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From the outset it was apparent that a breakdown of the total subject of outer space into its component parts resulted in specialized topics which cut across the jurisdictional lines of many committees of the Congress. It was not possible to refer bills concerned with outer space development to one authorizing committee and one appropriations subcommittee for determination. A few hypothetical examples may serve to illustrate both the complexity of the subject and the problem of committee jurisdiction.
The Committees on Agriculture would be interested in new methods of weather control which might be accomplished from outer space. The Committees on Armed Services would expect to consider satellites and their connection with long-range ballistic missiles, particularly propulsion systems and problems of reentry into the atmosphere. The House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare would have a vital concern with the education of_future scientists, laboratory facilities, and grants-in-aid. The Committees on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Relations would expect to consider proposals for the international control of space, international space law and its effects upon national sovereignty and existing treaties and agreements. The Government Operations Committees might wish to study background information which bore on the various problems of their subcommittees. The House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee has already issued a report on the International Geophysical Year as it pertains to the Arctic and Antarctica, and both House and Senate committees could be expected to have a continuing interest in outer-space projects which affected their jurisdiction over civil aviation, communications, weather, and science. Conceivably the Public Works Committees might consider nonmilitary installations, and the Post Office and Civil Service Committees would be interested in proposals for mail delivery by rockets. A number of subcommittees of the Appropriations Committees would receive authorizations, possibly creating the problem of coordination by the full committees. The Joint Committee on Atomic Energy would be concerned with warheads for outer-space weapons, propulsion devices, the reentry problem, arrangements for sharing information with our allies, and any peaceful uses which required atomic energy as a fuel.
The fact that many committees would have a vital concern with various aspects of outer space is only part of the problem. As such, it raises the question of whether we could expect the sum of the parts to result in a total national effort without some form of congressional coordination. But the greatest complication arises when we consider that one segment of the total outer space problem may be of primary interest to several committees simultaneously. For example, weather control could come before the Congress in the form of a bill which could be referred to the Committees on Agriculture, Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Relations, Interstate and Foreign Commerce; and if the proposed type of weather control involved the use of atomic energy, the matter could also come within the jurisdiction of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.
II. HOW CONGRESS MOVED OUT ON THIS FRONTIER
On November 27, 1957, the Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee began its “Inquiry into satellite and missile programs.” Concluding its first series of hearings on January 23, 1958, the chairman, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, listed 17 principal areas recommended for decisive action in strengthening our national defense. Hearings concerned with outer space and related problems were also held by both Appropriations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, and the Special Subcommittee on Outer Space Propulsion of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy.
On February 6, 1958, the Senate established a Special Committee on Space and Astronautics which' was directed to make a thorough study of “all aspects and problems relating to the exploration of outer space and the control, development, and use of astronautical resources, personnel, equipment, and facilities. The committee report to the Senate is due by June 1, 1958, “or the earliest practical date thereafter, but not later than January 31, 1959, by bill or otherwise.
Senator Lyndon B. Johnson is chairman of the 13-member committee. On March 5, 1958, the House of Representatives established the Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration composed of 13 members with Hon. John W. McCormack as chairman. This committee is "authorized and directed to conduct a thorough and complete study and investigation with respect to all aspects and problems relating to the exploration of outer space and the control, development, and use of astronautical resources, personnel, equipment,
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and facilities.” The committee report to the House is due by June 1, 1958, or earlier, but not later than January 3, 1959.
To cover the situation in the meantime, the Congress passed Public Law 85–325 which provides in section 7 that “The Secretary of Defense or his designee is authorized to engage in such advanced projects essential to the Defense Department's responsibilities in the field of basic and applied research and develop ment which pertain to weapons systems and military requirements as the Secre tary of Defense may determine after consultation with the Joint Chiefs of Staff ; and for a period of one year from the effective date of this Act, the Secretary of Defense or his designee is further authorized to engage in such advanced space projects as may be designated by the President."
In passing the supplemental defense appropriation for fiscal 1958 (Public Law 85–322), the Congress approved $10 million in transfer authority for advanced research, and on February 7, 1958, the Secretary of Defense established the Advance Research Project Agency and named Roy W. Johnson as Director. These arrangements make it possible for outer-space projects, both military and nonmilitary, to proceed during the time it takes to formulate permanent legislation for the organization of the executive branch and of the Congress in the handling of outer space problems.
Meanwhile, the President has asked that his scientific adviser, Dr. James W. Killian, Jr., make a study of the kind of organization needed for the future development of outer space.
III. COMPARISON AND CONTRAST OF OUTER SPACE AND ATOMIC ENEGRY AS A
The task of the House and Senate committees in formulating outer-space legislation has been compared to that of the McMahon committee which held hearings and drew up the original Atomic Energy Act of 1946. An analysis of the similarities and differences of these two subjects may provide guidance in our approach to outer space at the present time.
Atomic energy and outer space are alike in opening new frontiers which are indissolubly linked with the question of war and peace. They combine the possibility of peaceful uses for the benefit of man and of military uses which can destroy civilization. Both are national and international in their scope. They involve the relation of science and government, the issue of civilian or military control, and problems of organization for the executive branch and the Congress. If only their similarities are considered, the legislative task would appear to be the easy one of following the pattern of our present atomic-energy legislation.
When the differences between atomic energy and outer space are analyzed, however, it becomes apparent that the present assignment is far more complicated than that which confronted the Congress in 1946. As a source of great power derived from a mineral, uranium, atomic energy can be easily defined and its source can be controlled, its use licensed or prohibited, and there is no legal difficulty in devising penalties against its misuse in a national law. Outer space, on the other hand, is comparable to an unexplored geographic area which is unmapped as far as legal definitions are concerned. We cannot control, license, or prohibit the use of outer space by other nations, and thus there are large areas of the subject which are not amenable to a Federal law. It follows, therefore, that one of the unique tasks of the committee will be to determine the line between those aspects of outer space which can be governed by the United States and those which will require international cooperation. In order to do this it will be necessary first to assemble the scientific facts and to arrive at definitions of outer space which will be acceptable not only within the United States but within the international community of nations. Unless this is done, there is the likelihood that our national law may contain provisions which might prevent us at some later time from participating in some form of international control.
The line between the peaceful and military uses of outer space is much more difficult to draw than is the case with atomic energy. There are peaceful uses of atomic energy which obviously have no military application, e. g., radioisotope research in various forms, particularly cancer research. Practically every peaceful use of outer space appears to have a military implication. For example, the Military Establishment is concerned with weather control, all forms of communication, reconnaissance satellites for mapping; and even medical research on weightlessness has implications for satellite weapons. Thus it is possible for a nation to send up a peaceful satellite for scientific purposes and to be accused—justly or unjustly—of engaging in this activity for military purposes. If a study of the scientific facts of outer space leads to the conclusion that most if not all exploration yields knowledge which can be used for military purposes by any nation engaged in such activity, then civilian control may be an answer to only part of the total problem. We can establish civilian control within the United States, but if it turns out that peaceful uses cannot be scientifically separated from military implications, then how are we to regulate the international civilian-military situation? Here, again, it will be necessary to ask the scientists precisely how outer space can be controlled for the benefit of mankind and what projects can be devised which will have worldwide acceptance as being peaceful in their nature.
At least one difference between atomic energy and outer space is an advantage rather than a complication. The first use of atomic energy was in the form of bombs used during a war; the first use of earth satellites has been for peaceful purposes. Satellites have not progressed to the point where they are weapons even though their launching devices may be the same as those used for IRBM's and ICBM's. There are 64 nations cooperating in the studies inaugurated by the International Geophysical Year, and since this worldwide effort was started by the scientists themselves, there is room for hope that at least some parts of the IGY program can be continued into the future. Perhaps the scientists and the political scientists will be able to make proposals which will provide for the coordination of national legislation with international arrangements. If some effort is not made along this line, there is danger that this gain in international cooperation may be dissipated.
The existing situation and the time element with which the House and Senate Committees on Outer Space have to contend is more difficult than that faced by the committee which investigated atomic energy in 1946. At that time the war was at an end, the United States had a monopoly on atomic energy and it was possible to take time to formulate legislation without feeling that meanwhile the situation might get out of hand. No other nation was then engaged in atomic-energy development as advanced as that of the present satellite program of the Soviet Union. Atomic-energy information could be classified whereas data on satellites is being shared by agreement among the nations participating in the International Geophysical Year.
Furthermore, the atomic-energy program within the United States was easier to deal with in 1946 than is the case with outer space in 1958. Atomic energy had been developed by one military department and was headed by one man, whereas outer-space programs are now actively under way in three military departments where they have been subjected to a plethora of committees. We now have one director for guided missiles and another for antimissile missiles and satellites. The personnel and facilities for outer-space projects are widely dispersed, and the first nonmilitary development of earth satellites has been the responsibility of military departments. If the people who know how to produce outer-space vehicles are not located in the military departments, they are largely employed by business firms or universities operating under contracts from the Army, the Navy, or the Air Force. It will be a difficult legislative task to devise a law for the effective organization and administration of these far-flung operations in which the military and nonmilitary are so closely associated.
IV. LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS AND ISSUES
Several bills providing for outer-space development have already been introduced in the Congress, and these combined with the present arrangement whereby both military and nonmilitary programs are the responsibility of the Department of Defense, provide 5 alternative methods for the organization of the executive branch and 3 for the Congress. Additional proposals may be made in the future, but at the present time it is possible to see the large outlines of emerging patterns. A. Alternative proposals for organization of the executive branch
1. Development of outer space by the Department of Defense.—Thus far the United States satellite programs have been conducted within the Department of Defense and will continue there until the Congress makes different arrangements than those now established for the Advanced Research Projects Agency. The fact that this Agency was given responsibility only until February 12, 1959, for engaging in nonmilitary advanced space projects designated by the President suggests that the Congress considered this to be a temporary arrangement to take care of the situation pending further study of the matter. The personnel, resources, and facilities for outer space projects are now located within the Department of Defense, and within the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, there are teams of people who are already organized to achieve certain objectives. For this reason it may be expected that the advantages and disadvantages of removing outer space from the Pentagon will be strongly presented.
Since the President has already expressed his approval of civilian control of outer-space programs for scientific purposes, and since the Congress has presumably left nonmilitary projects in the Pentagon as a temporary expedient, it seems likely that the main concern will be with the following questions:
(1) Upon the basis of what scientific facts can a line be drawn between military and nonmilitary outer-space projects?
(2) What effective arrangements can be made by a civilian agency for meeting the military requirements of the Department of Defense?
(3) Will the same launching devices be used for military and nonmilitary satellites or will a new civiilan agency develop its own equipment?
(4) How shall we divide the limited personnel and existing facilities for outer space development between the Pentagon and a new civilian agency?
2. Development of outer space by the Atomic Energy Commission.—This proposal would amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 by adding a division of outerspace development to the Atomic Energy Commission. Those who favor this proposal point out that the AEC has been operating successfully for some years in a scientific field which combines peaceful and military projects. It has been able to meet the requirements of the Department of Defense and to advance the peacetime uses of atomic energy in a variety of ways. On the other hand, a question has been raised with regard to the adequacy of the Commission's personnel and facilities for developing outer space. Several questions might be explored in order to estimate the probable repercussions of placing outer space development in the Atomic Energy Commission :
(1) Will it not be necessary to arrive at accepted definitions for outer space before placing the subject in a law which legally defines atomic energy? Will all the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 be applicable to outer space and, if not, should a determination be made in advance of all the changes in the law which would be necessary for the legal accommodation of outer space?
(2) If it is decided to remove purely scientific outer space projects from the administration of the Department of Defense, would the transfer of personnel and facilities to the Atomic Energy Commission be any different from their transfer to some other type of civilian agency?
(3) If outer space is not to be administered by the Atomic Energy Commission, how will its work on related nuclear devices be effectively coordinated with the outer space projects of a new civilian agency?
(4) If outer space is to be administered by the Atomic Energy Commission, would it be desirable to change the name of the Commission to correspond to its new terms of reference?
3. Development of outer space by a new commission.—This proposal would establish a commission on outer space which would be patterned essentially along the lines of the present Atomic Energy Commission. The possible effects of this proposal may be analyzed by raising the following questions :
(1) How would the relationship between the Commission on Outer Space and the present Atomic Energy Commission be worked out?
(2) Is it possible that the two Commissions might duplicate work on launching devices and propellants for long-range missiles and satellites?
(3) Would the Department of Defense encounter any administrative difficulties in obtaining nuclear warheads from the Atomic Energy Commission and outer space vehicles for the delivery of warheads from the Outer Space Commission ?
(4) Would it be practicable and scientifically feasible for the Commission on Outer Space to be primarily concerned with eaceful uses while the Department of Defense retained control over the military uses of outer space?
(5) Since outer space development is closely connected with the conduct of our foreign relations in such a manner as to prevent war, what would be the relationship between the new Commission and the Department of State?
4. Coordination of outer space program by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics working with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation.—Under this proposal or some variation of it, planning and priorities would be undertaken by the National Academy of Sciences, appropriations and construction would be the concern of the National Science
Foundation, while the NACA would coordinate nonmilitary space projects and work in a liaison capacity with the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the Department of Defense.
Those who advocate outer-space development by the NACA emphasize its contributions to aeronautics during the past four decades, the high quality of its leadership, and its production of new research tools, e. g., multistage research rockets and the transonic wind tunnel. Debate on the subject has not shaped up to the point where any disadvantages have been brought to light, and the determination of what would be likely to happen if outer space were given to the NACA would seem to depend upon the evaluation of testimony from expert witnesses. Some of the questions which might be asked are as follows:
(1) Should the total responsibility for outer space development be located in an agency which is primarily scientific and technical?
(2) How would the executive branch of the Government be organized to deal with outer space developments which affected the conduct of foreign policy? What would be the relationship between the NACA, the ARPA, the President's Scientific Adviser, and the Secretary of State?
(3) What agency or official would coordinate our national outer space effort with proposals for international cooperation? Is it contemplated that the National Security Council will function in this area ?
(4) What agency will handle questions of international space law?
(5) Is NACA strongly favored by the scientists as an agency offering the best atmosphere for a working relationship between science and government?
5. Development of outer space within a department of science.-Proposals have been advanced for a department of science at the Cabinet level, and if this step were taken, outer space would be one of many subjects which would be referred to the new organization. Since this proposal would involve the transfer of scientific activities from practically every department of the Government, its evaluation would necessarily include far more factors than those involved in outer space. An appraisal of how outer-space development might be expected to progress in a department of science would require expert testimony on all of the questions which have been listed in this paper. B. Alternative proposals for organization of the Congress
Proposals have been made for establishing a new joint committee on outer space and for giving the jurisdiction of outer space to the present Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. It would also be possible to have separate House and Senate committees to deal with this subject, although this idea does not seem to be “in the wind” as a permanent arrangement at the present time.
The question of whether the Congress can have two joint committees working on such closely related subjects as outer space and atomic energy would seem to require the same type of analysis as that suggested in this paper for the two matching executive commissions.
(1) How closely are the subjects of outer space and atomic energy related ?
(2) Would it be possible to have 2 commissions send almost identical bills to 2 joint committees on such a subject as launching devices for dong-range missiles and satellites?
(3) If there were a conflict of jurisdiction between the two joint committees, who would decide the referral of bills?
(4) If congressional jurisdiction over outer space is given to the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, should the name of that committee be changed in accordance with its expanded terms of reference?
(5) Whether outer space is referred by the Congress to its present Joint Committee or to a new one, how will the committee work with other congressional committees which have a primary interest in legislation on such subjects as weather control, communications, navigation, education, and national defense?
(6) Could more coordination in the Congress be achieved by having permanent House and Senate standing committees with representative membership similar to that of the present temporary committees?