CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
MARCH 21, 1962
The Interdependence of Political, Scientific and Military Planning
EXTENSION OF REMARKS FOR HON. HENRY M. JACKSON OF WASHINGTON IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
Wednesday, March 21,1962
Mr. JACKSON. Mr. President, I believe a recent speech by Senator MUSKIE entitled "The Interdependence of Political, Scientific, and Military Planning," should be given further circulation. The Senator has commented on a number of the critical issues in the staffing and organization of the national security policy process following on his work as a member of the Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery of the Government Operations Committee.
This speech was delivered to a meeting of the Electronics Industries Association seminar on March 13, 1962. I hope that Members of Congress will read Senator MUSKIE'S Most helpful statement.
I ask unanimous consent to have the speech printed in the RECORD.
There being no objection, the speech was ordered to be printed in the RECORD as follows:
THE INTERDEPENDENCE OF POLITICAL, SCIENTIFIC, AND MILITARY PLANNING
(Remarks by U.S. Senator EDMUND S. MUSKIE, Democrat, of Maine, to a luncheon meeting of the Electronics Industries Association seminar on the New Look in Defense Planning, Statler-Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C., March 13, 1962)
Two weeks ago, President Kennedy spoke to the Nation on his decision to resume nuclear weapons testing. No single issue, and no single decision illustrates more clearly the dilemmas confronting the President and his policy advisers in coordinating political, scientific, and military planning. In retrospect the decision appears to have been inevitable. But in the preparation for that decision, nothing could be treated as inevitable except the paramount importance of the security of the free world.
The remarkable feature of that decision was the balance it achieved in giving proper weight to the three factors involved in our overall national security -- domestic and foreign policy, scientific advancement, and military planning.
Politically, the President had to recognize the deep emotional biases on both sides of the issue inside the United States. There were those who would have us test, whatever the effects of such tests on health, national and world opinion, or long-term disarmament goals. There were those who would oppose all tests, whatever the effects of such a decision on our defensive capacity and the balance of power. There was a large group without opinions, but with vague and disquieting fears over what might happen if we should resume tests.
As the leader of the free world the President had to take into account the attitude of our allies and friends and the reaction of the uncommitted nations. We could not have our policies determined by them, but neither, in the contest for men's minds, could we afford to ignore their opinions.
I do not need to detail the scientific and military requirements which enforced the need to resume the tests. This is an age when military technology holds the key to the balance of power, when the scientific advances of today forecast the potential strength of tomorrow, and when the force of weapons threatens broad scale devastation. Until we have found the political and scientific means of controlling the development, possession, and use of weapons, we cannot avoid our responsibility for maintaining and expanding our defensive and offensive capacity. Our Secretary of State is, this week, testing whether or not such control is possible.
All of this implies a deep and lasting struggle, one in which the free nations and the Communist bloc are deeply involved, and one from which the uncommitted nations are trying desperately to escape. There is no visible end to the struggle. Although it resembles war in so many ways, the cold war does not offer the immediate and decisive choices which make war palatable to some and bearable to others. In the cold war there is the constant threat of intellectual frostbite, frozen attitudes, and apathy. A cold shower braces; but the penetrating cold of a long winter's night threatens to drain the resources of the hardiest among us.
How, in such a protracted struggle does a free society retain its vitality, provide for its defense, and give leadership against an implacable and resourceful foe?
Or, as Senator JACKSON put it in his final statement for the Subcommittee on National Policy Machinery: "Can free societies out plan, outperform, outlast -- and if need be, out sacrifice -- totalitarian systems? Can we recognize fresh problems in a changing world and respond in time with new plans for meeting them?"
In this forum, you are wrestling with the problem of coordinated planning. As manufacturers of electronic devices, you have banded together, in part, "to advance the defense of our country, the growth of our economy, the progress of technology, and all interests of the electronics industry compatible with the public welfare." This is a worthy objective.
It would be presumptuous of me to set myself up as an expert on military and technological planning. Even my service on the Government operations Committee and the National Policy Machinery Subcommittee does not give me the authority to lecture you on the difficulties of coordinating the scientific and military aspects of our defense planning effort.
What I can do, as one versed in public policy, is to offer you an approach to the problem of coordinating and integrating specialized disciplines, which are increasingly interrelated on a policymaking level, which, in turn, is the domain of nonspecialists.
There are three ways in which we may approach the problem: structure, personnel, and public response.
The first question is that of structure. Do we need to set up special committees or to overhaul our Government in order to get the job done as it should be done?
Whenever freemen encounter a problem, they form a committee or an association. This town is filled with committees, associations, organizations, societies, and study groups, in and out of government. Their rise and fall can be plotted and predicted according to the ebb and flow of crises in every field of human endeavor from aeronautical technology to the zoology of Afghanistan.
Such combinations of interested parties are inevitable. In a free society they are desirable. But in government the temptation to form a committee whenever an apparently new problem arises should be treated with great caution and restraint.
As Senator JACKSON said in his final statement on the deliberation of the National Policy Machinery Subcommittee:
"Properly managed, and chaired by officials with responsibility for decision and action, committees can be useful in helping make sure that voices that should be heard are heard. But a very high percentage of committees exact a heavy toll by diluting the authority of individual executives, obscuring responsibility for getting things done, and generally slowing decision making."
Government by committee is no government at all, since it is the antithesis of the action on which forceful and effective government depends.
The other temptation in dealing with changing problems of a democracy in our present age is to engage in radical overhauling of the actual framework and structure of government.
The National Policy Machinery Subcommittee received many suggestions for governmental reorganization, ranging from the constitution of a super cabinet with a First Secretary to the proposed establishment of a Department of Science and Technology.
The subcommittee rejected both suggestions, noting that "faulty machinery is rarely the real culprit when our policies are inconsistent or when they lack sustained forward momentum. The underlying cause is normally found elsewhere. It consists in the absence of a clear sense of direction and coherence of policy at the top of the Government." Organization is no substitute for leadership.
The subcommittee rejected the concept of a super cabinet and a First Secretary because, in its opinion, the results of such a reorganization would be to hamper the President in the exercise of his responsibilities. In addition, it would tend to cut him off from his principal policymakers and departmental advisers through the imposition of a new bureaucratic organization on one which in many respects is already swollen.
The plight of the National Security Council, as revealed in the subcommittee study, is instructive. The Council was established originally in 1947 to advise the President "with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security so as to enable the military services and the other departments and agencies of the Government to cooperate more effectively in matters involving the national security."
Over the years, the Council developed a dual role, that of the Council itself acting as adviser to the President, and that of the Council system in which the Council staff and a complex interdepartmental committee substructure were designed to undergird the works of the Council. The Council system had become, in other words, an institution, another facet of bureaucracy.
As a result of the growth of the Council as an institution, much of its effectiveness had been diluted. It produced "policy papers," adjusted departmental differences at the staff level rather than defining and sharpening issues, and established a system which had burdened the members of the Council and hindered the implementation of policy.
The National Policy Machinery Subcommittee concluded that the organization of the Council should be loosened, that its function as a relatively small group of top advisers to the President be emphasized, and that the President rely heavily on a flexible staff of personal assistants.
Essentially, this is the approach which President Kennedy has taken. He has been criticized by some as being too "free wheeling" to his approach to the policymaking machinery. His method tends to disrupt and cut across traditional concepts of administrative procedure and neat lines of authority, but his approach does emphasize flexibility, the relentless probing and testing of ideas, the competition of new proposals, and the ultimate responsibility of the President.
President Truman had a sign on his desk: "The buck stops here." This is always true. The danger in establishing too elaborate a staff system around the executive is that the buck will be trimmed beyond recognition before it reaches the President for his decision.
The question of structure and coordination is not limited to the President and his advisers. It extends to the coordination of scientific and military development.
Earlier I alluded to the problem of science and technology and its relationship to the national security. This problem was of great concern to the subcommittee, as it is central to your deliberations as participants in scientific and technological development and productions.
As the subcommittee's January 1960 interim report put it:
"There is growing awareness that scientific, military, and political planning must go forward together. Some argue that our defense planners, particularly at top civilian levels, have as a group not appreciated fully enough the future military implications of crucial technical programs in the developmental state. It is also held that our research and development effort too often suffers from a lack of adequate guidance concerning weapons systems of maximum utility. As a group, our foreign policy planners have also not concerned themselves enough with the future political consequences of weapon systems in the laboratory state. Similarly, it is argued that our research and development programs would benefit from clearer guidelines concerning projects which might best help further our foreign policy goals.
"How, without straight jacketing technological development, can State and Defense furnish those concerned with development more useful guidance concerning the paths of technological exploration which might best enable us to further our overall political and military objectives?"
One of the continuing recommendations for meeting this problem of coordination of scientific effort with foreign policy and military goals is the proposed establishment of a Department of Science and Technology. Such proposals ignore the fact that science is not a definable jurisdiction, it is a tool.
Furthermore scientists are professional experts, not necessarily possessing the broad perspective which is required at the level of departmental responsibility, especially if such a department were to encompass the whole realm of science.
In his testimony before the subcommittee, Mr. James Perkins, of the Carnegie Corp., warned:
"We are inclined to translate important special authority into authority in general. A specialist on atomic energy does not necessarily speak with equal authority on infrared devices or jet propulsion. Even less does he speak with authority on problems of strategic deterrence or on the probable outcome of the cold war.
"We are in some danger, it seems to me, of repeating the mistakes of the thirties when the fears of depression produced an overvaluation of the general skills of the economist."
The staff report of the subcommittee further noted that scientists "are not exempt from the human tendency to allow these beliefs to color their technical judgments, and to become ardent pleaders for special causes."
While we recognize the nature of science and the limitations of scientists, we must acknowledge the need for more effective means of advising the President and the congress on scientific developments and their implications, and of integrating such developments with policy planning. Without adequate understanding there will be no intelligent action.
The President has a Special Assistant for Science and Technology and a Science Advisory Committee. They have been extremely useful to the President as professional experts and advisers within a flexible framework of authority.
The principal shortcomings of the present arrangement are the lack of sufficient staff, particularly for advance planning, and the fact that the President's advisers are not available to testify before Congress. They cannot provide the same service the Budget Bureau Director gives in overall policy briefings and specific testimony on the relationship of individual programs to the overall aims of the administration.
Serious consideration should be, and I understand is being, given to the subcommittee recommendation calling for the establishment of an Office of Science and Technology within the Executive Office of the President. Such an office, adequately staffed, would help the President look ahead in the field of scientific development; it would help coordinate the activities of the various Government agencies; and it would be available as a source of expert advice to the Congress.
In calling for such a staff, we should remember that the chief strength of the existing science arrangement in the President's Office is its flexibility. It would be essential that the new office follow a flexible mode of organization and operation. We are not looking for a new bureaucracy.
Such a step would supplement, but would not supplant, the need for more adequate recognition of scientific planning within the various departments. The administration has made substantial gains in this area, particularly in the Department of Defense through the Division of Defense Research and Engineering.
Ultimately, of course, our success in coordinating scientific development and national policy planning depends upon the recruitment of qualified personnel and the full utilization of the talent we have available to us. This is true not only at the operating level, but also at the policymaking level. Nowhere is the upgrading of personnel more important than in the Department of State.
The studies of the National Policy Machinery Subcommittee emphasized the prime importance of the Office of Secretary of State as the First Secretary to the President. The nature of his contribution will vary according to his individual talent and the working relationship he is able to establish with the President. But whatever that relationship, the Secretary of State must bear the full burden of leadership across the full range of national security matters, as they relate to foreign policy.
Such leadership cannot be achieved if the Secretary is constantly preoccupied with what Dean Acheson has called the thundering present. This will require constant improvement in and upgrading of the Policy Planning Council, better executive management within the Department, and improved training programs for career personnel. The State Department must make a constant effort to outgrow antiquated concepts of its role, many of which date from the era of 19th century diplomacy.
The State Department's greatest single need remains imaginative and competent executive management. Every shortcoming in this area cannot help but limit the effectiveness of the Secretary of State.
In addition, the Secretary of State must maintain close cooperation with the Secretary of Defense in foreign policy planning. Here again, we return to the imponderables of personal relationships supported by rational, competent, and imaginative departmental support.
Obviously the two Secretaries cannot achieve such cooperation, without full cooperation and understanding between the operating levels of the two departments. I have been pleased with the development of close rapport between the two departments in the past year. Such cooperation cannot be achieved through the establishment of more interdepartmental committees. Indeed, it may require fewer such organizations.
As in the case of the National Security Council the danger of the interdepartmental committee is that it will adjust all differences out of existence, without giving the Secretaries or the President the clearly defined issues and alternate policy proposals on which to base sound policy decisions.
Clear organization and effective support depend ultimately on good staff. What government needs above all is outstanding public service people. This is where we must concentrate our effort. Better career training will aid greatly in such an effort.
More effective use should be made of the National War College and the Foreign Service Institute in training civilian personnel within the respective departments and in providing educational opportunities for officials from other agencies and departments.
Further assets in the struggle for improved personnel would be easier interagency transfer, job exchange programs, and improved salary scales to help reduce turnover, particularly at upper levels. The problem of recruitment for top-flight management personnel would be eased considerably with the updating and reform of our conflict of interest laws. Without violating the objectives of these antiquated statutes we can encourage the participation in public service of able men and women from the ranks of private business.
A revision of the conflict of interest statutes is now before Congress, but many of the critical issues are yet to be resolved. Change is desirable, but the changes we make must represent an improvement over present laws.
From what I have said it must be clear to you that I am offering no simple, well-ordered master plan for policy coordination and execution. This is not because I distrust or reject the concept of experimentation or reorganization in Government structure.
My approach is based on my belief that the structure of Government must adjust to hanging requirements, changing as functions change but not changing functions.
The absence of theoretical perfection in structure leads to tension. But tension is the secret of great art. And, government, I submit, is an art.
One of the chief problems in the art of democratic government is that of informing and enlisting the support of the general public for national policy decisions. In our first great effort to make the structure of government conform to the functions it had to perform -- the substitution of our Constitution for the Articles of Confederation -- the Federalist papers performed yeoman service. Today the President utilizes the press, radio, and television to explain decisions and to exhort citizens.
Similarly, the members of his administration are exposed to the public view, and appear before the Members of Congress to justify the policies, programs, and actions of the administration.
The principal concern of the National Policy Machinery Subcommittee was the adequacy of the executive branch in meeting the demands of our age, but in the course of our studies it was evident that Congress has serious internal problems in dealing with the multitude of national policy questions. Congress is fragmented and it is difficult for individual Members and committees to grasp the full implication of national security decisions and programs.
The difficulties individual Members of Congress have in gaining a meaningful understanding of national security questions are mirrored and magnified in their constituents. One hundred years ago the average citizen could understand the ordnance of armies and navies without much strain. Tactics and grand strategy were comprehensible. Even the developments of military technology in World War I were within the grasp of the layman.
But with the development of radar, nuclear weapons, missiles, and spacecraft, to say nothing of the intricacies of biochemical warfare, even the above-average layman has found the scientists and the military programers moving beyond his imagination.
When the weapons are unbelievable, their implications are often incomprehensible. And yet, in a democracy, wise decisions can only be made on the basis of knowledge and understanding. We will gain very little by advancing our weapons technology, even with the best coordination between scientists and military personnel, and between military personnel and foreign policy experts, if Congress and the citizenry are not able to put such developments into the context of national security requirements.
The executive branch, through improved methods of presentation, better budget organization, and greater participation by the Secretaries of State and Defense in hearings before congressional committees, can aid Congress greatly in its responsibilities.
But Congress also must put its house in order. Congress should explore ways and means of coordinating consideration of authorizing legislation in the foreign policy and defense field, the appropriation and tax fields, and the scientific and defense and space fields. Consideration should be given also to the establishment of joint committees, wherever feasible, to oversee the work of our national security agencies and departments. The Joint Economic Committee and the Joint Atomic Energy Committee offer excellent precedent for action in this field.
Recently we had a pertinent, although limited, illustration of the inadequacy of the present committee system in dealing with national security questions. When the Senate received the nomination of John McCone to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the nomination was referred to the Armed Services Committee. This was entirely proper, but it did not give the Committee on Foreign Relations an opportunity to examine Mr. McCone on important questions bearing on his Agency's activities as they relate to foreign policy.
The process in Congress, as in the executive branch, is one of constant adjustment to change, recognizing that the structure of our institutions must be modified to free us from the dead hand of the past, but also keeping in mind that the structure must never be allowed to overshadow the men who make and implement our policies. Furthermore, there must be a full and free flow of information from government to the people.
Can a democracy meet this challenge? I think it can. In World War II the totalitarian states assumed they could overwhelm us, but the free nations managed to overcome the greatest odds and inflict a devastating defeat on the Axis war machine. We cannot wait for such a holocaust to stir us to action, but we can continue to reshape our approach to policymaking and coordination as freemen with an understanding of the dangers we face, but without fear.
In the words of Robert Lovett:
"While the challenges of the moment are most serious in the policymaking sense, I see no reason for black despair or for defeatist doubts as to what our system of government or this country can do. We can do whatever we have to do in order to survive and to meet any form of economic or political competition we are likely to face. All this we can do with one proviso: We must be willing to do our best."