United States. Dept. of State. Office of Public Co.

Department of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) online

. (page 32 of 90)
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The largest area of research and develop-
ment support has been in defense — and quite



logically so, since the basis of all advanced
weapons systems is a sophisticated technol-
ogy. In second place is space research. These
two fields alone presently consume some $12
billion yearly of Federal funds out of $15
billion allotted to research and development.
It is not easy to identify the extent of the
"spin off" process; that is, the benefits that
civilian technology derives from military or
space programs. More studies are necessary.
Several trends, however, seem clear.

When the products of the military and
space programs coincide with the demands of
the civilian economy, the technological trans-
fer is demonstrated in its most dramatic
form. Take, as an example, jet aircraft and
computers. A requirement for a military jet
tanker led to the development of the Boeing
707. Because the Defense Department and
the space agencies needed computers, their
advance was accelerated. Civil and military
aircraft development have traditionally gone
hand in hand.

But in other fields the transfer has been
slower in coming. The limitation for civilian
market production is cost; the defense or
government market frequently sets perform-
ance limits. Different approaches and differ-
ent production philosophies are required to
meet the needs of the two different markets.
Civilian production requires a large adver-
tising, distribution, sales promotion, and
market development organization. But Gov-
ernment requires none of this.

One additional point must be made. The
space program, costing the American tax-
payer about $5 billion a year, results in much
technical knowledge which, it is believed,
should be widely applicable in American in-
dustry. In the past the civilian economy has,
however, been slow to absorb this technology.
The National Aeronautics and Space Ad-
ministration has created a special division
of technology utilization, which collects and
disseminates new technical information to
private firms. This has been enthusiastically
welcomed by American industry; it will be
interesting to see how successful it is in gain-
ing wider application of new technical knowl-
edge. In this connection I might say that



JANUARY 23, 1967



149



NASA, in certain cases, now issues royalty-
producing licenses to foreign firms interested
in NASA-sponsored developments.

I wish to be fully understood. Certainly
the general economy benefits from these Gov-
ernment-supported research activities, but
their nature is, I think, often misunderstood.
If we overemphasize their benefits, the result
may be to obscure the real causes of the so-
called "technology gap" which we are con-
sidering.

There have been several important results
of the U.S. Government commitment to re-
search and development. One has been to
dramatize the role of science and technology
in national development. Space has fired the
imagination of many young people. Federal
support has provided training for young sci-
entists in many areas of basic research, and
these people have later found their way into
industry. In a more direct sense the defense
and particularly the space programs in the
United States have resulted in new concepts
of project direction and control.

A "Management Gap"

The concept of "systems management" — a
kind of mathematical formalization of good
"horse sense" as applied to complicated tech-
nical systems — has made it possible to con-
trol large projects involving hundreds of
companies and thousands of people to ex-
tremely high tolerances of reliability, within
rigid time limits and with maximum effi-
ciency. Successful application of these meth-
ods permits the most economical use of raw
materials and of expensive personnel. It
means more and better products at lower
prices — which is the secret of meeting busi-
ness competition.

But new methods are available to all who
will accept them. Their adoption, however,
depends on management initiative. I have
heard it said that the European problem is
not so much a "technology gap" as it is a
"management gap."

It is generally assumed that research and
development means innovation — and that in-



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novation means economic growth. This is
oversimplification. A new invention can I
applied only with enterprise supported I
sufficient investment capital where there e:
ists a broad market. We need to know moi
about the relation between research and di
velopment as it relates to economic growtl:
however, it is clear that they do not neces
sarily follow one another automatically

Dr. Donald Hornig, President Johnson'
Science Adviser, at an OECD science minij
ters meeting, pointed out that an essentia
ingredient is the proper environment for er
couragement of innovative application. Gov
ernments may help to create this enviror
ment through their policies in the fields o
patents, taxation, capital development, an'
wages and prices. These are often more im
portant than the policy toward science o
research. The laboratory is only one aspec1>-
and not necessarily the most important — ii
the complex structure of an expanding indus
trial society.

Japan is an example. With research ant
development roughly equal to Germany's
Japan's growth rates in recent years hav(
been twice the German and three times th(
French rate. Japan leads the world in ship
building. She is second only to the Unite



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of State. Office of Public CoDepartment of State bulletin (Volume v. 56, Jan- Mar 1967) → online text (page 32 of 90)