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a space vehicle or an airplane, without taking into consideration, each and every time, human beings and materials as well as the impact upon the community it serves.
So we do feel that we would like to support very, very definitely the tremendous technology encompassed not only in the aerospace field but the others, because they must develop systems, which is the way to continue a project and to serve humanity. As has been demonstrated here, it is not only localized but it is a spreadout and integrated problem.
Mr. MILLENSON. Mr. Ryan, am I to gather from your suggestion your institute would be willing to help on this? You are implying it would be, or it might be a good idea to have an advisory committee to the Secretary of Labor written into this bill?
Mr. Ryan. Either written into the bill, or if your committee decides you need technical people qualified who can be gathered together, who would assist you, we stand ready to serve because we have
a responsibility to the Nation.
We are taxpayers. We make our living here, and certainly our brainpower should be employed, and we are saying whatever way you see fit to ask us to aid and assist, we will stand ready to do so.
Senator NELSON. I would think as a matter of fact it would be an advisory committee of some kind. It operates in the nature of an aid, so to speak, to the Government. The Government ought to include it in the hill. It is a very good suggestion.
Do you have any further questions? Is there anybody else here who has something urgent who would like to testify?
I will call on Robert Mang, American Friends Service Committee on Legislation.
Is he here?
Is Mr. Thomas Rowan, vice president and manager of advanced systems division, Systems Development Corp. of Santa Monica here?
Mr. Rowan, you may proceed to present your testimony in any fashion you wish.
Mr. Rowan. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS C. ROWAN, VICE PRESIDENT AND MAN
AGER OF ADVANCED SYSTEMS DIVISION, SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT CORP. OF SANTA MONICA, CALIF.
Mr. Rowan. Gentlemen, I would like to spend the first few minutes in attempting to provide some perspective and a broader context in which to understand the application of system science to the civil domain.
I use the broad term "system science” to encompass all of the functions of system analysis, system design, and system implementation. However, before dealing briefly with each of these, I would like to take a moment to recapitulate the evolution of the system concept.
While, for example, the terms “system analysis” and “system design” may have a modern ring, the underlying concept can be traced back to
the ancients. The Babylonians, Greeks, and Phoenecians, among others, viewed the universe as a system of interacting phenomena. They went as far as attempting to apply their rudimentary mathematics to the understanding and prediction of the relationship between these celestial phenomena and everyday events in the world about them.
In more recent times, the physical, biological, behavioral, and social sciences have approached the problems the problems within their respective purviews in terms of system concepts and constructs. Thus, for example, both the atom and the universe are dealt with as systems; both the individual man and society are dealt with scientifically as biological, psychological, sociocultural systems. One of our major problems today is to discover the principles of interaction among such systems.
Traditionally, these scientific efforts have been conducted in the university environment. They have been oriented primarily toward the search for and accumulation of basic knowledge and not toward solution of specific developmental problems.
During World War II, the best scientific and engineering talent of the country was called from the classroom and the traditional laboratory in order to apply what science and technology could offer to the war effort. As a consequence of this unprecedented concentration of scientfic and engineering talent, both in this country and elsewhere, came such systems as radar, ballistic missiles, atomic energy, the jet aircraft and such developments as antibiotics, and advanced surgical practice. One of the lesser publicized results of this wartime scientific and engineering effort was the emergence of a powerful new discipline Operations Research.
At the end of World War II, there was a mass exodus of scientists and engineers from wartime laboratories back to the university. While understandable, this was alarming to many responsible people in Government. They could foresee a continuation of the need for advanced scientific and engineering activity as technology continued to play an increasingly important role in the development of U.S. programs.
Among those who were concerned was Air Force General Hap Arnold who was instrumental in forming Project RAND. This new organization became the mechanism, some two decades ago, for apply. ing interdisciplinary teams of scientists and engineers to Air Force problems and also for developing some of the basic techniques of system analysis.
During these past 20 years, we have seen dramatic changes. Today, there are numerous organizations, both Government and private, profit and not-for-profit, who have further developed and expanded the application of the scientific approach to extremely massive and complicated problems, not only in space and defense but in the civil sector. The New York Port Authority, for example, is recognized as outstanding in its capability to apply advanced operations research and system analysis to their problems.
There are in addition a number of institutes affiliated with major universities that are applying system technology to some of the major problems of business and industry. Two example are the Stanford Research Institute and the Denver Research Institute.
Additionally, a few outstanding consulting organizations have developed a considerable systems capability. One of these is the Arthur D. Little organization. There are also a number of nonprofit organizations active in applying system technology to nonmilitary problems. Among these are the Bell Telephone Laboratories, Battelle Memorial Institute, and the System Development Corp.
These citations are not meant to be exhaustive, of course. Furthermore, each type of organization represents a somewhat different combination of skills and orientation. However, in the aggregate, they represent a considerable national resource.
Undoubtedly, the greatest single resource for system technology resides in the defense community-particularly the aerospace industry.
Recently, we have seen the emergence of attempts to apply these capabilities to some of the major problems of contemporary life as witnessed, for example, by the forward looking partnership of the State of California and four aerospace industry organizations, both defense and nondefense, which have over the past 20 years, contributed to the development of a family of technologies, exemplified in operations research, management science, system engineering, computer and information science, and an array of tools, such as linear programing, dynamic programing, sensitivity analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, decision theory, multivariate analysis, mathematical modeling and simulation. These technologies and tools are being applied today in the solution of socioeconomic problems. While their application has been limited by insufficient recognition of their utility and insufficient funds, they are important to the system development process of analysis, design, and implementation.
The first step of this process, system analysis, is a framework that permits the judgment and experience of experts in numerous fields to be combined in order to yield results that transcend any single discipline.
The process of system analysis basically implies a sequence of activities such as the following:
1. Definition and detailed description of the boundaries of the system.
2. Functional description of the system in terms of the component subsystems and their operational interactions.
3. Determination of objectives and criteria of optimal system performance.
4. Examination of reasonable alternative configurations of system elements that approximate optimal system performance and the determination of the consequences of each configuration in terms of feasibility, acceptability, and cost effectiveness.
5. Finally, objective presentation of these alternatives and the supporting evidence to the responsible decisionmakers so that they may make appropriate decisions with respect to selecting one of the alternatives for design and implementation, keeping in mind, of course, that a legitimate outcome may be to make no changes. Although this process is straightforward in concept it can be exceedingly complex and difficult in application.
The complexity of application is commensurate with the complexity of the problem. Thus, the great socioeconomic problems of our time are so complex and massive in scope that their analysis require more
than the individual analyst. They require an integrated team approach.
My own experience, as well as that of others, clearly indicates that a nominal interdisciplinary approach is inadequate. The individual scientists, engineers, and technicians must become members of an integrated team interacting in a common environment on a day-to-day basis with a common problem-oriented focus. The development of this capability is a hard-won, time-consuming, and costly process.
This is particularly evident as we venture away from the realm of hardware systems which are dominated by the physical sciences and engineering, into that of socioeconomic systems, in which additional skills and resources are mandatory. I should like to cite one example of this. Some years ago, when SDC was studying hospital automation for the Veterans' Administration, we felt it necessary to form teams that included not only our engineers, scientists, and technicians, but also VA hospital administrators, physicians, dieticians, and others who were experienced and understood the nuances of the operation under study. The success of this experience confirmed our belief in the need for full representation of the skills and experience of the system scientist and technician as well as those specialists engaged substantively in the problem area under consideration.
Apart from any other contribution made by the defense community in the systems area, perhaps the most important is the development of a dramatic capability for organizing and managing the manifold resources involved in large-scale, complex, development projects conducted under severe performance and time constraints. Particularly, as we move from preliminary analysis toward development and implementation in socioeconomic areas, this capability will become an even more invaluable resource.
I should like to turn now to a discussion of some of the important operational problems that SDC has encountered in the use of system techniques in projects in several substantive areas in support of a variety of Government agencies. Among the most recent of these was our role as technical monitor for the State of California with the four aerospace contracts.
One important problem concerns the disparity between the natural dimensions of a socioeconomic problem and political boundaries. Cle for example, the sources and effects of air pollution or crime are not confined within the boundaries of individual cities, counties, or even States. Moreover, meaningful solutions require interjurisdictional approaches to such problems by means of regional compacts and joint-powers agreements which allow coordinated action across traditional geopolitical boundaries and through various levels of government.
Senator Nelson. When you find problems of that kind you don't anticipate that the techniques of the systems analysis will solve that? All the systems analysis would do-it would seem to me-would be to evaluate what the problem was; turn the information over to the political arena, where the problem would have to be implemented ?
Mr. Rowan. Precisely, Senator. My point is this legislation can facilitate the recognition of that. I believe it will be appropriate.
Another important problem is highlighted by the fact that each of the four aerospace studies resulted in a recommendation to undertake
long-range programs in their respective problem areas. It is reasonable to expect that adequate programs anywhere in the Nation will require similar long-term commitments. In general, political tenure seldom coincides with the duration of the proposed efforts. Thus, the best solutions to be derived from the application of system analysis may be, in the short run, politically unproductive and thus call for statesmanship of a high order. This, in turn, implies that the public will have to be educated with respect to the wisdom of adopting solutions that accrue to their benefit only incrementally over a relatively long period of time.
Senator Nelson. If you will let me interrupt here.
We built interstate highway systems which cross every jurisdiction in America, and it will cost $50 billion before we complete it. It involves every conceivable political jurisdiction, from towns to villages to cities. It involves the condemnation of private property and extends over periods from the initiation phase in 1955 to the completion about 1970. That is a 15-year period.
What is there in that problem of developing a waste-management plan, which would involve a cooperative effort in the Great Lakes River Basin, for example, among all of the States involved in that basin? What is there in that problem that is any more difficult than the problem of building a highway across the country?
Mr. Rowan. I think, Senator, that there are probably several differences, but one that comes to mind first is that we have over the years accepted, to use the jargon, the system objectives of a highway system. They are reasonably easy to present to the public.
I can think of other public works, such as the construction of dams, again generally speaking, acceptable because the objectives can be spelled out clearly, and for the most part understandable tradeoffs between costs and effect can be presented.
Although, as you well know, the area of the construction of dams is not quite a straightforward, but when we move away from those into some of the certainly old problems, but newly recognized as large and complex problems, like waste disposal, I think we have a long period of education of the public to go, and certainly one of the things of this bill might be that through rational and objective system analysis a kind of a political arena might present itself to try to get some of this education done.
Senator Nelson. I would suspect that the education in terms of air pollution and water pollution is about complete.
Mr. Rowan. Let us hope so.
Senator Nelson. People are having difficulty in drinking the water and breathing the air. That constitutes the kind of education they appreciate.
Mr. Rowan. It remains to be seen they are prepared to spend the billions, even though, as you know much better than I, on a straightforward cost-effectiveness basis, there is no way to put a value on
clean air, sociological or psychological value. It is a good investment to clear up the air.
Eleven billion dollars I notice in Fortune was one estimate. Were the cost certainly a tenth of that
Senator NELSON. That would be one of the objectives I assume of management to study to compute the cost of waste, the cost of cleaning up the water, and the cost of cleaning up the air.