Page images

report to those they report to general management. Then we in our discretion work with the technical groups, both at our headquarters and elsewhere. You must bear in mind that the examination of a failure is one way to measure the total of your organization, including in this case Dr. Newell's office. When we appoint a board, it is very much like a special investigative effort to find out precisely what happened in each and every place that might have had an influence on that particular flight.

We will discuss these. We don't make secrets of these. But by and large, we don't expect concurrence from the office involved on recommendations made to us by a board. The board has to look at all those things and sign their name to a report, and we decide whether or not this is something that requires top management action, or whether we can call it to the attention of our own office and say do something about this, or don't you think you should do something about it, or what is the other side of the picture?

Mr. KARTH. I understand. You may proceed.

Mr. WEBB. These changes and continuing improvements are the result of management cooperation and responsiveness over a wide range of complex problems; the new contract we hope to sign soon is a further example of this effort. In this contract, NASA will endeavor to add to the existing system an incentive fee approach, a separate facilities management contract, a joint semiannual review with California Institute of Technology of progress and problems, and a revised overhead determination method. We will discard the concept of mutual agreement at the level of every task and replace it with a contractual statement of our current practice, i.e., laboratory acceptance of NASA program direction, after, of course, a full presentation of its views.

This represents the position we have achieved in our negotiations looking toward the new contract for the period beginning January 1, 1965.

Mr. GURNEY. Did you get over the hump with JPL on that incentive fee approach?

Mr. WEBB. We have a draft of a contract that has been initialed by the negotiators, so their senior negotiator out there has initialed it, and it is in the form of what we have provided.

But bear in mind that neither Dr. duBridge nor I are in a position to operate under the contract until we negotiate a bit. I don't think this part will be a problem. I think they now agree that this is a wise process.

Mr. GURNEY. Thank you.

Mr. KARTH. Do you feel that elimination of the mutuality clause would eliminate some of the criticisms that I have been privileged to read with respect to inadequate testing, underemphasis on reliability, and so on?

Mr. WEBB. Yes, sir, I think a very large part of the discussion has been in this direction, but I think a little more of it will be directed at the fact that it is essential to agree that all carry out what they are directed to do rather than to feel that there is a privilege in the mutuality concept to insist on a point of view that some group in the Laboratory might have. It doesn't solve the problem. The problem of how to test is going to be with us for a long, long time, but it is a step for

ward in determining how to make progress toward testing procedures that will really do the job.

Mr. KARTH. The only question I have in mind, is whether or not some of these changes you contemplate in the new contract will allow you unilaterally, if you will, to insist upon testing and reliability changes.

Mr. WEBB. I think maybe you would want to hear Dr. Seamans on that subject with respect to the Ranger 7 flight. We have made it clear that Ranger 7 will not fly until Dr. Seamans and the top group have approved not only what Dr. Newell wants to do, but what JPL wants to do. We are going to look at the testing procedure in the light of the best we know in NASA.

Dr. SEAMANS. That is true. I was just going to emphasize that in any one of our projects we never unilaterally demand that a center or a contractor do a job a certain way. We want to get that person's or that group's best judgment on the matter before making a final decision, and we would always expect that they have some most competent people on Ranger or Surveyor or any other JPL program, and we want to get their views. They are close to the details, they know what facilities they have.

At the same time, there may be a matter of a difference in judgment, and I believe that with the new contract there will be less chance for equivocation, and ultimately a decision will have to be made if there is a difference by NASA, and then it will be carried out along those lines.

Mr. KARTH. What if the man in charge, the man who has the responsibility of managing the testing or reliability program, is in disagreement with you, Dr. Seamans? One of my previous questions was whether or not NASA would have the authority to remove a manager of this type, and the answer I believe was no. What kind of a stumbling block or problem does that pose for you as the one who is responsible for the success of the program in the final analysis?

Dr. SEAMANS. This is a matter of discipline in any kind of organization. You always hope that you can arrive at a decision without having a complete standoff where the person who must implement the project has only one recourse, and that is to terminate-if the decision goes in a certain direction.

We would always hope to avoid that kind of complete confrontation. Mr. KARTH. What if hope doesn't materialize in the result you desire, and you don't want to cancel the project because NASA has invested a quarter of a billion dollars, or whatever the figure may be, in a particular program? Then what is your alternative?

Dr. SEAMANS. Our alternative, if faced with the decision whether to test a certain way which we believe to be essential or go along with the views of an individual or group at JPL, we would have to pick the first course. We must run these things the way we believe will get the maximum out of the taxpayer's dollar.

Mr. KARTH. So although you would not have the authority to change the manager, for example, you could insist that he change his opinion? Dr. SEAMANS. We could insist that the job be carried out in a prescribed manner.

Mr. WEBB. And if he wasn't willing to do it, he would have the alternative of removing himself from the program.

Mr. KARTH. I understand.

Mr. PATTEN. Mr. Chairman.

Mr. KARTH. Mr. Patten.

Mr. PATTEN. Would you have the power, in the way you have been working, to curb excessive salaries at the top levels, or don't you get into that?

Mr. WEBB. We have a general overall requirement with respect to the approval of the salary levels that they pay. They are not completely free to pay anything they wish.

On the other hand, we do not try to get into details of individual salaries. It is more of a general kind of an approval concerning the establishment of, let us say, policies that they will pay comparable salaries to industry in that area, for instance.

Mr. PATTEN. You mentioned that you took steps to increase physical security. How about if you got into the area where perhaps some of these fellows from a foreign country, who may have a political background we don't like, are brought in. Is there any security from that point of view if we would suddenly find a Communist under every bed?

Mr. WEBB. We have applied the same requirements to them that any Government installation has with respect to security. You see, the requirement that a man enforce security regulations is not just an organizational thing, it is a personal thing to the man in charge, so the individuals there are required to carry out the security provisions established by the U.S. Government, just as they are in private contractors' plants, too.

Mr. KARTH. Proceed, please.

Mr. WEBB. However, NASA has made it clear that it wishes to see the agreed upon relationships put into action prior to final execution of the contractual document. This is a prudent way to avoid overlooking some aspect or approach which might yield better results than those we have reduced to contract language in our negotiations.

We have no doubt that CIT is anxious to accept the growing responsibility for operation and management of a major program area in space exploration and advanced research. It is very likely that we will be in complete accord by midyear and will then implement the new contract in advance of the December expiration date of the present instrument. The California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory represent a major national resource as has been proven over the years by innovative leadership in the fields of science, education, research, and technology. Our present problems lie in how to use it best, not in whether or not to use it at all. NASA is posing the institute a new challenge in management development that has not been offered elsewhere in this country.

It is within this framework that I would like to discuss the report I sent to Chairman Miller and to Chairman Anderson on Ranger VI. This was an important flight; the entire country desired its success. When it did not meet its mission objectives, I felt it was our responsibility to examine the reasons therefor and to report these to the chairmen of the House and Senate committees. The report made was the assessment of Dr. Dryden, Dr. Seamans, and myself of the technical problems we have encountered and of the possible causes of failure. The Ranger VI failed because something did not work, not because

someone did not work. There had been unstinting effort dedicated to its success; this effort will be combined with lessons learned from the Ranger VI failure to provide the best assurance of Ranger 7 success. We have invested the energy of some of the best minds of the country in Project Ranger and we expect to capitalize on that investment in both the near and the far future.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. KARTH. Mr. Webb and Dr. Seamans, I want to thank you very much for your responsiveness to questions, and for your prepared


I wonder, for the record, if we could inquire at this time as to what the investment on Ranger has been up to this point, and what you expect it to be when it is completed?

Mr. WEBB. Just 1 minute, Mr. Chairman. I have got it here.

In fiscal year 1962, the total Ranger investment was $120 million, of which $68.2 million was for the spacecraft and $51.8 million for the launch vehicles,

For fiscal year 1963, the comparable figures are $88.8 million, total, with $56.4 million for the spacecraft and $32.4 million for launch vehicles.

This is based on a particular formula for the Agena priceout. I don't know if I need to give that technical note, but it is true.

Now, in 1964, which is to end next July, our estimated costs are $52.2 million for the total, with $41 million going to the spacecraft, and $11.2 million going to the launch vehicles, so we have about $261 million going in through this fiscal year. There is roughly $10.8 million additional expense, phaseout expense, calculated for 1965.

Mr. KARTH. Does that total include the research costs that might be properly assigned to Project Ranger, Mr. Webb?

Mr. WEBB. I am not sure I understand, Mr. Chairman. Do you mean at JPL?

Mr. KARTH. At JPL, NASA, Cal Tech, wherever research efforts may have been made. I was wondering if the total cost of the project reflects such costs or is it impossible to assign such costs to the various projects?

Mr. WEBB. It does not, from what we have learned from previous proiects of this kind.

Dr. SEAMANS. It is a project estimate which includes the total, including the development of the special instrumentation. There may be some supporting scientific work that doesn't show up.

Mr. WEBB. The development of the Agena, for instance; these kinds of projects that went before are not incorporated in this cost, nor the work on the Vega, which was the first project that JPL had.

Mr. KARTH. Your total does include JPL overhead and fees paid Cal Tech for management purposes?

Mr. WEBB. Yes, sir.

Dr. SEAMANS. Dr. Newell has clarified the point that I was trying to make, that it does include the actual fabrication of the experiments going into the Ranger. It does not include the supporting research and technology that laid the groundwork for the adoption of these experiments.

Mr. WEBB. Yes.

Mr. KARTH. At a recent press conference, Mr. Webb, you mentioned that NASA does not intend to abdicate its responsibility, and I think

I may have used these words on several occasions. I appreciate the reasons why you used them. I think it is good management practice not to abdicate your responsibilities, but I was wondering if you felt as a result of having used those words that some place along the line NASA had failed in their responsibility of exercising proper management control, either on site, or headquarters, or where?

Mr. WEBB. My hindsight, Mr. Chairman, I am certain if we went back and tried to identify everything that we have done in a management way, we might have done it differently. I am also very deeply conscious of the fact that we are dealing here with a laboratory that is the only one that is not a civil service laboratory, that the attitude of scientists and university people all over this country are affected by this, that we are dealing with an outstanding leader like Dr. DuBridge, who has a great deal of wisdom and a great deal of experience in these matters, and at the same time NASA has been evolving from a program of about a billion dollars into one of over $5 billion. I think that we have perhaps gained more, totally, from our unwillingness to abdicate responsibility and our insistence that we get into these matters than we could have gained by arbitrary action based on what appeared to be things we thought should be done in that laboratory at that time.

There is no way that you can be sure, on these matters. I have been out and personally went with Dr. DuBridge and the senior members of his faculty, independent of JPL people, with respect to the university relationship. We have had many conferences with them over additional proposals they would like to do, on campus. We have urged them to experiment with a group that would provide an interface with other universities. We have had other universities discuss with us the desired relationships with JPL, and whether or not they, themselves, are being benefited in the research that they are doing. We obviously have had quite a large number of discussions with JPL, itself, on management, and we have taken action to limit them to their staffing level of about 4,000, which they fully understand, and we have begun to seek additional resources with respect to lunar exploration, namely by placing the lunar orbiter project with Langley, and actions of this kind.

I think there is a very clear indication that while we want to give every possible consideration to the great wisdom and experience of those people, we expect them to give consideration to our own requirements and our own evolving level of knowledge and experience.

I would say that we have not abdicated our responsibility but have discharged it in a very effective manner that is going to produce, and is now producing, something very valuable to the country. I am sure we could have done it better, as many things could have been done better. We are dealing with human beings who are very, very concerned about the large amount of Government money going into research and development and its effect on these institutions in our society, and we are dealing with a situation where NASA has basically departed from the previous practices with respect to Government-university relationships. We have a very different kind of of program than those that existed before, and this, in itself, creates a certain amount of concern.

Mr. KARTH. I think your approach in that area, Mr. Webb is extremely farsighted. I always equate it to the barrel of apples. You can't continue to take out of the barrel and never replenish its supply

« PreviousContinue »