Chapter XIX
Research and Development

Definitions and Fundamentals

EVERY WAR brings into common usage words that before the war had only a limited circulation. World War II was no exception with such words as "logistics," "amphibious operations," "research and development," and many others becoming part of the everyday vocabulary of the man in the street. "Research and development" is perhaps the most conspicuous of these, because the term denotes an activity which not only played a particularly important role in winning the war, but continued to hold the interest of the public after the war.

II was no new thing to the educated mind that science had entered man's everyday life and was being put to endless practical uses, but it was new for the general public to become aware of this. After the war, the public retained a keen interest in science, partly because of the terrifying implications of atomic warfare, but also because it was hoped that the marvels accomplished by science in the physical world during the war might be duplicated in improving man's relation to man after the war.

As there is some confusion as to just what is meant by "research and development", it will be worthwhile to examine the words briefly before proceeding with the description of how the processes which they connote affected the aministration of the Navy Department during World War II. A distinction must first of all be made between basic scientific research and applied research, nebulous as the boundary between the two may often be.

Basic research hash for its primary purpose the advancement of that organized body of knowledge known as science, without giving any thought or making any plan for the application to practical uses of any newly uncovered knowledge. Some scientists prefer to speak of this type of scientific investigation as pure research; others described it as fundamental research.


Whatever it is called, it is characterized by unfettered intellects working on subjects of their own choosing in the manner dictated by their own curiosity without having any utilitarian objective in mind. Workers in this field have sometimes made a virtue of saying that the new knowledge discovered by them could never be put to any practical use. This smacks somewhat of the supercilious and the snobbish and was certainly not the way Sir Francis Bacon, considered by some scholars the father of the scientific method for unraveling the mysteries of nature, and his early disciples looked at scientific research. Bacon gave as the purpose of "experiments of fruitfulness," his term for scientific research, the uncovering of knowledge applicable to the extension of the empire of man over nature with a view to improving his conditions of living.

It is doubtful whether new knowledge ever fails ultimately to find some practical application. The sequence of discoveries beginning with the identification in 1896 of the radioactivity of certain elements and culminating some forty years later in speculations as the possibility of setting up controllable atomic chain reactions were all part of the search of scientists for a fuller explanation of the world around us. No one involved in the earliest of these discoveries had any idea or any interest in making a contribution to a major industrial or military development. At fires, the only practical application envisaged for the new knowledge was in medicine. not until 1940 did industrial and military applications become the objective for further research in this field. Such research resulted in the development of the atomic bomb and will lead to the use of nuclear energy for many peaceful purposes. In order to thrive, basic research must be carried on in an atmosphere of thinking and experimentation that is not concerned with practical applications or utilitarian objectives.

The process of putting new knowledge discovered by basic research through the further steps leading to practical applications goes by the term "research and development." The research part of the process is usually spoken of as applied research. Actually, there are several more or less well-defined stages through which a new thing or an improved technique must pass before being accepted as a replacement for the old or to fill an existing void: applied research, development, evaluation, production, and consumer reaction. The boundaries separating these stages are not sharply marked as the stages must necessarily overlap in the interests of effective progress, but the personnel needed to take a project Through these various stages differs as to educational background, training, experience, and specialization.

Additional research by scientists is usually necessary before there can be any reasonable assurance that the practical application in mind can be


achieved. new knowledge from other fields may also have to be brought in to solve some of the collateral problems that arise. W practical application is often impossible until the frontiers in other fields have been pushed forward. Applied research is often a long and difficult process and is likely to cost much more in time and money than the original basic research.

Development comes next and actually goes on all through the applied research stage. Development makes use of known techniques and principles to produce the desired results. It is a synthesis of knowledge drawn from many fields and is characterized by planning and looking ahead to the problems of production and use. It calls particularly for the skills and knowledge of the engineer and makes use of his ability to translate theory into practical applications. At this stage, models, mock-ups, and other devices are built to test the validity and practicability of each step as it unfolds. Finally, a full-scale model produced by the development group becomes available for test and evaluation. The modern laboratory, especially the industrial laboratory, must for this reason include or have ready access to the facilities and to the machinery needed to produce the first units of the program.

Evaluation is based on tests of initial units to determine whether commitment to extensive production is justified. It calls for a high degree of judgment and experience in analyzing and interpreting test data. Failure to evaluate a new thing correctly may lead to missed opportunities on the one hand, or to great financial losses and setbacks on the other. A project may suffer seriously from poor evaluation. An example was the rocket project in World War II. The full possibilities of rockets were almost overlooked because of faulty evaluation of the early models.

Production is the manufacture, usually in quantity, of the finished article. Complete working plans and definite specifications are needed before this stage can be undertaken. Skillful engineering is required, especially during the early part of production, in order to correct defects in design, to improve operating characteristics, to reduce cost, and to increase the rate of production. Under normal conditions prevailing in industry, time can and must be taken to guard against costly mistakes in production. Under the pressure of war, there is always the urge to expedite production, often before all of the engineering problems that are involved have been solved.

The final stage in bringing anything new into use is the consumer reaction to the article. In the case of the Navy, the consumers are the operating forces. Anything new, whether a weapon, a ship, an aircraft, or an item of equipment, must ultimately satisfy the operating forces as to its worthwhileness. To demonstrate its value with a view to speedy acceptance,


a new thing must be introduced to the service by those who have created it and who are responsible for its performance. Scientists from the laboratories and engineers from the factories must be made available to solve operating problems and to train maintenance personnel. Often the consumer must be educated to an appreciation of the new thing. This frequently requires a high degree of salesmanship and technical competence. The operating forces of the Navy are in this respect no different from the consumer public in civilian life. Close collaboration between the scientists and engineers on the one hand, and the operating personnel on the other is therefore necessary to overcome the inertia of conservatism, to correct defects in the first units, and to speed up the adoption of anything new.

This is the general pattern for developing something that is entirely new. It was the pattern that, during the war, produced such things as the atomic bomb, microwave radar, rocket weapons, guided missiles, the proximity fuse, and many other weapons and devices. Submarine power plants making use of nuclear energy are a postwar development following this pattern. However, in the Nay, as well as in industry, the process of making improvements, as against producing something entirely new, usually follows a shorter course with the engineer playing the leading role and the scientist often not being needed at all. To fit an existing device for the performance of slightly different functions, or to make it suitable for performing its original functions under new conditions may require only minor modifications in an old device. The evolution of the various types of modern war ships is an example on a grand scale of developments brought about principally by engineers, even though scientists at model basins, at boiler and machinery evaluation and testing plants, at ordnance proving grounds, and in research laboratories, play an important role in the evolution of ships and their fighting equipment.

Research Environment

A look at the environment in which basic and applied research, respectively, have their being is in order. Basic research has traditionally been the province of institutions of learning, although laboratories did not become a part of the equipment of universities until the 19th century. Neither did the teaching of experimental philosophy, as it was then called, form a part of the curriculums of many such institutions in earlier times. by the middle of that century, research had, however, become a spare time activity of professors and lecturers, with the result that teachers of science began to be the chief contributors to the storehouse of scientific knowledge. Basic research must be carried out in a spirit of pure inquiry


with the principal reward to the worker lying in the publication of his discoveries. This is still the most highly prized reward of the scientist, and has had significant repercussions on his attitude toward working for the military services, because publication of weapon research and development must for security reasons be necessarily limited to what is in the national interest.

Another facet of the publicity aspect of military research is the interest taken by the general public in such matters in recent times; an interest reflected by the great amount of space devoted in the press to weapon developments. The urge of the new press to publish is, however, normally quite different from that of the scientist. The latter prefers to defer publication until he has something definite to add to knowledge; the press prefers to publish immediately while a story has news value, whether the news is good or bad. Publicity can be a great handicap to the scientist, as no scientist can do his best with a newsman peering over his shoulder, seeking something to criticize or to divulge prematurely. The press is especially prone to play up failures, indifferent it often seems to the fact that the greatest contributions to scientific knowledge and achievements are often the result of lessons learned from failures. The very word "research" means "to search again." The successes of the war period in weapon research and development were aided immeasurably by the temporary suspension of unrestricted freedom of the press in reporting such matters, imposed largely by the press itself.

The largest amount of free basic research, free in the sense of the selection of subjects for research being dictated by man's curiosity, was done in Europe. This was true at least up to the outbreak of World War II. In confirmation of this one needs only to look at the geographical distribution of the Nobel Prize winners in the various fields of science; up to that time, very few were indigenous to the Western Hemisphere. In the United States, the preoccupation had been largely with applied research and the accompanying developments leading to the invention of new things and new techniques. A contributing influence toward stressing applied research was the greater availability in the United States of venture capital for replacing the old and meeting the demands of a constantly rising standard of living. In this way, applied research became largely responsible for the phenomenal industrial development of the United States. Applied research was carried on largely in the laboratories of industry and to some extent in American colleges; certainly to a far greater extent than in the university laboratories of Europe. At the same time that this was going on, a great deal of applied research, as well as some objective fundamental research, was being done by the various departments of the Federal Government. As the funds for government research


had to be provided by Congress, objectivity had in the past always been a major characteristic of government research.

Early Naval Research and Development

Research and development as an organized and systematized branch of science applicable to the improvement of naval matériel was of slow growth just as it was in industry. As a method for the technical improvement of warships, it had, however, made worthwhile contributions during the 9th century in all of the leading navies of the world, including the U.S. Navy. In the United States, the growing importance of technology and of technical specialization was recognized by the establishment in 1842 of the Bureau System to replace the Navy Commissioner System for the administration of the Navy Department. The history of the establishment of the Bureau System and of its evolution has been told in a previous chapter.

Under this system, the initiation of research for the improvement of ships and their equipment is brought about in various ways: in the technical bureaus through their knowledge of the need for improvement in the matériel under their cognizance; as the result of Fleet experience; from analysis of war plans; from new operating conditions that must be met; and in various other ways. Such needs are formulated by the chief of Naval Operations as operational requirements, and when transmitted to the bureaus become directives.

The research and development program resulting therefrom may not require new scientific knowledge and can often be handled by engineers in the bureaus collaborating with engineers in the industry involved. However, up to comparatively recent time when new scientific knowledge was needed, the bureaus south the help and advice of Government agencies such as the National Academy of Sciences, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and various other agencies. This practise is till followed, but the Office of Naval Research and the various Bureau laboratories have modified the detailed working of this practice. All of these agencies had a place in the administration of research for the Navy Department in World War II, and will be discussed in this chapter. Before proceeding with this phase of Naval Research and Development, it is, however, appropriate to review briefly some of the important contributions to progress based on research made by the Navy during its early years, beginning approximately with the establishment of the Bureau System.

That the significance and importance of research was appreciated as a high administrative level in the Navy Department is attested by the


following excerpt from the annual report of Secretary of the Navy William C. Whitney for 1885:1

"The rapid advance of the art of naval warfare and the singular fertility of human genius i devising new and more formidable implements of destruction are rendering the problems of this branch of the public service (the part of the Navy Department concerned with matériel and construction) more complicated and difficult ...

A naval vessel at the present moment is a product of science. Taking the world over it will be found that each part of her armor, her armament, her power, and the distribution of her parts or characteristics--each of these features of the completed vessel is absorbing from year to year the exclusive study of a class of scientific men. And as men of science throughout the world are continually stimulated to new discoveries and inventions, no vessel that can be built can be considered a finality in any particular.

The problem of keeping pace with the march of improvement in these lines of industry is one of incalculable difficulty; and yet unless the Government is prepared to avail itself promptly of all the improvements that are made in the construction and equipment of its ships its expenditures are largely useless.

It is of little service to a nation to have any navy at all unless it is a fair expression of the highest scientific resources of its day. The destructive power of the modern implements has become so great as to dominate in actual warfare. The bravest and best commander is helpless without them."

The statement was, however, the expression of a wish rather than of a fact, as Secretary Whitney later in his report2 said: "For the construction and maintenance of such a navy we have made little provision."

The history of the evolution to 1939 of the United States Navy's facilities for research and development may be conveniently divided into five periods: the period before the Civil War, the Civil War and post-war period (1861-1880), the building up of the new Navy (1880-1914), World War I, and the period from 1919 to 1939.

Navigation and Oceanography. In the first of these periods, from the establishment of the Navy Department in 1798 to the attack on Fort Sumter in 1861, the principal organized research and development was in the two fields of navigation and ordnance. For the most part, this was still the period of wooden sailing ships. In navigational methods and instruments, several steps of considerable importance were taken. in 1830, there was established in the Navy Department a Depot of Charts and Instruments to care for "all chronometers, instruments of reflection, circles, telescopes, charts etc. belonging to the Navy." The Depot Officer was, among other things, required "to make it his duty to inform himself of all improvements and discoveries in connection with navigation."3


A small observatory for the Depot's use was built on Capitol Hill in 1834, converted into the Naval Observatory and Hydrographical Office in 1842. In 1846-1849, the Nautical Almanac Office, as part of the Naval Observatory, was established to publish annually tables of star positions and other astronomic data needed by navigators in determining their positions at sea. The Naval Observatory became one of the world's outstanding scientific establishments and contributed greatly to the improvement of the Navy's operating efficiency at sea.

In 1835, Passed Midshipman Matthew F. Maury published his New Theoretical and Practical Treatise on Navigation, a milestone in the development of more efficient navigational methods. Twelve years later, Lt. Maury published his epoch-making Wind and Current Charts of the North Atlantic, following it in 1855 with his Physical Geography of the Sea. These works revolutionized the methods of navigation and the courses followed by sailing ships on long voyages, making it possible so to shorten a ship's passage as to produce great savings in time and cost.4 In arriving at his conclusions, Maury had used the methods of scientific research.

In 1838, Lt. Charles Wilkes led the first scientific expedition to leave the shores of the United States in search of information about relatively unknown areas of the world. The expedition was authorized and financed by an Act of Congress.5 The Wilkes Expedition, 1838-1842, visited the coasts of Brazil and Patagonia, Antarctica (where Wilkes Land was the first part of the Antarctic Continent to be discovered), the Sulu Sea in the Philippines, Japan, Samoa, Alaska, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the COlumbia River. The surveys made on this long voyage provided the basis for charts subsequently issued by all large maritime countries. The expedition was the first of a long line of geographic explorations undertaken by the Navy, which has continued to the present day. Just as in the case of Maury, the initiative of an outstanding career naval officer was principally responsible for this step in the promotion of the marine sciences.

Hydrographic Office. In 1939, the Hydrographic Office was a division of the navigation branch of the Bureau of Navigation. By Executive Order, 8 April 1942, that Bureau was split up into three parts: the Bureau of Naval Personnel, the Naval Observatory, and the Hydrographic Office, the last two being placed directly under the CNO.

The Hydrographic office operates a manufacturing plant for the production of charts and publications needed for the navigation of ships and


aircraft.6 Its employees are highly specialized. Data are received from many to Mariners and Aviators, Hydrographic Bulletins, Daily Memoranda, Memoranda for Aviators, Ice Supplement to the North Atlantic Pilot Chart, Light Lists, Sailing Directions, Naval Air Pilots, Pilot Charts, and other publications. During the period 30 June 1943 to 30 June 1944, the Office reached an all-time record of construction, reproduction, and distribution of nautical and aviation charts and publications. The total lithographic output was nearly 42 million copies of charts printed for 1944, as compared to some 2.2 million for 1940.

The Office collaborated with the Navy Amphibious Landing Operations (NALO) Committee in the development of special charts. These were employed by landing control craft (LCC), leading landing fores in the approach to objectives. It also furnished data to the Bureau of Yards and Docks for the preparation of schematic plans for existing and prospective advance bases. In kike manner, the Hydrographic office assisted other agencies, both government and private in carrying out their work. For instance, the enemy submarine campaign off the Atlantic Coast resulted in hundreds of uncharted wrecks. In cooperation with the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit, the Eastern Sea Frontier, the Coast Guard, and the Naval Districts, the Hydrographic Office compiled monthly Wreck Information Sheets for various naval activities. Cooperation also was maintained with scientific societies, such as the American Geophysical Union, Congress of Surveying and Mapping, Woods Hold Oceanographic Institution, and the American and the National Geographic Societies.

During World War II, the Hydrographic office had five survey vessels operating in the Pacific under the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet: the U.S.S. Sumner, Pathfinder, Bowditch, Oceanographer, and Hydrographer.7 Of these, the Pathfinder, Oceanographer and Hydrographer had been transferred to the Navy from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Early Ordnance. During the latter part of the period before the Civil War, much interest was taken in all of the leading navies of the world in the improvement of ordnance, The interest was concentrated largely on the problems of developing improved armor that could withstand the projectiles of the new shell guns. The United States Navy followed the lead of Great Britain, France, and Italy in this field, which countries


between 18278 and 18719 conducted extensive experimental research on the armor protection of ships. These experiments in turn were used to make improvements in guns for the United States Navy, carried on largely by Lt. John A. Dahlgren. Congress made an appropriation of $50,000 in 1841 for this purpose.10

Some earlier tests had been made in 1839 by Commodore Matthew G. Perry on explosive shells. In 1848, Lt. Dahlgren was responsible for the establishment of an experimental firing range on the Anacostia River, Washington, D.C. This marked the beginning of experimental firing ranges, later transferred to Annapolis, Maryland, then expanded and transferred to Indianhead, and finally to Dahlgren, Virginia.

Early Research under the Bureaus. During the Civil War and the period of the decline of American naval strength from 1865-1880, the Navy's interest in research and development was advanced by the expansion of the Bureau System in 1962. By an Act of Congress of that year, the duties of the five original bureaus were redistributed among eight bureaus along the lines of technical specialization and material procurement.11 Steam Engineering was separated from Construction and Repair, and Ordnance from Hydrography. The hydrographic functions of the old Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography were assigned to a Bureau of Navigation which was to be the Navy's scientific bureau. This increase in the number of bureaus and in the redistribution of their duties reflected the increasing complexity of warships and of naval warfare. The plan to make the Bureau of Navigation the Navy's scientific Bureau was not realized, largely because in 1865 the Secretary of the Navy transferred to that bureau the Office of Detail which during the Civil War had been charged with the handling of naval personnel, particularly with the assignment to duty of officers. This soon developed into the paramount function of that bureau and checked its development as a technical bureau.


Important research was carried on during that period by Engineer-in-Chief Benjamin F. Isherwood, Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering. Between 1862 and 1864, he made extensive experiments on the use of superheated steam in marine engines, resulting in fuel economies of the order of 10 percent. In 1866-1867 he designed wooden-toothed gears for the USS Wampanoag, so as to drive the ship's propeller at more than double the speed of the relatively slow-moving engine. This greatly increased the ship's propeller efficiency and speed. In order to evaluate the experiments with superheated steam, the Secretary of the Navy in 1864 appointed a Civilian Commission on Practical Engineering, made up of three members from the National Academy of Sciences, three from the Franklin Institute, and three selected at large. This commission was the first of its type brought together for utilizing civilian scientific experts to assist the Navy in solving technical problems. Isherwood's experiments with multiple-cylinder engines and power transmission gearing were among the major advances in marine engineering made during the nineteenth century.12

Despite the rapid decline of American naval strength after the Civil War, a number of significant steps in naval research and development were taken between 1865 and 1880. Such was the installation in 1866 at the New York Navy Yard of equipment for testing lubricating oils; the establishment in 1869 of the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island, for testing and improving torpedoes and torpedo equipment; and the expansion of the proving grounds near Annapolis, Maryland, in 1872, to provide facilities for testing guns of increased range.

In February 1863, the Secretary of the Navy appointed a Commission of Civilian Scientists to advise him on how best to bring the knowledge of scientists and inventors into the war effort. The Commission for one thing brought together a group of technical men to review the inventions and other suggestions submitted to the Navy Department by the public. The appointing of this Commission was the first step in a movement which shortly thereafter resulted in the chartering by Congress of the National Academy of Sciences.13 The place that the National Academy of Sciences has come to occupy as an advisory body the Navy Department will be mentioned again later on.

Thus despite the extent to which American sea power declined after 1865, interest in scientific research did not disappear and some progress


was made in forming new agencies to do such work. In 1879-1883, the nadir of naval fortunes having been reached, a strong movement to rebuild the Navy got under way. Secretary of the Navy William H. Hunt was in the forefront of the movement, and received strong support for his efforts from the House Naval Affairs Committee of the 46th Congress. A Naval Advisory Board appointed by him in 1881 recommended the construction of sixty-eight new vessels. This recommendation was sharply reduced by Congress, but in 1883, three protected cruisers and one dispatch boat, all to be constructed of steel were authorized.14 This marked the beginning of the new Navy and of the steel industry in the United States.

One of the measures for carrying out the rehabilitation program was the establishment in 1882 by the Secretary of the Navy of an office within the Navy Department, namely, the Office of Naval Intelligence in the Bureau of Navigation,15 to collect, organize, and make available technical data on other navies. As part of the same action, a Navy Department Library was established in 1882 and, two years later, a War Records Office was added. In 1879, the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery set up a small research laboratory in Washington to investigate the possible relationships between atmospheric impurities and diseases, and a few years later, opened a Museum of Hygiene, to collect all information of value about naval hygiene and sanitation, and to start a reference library on these subjects.

A number of new training schools, for enlisted men as well as for officers, were established, the majority of them devoted to technical training. The Naval Academy at Annapolis, which had been opened in 1845 as the United States Naval School, intensified its instruction in engineering and technical subjects.16 The most important of the new schools was the Naval War College, established at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1884, to give instruction in strategy and tactics to officers of the Navy.17

In 1882, the practice was started of sending a selected number of honor graduates of the Naval Academy to Europe each year for postgraduate instruction in naval instruction, at first to Greenwich, England, and later to Glasgow and to Paris. While the Naval Academy, when it was founded in 1845, had a curriculum that stressed engineering to a greater extent than did any other educational institution in the United States except


West Point, a course in naval construction would have been too highly specialized for even the Naval Academy. In 1901, the Bureau of Construction and Repair requested the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to give instruction in naval construction to officers of the Construction Corps of the Navy. Such officers thereafter received their postgraduate education at that institution. Courses of instruction for naval officers in a great variety of fields have been established at a number of other colleges since then to meet the constantly increasing demands for technical specialization and for stimulating the use of applied scientific research to improve the Navy in all of its branches and activities.

Research Boards. During this period, the Navy began the use of Boards of various degrees of permanency as mechanisms for promoting research and development. Such Boards were often appointed to determine merely the status of new techniques or of new deices brought out by industry, of appraising their merits for naval purposes, and of making recommendations for further development to fit them to naval needs. This procedure came into considerable use by the scientists in World War II under the title of Ad Hoc committees. In the Navy, the membership of the Boards consisted of the best talent among the officers versed in the matters under consideration, chosen from the various bureaus and branches of the service. The Boards often made use of qualified civilians as advisers or as members.

The Naval Advisory Board appointed in 1881 by Secretary Hunt previously referred to, was called upon not only to make recommendations as to the types and numbers of ships to be built for the rejuvenated Navy, but also to recommend what material to use for their construction, whether wrought iron, or steel. The board recommended the use of steel, although there was at the time no steel-making industry in the United States capable of rolling the needed plates and shapes. When Congress stipulated in the act appropriating the money for the ships, that the structural material must be of domestic manufacture, a train of research and development was set in motion that was largely responsible for the rapid growth of the American steel industry; an industry that during the ensuing years became the foundation of American industrial prosperity. Other boards were appointed from time to time to draw up and to review specifications, tests, and inspection procedures for the materials purchased by the Navy. This practice stimulated research and contributed toward keeping the products of industry at a high level of quality.

In 1887, a Torpedo Board to investigate and pass on the designs and models of torpedoes submitted by inventors for trial by the Navy, was set up. A few years later another board was appointed to look into the development and testing of torpedoes at the Naval Torpedo Station.


In 1902, a board was appointed to investigate the use of oil in place of coal as a fuel for the Navy. The use of oil as a boiler fuel was at that time in its infancy and was not favorably regarded by most of the owners of merchant ships nor by other navies. After bringing together all existing knowledge on the subject, the board made a very comprehensive report, recommending the use of oil in place of coal as a fuel. It proposed the establishment of a Fuel Oil Burning Test Laboratory at the Philadelphia Navy Yard to work on the many problems that lay in the path of the practical use of oil as a boiler fuel, such as a burner design, pumping equipment, oil storage, etc. Extensive research and development work was undertaken which in a few years solved all of the major problems connected with the use of oil as a fuel, especially the problem of using the residue after the more valuable components had been removed. The name of the laboratory was in 1923 changed to the Naval Boiler Laboratory, as its functions had been broadened to include the entire field of boiler improvements to make possible the sue of higher temperatures and pressures for steam generators.

Naval Model Basin. During the infancy of the steamship, one of the most perplexing problems faced by the naval architect and the marine engineer was estimating the power needed to drive the ship at the desired speed. Knowledge on this point was necessary in order to design the machinery. Towing a model of the proposed ship in a canal and measuring the pull on the tow rope was the first crude attempt at determining the power scientifically. The British Admiralty elaborated on this idea by building a model basin at Torquay, Devonshire, in 1870, equipped with specially designed towing machinery. This was later moved to Haslar near Portsmouth, and was renamed the Admiralty Experimental Works. The main purpose of model basin research is to arrive at underwater lines for ships that will make the least demands on the propelling machinery for the power needed to drive them at desired speeds. A great many other problems connected with naval architecture, marine propulsion and shipbuilding are solved by model basin research.

When Naval Cadet David W. Taylor was pursuing studies in naval construction at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, England, after graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1885, he become greatly interested in the work of the British Model Basin. On his return to the United States and appointment in the Construction Corps of the Navy, he urged the building of a model basin at the Washington Navy Yard for carrying on similar work for the United States Navy. It was not, however, until 1896 that COngress made an appropriation of funds for the purpose. The basin was opened for work in 1900. Its first report was dated December 6, 1901, signed by David W. Taylor, entitled "Report on the Most Suitable Form of Armoured Cruiser of 14,500 tons, model 110."


This marked the beginning in the United States of determining through scientific research the lines and other propulsion characteristics of ships best suited to drive them at desired speeds with the minimum expenditure of power. Much of the work of the model basin has been of a fundamental research character to establish laws of fluid motion, friction, cavitation, wave action, etc. For a number of years, the Navy's model basin was the only one available in the United States for such work.

A wind tunnel was added to the facilities of the model Basin in 1914 to study the problems of flight and of aircraft design. This was the first large wind tunnel built for this purpose in the United States. Aircraft design problems were at that time handled by the Bureau of Construction and Repair. After the facilities of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics became available, this wind tunnel was used largely for applied research in connection with aircraft carrier design.

The demands on the Model Basin for both applied and fundamental research outgrew its facilities long before an appropriation could be obtained for its expansion. A new model basin was finally built at Carderock, Maryland, outside of Washington, as there was no room at the Navy Yard for the size of plant needed. The new basin was opened for operation in 1940. It was named the "David W. Taylor Model Basin" in honor of the man who had done so much for this branch of scientific research. His contributions to model design, operation, and research began as a junior officer and continued throughout his naval career, culminating in the position of Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair with the rank of Rear Admiral.

Engineering Experimental Station. In 1903, Congress authorized the establishment under the Bureau of Steam Engineering of an Engineering Experimental Station at Annapolis, Maryland. The purpose of the station was to do applied research and testing work on ship machinery of every kind coming under the cognizance of the Bureau of Steam Engineering. This was a period when improvements in shore power plants were making ;rapid strides. With a view to adapting them to naval use, the Engineering Experimental Station served as an evaluation and experimental plant for many of these advances.

Ship Bottom Fouling. A number of other important research activities were started by the Navy during this period, but were not so well housed and organized as those that have been mentioned. One was research on the fouling of ships' bottoms and on the development of better protective coatings to prevent fouling and corrosion. The fouling and deterioration of ships' bottoms has been a problem since man first went to sea. In some waters, due to fouling, steel ships actually being to lose speed within a few weeks after leaving drydock. Tests have shown that after six months out of dock, a 10,000 ton cruiser can lose, as a result of fouling, from 1½


to 2 knots of its rated speed for a given horsepower. And the power required to drive the ship back up to a rated speed may increase the fuel consumption by as much as 50 percent.

The United States Navy began working on the fouling prevention problem from earliest times but not until the turn of the century did it do much more than follow the practices of the shipping industry. Oddly enough, this was one field of research in which the Navy received practically no help from private industry, one reason being that ship owners are required by the insurance underwriters to dock ships frequently for the purpose of examining propellers, rudders, and other underwater fittings. This provides an opportunity for cleaning and painting the bottom at comparatively small extra cost. The Navy, however, has strong reasons, aside from economy, for wanting a paint that will keep the bottoms of its ships clean as long as possible. The two most important are that clean bottoms means the minimum in fuel consumption, thus conserving the designed cruising radius; and second, clean bottoms mean the ability to steam at the maximum designed speed at any time. Both are crucial to the battle efficiency of warships.

Fouling and paint research were carried on under the direction of the Bureau of COnstruction and Repair--later the Bureau of Ships. Many officers and civilians had an active hand for over half a century in research in this field.18 A hot plastic anti-fouling paint was finally developed by the Mare Island Navy Yard just in time to become available for World War II. The ability to keep ships out of drydock for long periods of time without material loss of speed or increase in power and fuel consumption was of the greatest value in planning the operations of the naval forces, especially in the Pacific.

Rubber Research. The Navy has always had a deep interest in rubber because of its many uses on naval ships. It is estimated that a modern aircraft carrier requires in its construction and equipment, upward of 75,000 pounds of rubber and rubber products. When plantation rubber first made its appearance in the first decade of the 20th Century in competition with the wild rubber of Brazil, it did not come up to the latter in physical characteristics, but it was much cheaper. With a view to taking advantage of the economy possible through the use of plantation rubber, the chemical laboratory of the New York Navy Yard did experimental work in this field to assist manufacturers in improving the quality of plantation rubber without increasing its cost. This started an activity which finally


centered in the rubber laboratory at the Navy Yard, Mare Island, under the Bureau of Ships. The work of the laboratory was expanded into the field of synthetic substitutes for rubber, making it possible for the Bureau of Ships to be of great help to the Committee headed by Mr. Bernard Baruch in formulating the synthetic rubber production program during World War II.

Naval Research Laboratory. World War I may be said to mark the beginning of a new era in the employment of scientists on naval warfare problems. At the outbreak of the war, the British Navy was confronted with the problem of countering the German submarine. A substitute for the sense of sight had to be found to detect submerged submarines, and a weapon had to be invented to destroy it after detection. During the war many other problems arose, requiring a scientific approach for their solution.

Scientists from the universities were called in by the armed services in Great Britain and later in the United States to work on these problems. Submarine detection was approached by substituting the sense of hearing for the sense of sight; by listening to sounds made by the submerged submarine. Listening deices did not prove highly successful and were, during the following peace period, replaced by devices employing the echo phenomenon of underwater sound waves; nevertheless, they demonstrated the versatility and originality of scientists in attacking the problem. In the United States this led to the establishment of the Naval Research Laboratory.

Thomas A. Edison, more than any other one individual, deserves the credit for starting such a laboratory. When the war broke out in Europe, he became intensely interested in anti-submarine warfare and urged Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to set up a Naval Consulting Board to advise him on this and other problems that were certain to arise if the United States became involved in the war. Such a Board was established in 1915 with Edison as its Chairman, and with two members from each of the eleven national engineering societies as members. One of the tasks performed by the Naval Consulting Board was to screen some forty thousand ideas and inventions that, during the war, were sent by the public to the Navy Department for consideration.

The principal contribution of the Board was, however, in backing Edison's idea of a government laboratory devoted exclusively to naval research. The need for such a laboratory to handle work of interest to more than one bureau in such fields, for example, as electronics and metallurgy, had long been recognized by forward-looking naval officers. An even more important consideration was that such a laboratory would be free from the production problems of the bureaus and could, therefore,


concentrate more effectively on research. Authorization for the laboratory was contained in the Naval Appropriations Act for 1917,19 but the project languished for one reason and another for several years.

The site selected for the laboratory was the Navy's Bellevue Magazine at the southern edge of the District of Columbia. It was commissioned on July 2, 1923, with Rear Admiral Strother Smith, its first Director, who reported directly to the Secretary of the Navy. It started with two divisions; the Radio Division and the Sound Division. The former was created by transferring to the laboratory the Navy's Radio Laboratory from the National Bureau of Standards, the Aircraft Radio Laboratory from the Naval Air Station, Anacostia, and the Radio Test Shop from the Washington Navy Yard. For the Sound Division, the equipment and personnel engaged on such work were transferred from the Engineering Experimental Station, Annapolis. In 1924, a Heat and Light Division was added to carry on research in physics. From this time onward, the organization, buildings, other facilities and equipment were gradually expanded until by 1939 in was a first class research establishment and had done a considerable amount of important research of an objective character, especially in the fields of electronics and sound. The first experimental radar sets for shipboard installations were developed and built at the NRL. The appropriation for the operation of the Laboratory for the fiscal year 1924 was only $100,000. Even by 1939 the laboratory's budget did not exceed $1,000,000 annually.

The original plan of keeping the Laboratory directly under the Secretary, with his technical aide in immediate charge of its operations so as to leave it free of the production problems of the bureaus, was followed until 1931. Research performed for the various bureaus was done on request of the bureaus and paid for by the transfer of necessary funds by the bureaus.

In 1931, the Chief of the Bureau of Engineering, supported by the chiefs of the other technical bureaus, recommended that the Naval Research Laboratory be transferred to the cognizance of the Bureau of Engineering, as about 80 percent of the Laboratory's work was financed by that bureau. Although the transfer of the Laboratory to a Bureau contravened an important principle which had led to its establishment originally, the proposal was approved by the Secretary by General Order No. 225 of November 5, 1931. Shortly thereafter, however, he directed the General Board to review the matter. After extensive hearings, the General Board recommended that the original concept of not having the Laboratory a part of any one Bureau be retained and that it be placed under the Chief of Naval Operations. The latter opposed the transfer on the grounds that having no technical staff competent to deal with the Laboratory's functions he would have to duplicate personnel already on the rolls of the bureaus.


The laboratory was, accordingly, left under the Bureau of Engineering as contemplated by General Order No. 223 [sic].

At this point, the Navy Department Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee entered the discussion. When the Subcommittee reached the items transferring to the Bureau of Engineering for the Fiscal Year 1933 the funds earmarked in the budgets of the various bureaus for the work of the Laboratory, the Subcommittee decided to hold hearing on the subject of research in general. Experts from large industrial corporations were called to testify as to how industry dealt with its research laboratories.20 Most of the testimony indicated a preference for the separation of research from production on the grounds that this left the Laboratory freer to follow actual research than if constantly interrupted to clear up production difficulties that the engineering departments should be able to handle. The Subcommittee compromised the matter by ruling that in the appropriation for the bureau of Engineering the funds for the Laboratory be kept separate from those for the Bureau's other activities.

The Laboratory was left under the Bureau of Engineering until 1930. It was then again placed directly under the Secretary of the Navy by General Order No. 124 of September 14, 1939. By General Order No. 130 of December 8, 1939, a modification was made in the Laboratory's status by creating a Navy Department Research Council with a representative from each of the three bureaus of Construction and Repair, Engineering, and Ordnance as members of the Council. The Director of the Laboratory, who was designated also as the Technical Aide to the Secretary, presided as the Senior Member of the Council. The Executive Officer of the Laboratory was designated ex officio as the Secretary of the Council.

In January 1941, the Director of the Laboratory recommended to the Secretary of the Navy that bureau status be given to the Laboratory, that its name be changed to Naval Research Center, and that it supervise all research for the Navy wherever conducted. The General Board after studying this proposal, recommended against it. When the Office of the Coordinator of Research and Development was established in 1941, the Naval Research Laboratory was again placed under a bureau; this time under the Bureau of Ships where it remained until it was transferred to the Office of Naval Research, established at the end of World War II.

The changes in the status of the Naval Research Laboratory have been reviewed because they show that during this period the Navy Department, like industry, was groping for the best spot in the organization for research. The decision was far more difficult for the Navy Department than for industry because the Bureau System had to be considered. It was


important not to take away from the bureaus their initiative in making improvements in the naval matériel coming under their cognizance. This question was the forerunner of the even more complex question of how best to administer research under unification of the armed services when the Department of Defense was established after the war.

Naval Ordnance Laboratory. The Bureau of Ordnance during World War I, with the help of civilian scientists, accomplished an outstanding feat of research, development, production, and installation of the North Sea Mine Barrage, blocking to German submarines the exit into the Atlantic by the northern route. In order to 9implement further research on mines, the Naval Mine Laboratory was established at the Washington Navy Yard in 1919. The name was later changed to Naval Ordnance Laboratory and its functions broadened to include the entire field of ordnance research. After World War II, a very much enlarged Naval Ordnance Laboratory to replace the Laboratory in the Navy Yard was built on the outskirts of Washington at White Oaks, Maryland.

National Academy of Sciences

A number of scientific and technical activities had, in addition, been set up by the Government during the period, beginning with the Civil War. Some of these were used extensively by the Navy Department. The most important were the National Academyof Sciences, the National Bureau of Standards, and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Of these, the Bureau of Standards was a Government activity yunder the Department of Commerce, and was supported wholly by Federal appropriations. Control by the Government of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was, on the other hand, very remote as it received no approriations direct from Congress. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) lay in etween in the matter of control and financing. There were other scientific activities such as the Bureau of Chemistry coming under the Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Mines under the Department of Interior, which did research work for the Navy Department from time to time.

Some description of the NAS and of the NACA is in order, as they occupied unique positions in assisting the Navy Department with scientific research during World War II. The NAS played a particularly important role in plannig the mobilizaiton of civilina scientists for World War II. The establishment of the National Academy of Sciences by Act of Congress in 1863 has already been mentioned. Its charter provides that any department of the Government may call on the Academy to investigate, examine and report upon any subject of science or art, but that neither the Academy nor any of its members may receive any compensation for


such services beyond reimbursement for actual expenses incurred. The Government department requesting the services makes reimbursement from its own appropriations for the cost of the work, as the Academy receives no appropriations direct from Congress. This has been the fiscal policy of the NAS from the beginning, and it does not favor any change as the policy keeps the Academy free of political influence.

The Academy operates through committees or boards of experts, many of whom are not members of the NAS. Membership was limited to 450 at the time of World War II. New members are elected by the existing membership from among the leading scientists and engineers in the country. The reports and advice of the NAS are accepted as impartial and authoritative became of the prestige it enjoys as an association of the best scientific minds in the country.

In order to provide greater flexibility and more complete coverage of all fields of science and engineering, the National Academy in 1916 created the National Research Council to carry on its actual operations. The National Research Council works through divisions, just as does the NAS itself, covering the various fields of science. In general, the membership of each division is made up of representatives of the principal American scientific and engineering societies, of representatives from the Government departments appointed by the President of the United States on the nomination of the President of the Academy, and of specialists selected at large by the President of the NAS. The committees are either permanent or temporary for handling specific assignments. They are composed of men outstandingly qualified for the investigation being undertaken. This procedure worked so successfully during World War I that it was made permanent after the war and resulted in a great increase in the number of requests for its services mady by Government departments. In the spring of 1940, more than 1100 individuals were serving on NRC committees.

Useful as its contributions had been in World War I, and great as were the services it was rendering to the War and Navy Departments in 1940, it had become obvious that the NAS, even wen working through the National Research Council, was handicapped by its rather cumbersome machinery. It had, for one thing, no authority to offer unsolicited advice to the Government nor, in order to make its studies more complete, to demand more information than a government department chose to disclose. It had no research facilities of its own and was not, therefore, in position to conduct actual research. It could not function as an executive agency of the Government because the President of the United States had no direct control over it; finally, it received no funds directly from Congress and desired no change in this policy. The part that it played in the mobilization of civilian scientists under the NDRC and the OSRD in World War II will be described later on.


National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics

The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was a research and advisory organization which came into being during World War I. The Navy Department had proposed the establishment of such an organization as early as 1913. In the outbreak of World War I in Europe, the National Academy of Sciences and the Smithsonian Institution backed up the recommendation of the Navy Department. The Naval Appropriations Act for 1916, approved March 3, 1915,21 authorized the setting up of the Advisory Committee and defined the scope of its duties as follows:

... to supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight, with a view to their practical solution, and to discuss their solution and their application to practical questions. In the event of a laboratory or laboratories, either in whole or in part, being placed under the direction of the committee, the committee may direct and conduct research and experiment in such laboratory or laboratories.

The Committee was made up of two members each from the War and Navy Departments, one each from the Smithsonian Institution, the Weather Bureau and the National Bureau of Standards, and five "appointed from individuals acquainted with the needs of aeronautical science, aeronautical engineering, and allied fields." A small appropriation was provided to cover the first year's expenses. The members of the Committee served without compensation, but were allowed reimbursement for travelling and subsistence expenses. The Committee's first laboratory was built at Langley Field, Virginia in 1917-1920, and included in its equipment a wind tunnel, and research and testing facilities for airframes, engines, propellers, instruments, etc. It is of interest that the Committee itself was, until the early part of World War II, housed in the Main Building of the Navy Department. Scientists thought so well of its competence that when the NDRC was created to mobilize civilian scientists for World War II, as will be described later on, research on the problems of flight was left with the NACA.

Expenditures for Naval Research

As will have been noted from what has gone before, the Navy Department had not been backward over the years in applying scientific thinking and scientific methods to the solution of naval technical problems. In many fields the Navy had ion fact pioneered research; in oceanography, navigation, ship structural material, ship model basin practices, ordnance and gunnery, prevent of marine fouling, radio communications, underwater sound, and radar, to mention only the more important ones, but the


Navy generally regarded research as no more than a part of the design and procurement functions of the technical bureaus of the Navy Department.

No one in the naval service was engaged exclusively o scientific work except in such highly specialized activities as the Naval Observatory, the Model Basin, the Naval Research Laboratory after World War I, and in a few other places. Funds for such work were not easy to obtain and the employment of competent scientists through Civil Service was difficult. As late as 1915 no one in the bureaus was employed exclusively on the development of new equipment and materials for the Navy, all such work being part of the activities of the engineers employed in the design and maintenance branches of the bureaus. The Civil Service Commission did not even have a register of engineers specializing on materials until the grade was established in 1915 at the urgent request of the Bureau of Construction and Repair.

The amount of money spent on research before World War II was not large, compared to the expenditures for such purposes during and after the war. No accurate figures of prewar Naval research expenditures are however obtainable for comparison because funds available for these purposes were seldom to appropriated and the actual expenditures were not reported under a separate title. Furthermore, the expenditures at scientific establishments such as the Model Basin included costs not of a strictly research nature. On the other hand, considerable research and development work was done over the years in connection with various production programs, such as called for by the continuous advances in the propulsive machinery of ships, developments of the communication systems of the Navy, improvements in ship ventilation, refinements in the control of turrets and guns, and in many other fields.

A study has however been made, which indicates that about $8,920,000 was spent for Naval Research and Development during the fiscal year 1940 (the year before United States entry into World War II) as against $167,658,000 in 1944, the peak year of the war. The percentages of total naval expenditures for these years ere as follows:

Fiscal Year 1940 1944
Total Naval Expenditures22 $885,769,793.59 $26,772,592,092.58
Expenditures for Research and Development23 8,920,000.00 167,658,000.00
Approximate Percentage of Total Expenditures 1% 0.7%


It will be noted that the percentage is not very different for the two years [??? 30% less, as a percentage of the total, is quite significant!], but that about twenty times more money was spent for research in 1944 than in 1940.

It is interesting to carry this comparison into the decade following World War II, although it lies outside of the period of this work. As the result of many causes, such as the impetus given to scientific research by World War II, the conflict in Korea, the cold war with Russia, and the establishment of the Office of Naval Research, the scientific activities of the Navy Department continued to expand. The following data are taken from the report of the National Science Foundation for 1956:24

Total funds applied in Fiscal Year 1954 to all Naval Activities $8,258,236,000.00
Funds applied to Scientific Activities by the Navy 525,944,000.00
Approximate percentage of total funds 6%

One reason for the lag in research before World War II, as compared to later years, was that very few individuals in the armed services, whether civilians or in uniform, had any idea of the weapon possibilities lying dormant in science. This was true especially of line officers and high level civilians in the armed service departments who had no direct responsibility for initiating improvements, but who, nevertheless, often had the last word on the amount of money to request of the Budget BUreau and of Congress for such purposes. It is argued that the technical Bureaus, with their better understanding of such matters, might have insisted on more money for research, but in the absence of an aggressive forward-looking policy on research, this was not easy.

Admitting some shortcomings in vision, it would nevertheless be a great mistake to assume that, before World War II, funds could have been obtained in adequate amounts to develop such weapons as the proximity fuze, microwave radar guided missiles, to mention only a few. The research and development involved in producing the atomic bomb would have been entirely beyond the realm of possibility. Government expenditures for war research during the five years of World War II approximated $3 billion, not counting the expenditures for the atomic bomb. It is inconceivable that the country in the five years preceding the war would have tolerated the expenditure of anything like such an amount for war


research. Those who advance arguments to the contrary certainly have little understanding of the workings of democracy in preparing for war in time of peace.

Efforts that were made by the bureaus to spend money on research were often thwarted by higher authority Fund earmarked for research were sometimes diverted to production. Experimental construction of small craft just before World War II is a case in point. The Navy Department, on the initial recommendation of the Bureau of Construction and Repair, supported by the General Board and the Chief of Naval Operations,25 had in 1938 obtained authority from Congress to spend $15 million on the construction of experimental vessels of the smaller types.26

Motor Torpedo Boats and Patrol Boats of various designs ere being built under the appropriation, and others were projected when instructions were received from high authority in November 1939 to spend practically all of the unobligated balance of the appropriation, some $5 million, on the construction of twenty-three duplicates of one of the designs that had already been tested. This left no funds available at that time for further experimentation and development of other small vessels, such as landing craft, that were included in the Bureau of C&R development program, and were urgently needed later on.27

National Defense Research Committee

Scientific research in the United States and, for that matter, in all the world, entered a new era with the outbreak of World War II in Europe on September 1, 1939, but few sensed this at first. By the spring of 1940, many Americans felt that the United States would be drawn in to the conflict, and were aware that the country was in its usual peacetime state of unpreparedness fo war. This was a matter of grave concern to certain of the leading scientists in the National Academy of Sciences.

Four men in particular had discussed the importance of getting to work on weapon development and on countermeasures to enemy weapons. Frank B. Jewett, President of the National Academy of Sciences and of the Bell Telephone Laboratories; Vannevar Bush, President of the Carnegie Institution of Washington; Karl T. Compton, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and James B. Conant, President of Harvard


University. All were men of outstanding ability both as administrators and as scientists. All had seen service with the armed forces during World War I in positions providing opportunities for first-hand observation of the problems of modern warfare.

Dr. Bush became the spokesman for the group in laying the situation before President Roosevelt because, for one thing, he was located in Washington. Furthermore, he proved to be, in the words of Dr. Conant, "an ideal leader of American scientists in time of war ... His analysis of a tangled situation and his forceful presentation of a course of action produced results far removed from his official sphere of influence."28

At that time Bush had no ready access to the President, bu he surmised that the person who cold open the door for him was Harry Hopkins. It took only a short interview and a brief memorandum to convince Hopkins that Bush had something.29 At the interview which Hopkins arranged for him, the President was quick to see the importance of mobilizing American scientists for the war that was coming ever closer. On June 15, 1849 the day after the fall of Paris, he signed a letter, most of which had been drawn up for him by Bush and Hopkins, paving the way for setting up a National Defense Research Committee under the Council of National Defense, which had been revived, as described in Chapter XX.30

The order of the Council of National Defense, creating the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) and appointing Dr. Vannevar Bush its Chairman, was issued with the approval of the President on June 27, 1940.

In the meantime, Dr. Bush and his three colleagues had taken up with the Chief of Staff of the Army, General George C. Marshall, and the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Harold R. Stark, the plan for mobilzing civilian scientists. The approach to weapon development by the National Academy of Sciences and other groups of civilian scientists in the past has been based on the theory that the Armed Services would know what they needed and would ask the scientists to aid in its creation, development, and evaluation. Modern science by now had, however, progressed to the point where Dr. Bush and his associates felt that the military people were not sufficiently acquainted with the possibilities lying dormant in science to know what they might ask for with reasonable expectation that


it could be developed and produced. It was this concept which they sold to President Roosevelt, and to which General Marshall and Admiral Stark subscribed when the mobilization and operating plan of the National Defense Research Committee was laid before them.

As a corollary to this concept, the scientists assumed that they would be given full and first hand access in Washington and in the operating and combat areas to the problems to be solved and to the evaluation of the things produced or under consideration. For security and other reasons, the admission of civilian scientists to full partnership in the solution of the weapon and other scientific problems of the Armed Services was not as rapid as had been expected. This did not, however, delay the Committee in getting organized and deciding on its operating procedures and in getting under way promptly on a considerable number of crucial research projects.

The Committee consisted of eight members; two were designated by virtue of their positions as President of the National Academy of Sciences and Commissioner of Patents, respectively; four were appointed without reference to other offices, and one each was selected by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy from the Army and Navy, respectively.31 Members of the Committee served without compensation from the Government for their services. In the case of officers of the Army and the Navy, the work was treated as additional duty without extra compensation. Dr. Conant was actually the Deputy Chairman to Dr. Bush until the Office of Research and Development was created, when the latter became Director of the OSRD and Dr. Conant the Chairman of the NDRC.

The group was imbued with a sense of urgency from the beginning. The need for speed in developing new and improving old weapons was the central core of their thinking. The civilian members were well known to each other personally and professionally, which made it easy for them to work together effectively.

The Committee was directed to correlate and support scientific research on the mechanisms and devices of warfare except those relating to problems of flight, which were left to the National Advisory Committee


for Aeronautics. It was directed to aid and supplement the experimental and research activities of the War and Navy Departments. In the letter of June 15, 1940, appointing Bush Chairman of the NDRC, President Roosevelt stated specifically that it was not intended to have the Committee take over any of the excellent work being done by the Army and Navy in their own laboratories or by contract in the laboratories of industry.

In carrying out its work, the NDRC was authorized to utilize, to the extent that such facilities were available, the laboratories, equipment and services of the Bureau of Standards and other government establishments within the limits of their appropriations. It was authorized to transfer funds to such institutions and to enter into contracts with individuals, educational or scientific institutions, and industrial organizations for studies, experimental investigations, and reports. The armed services could also transfer to it funds from their own appropriations to carry on the work of the Committee.

The Committee decided to operate primarily through contracts and not to set up research facilities of its own. This decision was never modified and at no time did the Committee establish its own laboratories nor attempt to conduct scientific research with its own staff. However, its contractors, consisting mainly of educational institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology, Columbia University and many others, spent large sums provided by the Government for laboratories and research facilities of all kinds.

Internally, the NDRC was organized under Divisions, each built around a specific function involved in warfare. There were, at first, five Divisions each headed by one of the civilian members of the NDRC. By a process of proliferation, the number of Divisions was gradually increased, and existing Divisions were further subdivided into Sections, following the same principle of functionalization. Eventually, the organization consisted of nineteen Divisions and two panels which cut across and were available for service to all; the applied mathematics panel, and the applied psychology panel. Toward the very end of the war, a number of additional special Divisions or Groups were set up.

The heads of the Divisions and of the Sections were selected with the greatest care by Dr. Bush and his colleagues. In this they had an absolutely free hand. Dr. Jewett, a President of the NAS, was in a particularly favorable position to find the right people for these positions. Much of the success of the NDRC was due to the care and astuteness with which the men for its key positions were chosen.32


The Committee realized that the first requisite for an effective mobilization of scientists for war was that the plan must attract the best men in the profession. In no profession is the superior mind more important than in science. Mere numbers can never make up for lack of first-class intellects in scientific research. One outstanding man will succeed where ten mediocrities will only stumble along. In creative thinking there are no substitutes for imagination. Facilities must, however, also be provided to convert promptly the creations of the imagination into the realities of the bread board model. The character and prestige and the leaders in the movement went a long way toward bringing the best scientific minds of the country into the organization that was being created.

This does not mean that problems were assigned to brilliant individuals who then withdrew to ivory towers to solve them. Actually, the normal pattern during World War II was to organize teams of scientists under high-class leaders to tackle specific problems, with each man on the team working in his own specialty. The emphasis on team work was carried to the point of even assigning components of complicated problems to different laboratories in order to take the fullest advantage of specialized knowledge and unique research facilities. A scientific, sometimes assisted by an officer, coordinated the work of the team as a whole.

One of the most effective and novel weapons developed during the war for destroying submerged submarines was the joint creation of four laboratories; one Navy, one university, and tow industrial. By team effort this weapon went through the stages of research, development, testing, evaluation, and production, in less than fifteen months. Under normal circumstances and procedures, it would have taken at least six to seven years to bring the weapon from the "acceptance of a new idea" stage to service use, and probably at much greater cost. No important new weapon or device brought out during the war can be said to have been even remotely the invention of any single individual." [Oh yeah? What about Hedy Lamarr and frequency-hopping! --HyperWar (Look, I don't get paid for this, and sometimes I just have to add my 2¢ worth!)]

The preliminary investigations leading to contracts normally originated with small sections or groups who communicated their recommendations through the chairmen of their Divisions to the main Committee. Frequently requests to take up projects originated with the armed services, but fully as often the ideas came from outside of the services. The Committee reserved to itself the right to decide whether or not and upon what terms it would take up any particular project or program.

At first the Committee considered proposals laid before it by its members without advance circulation before its meetings This was soon found to be unworkable. At the meeting of March 7, 1941, it was agreed in principle that proposals would be circulated to its members sufficiently ahead of time to permit the representative of the Army and Navy to


compare the proposals with research that might already be under way in the own laboratories; this, in order to correlate the research and to establish liaison between the NDRC and the service effort on the same subject. But it was agreed that whenever necessary advance circulation in the case of urgent projects could be omitted.

The concept of the NDRC as to its main purpose and method of operation was eminently sound, but as so often happens, theory and practice did not fall into step automatically and immediately. To achieve the ends desired, a coordinating link at a high level between the Navy Department and the NDRC was found necessary. Before recounting how this was brought about, it is appropriate to describe certain organizational improvements in the mobilization of the scientists that were made in June, 1940.

Office of Scientific Research and Development

After operating a number of months under the Council of National Defense, it became apparent that the National Defence Research Committee would be more effective if placed directly under the President in the Office of Emergency Management. It had also been found that the NDRC would have to carry its programs through the development, engineering, and field testing stages if the maximum contribution to the war effort was to be made. The need for more extensive research and development in military medicine had also become apparent.

An Executive Order was accordingly issued by the President, dated June 28, 1941, creating the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) in the Executive Office of the President. Dr. Vannevar Bush was appointed the Director of the office. A Committee on Medical Research (CMR) paralleling NDRC was created by the Executive Order. Both were placed within the OSRD to advise and assist the Director in the performance of his scientific research duties.

After the OSRD and its operating organizations, the NDRC and the CMR, had been functioning about two years, the actual introduction of new weapons into service use had reached the point where the OSRD felt that it could be of help in this phase also of the war effort. While chronologically it would be logical to postpone until later in this chapter, the story of OSRD participation in weapon introduction, postponement would impair the continuity of the history of the mobilization of civilian scientists during the war.

Office of Field Service. The OSRD, as well as the regular Government laboratories, found that the most satisfactory progress was made in the development and introduction of new weapons and devices through close and continuing collaboration with the using services. In some cases, such


as the Underwater Sound Laboratory, New London, operated by Columbia University under a NDRC contract, the Navy Department made submarines and other ships available to the laboratory to assist the scientists with their work. Aircraft were in the same way provided to assist with electronic research and development. But that type of collaboration was not enough. As equipment which had been developed under NDRC contracts came off the production lines, expansion of the arrangements for introducing it to the Armed Forces became necessary.

The training programs of the War and Navy Departments could not turn out competent technicians fast enough to maintain new equipment in operating condition and to make the alterations called for by the improvements coming out of the laboratories. User dissatisfaction, in training and in combat, with the performance of new weapon, even though due to improper use in the hands of inexperienced technical personnel, was poor advertising for the new things, and could have delayed the introduction of entire programs by many months. The leaders in the OSRD therefore decided that a substantial segment of the scientific manpower that had been mobilized must be devoted to introducing the things that were new and to bringing back from the field information on performance necessary to taking the next step toward further improvement.

After discussing the matter with his Advisory Council, Dr. Bush announced the creation of the Office of Field Services (OFS) on October 15, 1943, as a principal subdivision of OSRD co-equal with the NDRC and the CMR.33 Its functions were to supervise and coordinate the introduction into service use of the products of the OSRD in order to make the quickest and most effective possible use of new developments; to study possible improvements in the products, and to assist in developing countermeasures to enemy weapons. Under the OFS was placed also operations research which played such an important role in the work of the Tenth Fleet described in the chapter on "CNO-COMINCH."

The OFS early adopted the policy that it would send its people into the field only on direct requests from some branch of the Armed Forces or from another Government agency, and that personnel assigned to such work would be loaned for an initial period of not exceeding six months. Actually, however, the OSRD had to resort to a certain amount of salesmanship to get the OFS started, but once this stage was passed, more requests for help were received than could be filled. By the end of the war, OFS was active in every theater of the war and included eery type of assistance foreseen in its charter. It had dispatched more than 300


scientists and technical men on overseas missions, two-thirds of them to the Pacific; and had assigned some 200 to projects in the United States. The services rendered included many kinds of consultation, analysis and formulation of problems in which the aid of scientists could be helpful, often leading to the revision of tactics; analysis of the performance of new weapons and devices under field combat conditions; assistance with installation and maintenance of new equipment and with training military personnel in its use.

The chief difficulty confrontation the OFS was obtaining permission to enter combat areas, even after a request for services had been received, and to get in actual touch with the users of the equipment The theater commander had the final say in such matters, but hat to rely largely on the advice of his staff as to whether visits by representatives of the OSRD and other agencies would be worthwhile. One problem was how to take care of civilians in the front areas. Getting the scientists to the front was not easy, as the means of transportation were usually overloaded, but taking care of them in the front areas was an ever greater problem, more so for the Navy than the Army. Ships and advance bases were even more crowded than army facilities. The Army and Air Force therefore made more use of the Office of Field service than did the Navy.

Complaints were received from scientists on this kind of duty from time to time, but when analyzed and traced to their cause, were usually found to be due to the inadaptability of the individual to the hardships of war. Dr. Karl Compton, the Director fo the OFS summarized this facet of the relationships between scientists and the Armed Services in the following words:

Two different scientists, both excellent men, reported several months apart on their experiences on missions which happened to take them over about the same route in the Far Pacific. One of them was critical, disillusioned, and almost resentful over his experiences. He had struggled with red tape at every turn. He had had the greatest difficulty making arrangements to travel from one island to another. he felt that he had been continually slighted by the officers with whom he tried to deal, and attributed this to the fact that his "assimilated" officer's rank was not high enough to command respect. Nobody seemed to care whether he was there or not, or to wish his help. It was a sad and discouraging story.

The other man came back full of enthusiasm over both his accomplishment and his treatment. In view of the tory of his predecessor on this route, he was asked whether he had ever been bothered by red tape and whether he ever had any difficulty in making travel arrangements. he seemed surprised at the question and said, "No, we never ran into any red tape. Whenever we wanted to go any place, we went down to the airport and asked if someone there would give us a lift, and everybody was always most co-operative." He said that he had had a "Swell time," that everybody had seemed interested, and that he had succeeded in accomplishing everything which he had hoped for, and more.


Both of these men were competent laboratory scientists. The second was a combat scientist; the first was not.34

Procurement and Business Methods. The scope of the activities of the OSRD were gradually broadened to include the procurement of limited numbers of urgently needed weapons and devices, such as rocket and certain kinds of radar equipment by sponsoring so-called "crash" production programs. The general policy was, however, for OSRD to act as a procurement agency for the services only under very unusual circumstances; when there was no practical alternative if new equipment was to be delivered to the front in time to be of the greatest value.

In a number of cases, the NDRC did the research work to demonstrate the practicability of an idea and then step by step turned responsibility for development and production over to one of the armed services. Such was the case of the proximity fuze for use in shells. This fuze causes the shell to explode and fragment when close to its target, such as an airplane. The idea was an old one covered by patents in many countries and was being worked on in Germany and Great Britain and the outbreak of the war. In August 1940, the NDRC, at the request of the Bureau of Ordnance, started research on the fuze. After surmounting innumerable major research, development, and production difficulties, the fuze was used successfully for the first time against Japanese aircraft on January 3, 1943. Practically full-scale mass production had been under way for several months before that date. During the intervening two and a half years, more and more Bureau of Ordnance personnel became associated with the project, and the section in the NDRC handling the work was taken out of that organization and reported directly to the Director of the OSRD. The program became, in effect, a Bureau of Ordnance managed activity, drawing its scientific personnel from the NDRC.

The atomic bomb was a similar case. research by the NDRC demonstrated the practicability of setting up a controllable chain reaction in uranium 235, and led to the development of the atomic bomb. Development and production of the atomic bomb was turned over to the War Department under the designation of the "Manhattan [Engineer] District." The Manhattan District drew its scientific personnel largely from the NDRC; some also from the Navy.

The authority conferred upon OSRD by the order creating it was expanded from time to time by other executive orders and by legislation in connection with OSRD appropriations. In general, it was found necessary


to broaden the authority of the OSRD to include all of the powers that just before and during the war were conferred on the war and Navy Department. The power to make advance payments on contracts was one of these. Later on, authority was also obtained to indemnify contractors against los or damage to persons or property arising from OSRD work, and for making termination settlements with them. The First SUpplemental Civil Functions Appropriation Act 1941 9Public Law No. 812, 76th Congress) made it possible for NDRC and OSRD to accept voluntary services. This played a very important role in the operation of these organizations because it simplified the problem of obtaining the services of high level scientists who did not wish to sever connection with their peacetime employers. The OSRD had all of the authority granted to the regular Government departments for doing its work, but did not have to cope with the laws and regulations governing these departments in hiring and discharging personnel, and in reimbursing them for travel and subsistence.

Although the NDRC and the CMR worked independently of each other in scientific matters, their business operations were centralized in a single office in Washington, with Dr. Irvin Stewart functioning as the Executive secretary of both. He was also the Executive Secretary of the OSRD. This threefold secretaryship in the same individual made possible a high degree of uniformity in administrative matters, even though the NDRC and the CMR pursued quite different paths in scientific matters. Other activities, added from time to time, were brought into the framework of the central business organization in the same manner.

The heads of the various branches reported to Dr. Bush, as Director of the OSRD. To provide high level liaison with the armed services, an Advisory Council was set up for the OSRD with Bush as Chairman.35 As time went, on meetings of the Council became less necessary as the OSRD and its component elements settled into their work. Close direct liaison was established when Dr. Bush was made the Chairman of the Joint Committee on New Weapons and Equipment under the Joint Chiefs of Staff on May 4, 1942.

It is a fair question to ask what the foregoing description of the OSRD and its subsidiaries had to do with the administration of the Navy Department in World War II. IN the light of the splendid achievements of the scientists during the war, it would not be unreasonable to assume that all that was necessary to make their efforts effective was to mobilize and organize them under competent leadership, to provide them with


Advisory Council, Office of Scientific Research and Development
Advisory Council, Office of Scientific Research and Development.
Left to right: Dr. J.C. Hunsaker, Mr. H.H. Bundy, Dr. J.B. Conant, Dr. Vannevar Bush,
RADM J.A. Furer, USN, Dr. A.N. Richards, Dr. F.B. Jewett, Dr. C.L. Wilson.


unlimited funds, and to turn them loose on the job. Such was far from being the case. Many wrinkles had to be ironed out before smoothly working procedures were established internally in their own organization and externally in their working relations with the War and Navy Departments. To ignore the difficulties that were encountered in respect to the latter, or to lay them on the doorstep of either the OSRD or of the armed services, would be missing the main purpose of writing the History of the Administration of the Navy Department. That purpose, as has been mentioned a number of times before, is to draw lessons from the experiences, good and bad, of World War II in order to make them available for future guidance.

Vannevar Bush and his colleagues had convinced General Marshall and Admiral Stark that scientists knew more about the possibilities for weapon development lying dormant in science than did the military leaders. It could be taken fir granted that practically everyone would agree with that proposition, but there were serious differences of opinion as to the organizational and administrative mechanism through which the scientists could best translate their superior knowledge into new weapons and devices of warfare. In the armed services, differences of opinion ranged all the ways from active opposition to setting up an autonomous and independent research activity to mild questionings of the reliability of scientists in matters of military security if admitted to partnership in weapon development.

It was not always easy to harmonize the points of view of the scientists and of the man who makes the profession of arms his lifework. Their backgrounds are in many respects very different. In normal times the scientist looks upon the world as friendly. He likes to take all mankind into his confidence as soon as he makes a discovery. He wants his inventions and discoveries put to use promptly, especially when they are replacing obsolete things. It is alien to his nature to work in channels. He has a natural human desire to receive credit from his colleagues and from the public for the fruits of his labor.

By contrast, the professional military officer must think of the world as potentially hostile, even in times of peace. It is his job to plan for war whenever and wherever it may come. He cannot take the world into his confidence, for one of the fundamentals of military science is to withhold from the enemy all information about his own plans, weapons, and resources. Working in guarded channels therefore becomes a habit with the military man. Strategy and tactics must be based on the use of the available means of waging war, however much he may realize their shortcomings, and however keenly he may desire improved weapons and techniques This all makes for a measure of conservatism in even the most


forward-looking military men. For men with heavy responsibilities and little imagination, it makes for mistrust of the new because it is new.

The marvel is that these divergent points of view were resolved at all and that a fairly good working partnership between the armed services and civilian scientists was achieved almost from the very beginning. The answer lay in the measures taken to insure effective liaison between the OSRD and the armed services. The record in this respect was very different in the Axis countries and is worth reviewing.

Science in the Axis Countries

It is clear from the evidence obtained after the war that effective liaison between science and the military services was never established in Germany nor in Japan. This accounts largely for the fact that scientists did not contribute so effectively to the war effort in those countries as they did in the United States and in Great Britain. There is ample evidence from captured documents and from statements of those in position to know, that the failure should not be charged to the scientists but to the political and military leaders of the enemy countries. It can certainly not be laid to a low level of professional competence of the scientists, especially not to those in Germany. As evidence of the ability of the relatively few German scientists and engineers who were integrated with the war machine, are such achievements as the V-bombs, the Mark XXI submarine, and major advances in aeronautics. Fortunately for the Allied Nations, the scientists were not given a free hand in these development in time to affect the outcome of the war.

It appears that Hitler and his military advisers were convinced of Germany's ability to win the war quickly with the improved weapons that had been developed during the peace period. Had this been a correct estimate of the situation, Germany would have needed no special organization of scientists for the creation of new weapons and devices during the war. It was reasoned, on this assumption that the older scientists in university laboratories could be left to their peacetime researches in the expectation that the fruits of their work would be of value after the war in meeting international industrial competition and in the reconversion of Germany's own economy. Following this line of thinking it was further believed that the younger scientists would need exemption from military duty no more than other educated men in their age groups. The error of this policy was acknowledged in 1943 by returning several thousand scientists from the Armed Forces to the laboratories, but it was then too late, even though thereafter all scientists were exempted from military service.


During the first four years of the war, such weapon research and development as was undertaken in Germany was done largely in the laboratories operated by the armed services and by the war industries. The effort was directed mainly at improving existing weapons. Fundamental research was greatly curtailed. For example, basic research on radar was stopped by Hitler's orders in 1940 and was not resumed until 1942.

These were errors stemming from the faulty premise of a short war, but an even greater error was made in applying authoritarian methods to the management of such scientific research as was undertaken early in the war. The armed services attempted to tell the scientists what to invent without permitting the to learn at first hand the problem to be solved. The scientists were given the requirements for the weapons and devices, but no opportunity to collaborate in their development with the combat forces that were to use the, and no opportunity to evaluate the performance of the new versus the old weapons. What was needed was often very different from what was specified. An official of a German electrical firm testified after the war that only one of their engineers had been permitted to examine in actual operation the best of the radar sets they had manufactured. Under Nazi regimentation there was no place for that untrammeled flow of ideas between scientists and users which contributed so much to increasing the military strength of the United States and Great Britain.

Furthermore, the secrecy with which Germany had prepared for war had had the effect of limiting participation in these preparations to a relatively small number of scientists and engineers of unquestioned political "reliability." The purge of scientific men of liberal and international views, as well as those of Jewish origins, from university faculties, research institutions, and civil service positions, still further weakened the German scientific effort.

In 1942, by which time the hopes for a short war had faded, the German Government attempted to bring academic scientists into war research. In ay of that year, Professor Wilhelm Osenberg, of the Technische Hochschule at Hanover, was made head of a committee to review the available of scientific personnel at German university and other laboratories for work on problems of the German Navy. In January 1943, he became head of the Reichsforschungstat, an agency somewhat similar to the Office of Scientific Research and Development in the United States. The RFR, however, was handicapped by the fact that Nazi officialdom, both civil and military, never quite learned that smoothly intermeshing relations between the scientists and the armed forces were important to rapid success in research. At the time of the German surrender, Profess Osenberg stated that "Germany lost the war because of incomplete


mobilization and utilization of scientific brains." There is, however, no question that German war research was prosecuted far more effectively during the last half of the war than during the first years, and that it achieved some notable successes.

Japan's organization of science for war was even more faulty than Germany's. Her laboratories were fewer in number, but some of them compared favorably with the best research establishments of the Western countries. The Government laboratories seem to have attracted only second-rate men, but Japan had some civilian scientists of great ability who, if given the opportunity, could have made important contributions to war research. The military men knew so little about promoting research that they not only told the scientists in detail what to invent, but also how to do it. Futhermore, the scientists were often kept in the dark as to the purpose which a proposed device was to serve. Sometimes the components of a research program ere parceled out to a number of laboratories, with instruction that the whole would be assembled at an undisclosed establishment when the time was right. It is estimated that, y American standards, Japan's utilization of her academic scientists was only about 10 percent effective.36

The Co-ordinating Link

Mention has been made that there were, at first, differences of opinion as to the best way to bring civilian scientists into war work. During the early months of 1941, a situation arose which brought into the open the views of the Director of the Naval Research Laboratory on the mobilization of civilian scientists. This resulted in clarifying the thinking on the subject. In the fall of 1940, when German submarines were making alarming inroads on British merchant shipping, the Navy Department requested the National Academy of Sciences to study the scientific aspects of anti-submarine warfare and to report on the adequacy of the weapons and techniques available to the United States to combat submarines.

In response, Frank B. Jewett, the President of the NAS, appointed a special committee headed by Dr. E.H. Colpitts to study the subject. The committee's report and recommendations were delivered on January 31, 1941, to the Secretary of the Navy's Technical Aide, who at that time was also the Director of the Naval Research Laboratory. When a month had elapsed without any word of the action taken on the report, Dr. Jewett urged that it ne brought to the attention of Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. On 17 March 1941, the Director of the Naval Research


Laboratory forwarded the report to the Secretary with comments that were in general opposed to the recommendations of the Colpitts Committee and also to the method proposed by the Committee for carrying them out.37

The last two sentences of the forwarding letter were particularly disturbing to Frank Know: "It would appear at the present time that the only reason for acceding to such a recommendation would e on account of the pressure exerted y certain well known scientitsts, some of whose names appear in this correspondence. it is obvious that such an agency must he subordinate to the Naval Research Laboratory and should be under the charge of a naval officer who is entirely sympathetic to research.38 By "such an agency," the Director of the Naval Research Labaoartory was referring to the National Defense Research Committee.

Secretary Know was quick to see that such an attitude on the part of the Navy Department, if allowed to prevail, would seriously impair effective collaboration between civilian scientists and the Navy. In March 1941, he requested Dr. Jerome C. Hunsaker to study the administration, in the Navy Department, of research in general, and to advise him on measures to take for the promotion of more effective relationships between civilian scientists and the Navy.38 He requested advice specifically on three subjects: The best place for the Naval Research Laboratory in the organization of the Navy Department; the best mechanism for collaborating with the National Inventors Council; and advice on the issue brought up in the letter from the Director of the Naval Research Laboratory forwarding the Colpitts Report.

In January 1941, the Director of the Naval Research Laboratory had recommended that the Navy's policy with regard to research and the status of the NRL e re-examined. The General Board held hearings on the subject, and made a report to the Secretary on Naval Research policy in general and on the coordination of research within the Navy Department in particular. The Secretary referred this report to Dr. Hunsaker, who advised hi to place the Laboratory under the Bureau of Ships.

In the matter of collaboration with the National Inventors Council, mention should be made of how unsolicited ideas and inventions for the improvement of naval weapons and matériel, received directly from the


public, were being handled. During World War I, Secretary Daniels had appointed Rear Admiral William Strother Smith, USN, an engineer of distinction, for full-time duty as his Technical Aide, to deal with such matters. The arrangement proved particularly valuable in screening out things that were obviously impracticable, thereby saving the time of busy people in the Bureaus. The Technical Aide channeled the ideas that had merit to the Bureau having cognizance of the subjects. Aside from the practical aspects of the arrangement, the fact that anyone with an idea could, without delay, obtain a personal interview with a senior office close to the Secretary of the Navy, and competent to discuss technical matters, had a good psychological effect in encouraging the public to submit ideas. The Office was continued after World War I, and had grown until it had half a dozen employees.

National Inventors Council

Shortly after the establishment of the NDRC in June 1940, Mr. Lawrence Langner, an international patent attorney, discussed with Harry L. Hopkins, the Secretary of Commerce, ways and means of stimulating creative thinking by the public on military inventions. It was felt that many good ideas would be forthcoming from people who were not necessarily scientists if given the opportunity to bring them to the attention of a sympathetic central organization in Washington. Warfare had become so complex and covered such a wide range of human activities that this seemed likely as good ideas were certainly not a monopoly of trained scientists. As Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

Early discussions of a group brought together by Harry L. Hopkins resulted after receiving the President's approval in setting up the National Inventors Council in August 1940.39 There was never any organizational nor administrative connection between the NDRC and the NIC, but their objectives were the same: to assist the War and Navy Departments in solving the many weapon and other material problems with which the armed services would be confronted in the event of war, which at that time for the United States still lay eighteen months in the future.

It was decided at the first meeting of the Council on August 6, 1940 that its function would be to provide a liaison service between the public and the War and Navy Departments by screening the ideas received, and


forwarding the items that appeared to have merit to the Bureau or office most likely to find them useful. The Council was composed of distinguished American inventors and scientists drawn from the various fields of industry in which the armed services were interested. Other members were patent experts, scientists and engineers, science writers, representatives from the military services, and the Commissioner of Patents. All served without pay. Retired Army and Naval Officers did much of the screening and evaluating and then brought the items to the attention of the appropriate office in the War or Navy Department. To save time and paper work, much of this was done informally.

The National Inventors Council was not a part of the Patent Office. Those who submitted ideas had to be warned repeatedly that favorable consideration of an invention by the Council was in no way equivalent to formal patent procedure. Some 200,000 ideas of all kinds were received by the Council during the first five years of its existence. They ranged all the way from mere suggestions to elaborate descriptions accompanied by plans and specifications. In this number there were about 560 that proved of definite value to the armed services. While the number of useful ideas seems small, it must be remembered that included in the total number were many ideas that were already being used or were in the process of being investigated by the Research Laboratories of the War and Navy Departments and by NDRC and NACA.

Some valuable devices developed during World War II were based on ideas that came from the free-lance inventors who submitted them to the National Inventors Council. Such, for example, was the signalling mirror which saved the lives of many men adrift at sea during the war. It was submitted by a California Scoutmaster who had developed it for his Boy Scout troop. Another was a dry cell battery half the size of the standard type, yet having five times the service life of the latter. The battery was essential to the further development of "Walkie-Talkie" Radio telephones that became so important during the war. Still another was the portable mine detector which was capable of spotting metals buried up to 30 inches in the ground. It saved many lives during the war. The former type of detector was unable to locate mines buried more than 6 inches deep.40

Dr. Hunsaker recommended to Secretary Knox that every possible use be made of the National Inventors Council. To this end he proposed that the Office of Inventions mentioned previously be transferred to the Office of the Coordinator of Research and Development (presently to be described), and that liaison be established with N.I.C. through that channel.


The arrangement proved very satisfactory to both the Navy Department and the N.I.C. The Office of Inventions continued to receive ideas and suggestions directly from the public as well as through the N.I.C. In fact, many more were received directly than from the N.I.C., because in the case of the latter, the items had already gone through a screening process which had eliminated those that had no merit.41

The Coordinator of Research and Development

The most important subject studied by Dr. Hunsaker for the Secretary was what kind of coordinating link to provide between the Navy Department and civilian scientists, in order to promote harmonious and effective relationships between them and the Navy. He discussed the subject at length with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Bureaus, with the result that General Order #150, quoted below, was issued under date of July 12, 1941, entitled "Coordination of Research and Development."

  1. General Orders Nos. 124 and 130 are hereby canceled.

  2. The Naval Research Laboratory, as now constituted, is hereby placed under the cognizance of the Bureau of Ships.

  3. In order to secure a more complete measure of cooperation and coordination in matters of research and development and to provide an agency for consideration of such matters, there is hereby established, in the office of the Secretary of the Navy, the Nasal Research and Development Board, with membership, functions, and procedure as follows:

    1. Membership.--The Naval Research and Development Boar shall consist of the Coordinator of Research and Development, as Chairman, with representatives of the Chief of Naval Operations, Bureau of Ships, Bureau of Ordnance, Bureau of Aeronautics, and Bureau of Yards and Docks.

    2. Functions.--The Board shall recommend to the Secretary of the Navy action in respect to research and development matters.

    3. Procedure.--The Coordinator of Research and Development will call the meetings of the Board, prepare its agenda, and transmit its findings and recommendations.

  4. The Coordinator of Research and Development shall be a civilian scientists. The Assistant Coordinator shall be a Naval Officer who will assist the Coordinator and act as his deputy.

  5. The duties of the Coordinator are as follows:

    1. Advise the Secretary of the Navy on matters of Naval Research and Development.

    2. Provide information to Bureaus and Offices of the Navy regarding research of outside agencies.

    3. Cooperate with all agencies of research and development with a view to coordination of effort.

    4. Arrange for suitable represenentation of the Navy on outside Boards, Committees, and Councils dealing with research.


    1. Provide a Progress Section and an Planning Section for formulation of coordinated programs of research.

    2. Supervise the handling of correspondence regarding suggestions and inventions brought by individuals to the Office of the Secretary of the Navy.

Frank Knox,
Secretary of the Navy.

The General Order placed the Naval Research Laboratory under the Bureau of Ships and established a Naval Research and Development Board, to coordinate the research and development work of the Navy Department itself. Paragraphs 5(b), 5(c), and 5(d) were the only parts of the General Order dealing with the primary purpose for which the office was established; namely, the improvement of collaboration in research between the Navy Department and outside agencies, such as the Office of Scientific Research and Development, its subsidiary agencies, such as the NDRC and the CMR, and the National Inventors Council, although no agency was specifically mentioned.

It will be noted that the General Order clothed the Coordinator of Research and Development with very little authority, and placed the Bureau under no obligation to furnish the Coordinator information as to their own research programs. This was a serious omission and all later efforts failed to make this a mandatory requirement. The Bureaus were loath to yield up any part of their prerogatives in connection with the initiation and handling of their own research. A more cooperative policy on their part would have avoided duplication of effort and exploration up blind alleys. When a Research and Development Board was established in the Department of Defense after the war, all activities in the armed services were required to keep the Board fully informed of all research and development work being carried on by them. The armed services had time. However, as it turned out, the coordinating work with the OSRD so overshadowed in importance and results the coordinating of research within the Navy Department itself that no great harm was done.

There was also no mention of keeping an agency such as the oSRD informed directly or through the Coordinator's Office of current strategic plans with a view to giving the scientists an opportunity to be of assistance in developing weapons, devices and countermeasures that might be helpful in carrying out the plans. Keeping the Office of Scientific Research and Development in direct tough with the needs for new weapons and equipment was not brought about until a year later when, largely on the recommendation of the Coordinator, a Joint New Weapons and Equipment Committee was set up under the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Dr. Bush, the Director of the OSRD, as its Chairman.


Another defect which also did not make itself felt until the United States was actually at war, was the failure to supply the Coordinator's Office with battle action reports, needed to keep the scientists informed of the behavior of weapons and equipment in combat. The Coordinator requested that he be placed on the list to receive such reports, but the request was not approved on the grounds that such reports contained tactical information which should have only a very limited circulation. He was informed that abstracts of the reports relating to matériel would be furnished him. This arrangement proved impracticable because for one thing, personnel was not available in Cominch to make such abstracts; for another, matters of this kind taken from their contest are often meaningless and may actually be misleading. Much of the desired information finally reached the Coordinator's Office indirectly, sometimes via the War Department, or through roundabout Naval Intelligence channels. This was, however, only one facet of the many problems that arose from restrictions that had necessarily to be placed on the free circulation of information coming from the fighting fronts. So much has ben written and said on this subject that it need not be elaborated in further detail in this place.

Dr. Hunsaker realized that these were serious handicaps to carrying out the purpose of the office, but instead of embarking on a lengthy campaign to obtain more authority and freer access to information, he decided to accept what he could get without further loss of time. He also gave up an early idea of recommending that an Assistant Secretary of the Navy, dealing specifically with research matters, be added to the civilian hierarchy of the Navy Department. He believed that in any case the best way to accomplish the mission of the office would be by cooperation and persuasion rather than by authoritarian methods. This became his policy and was continued by the naval officer who succeeded him five months later. It proved successful, although it required more work and, no doubt, at times resulted in delays that might have been avoided if authoritarian procedures had been followed.

The deficiencies i the General Order were in time overcome to a considerable extent by the direct contacts which the Coordinator's very competent staff established with the research personnel in the Bureaus and with the scientists mobilized under the OSRD. The Coordinator's personal relationships with Admiral King throughout the war were also of the best and aided in establishing cooperative relationships with Cominch and CNO.

A modification was, however, made in the stipulation of General Order No. 150 that the Coordinator be a civilian scientist. The civilian scientist requirement was based on the belief that it would inspire the civilian scientific organizations with confidence in the office, and would thus facilitate their dealings with the Navy. Dr. Hunsaker was appointed to the


position, but soon found that it was even more important to inspire the Navy with confidence in the office and in the competence and reliability of the civilian scientists. he believed that this could be brought about better by a naval officer than by a civilian scientist, and recommended to Secretary Knox that General Order No. 150 be modified in this respect. This was done by General Order No. 159 of December 1, 1941. Dr. Hunsaker had requested that his own assignment be considered temporary in any case, in view of his duties as Chairman of NACA. After the promulgation of General Order No. 159, a naval officer was selected to relive Dr. Hunsaker.42

The Coordinator's Staff. Immediately on his appointment, Dr. Hunsaker began the selection of a staff for the new office. Captain Lybrand Smith, USN, one of the few officers in the regular Navy who held a Doctor of Science Degree, was ordered to duty as Dr. Hunsaker's senior assistant, and was also named the Navy Department representative on the NDRC. Scientists were indicated for most of the staff positions. The first four officers for this duty were selected by Dr. Hunsaker and Captain Smith, from a list furnished by the Bureau of Personnel, of about 100 Reserve Officers having a scientific background. It was correctly assumed that only among Reserve Officers could men be found who were professionally qualified for the duty, and who also had some naval experience. The point of view of scientists who had been indoctrinated in naval procedures and practices, was considered necessary if effective liaison between the Navy and the NDRC was to be achieved. There were never at any one time more than three officers of the regular Navy on duty in the Coordinator's office.43

The office was organized into sections for administrative purposes as well as for carrying out its functions of coordination and liaison. For the latter purposes, the heart of the organization was the Progress and Planning Section. The Chief of this section was an experienced officer of the regular Navy, who had had three years of postgraduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and who was a competent scientists in his own right. To this section were assigned the first four officers selected by the method mentioned above. Additional Reserve Officers were enrolled and assigned to the section from time to time as the tempo and


Fig. 33--Organization of Progres and Planning Section, Feb. 1945
Fig. 33--Organization of Progress and Planning Section, Office of the Coordinator of Research and Development
(February, 1945)


variety of research and development work increased. By the early part of 1945, there were nine officers assigned to this section, with duties as shown on the Chart, Figure 33. It will be noted that each officer was given definite and specific liaison assignments with the Bureaus and other offices in the Navy Department, and with the divisions of the NDRC, based largely on his own specialty. Thus, there was never any uncertainty as to who handled what. These officers soon became personally known to the various research and development activities in the Navy Department and to the outside organizations, thus simplifying the problem of making the right contacts promptly.

This arrangement speeded up the entire process of coordination. It will be noted that the organizational pattern of the section in a measure followed the organization of the NDRC. Proliferation of the organization to the same extent as in the NDRC was, however, avoided, as there were advantages in keeping the staff as small and compact as possible.

The field of activity of each of the members of the Progress and Planning Sections also shown on the Chart. Liaison with the National Inventors Council was provided by a separate section known as the Office of Inventions, previously described in this chapter.

The Office immediately filled the much felt need of a single point of contact in the Navy Department for the dealings of scientists with the Navy. Few know better than those who have spent a lifetime in Government service the value of a single point of departure in doing business with the Government. There are always the problems of ascertaining who handles what, whom to see first, how far the Government employees' authority and responsibility go, when to talk and when to write, and the hundred and one other minutiae of procedure that constitute what is commonly known as red tape. Such matters are often baffling to even the most experienced Government employees. It was realized that they would be appalling to most of the scientists, as few of them had had experience in working with the Government. No special representations on the part of the OSRD were therefore necessary to convince the Coordinator that an important part of the mission of his office would be to assist the scientists in finding their way through the mazes of officialdom. Bringing the right people together at the right time, opening doors. eliminating unnecessary steps, educating the scientists with respect to the advantages of communicating through channels, were all services that were extremely helpful to them.

The more constructive work of coordination was handled in various ways, which soon settled down into more or less standardized grooves of procedure. First in importance was the Navy Department representation on the National Defense Research Committee itself, in the person of Captain Lybrand Smith, the Deputy Coordinator of Research and Development.


Navy membership on the NDRC was much more than a liaison arrangement. The Navy member actually had the same authority and responsibility for the overall administration of the NDRC, for the projects taken up, and for the spending of its appropriations as the other seven members of the Committee. NDRC clearance to spend money on a new project was often given informally, usually on the recommendation of a Division Chief, but normally it was not given until the Committee was in possession of all of the information it considered necessary to take definite action. It was the responsibility of the Navy Department member to present the Navy's case for all projects in which the Navy Department had or might have an interest, whether or not requested originally by the Navy Department. This was a full time job for the Navy member. He was ably assisted by the various members of the Coordinator's staff in exploring and obtaining full information on such matters. This arrangement had the advantage that it brought the officers of the Progress and Planning Section in on the ground floor of new projects.

From the outset, the Coordinator took the position that the Navy member of the NDRC need not be bound by any lack of interest, expressed or otherwise, on the part of the Navy Department in projects under consideration by the Committee. For example, many naval officers were not optimistic about the future of rockets when intensive research and development for such weapons was first under consideration by NDRC. The Coordinator's Office nevertheless advocated immediate and complete backing for the development of such weapons. Subsequent events proved the wisdom of the decision, for rockets became one of the most valuable weapons of amphibious warfare in the Pacific.

Conference Procedures. Conferences, held usually in the Coordinator's Office, were the basic mechanism for starting new projects, establishing liaison, keeping track of progress, clearing away road blocks, and expediting work under way. The meetings were carefully planned by the officer in the Progress and Planning Section, who had cognizance of the subject. Conferences were often the result of trips made by the officers to the laboratories where the research was under way, or about to begin. Sometimes, conferences were requested by the NDRC division head having charge of the work. Representatives of the CNO, Cominch, the Bureaus, the NDRC, the laboratories and others, who had an interest in the project, were requested to attend and so far as possible were furnished detailed information in advance as to what as to be discussed and what decisions had to be made. All of the preliminary discussions and arrangements were kept on an informal basis. Nothing is so fatal to quick action during the preliminary stages of getting a project under way as formal correspondence.

The agenda for the conference was, after discussion with the Coordinator, normally prepared by the Chief of the Progress and Planning Section or


one of his assistants. The Coordinator usually presided at conferences. His principal job was to hold the discussion to the subject and to arrive at a clear understanding of the agreements reached and the next step to be taken; particularly, on who was to take the next step. The minutes of the conference were prepared immediately by the officer who had managed the preliminaries. Copies of the minutes were distributed not later than the next day to those who attended, so as to avoid lapses of memory and waning enthusiasm. The conference technique was developed to a high degree of effectiveness in getting research projects under way, and in keeping them moving.

A considerable amount of travelling by the Coordinator and the members of the staff was necessary to keep in touch with what was going on in the laboratories, and in the shore establishments and ships where new weapons and devices were being tested and evaluated. Up to date information on all aspects of a research projects was essential in order to make it possible for the Coordinator to clear away obstructions. There was soon a continuous stream of visitors from the NDRC and the laboratories, bringing to the attention of the Coordinator and his staff matters in which the office could be of help. Visits were encouraged, as many subjects could not be discussed over the telephone for security reasons.

Navy Liaison at Research Establishments. On the spot liaison was provided by detailing to each of the more important OSRD contract laboratories one or more officers whose principal function it was to keep the Navy's requirements, particularly the user's point of view and the sea-going hazards to equipment constantly before the scientists during research, development, an evaluation. Equipment used by the Navy must be resistant to tropical sea atmospheres and to salt water exposure; limitations on weight and space for shipboard installations can never be ignored; resistance to gunfire shock is a primary consideration; spare parts are essential; the problems of maintenance and operation under the most adverse conditions must therefore be considered from the inception of a project. Only those brought up in the Navy think automatically of such things. This aspect of the invention of new devices for the Navy was brought forcibly to attention by the unsatisfactory experience with the first microwave radar equipment developed by the Radiation Laboratory at M.I.T. for shipboard use. After the assignment of competent naval officer liaison at the laboratory, further difficulties of this kind practically disappeared.

Officers for such duty were selected by the Coordinator after consultation wit the cognizant Bureau or the staff of Cominch for their practical knowledge of the conditions to be met. Frequently they were the officers who had taken part in the earliest informal discussions leading up to the


research project Their interests and responsibilities frequently extended beyond the laboratory into the engineering stage, and often into crash programs. Frequently the liaison officers went to sea with new equipment for extended periods of time, performing in this way the functions of field engineers. The part that the Office of Field Service of the OSRD played in this connection has been mentioned. Where the research activity was of sufficient magnitude, as, for example, at the Radiation Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the ordnance work at the California Institute of Technology, full time liaison officers with staff assistants were provided.

A few liaison officers attempted to instruct the laboratories how to carry on the research work. This always caused trouble, as no scientist can work creatively with someone looking over his shoulder telling him what to do. A number of changes in personnel had to be made to correct such situations. There were instances also of scientists whose usefulness was greatly impaired by their inability to work under advice and in channels.

The decision to keep the Coordinator's Office out of the administration of actual research was sound. It was considered likely, and this was borne out by actual experience, that civilian scientists would turn much more freely to an officer no in competition with them than to an office that might perhaps be conducting research paralleling their own. So much of the Coordinator's work turned out to be adjusting and umpiring other people's troubles and disagreements that a disinterested position proved very valuable. His office became increasingly effective in this respect as the Bureaus and other offices of the Navy Department, the War Department, and the civilian scientists gained confidence in its as an unbiased organization.

The temptation was great on many occasions to undertake the active direction of research on the grounds of urgency. This was especially true of projects that were crying for solution but which did not come under the cognizance of any one Bureau or Division of the Navy Department. In such cases, the Coordinator initiated the projects and then turned them over to the sponsorship of an appropriate activity.

One of the Coordinator's problems was to keep his own staff satisfied with the unglamorous role of opening doors for others. As most of the staff were scientists themselves, this was for them a hard role to play. However, with the exception of one man, they made the sacrifice and struck to what was generally the thankless job of ironing out the infinite variety of complicated human relations involved in the introduction of new ideas and in assisting others to work them out effectively. This problem was a part of the larger problem of how to get the most out of


the limited scientific manpower of the country. The Coordinator of Research and Development was the mechanism in the Navy Department's administrative machinery for handling such matters.

Scientific Manpower. All research activities, whether part of the regular government departments or set up temporarily for the war effort, such as the OSRD, were dependent for their scientific personnel on the existing supply of scientists in the United States. It was realized that not many additional young men could be trained for effective research work during the progress of the war, and that therefore the country must depend largely on persons who already had the education, training, and professional experience fitting them for such work.

The Selective Training and Service Act of September 16, 1940, authorized the President to establish a Selective Service System for obtaining the manpower needed by the armed forces. Local Boards, some 6,800 in all, were set up and recorded by name through periodic registrations all male citizens and aliens in the United States subject to the Act. The Boards classified then as to their availability for military training and service, and selected for induction into the armed forces those who were considered to be the most available. The Act made no provisions for blanket exemptions of men in activities considered essential to the prosecution of the war, such, for example, as the all too scarce scientists. This, largely because certain abuses had occurred in following such a policy in WOrld War I. The boards were, however, empowered, under certain lmitations and regulations, to defer individual for six months at a stretch, but each case was left to be dealt with on its merits by the local board. There was no difficulty prior to Pearl Harbor in obtaining deferments for draft registrants who were employed in work "found to be necessary to the maintenance of the national health, safety or interest." Scientists and technicians employed by the OSRD, its contractors and the government laboratories met this stipulation. After Pearl Harbor, the requirement of irreplaceability was, however, more stringently applied.

By the spring of 1942, the scientific manpower situation had reached the point where there was danger that the War and Navy Departments, the OSRD, industry, and university laboratories would be bidding so competitively for the services of scientific and technical personnel as to jeopardize the morale and efficient operation of all research establishments. The OSRD contractors were particularly in difficulty because they were trying to build up research staffs to carry on the programs assigned to them. The situation led Dr. Bush to appoint a Committee to study the entire subject of scientific manpower. The Coordinator of Research for the Navy Department took an active part in these studies and discussions.


Bush also added a Selective Service Unit to his executive staff to handle the deferments of OSRD employees and to aid contractors to obtain deferments for their personnel. He also drew up a plan for a Scientific Corps, but President Roosevelt did not approve of the idea; so it was dropped.

As a result of these studies, Bush recommended, in October 1942, that the War Manpower Commission set up a Committee on Scientific Research Personnel. He suggested that the functions of the Committee be to prepare a list of scientific and technical workers of professional grade medicine; to determine the places in which their talents could most effectively be used, and to maintain a continuing study of the need for scientific personnel in the Armed Services and in civilian agencies. it was to be the duty of the Committee to furnish information regarding each individual to the local Selective Service board where he was registered, and to the Army and Navy, so that the individuals might be reserved for the scientific work for which they were best fitted. Dr. Bush pointed out particularly that scientists, and this applied especially to the young men, should not themselves be required to ask for deferment nor to determine where they would be of the greatest value. These decisions he felt should be made for them by a Board motivated by a broad view of the whole war effort.

Not until February 1943, did the War Manpower Commission act on the recommendations. Then it accepted them practically without modification, and set up a Committee composed of representatives of the War and Navy Departments, the OSRD and other agencies.44 The OSRD informed its contractors of the Reserved List arrangement and requested them to send in the names of all scientists and technicians working on OSRD contracts whom they wished included. After accepting a name for inclusion on the list, the Committee so informed the individual's local draft board. It notified also the Director fo Selective Service, who in turn notified the State Director of Selective Service. Inclusion in the Reserved List imposed no obligation on the local draft boards to defer an individual, but it furnished the boards with more complete information than ever before, as to the merits of each individual case. By the end of the war, there were approximately 7,000 names on the Reserved List. Of these, some 5,600 were engaged in work on OSRD contracts. The procedure received the consistent support of the War and Navy Departments.

In order to centralize the handling of the growing scientific manpower


problems, a Scientific Personnel Office was established as a principal subdivision of OSRD on June 1, 1943.45

The creation of the Committee on Scientific Research Personnel did not, however, end these problems. A crisis was created when the President, under date of February 26, 1944, directed Selective Service boards to review all deferments for men under 26. This jeopardized the deferred status of every scientist under 26 working on OSRD contracts, whether his name was on the Reserved List or not. If deferment had been withdrawn for all men under 26, the effect on research and development would have been far more serious than for other phases of war production, because it would have been practically impossible to replace the young men in the research teams working on electronics, underwater sound, military medicine, the atomic bomb and other new knowledge problems. And there were no older men to fill the gaps that would have been left.

For example, out of 1915 male employees of the Radiation Laboratory at MIT on March 8, 1944, 925 had staff ratings. Of the latter number, 50 were between 18 and 21 years old, and 240 between 22 and 25 years of age. All of the 50 and all but 5 of the 240 had been nominated for the Reserved List.46 If these men had been taken, some of the most important programs of the war would have come to a practical standstill. The percentage of young men in the field service groups in overseas theaters was also high. By strenuous representations backed up by the War and Navy Departments, the directive was kept from doing harm, although at one state, the State Director in Massachusetts informed the Radiation Laboratory that he intended to refuse deferment to at least 50 of their radar experts than on the Reserved List. Similar difficulties were encountered in several other States.

A similar situation arose when, in January 1945, a review of all deferments in the age group 26 to 29 was ordered. But by that tie, the bona fides of the Reserved List and of the people behind it were so well established that no difficulty was experienced by OSRD in holding its personnel.

The handicaps to building up and retaining scientific personnel in Navy Department Laboratories were not so great as they were for the research activities under the OSRD, because the former were able to obtain and to hold many of their scientists and technicians by enrolling them in the Naval Reserve, thus protecting them from the incursions of Selective Service. This was, however, not so easy after voluntary


enlistments in the Navy were prohibited toward the end of the war. All recruitment had then to be effected through Selective Service.

In the long and difficult struggle for adequate scientific personnel, the mechanism of a Reserved List was of cardinal importance. It prevented, to a considerable extent, the encroachment of Selective Service on a small group of men who were indispensable to the success of the war effort, much as the proponents of Selective Service, as operated during World War II, deny that there is such a thing as "the indispensable man." Actually only 64 men were lost to the draft by OSRD and its contractors, out of 9,766 for whom deferments were requested.47

This achievement was made possible at the cost of time and energy of upper level executives, who might have been employed to greater advantage on other problems .The exemption of scientists by the Government fiat from the operation of any Selective Service procedure, and their assignment to the work they were best qualified to do, might have expedited the war research and development programs; but the example of exempting an entire group of even admittedly scarce and intellectually gifted specialists might also have had a bad effect on the morale of other groups, and perhaps on the overall war effort. The perfect solution for the scientific manpower problem in time of war was certainly not found.

The Intelligence Analysis Unit. An Intelligence Analysis Unit was not included in the original organization of the Coordinator's Office, but was soon found to be necessary. No provision for performing this function had been made originally, because it was assumed that the Office of Naval Intelligence would make a preliminary analysis of incoming reports, and send them to the appropriate offices in the Navy Department for further study. The magnitude of the task had, however, been very much underestimated.

After the United States entered the war, information began to flow into the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department, and the Office of Strategic Services in unprecedented volume and from many new sources. To the routine reports from military, naval, and air Attachés, were added reports from secret agents, prisoner of war interrogations, captured enemy documents, battle action reports, reports from survivors of torpedoes ships, industrial bomb-damage reports, briefs of State Department telegrams and dispatches, and excerpts from scientific and technical journals. Most of these reports did not deal primarily with scientific and technical matters, but often contained clues with respect to weapon developments under way in enemy countries. For the most part, however, information of this kind was so obscured by unrelated


matter, that it could not readily be recognized as having any practical scientific research value. It soon became evident that the personnel in ONI qualified to screen out information of this kind was very limited and inadequate for the task. An Intelligence Analysis Unit was therefore set up as part of the Progress and Planning Section in the Coordinator's organization, and played a significant part in the administration of the Navy Department during the war.

In selecting an individual to head this activity, the Coordinator was governed by the belief that a scientist was not needed. Scientists were scarce, and a good one would not have been interested in the work in any case, especially as the mission of the Unit did not include the application of the uncovered information. The most important characteristics qualifying a person for the assignment were considered to be a large store of general information rather than specific scientific knowledge, an active and vivid imagination, a good memory for details, patience and perseverance beyond the ordinary, and experience in searching written reports for obscure information.48

This Section became also the working unit of the Coordinator's Office in its dealings with the liaison officer of OSRD. The latter had been established to handle the flow of scientific and technical information between Great Britain and the United States. The object of the interchange was to provide files in Washington and in London containing information on the latest wartime developments in both countries. Getting the information as quickly as possible into the hands of those who could use it was particularly important. The Coordinator's Office received complete lists of all reports received by the OSRD office. The Intelligence Analysis group scanned the lists and reports, and brought to the attention of the respective staff specialists, for more complete study, any items that might be of interest to them. Much time and drudgery was saved by this arrangement for the scientists in the Progress and Planning Section.

The Analysis group also checked the OSRD daily accession list to insure that the distribution indicated for each item fully covered the Navy Department's needs. The process of scanning reports included taking up personally with the staff specialists concerned, any additional distribution that might be useful. The staff specialists often consulted individuals in the interested offices to make certain that the reported information had come to their attention. As a result of this procedure, the first word that new information had become available frequently came from the Coordinator's Office.


When the Intelligence Analysis group became adept in determining accurately and quickly where intelligence and scientific reports should go, an arrangement was made with ONI and OSS for an additional copy of certain kinds of reports, such as reports dealing with the performance of new weapons under combat conditions, or with scientific and technical information about enemy weapons. The Coordinator's Office assumed responsibility for routing such reports to the civilian scientific organizations in need of the information. The normal channel for reaching the subdivisions of NDRC was through the OSRD liaison office, but routine forwarding was supplemented in all important matters by personal contacts. This policy was also pursued in apprising certain offices in the Navy Department of important developments.

Information having special significance was promptly and informally brought to the attention of responsible individuals in the organizations of CNO, Cominch, the Bureaus, and other offices in the War and Navy Departments, and in the interested civilian research groups. Dossiers were set up on important subjects, especially on those having to do with new weapon developments in the Axis countries. The Coordinator's Office was thus the first to deduce from intelligence reports that German guided missiles such as the HS293, the -bombs, and homing torpedoes would soon appear The dossiers on these and other subjects were frequently consulted by various offices of the Navy Department, the War Department, and by NDRC groups As a result, studies of countermeasures were begun before the enemy weapons actually made their appearance in combat. The Coordinator's files were the most complete in Washington on such subjects. The steps taken to piece together random bits of information into something of constructive value did not follow a uniform pattern. Each subject called for its own treatment. The new German torpedo which home on sound is a good example of how such matters were handled.

The Homing Torpedo. The Coordinator's Office, as did many others in the Navy, felt that sooner or later a German torpedo of the homing type would appear. Such a weapon could be built around any one of several physical principles, but until it was known what principle had been adopted, it would be difficult to plan effective countermeasures. Such a torpedo could be made to home on sound coming from the target (ship propeller noises, for example), on echoes reflected from the target, on electromagnetic disturbances, or on a combination of ay of these. The Intelligence Analysis group was early on the lookout for any information indicating that the Germans had such a weapon under development. In February 1943, a German submarine survivor dropped a remark that a new type of torpedo was under test in the Baltic. This little item was picked up by the Analysis group in a routine prisoner interrogation report, and


caused a stir in the Coordinator's Office because it confirmed a long-held surmise.

A study of ship-sinking reports from all parts of the world was immediately begun. If the Germans had a new torpedo in the process of development, it was believed that they would certainly try it out on merchant ships in remote areas before they placed it in full-scale production for service use. The Analysis group looked particularly for reports of erratic behavior of torpedoes just before striking their target. A study of 368 ship-sinking reports revealed seven widely scattered observations of torpedo behavior that was erratic beyond the conventional broaching, circling, and porpoising. A report by two survivors of the America freighter Robert E. Lee, sunk by a torpedo off the mouth of the Mississippi, was considered particularly significant. The survivors stated that shortly before the explosion they had seen what appeared to be a shark swimming parallel to the ship's course some distance away, and that suddenly the shark had turned at right angles and made directly for the ship; the explosion occurred a few seconds later.

The suspicion that a German homing torpedo was about to be introduced was communicated to the appropriate office in the Navy Department, and ONI was requested to interrogate submarine-survivor prisoners as to their knowledge of such a torpedo. One officer from ONI was assigned to work full time with the Coordinator's Office in running down all such leads. He had been a teacher of German and history before enrolling in the Naval Reserve and had a wide acquaintance with German technical terms, although he was not an engineer. Wen he was placed on this assignment, he began an intensive study of torpedo development and construction. Before he finished the assignment, he was probably the best informed officer in the Navy on German torpedoes.

In June 1943, a German technical rating was picked up as a survivor from a submarine that had been sunk; he seemed to know a good deal about a new torpedo that was under development, but did not claim to be a torpedo specialist. He gave the Coordinator's representative many details of the construction and operation of the new torpedo, but he either did not know or would not divulge the stimulus to which the control was responsive. It was clear from his descriptions, however, that the control mechanism was based on acoustic and not on echo principles. The staff scientist on acoustics in the Coordinator's Office then began to work with the Underwater Sound Laboratory to develop countermeasures to this type of torpedo. The full range of possible frequencies was explored and various types of clatter boxes and other sound-producing devices were developed which, when towed astern from a ship would decoy the torpedo away from its target and cause it to exhaust or destroy itself in attacking


the decoy. Thus, satisfactory countermeasures were actually available when such torpedoes appeared as regular equipment of German submarines, late in the war.

The facts about the steps taken to meet this menace were quite different from those given in an article in one of the popular magazines shortly after V-J Day which said that "American experts came up with fourteen answers to the acoustical torpedo in a brief number of hours." The time was more nearly fourteen months from the first intimation that the Germans were working on an acoustical torpedo. Fortunately for the United States, the lag between the laboratory model and quantity production of the German torpedo was so great that it did not become a surprise weapon.

The work of the Intelligence Analysis group often duplicated work that was being done elsewhere. Much of the information brought to attention by the group would no doubt eventually have reached its logical destinations without the assistance of the Coordinator's Office. The principle was nevertheless adopted that any information having a bearing on the development and performance of new enemy weapons and devices was highly important, and must be made available as quickly as possible to the scientists working in similar and in the countermeasure fields. It was considered better to incur any amount of duplication rather than to run the risk of overlooking what was being done by the enemy. It can safely be said that no duplication paid greater dividends. The cost was small and the results were of great value.

The success of the Intelligence Analysis Section was largely responsible for starting a technical information center in ONI toward the end of the war. Until that time, ONI had taken the position that it could not analyse technical reports because it lacked the requisite technical personnel for doing so; that ONI's role in distributing the reports could be no more than that of a post office. The Coordinator's answer, based on experience, was that scientists and engineers were not essential to the first screening steps; that individuals trained to loo for specific items in masses of data and in voluminous reports were the kind needed. Experience and an interest in such work were, however, necessary.

The Coordinator's Office also performed a particularly useful service in organizing the Navy's components of the technical intelligence missions that were set up toward the end of the war to follow the armed forces of the United Nations into Italy, France, and Germany. The purpose of these missions was to gather specific scientific and technical information in the countries by interrogating enemy scientific personnel before contact with them was lost. The Intelligence Analysis unit, with the help of the specialists in the Progress and Planning Section, did practically all


of the initial work of preparing programs for these missions and also much of the briefing of personnel composing the missions. A member of the Coordinator's staff accompanied the original ALSOS mission to Italy. The Coordinator initiated the arrangements for the formation of a separate Naval Technical Mission to France and Germany, of which the head of the Intelligence Analysis unit became a member. The reports sent back by the missions were handled by ONI.

Interchange of Scientific Information with Great Britain

When war broke out in Europe, many scientists in both the United States and Great Britain advocated immediate and complete interchange between the two countries of scientific and technical information having to do with weapon developments. DUring the early part of 1940, Lord Lothian the British Ambassador to Washington, began to press his government for a revision of the traditional barter policy in such matters. The authorities in London were, however, loath to change their policy as they believed that Great Britain had more to give than she was likely to receive in return. Doubt was also expressed as to American ability to keep secrets.

The first step toward collaboration in war research was the arrival in Washington at the end of August 1940 of a technical mission made up of representatives of the British Ministries, headed by Sir Henry Tizard. This mission was empowered to disclose information about the secret weapons and military devices on which the British were working. The British had already concluded exchange arrangements with Canada in such matters and had sent Professor R.H. Fowler to the National Defence Council of Canada to serve as liaison officer between London and Ottawa. In this country, the Tizard Mission first made contact with NDRC. Shortly thereafter, the War and Navy Departments authorized NDRC to disclose full information on all research and developments projects they had under way.

A number of American naval officers were sent to England during that summer and were attached to the Embassy for temporary duty to gather war information of all kinds, including technical information.

Both the British and the Americans discovered that the other side was much further advanced in many secret developments than had been expected, and that, in specific lines of research, the gaps in the knowledge of one side were usually also gaps in the knowledge of the other. The British, however, had had twelve months of invaluable war experience, and the fruits of this they now made available to the United States. Among other things, the Tizard Mission gave the United States priceless


information about the resonant cavity magnetron, which became the basis of the astounding development of microwave radar on this side of the Atlantic. The conversations of the Tizard Mission with the Armed Services and NDRC touched nearly every scientific aspect of the war.

In a meeting between the Mission and NDRC on September 29, 1940, an arrangement was worked out for the regular and continuous interchange of information about scientific research and weapon development between Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. This was designed to supplement but not to supplant the exchange of information through military and naval channels A detailed agreement on both policy and procedures was approved by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy on October 25, 1940, this included a plan for the establishment of an NDRC office in London and of a British scientific office in Washington. It was then up to the British Government to make the next move.

High quarters in London again expressed doubt as to the wisdom of an unrestricted interchange of technical information, with the result that an invitation from the British Government to put the plan into effect was not received in Washington until January 20, 1941. Dr. Conant, the Chairman of the NDRC, was then promptly selected to establish an NDRC branch in London. When President Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act on March 11, 1941, all hesitation about the interchange of scientific information vanished and the British Central Scientific Office was established in Washington in April 1941.49 A steady flow of scientists and technical information between the two countries then began, and continued throughout the war.

The fact that civilian scientists in neither country were integrated with the armed services contributed to the eventual smooth interchange of scientific information, even though the pattern of mobilization of the scientist in the two countries was very different. The British mobilization consisted essentially of expanding already existing government research establishments. All British scientific manpower was registered in 1939, and thereafter scientists could not enter the armed forces without special permission. From this register, the research establishments serving the Navy, Army, and Air Force, and civilian defense organizations drew their personnel. In neither country were the scientists mobilized as a corps, although many scientists in the United States joined the armed services as officers, and, as such, continued to do actual research work or administrative work connected with weapon research. The fact that in both countries, scientists as a profession retained their civilian status did much to hasten the interchange of scientific information between the two countries.


Authority over the activities of scientists was different in the two countries. In 1919-1920, the British Admiralty set up in its own organization a Director of Scientific Research, a civilian who reported directly to the Third Sea Lord. He had charge of all naval research except in medicine and gun design, the latter being done for the Admiralty by the Army's Ordnance Board. He had full authority to select and appoint the scientific personnel of the Admiralty's research laboratories and experimental stations. As a member of the Admiralty Staff, the Director passed on all research and development programs and decided which were to be undertaken and where the emphasis was to be placed, British civilian scientists actually had less freedom of choice as to projects to be undertaken than American scientists mobilized under the OSRD.

The pooling of research reports and the exchange of visits arranged by Dr. Conant speeded up developments on both sides of the Atlantic. Cross-fertilization of ideas was one of the most valuable products of this liaison. British war experience was invaluable in directing the American scientific effort into the most productive channels. The British, no doubt, contributed more than they received in the early days of this interchange, but American technology outranged the British in engineering skill and in the techniques of large-scale production. The impact of the larger scientific manpower of the United States also began to make itself felt very soon.

Protection of Commercial Interests

One problem of the interchange of scientific information was how to avoid jeopardizing the commercial rights and interests of private contractors engaged in the development and production of war materials. American manufacturers felt that technologically they were ahead of British manufacturers, and that in making their technical methods and experience available to the British they were jeopardizing their future competitive position in foreign markets. After discussion with the War and Navy Departments, it was agreed that the NDRC would exchange war research information directly with the British Ministries and that information obtained by either Government from its commercial contractors would be made available to the other for Government use only. In practice, an informal policy was developed that no information from a commercial contractor of one Government would be divulged by the other Government to one of its contractors without first obtaining the permission of the originating source.

This policy was formalized in the Radar Exchange Plan, and became the pattern for agreements n other fields. As a corollary, it was agreed


that individuals who held appointments within OSRD or within the British Government and at the same time were connected with commercial firms, would be regarded as dual personalities. Information would be given them in their capacities as Government appointees, with the understanding that it was not available to them as employees of commercial firms. most of the men who were faced with this dual responsibility no doubt leaned over backward to observe the spirit as well as the letter of the agreement.

Another important point on which agreement was reached was that British research would concern itself principally with immediate objectives connected with the defense of Great Britain, and that long-range developments would, in general, be undertaken in the United States. This policy was modified considerably as the war progressed, good examples being the further development of rockets, the proximity fuze, and microwave radar by the United States, all of which were vitally important to the defense of the United Kingdom.

The Magnitudes

During the five years of the war period, 1941-1945 inclusive, the United States spent about $3 billion on war research and development, in addition to the cost of the atomic bomb. Almost all of this was spent on development work connected with the instrumentalities of war.50 Of this total, about $547 million was spent by the Navy Department.51 Funds to the amount of some $352 million were, during that period, appropriated for expenditure by the OSRD,52 for all kinds of war research. The War and Navy Departments, in addition, transferred large sums of OSRD for such work [sic]; in the case of the Navy Department, some $106 million. The portion of the expenditures of the OSRD that went into Naval research cannot, however, be stated, as all of the armed services derived benefits from practically all of the programs undertaken by the OSRD.

Perhaps a better measure of magnitude would be the manpower that was engaged on war research, but such figures are even more difficult to obtain than cost figures. The best approximation that can be made indicates that, at the peak in 1944, about 60,000 workers were employed on war research, in addition to those working on the atomic bomb. Only about one-third of that number were scientists and engineers in the strict sense of the word. The remainder were supporting personnel, such as


technicians, mechanics, etc., needed in the laboratories and for administrative work. It is estimated that this is about 200 times the number that were employed on war research during World War I.

The Coordinator's staff did not deal directly with any large numbers of laboratory workers actually engaged on research. These officers represented the Coordinator as Navy Department administrative personnel on Committees, or had their dealing with the chairmen and members of the various divisions of the NDRC and the OSRD, with technical aides, with the service laboratories, and with naval and army officers in Washington.

The Coordinator's office dealt with about 1200 people in the OSRD and its affiliates. In addition, there were about 1800 officers and civilians in the offices and bureaus of the Navy Department, the Fleet, the Navy's research activities, other Government departments, and the British Scientific Office, with whom the Coordinator's Office had dealings.

More than 800 research projects were placed with the NDRC by the Navy Department through the Coordinator's Office. All of these required some attention and many of them a great deal of very close coordination and following up. The history fo the various divisions of the NDRC and of the OSRD, as well as the narrative histories of research activities in the Bureaus give the details of these programs. The organization of the Bureaus for research and of the 10th Fleet for operations research will be found in the chapters of this work dealing with those activities.

Plans for Postwar Scientific Research

With the experience of the war as a background, the Coordinator early in 1944 began discussions on ways and means for retaining the interest and cooperation of top-level scientists in weapon research after the war. Weapons and countermeasures had clearly become more important as factors in determining the outcome of wars. In the past such factors, in about the order of their importance, had been superior economic resources, superior political and military leadership, superior training of combat personnel, superior morale of the civilian population, and, finally, superior weapons.

Organized civilian science, as represented by OSRD and other agencies, had unquestionably increased the importance of weapons in determining the outcome of World War II. OSRD was, however, a temporary agency created for the specific purpose of bringing civilian science into the war. The best men in the various branches of science were recruited for a relatively short period of time, in most instances with a minimal disturbance of their regular academic or industrial connections. The pressure of impending war and war itself had made top-level scientists willing to devote


their talents to a kind of work that in normal times was uncongenial to them. It was realized by those 9n the armed services who had become closely associated with these men that, once the pressure of war was removed, scientists of this caliber would return to their peacetime activities. The continuation of an OSRD into the peacetime period was therefore out of the question.

Accepting this as a fact, on June 22, 1944, the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy set up a committee headed by Mr. Charles E. Wilson, Vice Chairman of the War Production Board and President of the General Electric Company, to study the question and to recommend a plan for postwar research. The commiitee consisted of four civilian scientists, four representatives of the War Department and four representatives of the Navy Department.

This committee assumed that, with the return of peace, the armed services would again have to carry the major responsibility for obtaining funds for research on weapons and for the distribution and expenditure of such funds. It therefore adopted as its main objective the preparation of a plan whereby the armed services could retain the collaboration of top-level scientists in civil life on all aspects of scientific endeavor that might have a bearing on national security.

The first discussions in the Committee centered around the question of whether legislation should be requested to establish a new Government agency to bring this about, or whether the machinery of the National Academy of Sciences, which had been established originally to assist the Federal Governmental departments in just such matters, should be used. Within the Committee itself, objections to using NAS came from those who believed that the Academy was too conservative and was composed too largely of older men who would not be sufficiently progressive to meet all of the requirements of effective collaboration with the armed services. Others believed that, because NAS was immediately available, it should be used at least temporarily, as a safeguard against possible delays in obtaining appropriate legislation. It seemed especially important to them that, after OSRD went out of business, a working organization should be available to ensure the participation of top-level scientists in research programs related to national security.

After considerable discussion, the Committee recommended that NAS be requested to set up an interim Research Board for National Security, and that Congressional approval of an independent agency to incorporate such a Board be obtained. As soon as Congress had acted on this request, the Board could be transferred bodily from the National Academy to the agency so created. The Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy approved the report of the Committee, and in a joint letter of 9


November 1944 requested the National Academy of Sciences to establish the Research Board for National Security. Dr. Frank B. Jewett, the President of NAS, proceeded promptly to appoint a Board of forty members as recommended by the Committee. One half of the members were civilians of distinction in science, engineering, and industry; the other half were officers having the principal technical responsibilities 9in the War and Navy Departments. So large a number was considered necessary in order to give representation to the various technical activities of the armed services and to cover a reasonable cross section of the many fields of science and technology involved in modern warfare. It is significant that all who were invited by Dr. Jewett to serve on the Board accepted. In order to offset the working handicap of so large a Board, a small Executive Committee of five members--three civilians and two officers--one each from the War and Navy Departments, was provided to administer the activities of the Board. Dr. Karl. T. Compton was selected as the first chairman of the Executive Committee. An Executive Secretary, clerical staff, and office space were provided by NAS.

A large number of research projects were immediately submitted by the War and Navy Departments for consideration by the Board. These were mostly long-range research projects not falling under the cognizance of any one activity of the Services, but of interest to all. Much of the work was expected to be exploratory in character, with a view to the establishment of specific research programs later on. The Board was not restricted to projects submitted to it by the Services, but was expected to initiate programs of its own. Its work was not to be confined to research in the physical sciences, but was to include studies in various fields of human relations: how to insure immediate and effective teamwork between scientists and the armed services in any future emergency; how to provide in the Government service the incentives that motivate scientific and technical men; how to provide Federal aid for the education of young scientists; how to handle the security restrictions placed on discussion and publication of scientific work; and how to improve the relationship between scientists in the laboratory and the operating personnel of the armed services in the field.

In order to remain impartial in its supervision of research programs, RBNS was not to operate laboratories of its own, but was to have its research work done by contract with existing organizations. The WIlson Committee recommended, however, that the charter of the Board be made broad enough to permit it to provide any new research facilities that might be found necessary to meet special needs, the operation of such facilities to be turned over to appropriate agencies.

The work undertaken by RBNS was to be financed by funds


transferred to NAS from the appropriations of the War and Navy Departments, in accordance with contracts to be entered into between these Departments and NAS. NAS, in turn, was to make specific contracts as requested by RBNS with the organization or individuals doing the work. NAS was to exercise no control over the purpose for which the funds transferred from the War and Navy Department appropriations were to be spent. Its function, as the housekeeping agency for RBNS, was to do the clerical and administrative work involved in making the contracts and, on appropriate certification, to pay the bills. The employment of scientific and other personnel engaged in the work would be free from Civil Service regulations.

The proposed method of financing the projects was the same in principle as had always been followed by NAS in doing work for the Government. As a matter of policy, the Academy had never received money directly from Congress. In order to preserve its freedom from political control, the Academy desired no change in this policy. During the deliberations of the Wilson Committee, the proposed financial arrangements were discussed with the Director of the Budget and certain of the leaders in Congress, and met with no opposition. However, when drafts of the proposed contracts were submitted to the General Accounting Office and to the Bureau of the Budget, difficulties began to develop. Objection was raised to the proposed method of financing on the ground that Government control over the expenditure of the funds would be too remote to be satisfactory. It is likely that the influences which, from the beginning, opposed the participation of NAS in the general program helped to mold opposition to the contracts.

In March 1945, President Roosevelt directed the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy not to transfer funds for the use of RBNS for the fiscal year 1946 until a thorough review of the prospective postwar research situation had been made. In June 1945, President Truman, in letters to the Secretaries of War and Navy, indicated that he wished OSRD to continue, and suggested that RBNS be made an advisory body to the War and Navy Departments and to OSRD. These letters halted the placing of contracts by NAS, but studies of certain research programs were continued by the Executive Committee of the Board. The President had designated the Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion as his representative to consider all aspects of postwar research. An unsuccessful effort was made in consultation with the Office to clear up the difficulties over financing RBNS programs. In October 1945, RBNS, to all intents and purposes, discontinued its activities. In the meantime, the Wilson Committee's recommendation for the establishent by statue of an agency for extending Federal support to science was being pushed.


Pending the passage of such legislation the Navy Department made an independent approach to the handling of postwar research. Simultaneously with the deliberations of the wilson Committee, the Coordinator of Research had been exploring desirable changes in the Navy Department's own organization for continuing scientific research on a broad scale after the war. The Coordinator's Office ha bee highly successful in carrying out the mission for which it was created by General Order ;No. 150, but it was only a temporary Navy Department administrative device for promoting effective collaboration with the civilian scientists mobilized for the war. It had, on other words, been established to perform a specific staff function which would disappear with the ending of the war, as the OSRD was going out of existence. If research was to continue to receive the attention war experience had demonstrated as necessary, Navy Department administrative machinery of broader scope and more authority than the Coordinator's Office and with money to spend would have to be provided. A number of problems of immediate importance were furthermore pressing for attention.

The place of the Naval Research Laboratory in the naval organization had to be reconsidered, for one thing. Since its establishment in 1923, the Laboratory had been shuttled back and forth several times between the Bureaus and directly under the Secretary of the Navy. The experience of the war had strengthened the belief that the Laboratory could bet serve the interests of the Navy as a whole if its remained free of direct control by any one Bureau. Several research activities had been established by OSRD during the war which needed to be continued and would shortly have to be taken over by the Navy Department. The protection of the Government's interest in the vast number of inventions and patents springing from war research conducted with public funds required special attention. A vast number of reports and documents needed to be reclassified with respect to their restricted status. There was need for working out policies and procedures with respect to inventions made by Government employees. The war had demonstrated that the Office of the Secretary of the Navy must assume the main responsibility for research in its broadest sense.

All of these considerations pointed to the need after the war of an office having broader functions and greater authority than granted the Coordinator of Research and Development. An office with Bureau status, with funds appropriated specifically by Congress for research purposes was indicated, but it was decided that such an office must not take over the research and development work of the Bureaus associated with their cognizance responsibilities. Such portion of this concept as did not require legislation was put into effect by an order of the Secretary of the Navy


of 19 May 1945, establishing the Office of Research and Inventions which absorbed the Office of the Coordinator of Research and Development.

Because the plan for establishing a National Science Foundation, such as Dr. Bush had recommended to the President in July 1945, was making slow progress, a bill was introduced in Congress in May 1946 "to establish an Office of Naval Research ...; to plan, foster, and encourage a single office, which, by contract and otherwise, shall ... obtain, coordinate, and make available to ... the Navy, world-wide scientific information and the necessary services for conducting specialized and imaginative research; to establish a National Research Advisory Committee ..."

The Act of Congress establishing the Office of Naval Research was approved on August 1, 1946. The charter of the Office was made broad enough to permit the support of research in any field that might be involved in national security. The Office ahs authority to sponsor research in nuclear physics, medicine, physics, chemistry, mathematics, electronics, mechanics and meteorology. Coordination of its activities with all branches of the National Military Establishment in the fields of power, guided missiles, and all aspects of air, surface, and subsurface warfare is envisaged. Research projects are carried on by contracts in institutions of many types throughout the country. Its programs include much fundamental research and the advanced training of young scientists.

It will be noted that the primary mission of the ONR is in principle the same as that envisaged by the Wilson Committee for the RBNS; namely, to retain the collaboration fo top level civilian scientists in all fields of research having a bearing on national security. The mechanism provided for carrying out its mission differs, however, from that proposed for the RBNS. In one particular it is the same; the work is, as a rule, being done by contract, just as was planned for the RBNS, rather than by expanded Navy Department research laboratories and personnel. Some new or expanded Government facilities are however being provided.

Included in the responsibilities of the Office of Naval Research, when it was established, were management and technical control of the Naval Research Laboratory, the Special Devices Center for the development of new training equipment, the Underwater Sound Reference Laboratory, and branch offices in a number of cities. Other facilities will no doubt be added from time to time.

A Postwar Look

Despite the success in weapon research achieved in World War II by the mobilization of civilian scientists under the Office of Scientific Research and Development, it is not likely that the pattern will be repeated


in identical form in the next emergency. Historically, the pattern has never been the same for successive wars. Changes in policy and methods have been due largely to the advances made by science and technology during intervening peace periods. The establishment of the Office of Naval Research with Bureau status and funds of its own is another factor reducing the likelihood that an OSRD type of mobilization will be repeated.

Before World War II, neither the armed services nor the country at large were particularly research-minded. The war changed this to an awareness of science unprecedented in the annals of man's search for knowledge about the physical world in which he lives This awareness is likely to remain permanently in the public mind; in fact, belief in the omnipotence of science may go so far as to become a hazard to sound thinking in matters of national security. The military budgets will probably continue to carry large amounts for weapon and countermeasure research. It is therefore vital that the programs be properly oriented with respect to other aspects of national defense.

Notwithstanding the large sums that will be spent for such purposes, it must be assumed that only a small percentage of the country's upper level scientists will be working on war research when the next emergency arises. All of the best minds will, however, again be needed to serve in the cause of national defense. even if the World War II mobilization plan is not followed in detail, the experience gained therefrom during that war should be invaluable in again putting the best scientific brains to work on the problems of warfare.

World War II for one thing clarified the thinking on the relationships that must be established between the scientists and the user of that fruits of his research (in the case of weapon research, the man at the fighting front), if the best and quickest results are to be obtained. In its broadest aspect, Sir Edward V. Appleton put the case for the scientist in the following words, during the Little Memorial lecture he delivered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in November 1946.53

"As to the scientist himself, I believe that he should serve, and not dictate to, mankind. But he has the important dual mission, not only of uncovering nature, but also of interpreting it to his fellow men. Then, with the consequences of scientific research understood by the community, decisions on its use must be taken buy both acting together. Science is too serious a matter to be left to the scientists."

Weapon and countermeasure research during World War II brought


many novel war techniques into being. These called for new capabilities on the part of the command branch of the Navy in evaluating and in operating the new devices. Understanding and controlling new weapons is, however, nothing unusual for the fighting man. He has always had to take the responsibility for the adoption of new weapons and has had to acquire the knowledge to operate them. In fact, he must not be denied the right to make the final decision on the weapon systems to use. It is one of the inalienable responsibilities of the line officer. His responsibility in this respect is of the same order as his responsibility for tactical decisions in battle.

The line officer needs more than ever the aid of science in arriving at his decisions, even though, in the end, it is on his professional judgment, based on part on insight and in part on experience, that he must rely. Campaigns, whether at sea or on shore, can never be repeated as scientific experiments under controlled conditions. This makes the scientific method inapplicable to the conduct of war. For this reason also, the command function can never be reduced to an exact science. The making of war will always remain an art even though its tools and many of its techniques are the fruits of scientific research.

Science will no doubt play an even more important role in the next emergency than it did in World War II. That brings up the problem that received no completely satisfactory solution in World War II--how to conserve and use the limited scientific manpower of the country so that national defense will receive the maximum benefit from its potentialities. It is a question in which the command branch of the Navy has vital interests and definite responsibilities.

In WOrld War I, the British suffered the loss in combat of several outstanding scientists. These men were engaged in routine front line duties and not on war research when they were killed. The government had no scientific manpower conservation policy during that war. To prevent similar losses of irreplaceable personnel in World War II, all scientists in Great Britain were registered on the outbreak of the war in 1939, and were barred from joining the armed forces without special permission. In the United States, conservation of a sort was accomplished through the deferment from induction into the armed forces of most of the scientific personnel who came up for classification by local Selective Service boards. The policies in both countries were based on the concept that scientists are more urgently needed and can be more usefully employed on research work than on combat duty in the front areas.

The situation in the next emergency may, however, be very different. The effective use of the weapon systems coming out of the laboratories and evaluating centers is making unprecedented technical demands on the


operating forces. It may well be that scientists of high caliber will be needed at the front to keep the new weapons and devices in satisfactory operating condition and to assist combat commanders through the use of scientific methods in making critical tactical decisions in battle.

These are some of the things that must be vizualized in planning the mobilization and use of scientists in the next war. It would be the height f unimaginative planning to lump scientists with the masses handled by Selective Service procedures and, in effect, to local boards, the decision on how to use this scarce manpower commodity. The command branch of the Navy must take its full share of responsibility for dinging a solution to the very complex scientific manpower problem.


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1. Report of the Secretary of the Navy for 1885, I, xxxii-xxxiv.

2. Ibid., p. xxiv.

3. Charles L. Petze, Jr., The Evolution of Celestial Navigation, New York, 1948, p 34.

4. It was estimated that Maury's charts and sailing directions made possible a savings by British commerce of $1,000,000 annually in the Indian Ocean alone, of $10,000,000 annually in all seas; likewise, America ships sailing to South America, Australia, the East Indies, and China, using Maury's information and instructions, saved $2,250,000 annually.

5. Naval Appropriation Act for 1936, 14 May 1936, 5 Stat 29.

6. In October 1942, the New Hydrographic Office building at Suitland, Maryland, was completed and occupied. All personnel and equipment were moved there from the Navy Annex, Arlington, Virginia, and from the Main Navy department Building in Washington, D.C.

7. United States Naval Administration in World War II. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Hydrographic Office. Unpublished narrative history prepared by the Historical Section, Hydrographic Office, on file in the Naval History Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Department of the Navy.

8. Date of the British Admiralty's first experimental test of solid cast-iron shot fired against bar armor. In 1824 the French Navy had tested the new explosive shell of the Paixhans gun by firing them against an old ship-of-the-line, and the British had conducted similar tests with other explosive shell; 1827, however, marked the beginning of the systematic testing of armor. In 18914 Colonel John Stevens, of Hoboken, New Jersey, had experimented with an elongated shell of his own design, firing it against a target representing the side of a ship-of-the-line.

9. Date of the British Admiralty's test of the 14" wrought-iron armor to be used on HMS Dreadnought. This was the last major test of iron armor, for in 1876, the Italian Navy, buy carrying out the first significant tests of steel armor at Spezia, opened up a new and more promising field of armor development. Thereafter attention was directed toward a comparison of compound (wrought-iron and steel) and steel armor, which eventually proved the latter to be superior.

10. An Act Making an Appropriation for the Purchase of Naval Ordnance and Ordnance Stores, and for Other Purposes. 11 Sep 1841, 5 Stat 461.

11. Naval Reorganization Act of 1862, 12 Stat 510, creating the Bureau of Yards and Docks, Construction and Repair, Steam Engineering, Equipment and Recruiting Ordnance, Navigation, Medicine and Surgery, and Provisions and Clothing.

12. USS Wampanoag, completed in 1868, made 16.6 knots for 727 miles in an Atlantic gale. On her trial run, reached 23 knots in a smooth sea; she was by far the fastest ship of her time, and her speed was not exceeded by any sizeable ship for thirty years.

13. An Act to Incorporate the National Academy of Sciences, 3 March 1963, 12 Stat 806.

14. Naval Appropriation Act for the Fiscal Year 1884, 3 March 1883, 22 Stat 472.

15. Seventeen years later, in 1899, Congress supplemented the Secretary of the Navy's action by regularly providing for an Office of Naval Intelligence in the Navy Department,--An Act Making Appropriations for the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches of the Government for the Fiscal Year 1900, 24 Feb. 1899, 30 Stat 874.

16. From the viewpoint of research and development, the Academy's motto Ex scientia tridens--"From knowledge, sea power"--is not without significance.

17. One of the early fruits of the Naval War College was Capt. Mahan's great historical research on The Influence of Sea Power on History, to which reference has already been made.

18. The nae of Rear Admiral Henry Williams, (CC) USN, stands out above all the rest. From the time he entered the Construction Corps in 1900 until he retired, he never lost interest in the work, irrespective of the nature of the duty he was on. See Marine Fouling and Its Prevention, U.S> Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland.

19. Naval appropriations Act of 29 August 1916 for the Fiscal Year 1917, 39 Stat 570.

20. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Naval Appropriations of the House of Representatives on the NAC for the Fiscal Year 1933, 1, 4 Mar 1932, pp. 438-443, 505-520.

21. Naval Appropriations Act for the Fiscal Year 1916, March 3, 1915, 38 Stat 930.

22. Total naval expenditures are taken from p. 1, "Navy Department, Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, Naval Expenditures'--1940 and 1944 respectively.

23. These are approximate figures furnished by the Comptroller, Office of Naval Research, 9o October 1957.

24. Organization of the Federal Government for Scientific Activities, National Science Foundation, p. 157--NSF.56-17 U.S. Government Printing Office, 1956.

Those who are interested in further details on the expenditures for scientific research during the World War II period will find a wealth of information on the subject in such works as:

25. Chief of Naval Operations directive to Bureaus, Serial No. 4346 of May 13, 1937, quoting General Board study of Motor Torpedo Boats, dated April 14, 1937, approved by Secretary of the Navy on May 7, 1937.

26. Appropriation Act: Public Law No. 528, section 6--75t6h Congress, 3rd Session, approved May 17, 19328.

27. Memorandum for Bureau of Construction and Repair Files, dated 18 January 1940, prepared by Lt. W.E. Howard, Jr. (CC), USN.

28. "The Mobilization of Science for the War Effort," by James B. Conant, American Scientist, Vol. 35, No. 2, April 1947.

29. Roosevelt and Hopkins, by Robert E. Sherwood, pp. 153-156, published by Harper and Brothers, New York.

30. It is of interest that the letter contained the following paragraph:

"Recently I appointed a special committee, with Dr. Briggs of the Bureau of Standards as Chairman, to study into the possible relationship to national defense of recent discoveries in the field of atomistics, notably the fission of uranium. I will now request that this committee report directly to you, as the function of your COmmittee includes this special matter, and your Committee may consider it advisable to support special studies on this subject...."

31. The original membership consisted of the following, and remained unchanged throughout the war, except as indicated:

Dr. James B. Conant, Chairman; Dr. Richard C. Tolan, Vice-Chairman; Dr. Frank B. Jewett, President of the National Academy of Sciences; Dr. Karl T. Compton, Mr. Conway P Coe, Commissioner of Patents, and Dr, Roger Adams, The original Army representative was Brigadier General R.C. Moore, USA, but there were frequent changes in the Army members during the war. For the Navy, Captain Lybrand P. Smith, USN, served from almost the beginning until he had to give up active duty because of illness in March 1945. He rendered particularly valuable service to the Committee because he was also the Deputy Coordinator of Research and Development for the Navy Department, and in that capacity was in close touch with Navy needs and Navy thinking on weapon developments.

32. Details on the organization and personnel of the NDRC will be found in Irvin Stewart, Organizing Scientific Research for War, and James Phinney Baxter 3rd, Scientists Against Time, both Boston, Little, Brown and Company.

33. Dr. Karl T. Compton, President of MIT and a member of NDRC, was named Chief of OFS.

34. Combat Scientists, Thiesmeyer and Burhard. Little, Brown and Company, Boston. Foreword by Karl T. Compton.

35. The members of the Council were Dr. James B. Conant, representing the NDRC; Dr. A. N. Richards, the CMR; Mr. Harvey H. Bundy, the War Department; RADM J.A. Furer, USN, the Navy Department; and Dr. Jerome C. Hunsaker, the NACA. This remained the composition of the Advisory Council until the end of the war.

36. An estimate made by Dr. Karl T. Compton after a visit to Japanese research laboratories immediately after the Japanese surrender.

37. Lr from Dr, NRL, to SecNav, 17 Mar 1941, no file number; Sub: Report of Colpitts' Subcommittee on Anti-Submarine Devices>

38. Jerome C. Hunsaker was a particularly happy choice for this assignment. He was the Navy's pioneer aeronautical engineer dating from his graduation from the Naval Academy in 1908. After distinguished service in the Construction Corps, he resigned from the Navy in 1926 to become associated with the Goodyear Rubber Company, in charge of building dirigibles. At the time of Secretary Knox's request, he was the head of the Departments of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chairman of the NACA and Treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences. He had the confidence of his former associates in the Navy, many of whom had by that time reached positions of high rank and authority in the Navy.

39. Those who took an important part in the early discussions and in organizing the Council were Mr. Lawrence Langner, Dr. Thomas Midgley, Jr., Research Chemist; Dr. Vannevar Bush, newly appointed Head of the NDRC; and Mr. Conway P. Coe, Commissioner of Patents. Dr. Charles F. Kettering was appointed the first Chairman of the Council, and occupied the position throughout the war.

40. Information in more detail is contained in the "Administrative History of the National Inventors Council," published by the Department of Commerce.

41. A patent attorney, Alfred C. Body, employed in the Patent Office as an examiner, was enrolled in the Naval Reserve and assigned to duty in the office in 1942. Captain Stuart Farrar Smith (CC), USN (Ret.) was recalled to active duty early in 1944 to head the office.

42. Rear Admiral Julius A. Furer, USN, an officer of the former Construction COrps, took over as Coordinator of R&D in November 1941, relieving Dr. Hunsaker officially on December 13, 1941. He became also the Navy member of the OSRD Advisory Committee, the NDRC, the National Inventor's Council and other groups of mobilized civilian scientists.

43. For a Roster of Officers, their background and their duties, see the Narrative History of the Office of the Coordinator of Research and Development during World War II, by Rear Admiral J. A. Furer, USN, dated 20 July 1945, on file in manuscript form in the Naval History Division of the Navy Department.

44. Dr. Leonard Carmichael, President of Tufts College, Director of the National Roster of Scientific and Specialized Personnel, was designated as Chairman of the new Committee. The procedures he had already set up for the National Roster were adopted by the Committee.

45. Mr. John V.S. Hogan, a well known radio engineer, was appointed the Chief of the Office, and was named the Deputy for Dr. Bush on the War Manpower COmmission's Committee on Scientific Research Personnel, of which Dr. Leonard Carmichael was the Chairman.

46. Scientists against Time, p. 131. P.P. Baxter, 3rd. Little Brown & Co., Boston, 1946.

47. Scientists against Time, p. 135.

48. On this basis, James Perkins Parker, a lawyer from the Department of Justice, was selected and commissioned in the Naval Reserve. He had specialized in searching corporation reports and files for evidence to be used in preparing antitrust suits. His services proved highly satisfactory.

49. Sir Charles Darwin was the first director of this office.

50. Steelman Report, Vol. I, p. 11.

51. Office of Naval Research memorandum of October 9, 1957.

52. Organizing Scientific Research for War, Stewart, pp. 200 and 201.

53. Sir Edward V. Appleton was Secretary and Senior Executive of the British Department of Scientific and Industrial Research during World War II. His jurisdiction covered the activities of eight major national laboratories which were engaged largely on military research and development during World War II.

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