kelly was interested, and we were interested in him. We went to BellTel, and they said, well, we'll do even better. We'll give you Oliver Buckley, who is Mervin Kelly's boss. That proved to have been dealt somewhat not from the top of the deck. Mervin Kelly was made president of the BellTel Labs. And Oliver Buckley, who was a very fine man, very able and very active and very important in the OSRD, started off well. But he was ill, and he deteriorated. And he was rather timorous as things went along.
He was followed by Lee DuBridge on a part-time basis. I had established the job to be a full-time one. Lee DuBridge took it on later at a part-time basis, and was then followed by I. I. Rabi.
At this point, when Rabi was the Science Advisor on the part-time basis-- I presume you all know who I. I. Rabi was, a Nobel Laureate in Physics at Columbia University and a very prominent and important figure in American science policy and in military-related science-- he went to President Eisenhower promptly when Sputnik went off in 1957, which was an arresting event for those who were alive at the time, and told Eisenhower that he should select a full-time Science Advisor. And this was done with getting Jim Killian. Jim Killian, who you all will know of, was extremely helpful to me in my study and proved to be a very practical, devoted, and in every way effective Science Advisor to Eisenhower.
I think that covers those aspects that I wanted to talk about. The other things I was expected to do-- and no, I'm not trying to go over any of my time-- was to advise President Truman on some other timely matters. And one of them was the activation of the National Science Foundation. The act had been passed that summer of 1950. In November of that year, the members of the National Science Board were chosen, appointed. And the question was what should their policies be.
And I was asked to study them. And I did. And I submitted a memorandum at some considerable length, which was circulated to the members of the board, in which the basic recommendation that I made was a fundamental question. That was that the National Science Foundation should devote itself exclusively to the support of basic science and should not get involved in military, science-related, or technology-related matters at all. This was quite a debatable issue with the members of the board and others. But they finally came to agree and accept that. And that was done and was maintained for a long time as pure science in the National Science Foundation.
I think that-- well, I'd like to say that in the discussions with these many people, I rather quickly got to a feeling that-- not a feeling, but recognized that the ideas of the President's Science Advisor and a President Science Advisory Committee would be acceptable and perhaps attractive to many of them. But there was some debate about this, arguments about it. And after-- let me say, before I-- no, I shouldn't put it that way.
I submitted my report to President Truman on-- I think it was December 30 of 1950, after about two and a half months or so of work. The question of putting it into effect then came up on the selection of a President's Science Advisor. This was somewhat argued in some places. But I felt that I had, before submitting the report, the essentially complete agreement or acceptance of those ideas.
After it had developed, there was some lack of enthusiasm among some of the scientific people. And this was debated and finally did come to a nihil obstat, at any rate, by the entire National Science Board. I should say that this was prior to my submitting the report to President Truman. So I felt that this was accepted, and indeed enthusiastically in some quarters.
The selection of the scientific advisor I've just described, the selection of the members of the President's Science Advisory Committee, PSAC, was a similar procedure. And all went well.
I should say, I'd rather like to say, that Jim Killian was a very strong supporter of these ideas and was very helpful-- I think invaluably helpful in persuading some members of the scientific community that the recommendations were the things for them to approve, including the basic science only, from the National Science Foundation. Jim Killian was very helpful.
Robert Oppenheimer started very cautiously, and finally came around. He was not opposed at any point, but for those of you who knew him, he was cautious in what he would say. And he would express himself sometimes in rather poetic terms. But he came around to full, enthusiastic support.
Vannevar Bush, another MIT person who was very helpful to me, not only then but in subsequent years, started somewhat skeptically-- not opposed, but he wondered whether the president would use a Science Advisor. And he was supportive. Jim Conant-- and I call him Jim because other people did, I certainly never did, he was a rather formal man-- was opposed to the concept of a single Presidential Science Advisor. He thought there should be a committee but not a person, who became the Chairman of the National Science Board, also came around to accept it, so that everyone did accept the idea, some very enthusiastically, before they had their first meeting. I'm sorry, not before their first meeting-- after they had had their first meeting and went through this, which was in November of 1950, if I remember correctly.
The selection of Alan Waterman to be the first Director of the National Science Foundation was a very important event, I think, in the history of the foundation. There had been active consideration in the White House of appointing-- because the president did the appointing of the director-- of appointing a man who was a faithful Democrat who had been defeated in running for governor of one of the southern states. And this was, I thought, a real hazard, but it was overcome. And Alan Waterman was appointed. And I think that's proven to be a very important historic event. He did very well for many years.
I'd like to add, essentially in conclusion, that the organization, or the apparatus as some call it, the White House Science organization, namely a President's Science Advisor and a PSAC, has been adopted and adapted in virtually every developed country. Now, this is some 50 years later, and every country has something closely equivalent. The reference was made by Chuck Vest to the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government, which Josh Lederberg and I were co-chairman.
The work of that commission led to quite a number of publications, with some of which I'm sure some of you are quite familiar. And I think I need make no further reference to it, except to say that one of the developments from that commission, not a direct part of its work but demonstrating the unpredictability, in a way, of evolution, was the creation of something which Allan Bromley named the Carnegie Group. This was and is an informal organization, which is rather too formal a term for it-- an informally organized group that has met semi-annually, ever since it was first convened by invitation of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government, about 11 years ago.
It consists of the ministers of science or their equivalents of the G8 countries and the European Union. In the United States, it's a Science Advisor to the President. They meet informally with no staff present, zero staff present, no formal minutes, and have very informal and open discussions, as Allan Bromley can tell you more effectively than I can. This has persisted.
There's no subsidy. The Carnegie Commission invited these ministers for the first meeting. They liked it. They said we'll carry on. And they do that, moving from country to country.
The host country is the host. The ministers pay their own freight. And they talk very openly. I hope there'll be some time here when maybe Allan Bromley can tell you a little about that in his colorful way. I see him smiling over there, so I'm not talking out of turn. The next semi-annual meeting-- and they've literally been six months apart, generally speaking June and December-- the next will be in Canada in the beginning of June.
I wanted to display certain documents. I think I've given you the main idea with the transparencies that have been shown, and the couple of volumes that I've displayed here. So I will thank you for your attention. And if there is a question period-- I don't know whether it comes immediately or at the end. But--
DAN HASTINGS: Are there any questions for Mr. Golden?
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: Well, I think I'll quit while I'm ahead. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Can I ask you to talk a little bit about Dr. Bush? Dr. Bush, Vannevar Bush?
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: Well, I referred to him as Van Bush, but I never called him that to his face. He was Dr. Bush. What would you like to know about him? I would say he had a rather stiff and formal manner sometimes and a very warm heart, a very cool head, and he was a very outspoken man. You knew that he was what my mother called "genuine." What he said is what he felt and believed.
AUDIENCE: How did he come up with this marvelous case for science back then? What prompted that?
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: I really don't know, other than his whole background and his belief in what he wrote. But how he came to do that I don't know. That was essentially before my time. He became the head of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, as you probably know, and ran that very well, an operating scientific organization with five science divisions. Is that helpful?
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: OK. Thank you all.
AUDIENCE: Not a question, just an addendum to what Bill said. Bill mentioned the book that Bill Blanpied prepared that contains the selection of the memos that he referred to. Yes, the one-- it is indeed out of print. Copies are very scarce. But the full text is up on the web in printable form as a PDF file on the science policy section of the AAAS web-- there's the URL right there.
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: Glad you mentioned that, Al. I should have.
DAN HASTINGS: Thank you very much.
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: Thank you all.
ED DAVID: I always have to lower the microphone. And as somebody said, before I took this job, I was six feet tall.
Looking out into the audience and seeing distinguished people, many of them, I'm reminded of the story about the victim of the Johnstown flood. When he arrived in heaven, he was asked to present a seminar on what had happened at Johnstown and the flood. And when he got up to talk, he felt very, very comfortable because, after all, he'd observed it all-- until he noticed that in the front row Noah was sitting.
So when I look out here, I see many of my old friends and even some enemies. And it reminds me of a saying which applies to the Science Advisor-- or, for that matter, anybody in a high level in the White House, which is a closed system. And one of the laws of closed systems, of course, is conservation. And the thing that's conserved in closed systems like the White House staff, it's influence that's conserved.
And so if you gain influence, somebody else is going to lose it. And that means that friends in the White House can come and go, but the enemies accumulate. And, like entropy, your popularity always declines.
Well, I am not going to follow exactly what was asked for-- namely, to look back at a pre-OSTP period, because I really wasn't there during that time. What I'm going to do is to have a look back as far as I can go and then look forward.
I was at the White House as head of OSTP and the Science Advisor from the late 1970s to early 1973. I replaced Lee DuBridge. In his time there, he had fought and lost a number of battles with the White House staff, especially with that fabled pair of villains, Haldeman and Ehrlichman.
But he prepared the way for important happenings. He brought on a very fine OSTP staff, whom I found quite inspiring when I got there. In addition to the staff that he brought on directly, there were DOD, State Department, Agriculture Department, and NASA people seconded to the office. And I gather that some of that activity, some of that technique of getting people from the agencies to work in the office, is still in place. And I think these sorts of people were absolutely essential to what I'll described that was done during the time I was there.
The science apparatus really had a busy time. There were many issues to be confronted and the programs to be put in place. And among the most pressing were-- and many of you will remember this-- the fate of the SST program, the supersonic transport. There was also a question for the funding of satellites, to establish an X-ray astronomy capability. The Hubble Space Telescope was authorized during that time.
The post-Apollo program was formulated, and the continuation of the moon flights occurred during that period. As many of you may remember, there were 19 such flights that were scheduled but only 17 went off. Two were canceled. They actually had been canceled just before I got there.
There was the Cancer Cure Initiative, as it was called in those days. There was the ABM system activity, which was debated at length. And finally, the ABM treaty, which still exists and is still effective.
There was the nuclear breeder reactor and nuclear energy generally, and the cold question of how to set up the nuclear fuel cycle. There was the question of how much funding could be managed for so-called civilian research-- that is, research beyond the government programs at NASA and the Department of Defense.
There was the effort to make the RND funding overall in the federal budget grow, especially in what was called basic research at that time, and still is called that in many quarters, although I prefer the term "fundamental research." That's a quirk of mine, a hang-up I've got.
Now, it's interesting with the current 30-year perspective looking back to ask about the outcomes of all this activity. Note that federal funding-- and this has already been referred to here-- for R&D in the 1960s was over 60% of the total US funding for R&D in total. Today, at least in 1999, it's only 28% and declining still.
So with that background, what has been the success rate of the federal portion of R&D leading up to that, as judged by the programs that I've just mentioned to you that were established during my tenure there at the White House? Of course, the answer to that about success of these programs hinges on the criterion for success. Perhaps the best is just to ask which ones of these programs met their objectives as stated in the beginning?
In my judgment, the clear successes in those programs that I mentioned were the efforts in X-ray astronomy, the Hubble Space Telescope-- in spite of the fact that it was nearsighted when it was put out there-- the final Apollo missions, which were very successful but which I had to write to the president directly to get the final mission off the ground-- that was Apollo 17-- was a nighttime launch, the only one at Cape Canaveral at that time, Cape Kennedy now. The ABM treaty was a success, and some aspects of the civilian R&D programs that were established at the time.
The rest of the programs that I mentioned went downhill, especially the SST program, the post-Apollo program, which we still are heir to, the breeder and nuclear energy, the effort for overall expansion of federal R&D is still not in place. And this, I think if you look back carefully, is about a 50% success rate.
Now, a more detailed evaluation of the total programs that were worked on in that period might result in an even lower number. But I suspect that OSTP's effort and White House initiatives overall cannot be expected to be wildly successful. Yet past successes have been valuable, just as in the private sector, its successes have been quite valuable.
Well, the landscape has certainly changed dramatically since the 1970s. The dominance of military technology is challenged in scope and size by health research, university expansion into commercial R&D-- and that's something that I find startling-- new space ventures, energy in the environment initiatives, and expanded efforts to overcome shortages of qualified people, and buttressed math research particularly. Very clearly, there's much to be done. And OST has a job to do in each of these areas. But they're going to have to share the leadership in those activities with a wider federal effort and with private dominance in funding.
If we look forward to the future for federal R&D and so for OSTP, there's some similarities to the past, though clearly the driving forces behind federal R&D have changed. The OSTP is supported at the present time by a federal contract research center, the Science and Technology Policy Institute, S&TPI.
This organization during the recent transition planning operation singled out 10 high-priority issues for attention by OSTP for the future. Let me run through these very briefly. I'm not going to go into any detail, but I think you'll recognize most of them.
Very briefly, three of these concern more or less immediate safety and security challenges to the US. Three others pose long-term challenges and are probably lasting issues to be considered. While four others seem to require greater government leadership, including better balance across the federal R&D enterprises, which has already been mentioned this morning by Chuck Vest.
First, let me tell you what the immediate, more or less, issues are as seen by S&TPI. There's air traffic control and safety. The problems there have been around for a long time, but they are becoming critical as air traffic increases and the capacity of the system is constrained and remains about the same. There's export controls. Many laws and regulations are outdated. Perhaps only highly classified technologies should require export licenses, but that's something to be decided.
There's the national missile defense. This is a reprise of the earlier ABM confrontation. Next are the lasting, longer range issues. Global climate change, you're all familiar with it. Energy, both supply and demand. The US is vulnerable to California-type shortages of electricity and foreign oil supplies and manipulations. Increased costs to the economy and consumers are really quite threatening.
K to 12 education-- education R&D needs to be pursued on a long-term time frame. There's very little actual R&D on education that goes on today. Education research might benefit, indeed, from the structure that we've built in the health research model. In spite of the fact that there is a National Institute of Education, it does not in any way match the National Institutes of Health. And the structure that we've put together in the health area could serve as a model for education research.
There's greater government leadership. That's the final category. First there is critical infrastructure protection. These include the information networks and other assets controlled by the private sector. So there has to be some effort to reach from the public sector to the private sector. Protection from cyberterrorism is one very major issue there.
Next, there's genomics. There are many issues here-- for example, how to handle stem cell research and genetic therapies. Balance in the federal R&D enterprise has already been mentioned. I had the number 95 billion for federal R&D budget last year. And corresponding programs begs for a more rational approach and a better management capability.
Of course, there are many other issues. But none of these I think are going to be decided or resolved exclusively by science or engineering considerations alone. Politics and economics will intervene, just as they have in the past. But science and engineering are vital. It is remarkable that all administrations since World War II have recognized that and acted accordingly. The rate of success is not likely to change very much. Count on 50%.
I do think that OSTP's role is changing. It should be the White House's and the federal government's window on the private sector, and particularly the private sector's R&D activities and what the developments are and the directions of all of that. That's an extremely important piece of knowledge for federal decision making and public policy. Now, by proposing that kind of a function, I'm not asking for a purely regulatory activity on the part of the federal government of private R&D. I'm just asking for an informational role.
Now, that role, I think, is likely to dominate a great deal of OSTP activity in the years ahead, in spite of the pressing need for work on the issues that I mentioned and the ones I didn't mention. Many of the issues identified by S&TPI will require efforts which cross organizational lines. And that, too, has been mentioned here today. Such efforts have traditionally been catalyzed by the White House Science apparatus, centered in OSTP, and that is still a valuable and important function.
Overall, the organizational pattern for science and technology in the White House from the early days is still recognizable if you look at the organization chart today, and is likely to remain so. Some changes or simplifications might be wise. But none of the current proposals seem particularly attractive. The old idea of a Department of Science and Technology, or just Science, still does not appeal-- and I think is unlikely to emerge, at least I hope so.
Despite the 50% success rate, the system we have seems to work, and it is the legacy of the Van Bush era and the modifications that stem from efforts by succeeding generations. Referring to David Abshire's publication recently entitled Advancing Innovation: Improving the Science and Technology Structure and Policy Process-- that study, which I've got a copy of here-- highlights OSTP and its staffing. It says more is needed, but no mention is made of S&TPI, which is an underused resource, in my opinion.
More funding is needed for-- oh. The funding at the moment of S&TPI goes through the NSF budget, and I think that's a mistake. I think that that funding should go through the White House. It should go OSTP. But we shall see.
I had one other interesting piece of information which I can tell you about, and that is that Floyd Kvamme has been appointed the co-chair of PCAST, the president's science and technology committee. And he has been interested in asking, what are the issues that OSTP and others should be looking at, or what PCAST should be looking at.
And I'm putting together an answer to this. I've divided it into two parts. I've divided the issues into a part in which political activities are going to play an important role in resolving them. Among those are ABM, the missile defense thing, the energy strategy, global warming, and genetically engineered products. And then there are others where the technical side is more likely to be dominant, and that is air traffic control, balance in the R&D budget, cyberterrorism, and education systems and the K to 12 area particularly.
I think if we think about the future in those terms, you can see a continuing role for OSTP and one that is not incompatible with what it has done with excellence in the past. And I hope that this conference can be successful in setting the stage for that continuation. Thank you very much.
DAN HASTINGS: Any questions for Dr. David?
ED DAVID: Where's Noah? Yes.
AUDIENCE: I'm curious about your thoughts [INAUDIBLE]
ED DAVID: I think that the first decision is whether we want to build an ABM system, and whether it's feasible technologically-- that is still being questioned-- and in particular what it will do to other countries in terms of what their reaction is going to be-- not in terms of what they say but much of what they do. And so it's too early to have a strong opinion about that. I do think that it's a dangerous world out there and getting more dangerous because of-- there are large numbers of countries who will have the capability of delivering nuclear weapons, or even non-nuclear weapons on this country from a distance, a long distance.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] the audience, maybe you could say another sentence or two about the SST decision, which I consider one of your great successes.
ED DAVID: Unintentional. The SST program was started-- when-- I guess it was in the middle '60s, something there. It was to build two prototype SSTs that had performance profiles which were much better than the Concord. Larger payloads, longer ranges, et cetera. I wouldn't say more efficient, because efficiency hadn't really been examined carefully at that time.
The problem with the SST was that many people in the country saw it as what we call today corporate welfare. There's no reason for the federal government to get into product development, and they were basically funding all-- as nearly as I know of-- as I remember of the SST program. There was no matching funds involved, or a very minor amount of matching funds involved.
And that hit the Congress with a thud in 1969 and '70. And it was argued and argued. And finally Congress voted it down.
It was a shame in some senses. It was a shame because those two prototypes were within an eyelash of flying. And a little bit of continuation would have at least allowed testing of those airplanes, and we could have gotten a much better line on the pollution that they cause and a much better line on their capabilities. And I don't think it would have told us much about the commercial applications, but it might have even told us something about that.
But there were real problems, for example. The sonic boom the SST would have made, and so it was a big heavy airplane, and where they made a tremendous sonic boom. And you couldn't have flown it supersonically over the United States. You would have had to fly it only over water.
I still think there is some justification for an SST capability for flying from the West Coast of the United States to the Far East. Furthermore, with very modern technology, which was not available at that time, you could have an aircraft which could fly above the atmosphere so that there would be no or very little sonic boom. But all of that is nothing but theory. I think that what my friend over here is referring to is that I think SST is dead for a long time to come.
DAN HASTINGS: Last question. Matt?
AUDIENCE: This also relates, at least indirectly, to the SST decision. I wonder if you could comment on your thoughts on the role of the Science Advisory Committee and independent science advice and the whole episode with Garwin essentially going public with PCAST's conclusions about the SST and infuriating the president to such a degree, and whether you think members of PSAC have a responsibility to remain silent on such matters, if they've given their advice confidentially or to come out publicly, or where you come out on that whole divide.
ED DAVID: There was no agreement by the members of PSAC at that time, nor for that matter in recent times, not to go public on information which was unclassified. The only obligation was to keep classified information secret. So Dick Garwin had every right to go and testify in front of Congress in any way that he wanted to.
And I think that's an important capability because just as I said in my comments here, economics and politics often govern what's done. And if it's technically or scientifically unsound, that should be made public. And I think you can be sure that the federal government is not so anxious to publicize that itself-- in fact wouldn't. So I think that that capability is something that should be preserved, and I believe it still is preserved.
By the way Dick Garwin is a close friend of mine, so I have a conflict of interest when I say that. I do not think that Dick Garwin's testimony was what sunk the SST. And he didn't sink the President's Science Advisory Committee by doing that either. It was a much broader issue than that.
DAN HASTINGS: OK. Mr. Golden wants to comment.
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: I would just like to respectfully disagree with my respected friend, Ed David, in degree. I think the President's advisors have an obligation to speak to the public, but not before they resign from the president's staff. I think it's absolutely crucial that the President's Science Advisor and the PSAC recognize that they are there to be advising and assisting the president. Their members of his staff. They have to be loyal to him first. They can then, if they disagree, their loyalty of course runs to the United States, and they should resign from their position with the president and speak out.
ED DAVID: I might say I agree with that.
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: Dick Garwin admitted he was wrong.
ED DAVID: He did resign.
WILLIAM T. GOLDEN: No, he didn't. He got everybody fired. Dick Garwin's a friend of mine too.
DAN HASTINGS: He's a friend of everybody's. OK, Guy. Go ahead.
GUYFORD STEVER: First of all, let me congratulate MIT for holding such a colloquium. I'm delighted to be invited to participate in it for several reasons. It was just 60 years ago next month that I came by train from California to this campus to begin work at the radiation laboratory, MIT Radiation Laboratory, which was one of Vannevar Bush's laboratories that was set up by [INAUDIBLE] and DRC. I'm also delighted to come because I find that the president of MIT now knows the proper pronunciation of Vannevar Bush's name. We have been fighting a long time to get that, and probably will for a long time in the future.
Now-- well, you've heard how the White House Science Office got Started It was appreciated at home. We loved it, especially those of us at MIT when Jim Killian was appointed the President's Science Advisor and the first leader of OST in the modern group. And it performed wonderfully under Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and the first term of Nixon.
But it had one fatal flaw. Its existence depended upon an executive order from the president. And an executive order can just-- in one signature, like that, it goes out of existence. And that's exactly what had happened.
But MIT figured again in its revival. After one year on the job here-- my job at the National Science Foundation-- by the way, that's the best job in Washington, period, no question. But I'd had a wonderful first year, and I came back from vacation in early January of '73. And I got a call from a former colleague, MIT colleague, George Shultz, to come to see him at his Treasury Office. He was Secretary of the Treasury and also a Special Assistant to the President.
I went. And he said, the rumors you've been hearing that OST will be transferred-- to transfer the functions of OST to the NSF are true. And he said, can you have lunch with Roy Ash, the head of OMB, and me tomorrow and tell us what you would do when that happens? One day-- actually, there was a Sunday in between.
I immediately asked if I could talk with anybody, and he said no. Can I talk with Ray Bisplinghoff, another MIT colleague, who was deputy head of NSF. And he allowed that I could do that. And we, in fact, did meet and do some thinking.
I had this choice to make, to tell the president and Shultz and everybody else that I didn't think it was a good idea and quit. Or I could-- and Ray convinced me to do this. He said, look, if you quit, they'll just get somebody else that'll do it. And so why don't you do it? And we decided very quickly-- well, you think what you would do in two days or a day and a half to answer that.
So I went to the lunch. And I said-- the first thing I said to them, I think we should re-establish the President's Science Advisory Committee, PSAC. And they said, nothing doing. President Nixon has decided against that, and it's going to stay that way.
So I kind of got the impression that maybe this temporary relationship might be a little longer than it could be. And so we set out to see what we could do. And the only ideas we had was to recreate the White House organization at the NSF. And, in fact, we set out to do that.
Now, we tried to get a number of the OST staff to join us. I don't blame them for feeling that it was a step down from that glamorous position in the old executive office building and the executive staff of the President of the United States. But Dave Beckler helped a great deal in getting one important appointment for that part of the organization we set up, and that was Russ Drew to head what we called "stippo," STPO, Science and Technology Policy Office, to handle a great deal of this.
A short time thereafter, Phil Smith joined my staff as my executive officer. And he did the important job of making sure that I didn't neglect my responsibilities on either side of this terrible split that I was in. And he and my longtime secretary, Doris McCarn, who knew everything about Washington science, made sure that I handle this. By the way, I think I only missed in three years one National Science Board meeting.
But by the way, this decision at the White House was taken without ever referring to me as head of NSF or the National Science Board. In fact, I was warned not to bring them in to our early thinking. But I convinced Shultz to come and talk with them. And some of them, I think, saw stars in their eyes that we would go back to the original proposal that NSF would be the grand central operational item in science technology. Others of them saw it temporary, but we better do a good job.
And in fact, they immediately voted to establish an advisory committee for me in that role. That meant I had an advisory committee of outsiders. The members of the National Science Board were outsiders. And so we were ready to take off.
They didn't like FCST-- that's the Federal Council on Science and Technology. Why? Because it had too many subcommittees. And White Houses are suspicious of too many organizations running around. And I agreed that we would make an analysis of that and cut them back if it appeared necessary.
So I started that analysis. And sadly enough, we got it from 14 down to 12. And they agreed to the rest of them. But the sad thing was that one of Ed David's very favorites, the one on tunneling technology, was one of the two that got cut. Ed, I apologize for the first time.
And so we went forth. And there was, I should say, a minor ripple in the science community when all of this went public, a minor ripple being something related to a nuclear blast. But the best thing about all the criticism of this new arrangement is everybody criticized the arrangement, but no one attacked me from the community. And I thought that was just-- I must be a great guy. But then I remembered I had this tremendous power of still being the director of the NSF with an awful lot of money to spend on favorite projects. And so that worked out OK.
But this occurred, by the way, right at Nixon's second inauguration. This was long before Watergate. We hadn't heard of Watergate by then. And so we started with the president. By the way I think that a good success of a system in the White House is, A, to be in the White House as an advisor; two, the second, to be with a president who understands science and technology and knows he needs it; and third, to have a group of very important problems. If you have those three, why, you can do something.
I was out of the White House. I wasn't sure, really, of the president's understanding of science and technology, although I changed my mind on that. He understood it. He really liked science and technology, President Nixon, but he didn't like scientists.
But we went on. And the whole change, his new order of organization, wasn't to take place until July. But the people at OMB didn't wait. They immediately asked me if I would present the new budget that was to be presented-- that would be the '74 budget, presented in January of '73-- as well as the NSF budget.
And I accepted this. And Dave Beckler and what's his name over at OMB put me through a course of sprouts, showing me how the budget had been constructed. And so I went forth on that.
Then what were the problems we were going to get? Well, Ed David had started some very important things. One of them was-- and this was of great interest to President Nixon-- and that was detente with the Soviets. And he had started the science part of that detente. And we picked that up. And we had all the rest of my time there, three years in this role, we had wonderful meetings with the Soviets. And each time their Deputy Prime Minister who was their, my counterpart, would have been Ed's counterpart. Every time they came, we got them in to see the president.
And every time I went over there, I got to see-- well, first was Podgorny and the second was Kosygin. And they told me-- well, those meetings were so important and so-- I'm not going to talk about them, but they were quite interesting. And what they said essentially to us in those meetings, those two meetings with the leaders, was that detente with the United States is so important to the Soviet Union that they would not raise any trouble in the Middle East where we were having an energy crisis, nor would they interfere with what we were doing in Vietnam. Now, that was a pretty big promise, and we never were able to live up to it.
Well, by the end of that first year, we were well staffed. [INAUDIBLE] had come in as head of the OST part of our organization. And we added Paul Donovan and Paul Craig from the RAND Program on a big energy thing, because energy was becoming a very big thing. And that also had been foreseen by the OSTP before. And they had some very good work on it. And in fact, we at NSF had already been assigned geothermal and solar energy. And we built them up in the RAND Program quite heavily. We were also doing studies on energy efficiency, new analyses of energy systems, and on and on and on.
And immediately in the fall came the oil embargo, OPEC oil embargo, which sent this country into panic, and especially the government into panic. More things were done in a hurry, to try to do something in a hurry, like as is being done in California today. And the same issues came up, by the way.
And first Governor Love came in as the energy czar. And Governor Love immediately asked me to establish an energy research and development committee to help him-- this was from the private sector, so we got private sector advice. And President Nixon started a program called Project Independence, which would be independent from all imported oil, which was hopeless. And then John Sawhill became head of a Federal Energy Administration to conduct that. We helped him.
We helped in the energy program when the ERDA was formed. And we helped to get another MIT colleague from the same department, Bob Seamans, as the first director of-- do you sense some kind of a cabal here? Well, there was one.
And by the end of '73, we were all set to handle anything. And we'd gotten the president interested not only in detente but in re-establishing the National Medals of Science, which had dropped off for two years. And so I had the pleasure of four years of officiating at that thing. That was kind of fun.
Well, when Watergate took hold of the country and shook it up pretty badly, as well as energy, and it became clear that President Nixon wouldn't be able to stay, and so this time the National Academy set up, with Jim Killian as the chairman, a committee to explore the restoration of science back in the White House. They thought if President Ford came in, Vice President Ford came in, they had a chance. And they did.
They talked to President Ford. I talked to President Ford. And at that time, when he was Vice President, he said two things to me. He said, I want to reestablish science in the White House as soon as we can. But I want to do it with an act of Congress which can't be signed away by a president. That was his most important thing.
And the second thing is, I would like to see the science budgets increased. And why? We had shown him Science Indicators. Everybody knows Science Indicators, a very popular publication of the status of science. And I was sitting there at a coffee table, leafing through all this stuff in this thing to show him. And he suddenly reached back and he turned the thing and he says, what's this?
And there was a plot of the proportion of the annual GNP of the United States, which would go into RDT&E Research, Development, Tech-- and he looked at it. And here was-- our thing was coming down like this, Germany was going up like this, Japan was going up like that. He instantly said, you know, those two countries don't even have a military budget, R&D budget.
So he recognized right away. And by the way, at the end, one of our proudest accomplishments was in the last two budgets that Ford presented, both of which first had stopped the downturn and started it up. And this was-- well, when Ford got there, he said within the first week when I met him in a reception line at the White House, when he invited the presidential appointees there-- by the way, everything is done in a reception line or a cocktail party or a casual meeting at dinner. Everything important in Washington is done that way.
And he said to me, I want you-- he called me Dr. Stever right up to the end. He never called me Guy, until the end. But Dr. Stever, I want you to continue the two-hat arrangement until we can get the act passed, the act that we are celebrating today. And, well, to make a long story short-- it became a long story-- it was another two years before finally I was nominated to be the first head of OSTP. And that meant I had to drop my favorite employment, which was the NSF.
That act, by the way, we really should celebrate. It was good then, and it's still a good one. And the most important thing is that it's there. If a president ignores it for a while, the next president-- it's there to face the next president, and so on. And there are lots of people in Congress who will support getting it going again, and I'm delighted.
There were some things we did to help-- after all, we inherited several big problems areas from David's area, and we benefited from them. And we sent on some things to the next group. One thing we sent on was Phil Smith, who joined Frank Press and made a wonderful team under Jimmy Carter, President Jimmy Carter. And so that was one of our gifts.
But there was one thing. We tried-- I'm sorry, Congress tried to get PSAC reestablished. But the administration resisted it. I was on the side of Congress, but I was in one of these difficult positions because I was the fellow that went back and forth between Congress and the president in all the negotiations to get that act passed. I felt like a tennis ball in a difficult rally, being battered back and forth between them.
But nevertheless, there was a compromise. And there was one part of that bill, which did create a President's Science Advisory Commission, a Commission on Science and Technology, which we set up immediately. And that was to act for two years and then decide whether it should be a permanent thing.
We had set up under Bill Baker and Si Ramo two committees before that happened. When the act was passed, we immediately took those two committees, combined them-- Si Ramo chairman and Bill Baker second in command-- and we put together, I think, almost two dozen major issues and committees studying them and ready to take off. And that was another gift that we gave to the next one.
My message is one of continuity. Thank you. My message is one of continuity. Is that what you've been showing me for the last 10 minutes? Well, you've got to put bigger letters and also flashing letters. I'm through.
In any case, my message is one of continuity. Oh, I was the one that lit the first candle in the first birthday of the modern OSTP. That's why I'm here today.
DAN HASTINGS: Any questions for Dr. Stever?
GUYFORD STEVER: I can answer the question that you asked about, how did Vannevar Bush get started up? Very simple. He had left MIT [INAUDIBLE]. He went to the Carnegie Commission, Carnegie Institution of Washington as president. He was there, and he was at a meeting of the National Academies on-- I believe it was science education. The members were talking about science education programs.
And he-- but this was right at the time that Britain, the war in Europe was going badly. The war-- in fact, [? London ?] was coming on. And in 1940-- that committee, which had [INAUDIBLE].
That committee was set up. They set themselves up. And Vannevar Bush, a Republican, got in very well with President Roosevelt. You said he was a straight shooter, and Roosevelt appreciated that. And Roosevelt threw everything with respect to science and technology to Bush.
And he started NDRC, which started the Radiation Laboratory. It started OSRD, the office in London to which I went. And Dave Beckler was there. And this was the organization which recruited academic scientists to work in wartime labs, one of which is here. Thank you.
DAN HASTINGS: So thank you for those perspectives. So now, Dr. Stever having grounded what happened to OSTP in the Congress, I'm now going to introduce former Representative John Edward Porter. John Porter is a partner in Hogan and Hartson's Washington, DC office and a member of the firm's health group. He concentrates his practice on health law and education matters, including administrative and regulatory, international, and legislative strategy, education and health policy.
Prior to joining Hogan and Hartson, Mr. Porter served 21 years as Congressman from Illinois's 10th district. In Congress, he served on the Appropriations Committee, as chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Vice Chairman of Subcommittee on Military Construction. He's received more than 275 awards for his service in Congress, including many awards for leadership on behalf of biomedical research, for his support of science research, and for his work advancing the cause of human rights. So with that, a congressional perspective from Mr. Porter.
JOHN PORTER: I appreciate being allowed to participate in the celebration and critique of the relationship of science and technology to government. Although everyone here has been a part of that relationship, I believe that I am the only non-scientist on the program and in a unique position to see science and technology from that perspective as a member of the legislative branch.
But first, let me express to Dr. Vest and the MIT family what a special pleasure it is to be back on campus for the first time in 47 years. I was a student here in 1953, '54. And it was here that I gained an appreciation for science and some understanding of the scientific method.
It was here also that I-- and I'm a Chicagoan-- froze during that cold and extremely snowy winter. I can remember the dormitory, one large room at the top of our fraternity house in Boston, where everyone slept in bunk beds, about 40 in all, with all the windows wide open all winter long, a health regulation. Each of us slept in a sweatsuit, and every bunk had multiple blankets with an electric blanket at the bottom.
Tangles of wires ran across the floor to vastly overloaded circuits, violating every fire department regulation. Those nearest the open windows would often awake with three or four inches of snow on the foot of their bunks. It was a wonder that we all survived.
In any case, I return as a non-scientist but as one inspired by the achievements and possibilities of science and technology and as a committed science advocate to the federal government. As an appropriator for 20 years, it was my privilege to rub shoulders with the leaders of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Public Health Service, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and to be involved not only in funding those agencies but often in issues affecting health and science in the Congress.
To place our celebration in perspective and to reach a bottom line, science and technology have impacted Congress and gained support based in the main on their perceived utility to societal goals. OSTP has variously been more important or less within the executive branch and with Congress, depending on the president's priorities and the demands and issues of the day. In other words, respecting both Congress and the executive branch, there is for science and technology still a long way to go.
Others can comment far better than I as to how science and technology and OSTP have fared in any specific White House. My perspective is that science and technology have yet to be perceived as important goals for the nation and that they have been called to the table as the need has been perceived to do so, and that few presidents have come to office with scientific background or understanding. Only Jefferson and Hoover come immediately to mind.
The same problems exist in the executive branch. You will find science and technology portfolios in at least nine departments and four major agencies of the federal government. We can celebrate this as an ascent of science in its importance within our government and to the American people. But because appropriations structures in Congress mirror this departmental setup, the Congress has spread science funding through a number of appropriations subcommittees and in all but one-- the one I was privileged to chair-- it is a relatively minor part of the subcommittees' allocated funds and unfortunately gets an aliquot measure of the members' attention.
Suggestions have been made for the last 100 years-- and most recently 25 and five years ago-- for concentration by creating a federal department of science. But always these have been rejected, and undoubtedly they will continue to be. The problem of lack of scientific training and background or even understanding among members of Congress is profound. We have two physicists, one chemist, and eight MDs, together with five engineers and four dentists-- all of whom but one list another occupation in the House of Representatives. That is probably a high watermark. But it's really about 11 to 15 out of 435 members, or maybe 2% to 3% of the House of Representatives.
Amid a slew of attorneys in the 100 member Senate, we have one heart transplant surgeon and two veterinarians-- and I might add a professional baseball player, an actor, and a jewelry designer. The chairs of the Senate and House subcommittees funding the largest science portfolios are lawyers or business executives. The chairs of the respective authorizing committees, the one who write science and technology policy, include a first-term lawyer, a Naval officer, a county official, and a farmer. This is to say nothing about their appreciation and commitment to science and technology, but only to reflect on their all too typical backgrounds in the legislative branch.
Although we have filled in with a knowledgeable staff, this reflection of a lack of scientific education or understanding in the legislative branch probably foreordains the approaches of members of Congress to science and technology matters. They are, first of all, often preoccupied with other issues. They are likely appreciative of science but uncomfortable with their lack of knowledge and understanding. They would be unlikely to have ever heard of the Office of Science and Technology, or to know the initials OSTP.
They would probably recognize that the president has a Science Advisor, but few would be able to recognize him or her. When science and technology matters arise, they largely depend upon staff, giving science advocates a strong hint of staff importance in shaping policy and funding. Lacking an understanding of scientific method and the oft times serendipitous nature of research, as well as any distinction between basic and applied science, they believe generally that research must justify itself in terms of serving specific societal goals and can simply be directed and funded to achieve them. Consequently, they have been earmarking too much research for the past 120 years or so to the point, for example, that today 50% of the research funding in agriculture's budget is specifically earmarked. On the other hand, we have fought disease of the weak mentality in Congress for the past 50 years and mostly succeeded.
But patient advocacy groups have become better funded, more sophisticated, and more militant. The demands on members to push one disease ahead of others for research funding increases year by year. Education of members that research priorities should always be scientifically not politically determined, even recognizing that there is politics within science, is increasingly needed. This does not mean that members shouldn't have or don't have strong opinions or express them-- merely that they should stop at the edge of the water and forbear mandating those opinions upon the research community.
In consequence of all this, the best argument for science and technology funding in Congress is its positive effect upon the American economy. It's the economy, stupid-- the most profound political statement made in the past century-- is something members of Congress can understand. High-paying, high-tech jobs are very persuasive as a commodity.
Science and technology with a military aspect has always been an easier sell. Jefferson had no trouble getting Congress to fund Lewis and Clark when he made it a military expedition and put military officers in charge. Science that holds the promise of saving and lengthening lives, to be fair, also stands a chance. Witness the congressional commitment to doubling funding for medical research through the National Institutes of Health.
Yet in Congress you may run into not only the nativist anti-science populism that has from time to time raised its ugly head but also the clash of science and religion, well recorded in our national history. In this regard, the stem cell research issue is most current. Basic science is harder, but I still revel in the prime-time television program in 1995, where Sam Donaldson refuted an attack on science projects by a citizens group. Perhaps you remember that program.
Despite all this, our country has become and remains the world leader in science and technology. And fortunately the synergy and partnership between government funded research and industry R&D largely drives our economy. Our economic destiny, I believe, lies in education and research, in education and technology. Yet in America, science careers are not hot. Most of our children seem to want to be stockbrokers these days. And science education in many of our schools is not a high priority, and qualified science teachers are hard to find. If we had not had the influx of foreign science talent and brainpower, I believe we would be in serious difficulty. Thank god for our emphasis on human freedom and open scientific inquiry.
Today we have a new administration in Washington. It follows one which professed a high degree of value in science and technology but as in so many other areas, in my judgment, fell short in leadership and commitment. In the new administration, any new administration, the science advisors should advise on the selection of key science people in other federal departments and agencies. Unfortunately, no Science Advisor has yet been appointed in this new administration.
Budget impact is also needed from a Science Advisor to the president. One new presidential budget for fiscal year 2002 has already gone forward without science advice, and with a real decrease for many science accounts, and another is currently being put together so science advice may miss the next budget cycle as well. I might add editorially-- and perhaps all of my comments this morning are editorial-- that a number of science issues already have been dealt without the input of a Presidential Science Advisor-- from Kyoto to arsenic in drinking water to CO2 emissions to a national ballistic missile defense system.
So while science and technology are ascendant in America, they are not so ascendant within the Congress or in the White House. Indeed, OSTP's own appropriation over the years has languished. Funded at $2.3 million in 1977, it is only $5.2 million for this fiscal year. Even though aided by many fellowships from other departments and agencies, the overall budget is less in real terms today than it was 25 years ago. And the new administration has targeted it for a 1.3% increase, which is a real decrease for fiscal year 2002.
All this leads me to my conclusion. If Congress and at times the executive branch, if government will not come easily to science, science must come to government. There is a great need for scientists to take a more active role in civic society in our country. Not too long ago the science community was described as a weak, disorganized, parochial political constituency, but this is changing. Led by broad-based groups like Research America-- and by the way, that's an imperative, Research America-- there has been real progress of late in science advocacy. Yet while we have largely succeeded in doubling funding for medical research, support for the physical sciences has lagged behind.
Federal support for chemistry, for physics, for mathematics, for engineering, and physical sciences should also be doubled. And with a concerted effort, this can be accomplished. Nothing sticks in the craw of this utilitarian former congressman than that with research clearly establishing obesity as a serious health risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The American people, particularly our children, are getting seriously more obese. Isn't that strange?
We must translate knowledge gained through research into behavior and practice. And we can with a concerted effort, double of funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as well. What all this takes are more involved members of the scientific community. The world is increasingly technical. Those of us who are not technically trained-- most of us-- need guidance.
Marcy Greenwood, the Associate Director for Science in the OSTP during the last administration, recently spoke on developing citizen scientists. And I commend her remarks to you. Among many important points, Dr. Greenwood emphasizes that if members of the public understand more about science, they will be more inclined to spend public resources on research. While I realize that scientists by nature often feel uncomfortable with advocacy, if we all stayed within our comfort zones, very little would be accomplished.
Though perhaps they are not well understood, scientists are highly respected in our society. They are also highly credible. When they speak with a unified voice, people listen. While recent progress has been made, this power has yet to be fully developed or applied. Some ways should be devised to work it into the academic training of future scientists. The political door can be opened by scientific advocacy, but like everything else this depends on leadership. Now is the time for all good scientists to come to the aid of their country. Thank you for listening to me.
DAN HASTINGS: We can take one or two questions for Mr. Porter. OK. In the absence of any-- ah, OK.
AUDIENCE: You played a major role in initiating the movement to double the NIH budget. What do you think was the critical event that brought that to Congress's attention, in your opinion, and made that happen?
JOHN PORTER: First, let me apologize for my voice. I have allergies at this time of year, and they plague me.
I would go back to 1995, when the Republicans very surprisingly took control of the House of Representatives and Newt Gingrich was elected Speaker. Immediately, because Republicans wanted to come to grips with the budget deficits that were huge and plaguing our country and our economy, commitments were made to cut federal spending in almost every area. And the budget resolution that passed in the spring of 1995 cut funding for the National Institutes of Health by 5% per year for five years, or a 25% overall cut.
I was the new chairman, having served on the committee for 15 years, was the new chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funded the National Institutes of Health. I thought the budget resolution was, very frankly, insanity.
I talked to some people in the scientific community who gathered together a group of researchers and CEOs of major pharmaceutical and biotech companies and made an appointment to see the Speaker of the House. I think there was nine of us or 10 of us around the table, and the speaker gave us his attention for about an hour.
And they laid out for him why, in very forceful terms, why this was a policy that would be a disaster for our country, lose our leads in biomedical research, and set back the possibilities of breakthroughs in this area by not only the five years but for a long, long time to come. All the momentum would be lost. Young people would not be able to see this as a career. And at the end of that time, the speaker said, to his credit, I think we made a terrible mistake, and I'm going to do everything I can to reverse that. And to his word, he has become a very strong advocate for medical science research and even remains that today.
What came out of that was my subcommittee was ordered to cut $9 billion in discretionary spending from a $70 billion budget down to $61 billion. And while I had to do that, I took CDC and NIH and went to the speaker and said, I want to give NIH a 5.7% increase and I want to give CDC a small increase, and I want to take them out of this budgetary war and pass them in a separate bill, which is unprecedented, and send it to the president for signatures so that they will not be affected by cuts that have to come in my subcommittee.
And the Speaker said he would support that. He said, you're going to have to clear it with the Senate. Go over and see Bob Dole. I went over and saw Bob Dole. Bob Dole knows the importance of medical research and was treated in my hometown of Evanston for very, very serious injuries after World War II.
And he said, I think that's a wise thing to do. We put them in a separate bill, put them on the floor, and passed them out and got them out of the budgetary wars. And that set the stage for a focus on medical research that we were able to sustain by increases of about 7% in the next two years, and then, our economy having turned around, we began to pull the people together that would support a doubling of funding for biomedical research over the next five years.
We have now completed three of those years. The president, in his State of the Union address, committed to a $2.8 billion increase for NIH for the next fiscal year. That is about 13 and 1/2%-- not quite where we want it, but we're working on that.
But the difficulty has been-- and this is what I want to emphasize-- the difficulty is that you shouldn't have the life sciences going forward and the physical sciences not going forward with them. And the difficulty in Congress is that I had control over NIH and CDC, but I had no control over NSF or NOAA or NASA or Defense or Energy or all the other places in the federal budget where there is basic research funding.
And so it is, I think, very important now to take this base that we've built for medical research. And one of the lead organizations-- and I've just joined the board of it-- of Research America. Take this base, and Research America is already going to Congress and saying, you've got to fund the physical sciences as well, and work this into a next step of doubling the funding for the physical sciences and research all across the government. And I think, as I said a moment ago, that we can do this with a concerted effort. It can be accomplished if we set our minds to it. I'm sorry it took so long.
CHARLES M. VEST: I just want to say, we brought you a visual, Mr. Porter.
DAN HASTINGS: It makes the same point you were just making. OK, thank you very much.