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Biography United States Air Force
Secretary of the Air Force, Omice of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C. 20330
GENERAL ROBERT T. MARSH
General Robert T. Marsh is commander, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. He directs the research, development, test and acquisition of aerospace systems for Air Force operational and support commands.
Born Jan. 3, 1925, in Logansport, Ind., the general graduated from Logansport High School in 1942 and was attending Wabash College, in Crawfordsville, Ind., when he was inducted into the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943. In July 1945 General Marsh received a Regular Army appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. He graduated in 1949 with a bachelor of science degree in military arts and sciences, and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He earned master of science degrees from the University of Michigan in instrumentation engineering and aeronautical engineering in 1956. He has also completed Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College, both schools located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
As an enlisted man in the Army Air Forces for almost two years, he completed both aircraft mechanic and aerial gunnery training on B-17s and B-24s prior to his appointment to the academy. Following his graduation, he attended the Air Tactical School at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and in December 1949 entered preliminary technical training at the Atomic Weapons and Radiological Safety School at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. In July 1950 he joined the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project as an atomic weapons assembly officer at Sandia Base, N.M. Later, he was assigned to the cadre of the 5th Aviation Field Depot Squadron, an atomic weapon assembly and storage organization, and went with the squadron in 1951 to Sidi Slimane Air Base, Morocco. In December 1952 he transferred to Headquarters 7th Air Division, Strategic Air Command, South Ruislip, England, where he served as an armament and electronics staff officer.
From September 1954 to June 1956, General Marsh attended the University of Michigan under the Air Force Institute of Technology program. In July 1956 he was assigned to Headquarters Air Research and Development Command with duty at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he served as project officer in the SM-64A (Navaho) and TM-61-76 (Matador/Mace) weapon systems project offices.
Following Air Command and Staff College in July 1960, General Marsh was assigned to the Ballistic Missile Division, Air Force Systems Command, Los Angeles Air Force Station, Calif. He returned to Maxwell Air Force Base to attend the Air War College from August 1964 to June 1965.
The general was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in July 1965 in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, as a staff officer in the Directorate of Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare. He later became chief of the Projects
Division in the Directorate of Space. He completed his tour of duty at the Pentagon as executive officer for the deputy chief of staff for research and development.
In September 1969 General Marsh returned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as deputy for reconnaissance, strike and electronics warfare. In June 1973 the general received his first assignment to Air Force Systems Command headquarters as deputy chief of staff for development plans. He became deputy chief of staff for systems in October 1973 and was appointed vice commander in August 1975.
He was commander of the Electronic Systems Division, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., from May 1977 to January 1981. He assumed his present command in February 1981.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with two oak leaf clusters and Army Good Conduct Medal. He also wears the master missile badge.
He was promoted to general Feb. I, 1981, with same date of rank.
General Marsh is married to the former Joan Spears of Crawfordsville, Ind. They have three daughters.
STATEMENTS OF DR. ROBERT FROSCH, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN
ASSOCIATION OF ENGINEERING SOCIETIES; JACK GEILS, AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR ENGINEERING EDUCATION; GEN. ROBERT T. MARSH, COMMANDER, AIR FORCE SYSTEMS COMMAND, ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE; PROF. ROBERT GAITHER, DEAN OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Dr. FROSCH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure to appear before this committee again in a new role, for the second time, to discuss engineering manpower problems.
I have a fairly long statement, which I would offer to the committee for the record, and several documents that go with it, which I suspect you might only want to have for committee purposes, and perhaps extract, rather than put in the record in their entirety.
Dr. FROSCH. I would prefer to summarize the main points of my testimony, if I may, at this time.
First, I would like to emphasize, as you, Mr. Chairman, have already mentioned in your introductory remarks, that the role of the engineer has historically been to translate knowledge, design capability, and understanding of what is needed into the design and production of economic systems that are the underpinning of our technological society.
This has been the way in which this country has been productive, has been competitive in the world, and has been economically successful. Without engineers functioning to make this kind of thing happen, we would be in a very difficult position to even run our society, much less improve it and improve its competitiveness.
This is true, not only in industrial and service areas; it is, of course, true in agricultural strength, which has been built upon engineering understanding of how to use land and water and fertilizer and materials.
The principal crisis situation in engineering manpower has been an educational crisis, which I would describe as a crisis as a result of success in the following sense: That the demand for engineers with bachelor degrees has been so great over the past decade, and continues to be so great, that the economic incentives for young engineers with bachelor degrees to go into industrial jobs has meant that the number of undergraduate engineers going on to graduate school, and the number from graduate school into university teaching, has been decreasing.
The same incentives have applied to many faculty people, so that the numbers of faculty in engineering schools has also been decreasing. We have a number of gaps and shortages.
The result of this problem, accentuated by increasing obsolescence of teaching equipment and modern research equipment, and by other bureaucratic problems, some due to Government regulation and procurement policies for research, have decreased the incentives for the academic life, and the concern is that, with a smaller academic group, we are trying to produce more and more bachelor degree engineers.
It looks as though the educational system in engineering will continue to be overstrained, and the question is: What will the future system for educating engineers be if we continue down the current line? So that, I think, is the central problem of concern, that we cannot see how the educational system for engineers will continue to produce the numbers, and certainly not increased numbers, that appear to be required.
In order to be sure that this is the case, one must have some understanding of whether the current demand and past demand for engineers is likely to continue. Strictly speaking, I think we have no more capability to predict that than our economic predictors seem to have to tell us what the economy is going to do and, in fact, the two have some connection. If there is a major change in a lot of areas of economic expenditure, there will be a change in the demand for engineers.
Nevertheless, the evidence that we get by surveying industry, surveying engineers, surveying industry associations, suggests that the demand will continue strong, at least for the next few years.
If we are serious, as I believe we are, about productivity increase--and this week is National Productivity Week—then it is clear we are going to need engineers to produce the tools that are the ways in which we improve productivity.
History also suggests that over a long period, in spite of many variations in economic activity and economic life, the demand for engineers has continued fairly smooth. There have been periods in which there were fluctuations which caused a great deal of difficulty for some engineers, but if one looks at the statistical situation, those tended to be short term and rather shallow.
So, I think we can expect the demand to continue. That being the case, the crisis problem is real and we need to do something about it.
There is, I think, a general agreement that one of the things, perhaps the central thing that is required to be done is to expand and increase and find new forms of relationships between industry and universities, so that the industries that are the users and employers of engineers will have a close relationship of responsibility to the educational system which is producing engineers.
This comes in a number of forms. One, of course, is direct industrial funding of some things in universities, including fellowships, as the Government has done, and I hope will continue to do; provision of equipment; and in both of those areas, the tax structure and incentives or disincentives throughout the tax structure for industries to support engineering education and research and development in universities are extremely important.
This brings me to the second important way in which industry can help in this area, which is the direct purchasing—I would call it that-of research and development work from universities. In engineering research and development particularly, there are many areas in which the engineering interests of industry and of university research people should be parallel. It should be possible and, of course, there are many examples which need to be increased, for those incentives to pull together so that industries are, in effect, supporters of research in universities because they want the research results.
Incentives for the industrial provision of equipment will also be important, but I think come best coupled with industry interest in research and development and in interchange of people. That is to say, there should be more use of industry people to assist in education of engineers, and an expansion of cooperative programs for students and use of university faculty as consultants and workers in industrial research and development, particularly.
There are a large number of actions that have begun spontaneously among the engineering societies and with the industry associations and universities, together. I list a number of these at various places in my testimony. I think these are all moving in the right direction. They involve combinations of industry and industry and academic people trying to find ways for industry and academia to work together on this problem.
They are, in most cases, only a beginning, and we need to help and encourage these combinations to expand and to increase their direct effect on strengthening university capabilities. The universities on their side, I think, will need increasingly, as some of them have done but not all, to find new ways to work flexibly with industry in order to make it possible for these combinations and cooperative strengthenings to occur.
The Government has several roles. In one simple sense, the Government is also an industrial partner of academia. That is to say, the Government is a major employer of engineers in a number of its technical agencies, and it must take its share of responsibility for the ability of the universities to produce the engineers that the Government itself will require.
Second, the Government is a major purchaser of engineering product, in the sense of the national defense purchases of high technology, space, energy, and so on. So that it has an important stake, directly, because of the products it wants as a government, in the health of the system that produces the engineers that work in the industries that produce these products.
Finally, the Government has the general policy interest in seeing that the economy is healthy, and as I began, the importance of providing a continuing supply of educated engineers to that economic health must be recognized in the Government's policymaking.
It is in this area of policy that the Government is likely to have its greatest effect. There will be some continuing effect from the direct provision of money for fellowships and for equipment. But by itself, the Government support of these seems unlikely to be the key solution to the problem.
Those things from the Government throught NSF and the mission agencies, I think, will be most useful if they become catalysts, assisting the industry-university relationships to prosper by adding policy push and in some areas by adding direct money in order to fix up holes and difficulties.
In the area of policy, tax I have already mentioned as extremely important in providing an incentive system. Perhaps, it is most important that we find the disincentives in the tax system and remove those. We need to be sure that the bureaucratic details of Government procurement of university research and development do not in themselves become disincentives, and that the procurement arrangements for industrial research become incentives for cooperation between industry and universities.
Patent policy may be very important in providing incentives for some kind of industrial arrangements with universities. The Government may have a role in that.
There is an area of statutory bar to some of the mission agencies whereby their ability to support education directly is not allowed, while they are allowed to support research and development. I would urge that that question be examined to see whether there may not be an incentive benefit to allowing some of the agencies to consider direct education as part of their support of the research and development package.
Finally, there is probably an influence on all of this by the way in which the Government deals with its policies with regard to information transfer, the policy on export of technology and technological information as it influences the doing of research in industry and in universities, and that, too, should be examined.
Mr. Chairman, I have tried to summarize the shape and scope of the problem as I see it, and to suggest some areas in which legislative action might be appropriate. I am ready at the appropriate time to answer questions and engage in discussions as you desire.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Frosch follows: