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Letter to Dr. Killian in Response to Report: "Toward Better Utilization of Scientific and Engineering Talent."

July 12, 1964

[ Released July 12, 1964. Dated July 7, 1964 ]

Dear Dr. Killian:

In completing such a broad analysis of problems concerned with the utilization of scientific and technical talent and making recommendations for their solution, your Committee has rendered a significant public service.

Your report deals with issues which are important in carrying out this Nation's commitment to deploy science and technology boldly and effectively in the interest of the Nation's welfare. Your counsel is especially timely because of the intensified interest this Administration is taking in providing rewarding employment opportunities and education to all our citizens, and because of the need to strengthen the relationships between Government, industry, and colleges and universities.

The higher salaries at the upper levels of Government service which your Committee supports would help redress the persistent imbalance between Governmental and private salaries that penalize the Government in meeting competition for talent. The Administration's bill is a major step toward that end.

The Federal Government has a special responsibility to conduct its affairs with an enlightened concern for the critical part it now plays in the utilization of the Nation's manpower. I am thus asking that Dr. Donald F. Hornig, my Science Advisor, and Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz, as Chairman of my Committee on Manpower, report to me on further steps that the Government should take in light of your Committee's recommendations.

Please extend to all of those who have given generously of their time in the conduct of this study my sincere appreciation for their contributions.



[Dr. James R. Killian, Jr., Chairman of the Corporation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge 39, Massachusetts]

Note: The letter was part of a White House release making public the report "Toward Better Utilization of Scientific and Engineering Talent, A Program for Action" (193 pp., National Academy of Sciences), prepared by the Committee on Utilization of Scientific and Engineering Manpower, under the chairmanship of Dr. James R. Killian, Jr.

The Committee was appointed by the National Academy of Sciences following a request of President Kennedy in 1961 that the Academy undertake a study on the utilization of the existing supply of technical manpower. At the same time the President's Science Advisory Committee and the Federal Council for Science and Technology were asked to study requirements for the development of new scientists and engineers.

In its report the Committee's recommendations called for action by and cooperation among the Federal Government, industry, and the universities to:

1. Strengthen the management of research in all sectors, through improved contracting procedures and efforts to identify and train more project managers and engineers who combine understanding of a complex, changing technology with mastery of the art of leadership.

2. Achieve a balance in the allocation of scarce scientific and engineering talent between "big science" and large development projects on the one hand, and the individual investigator (or scholarteacher) and the manpower requirements of the civilian economy on the other.

3. Greatly expand the opportunities open to individual scientists and engineers to renew, update, and extend their skills throughout their professional careers.

Other Committee recommendations called for the development of statistical information on scientific and technical manpower resources to permit the Government to assess the impact of major new technological ventures on employment and manpower utilization before reaching a decision to proceed, and urged a continuing assessment of the total impact of Government policies and practices on the deployment and utilization of manpower.

The text of Dr. Killian's letter of transmittal, dated June 22, was also released.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to Dr. Killian in Response to Report: "Toward Better Utilization of Scientific and Engineering Talent." Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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