National Science Policy

April 11, 1973

Report Outline
Shifts in Science's Federal Role
Government Support for Science
Options in Setting Science Policy
Special Focus

Shifts in Science's Federal Role

Discontent Caused by Budget and Reorganization

The American scientific community, anguished by its slippage in public esteem and beset by self-doubt, is wor-ried that the role of science in the councils of government is also faltering. This worry, expressed in science journals and by leading scientists, has been reinforced by two recent develop-ments: President Nixon's resbuffling of the White House science advisory staff and the implications of the federal budget he sent Congress for the coming fiscal year. The first is interpreted as a sign of science's diminishing influence in the federal government and the second as a further sign of de-clining support for basic research.

In Reorganization Plan No. l of 1973, issued Jan. 26, Nixon ordered the Office of Science and Technology moved out of the White House and abolished the post of presidential science adviser, vacated earlier in the month by Edward E. David Jr. The reorganization also marked the end of the President's Science Advisory Committee, which came to prominence and influence in 1957, soon after Russia sent the first earth satel-lite aloft.

Nixon explained the reorganization partly as an effort to hold down federal spending in fiscal 1974 and partly to “streamline” and “improve” the executive branch of government. The functions of the Office of Science and Technology and its director will be transferred July l, 1973, to the director of the National Science Foundation, H. Guyford Stever. He will report to George P. Shultz, the Secretary of the Trea-sury who serves as presidential assistant for economic policy.

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