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started or stimulated at a number of universities. Programs at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of Washington, and Columbia's Lamont Geological Laboratory were reinvigorated. In 1957, at the request of ONR, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) created the NAS Committee on Oceanography (NASCO)1 to study the needs of oceanography and the opportunities before it.

1957 saw the beginning of the International Geophysical Year, the creation of the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), and with the launching of Sputnik the wake-up call for all science within the United States.

The 1960s—A Decade of Promotion

It was 1959 when the course was set for the 1960s. In early January, the Navy released its TENOC report, Ten Years in Oceanography (Lill et al., 1959). Scarcely six weeks later the National Academy of Sciences released the report of its Committee on Oceanography, Oceanography 1960-1970 (NAS, 1959). These two reports raised the hopes and fired the aspirations of ocean laboratory directors throughout the nation.

NASCO called for the federal government to double its support of basic research over a 10-year period. (In 1958, about $23 million was spent for all research in the ocean; about $9 million was considered to be in support of basic research, of which $8 million were federal funds.) Further, the committee recommended a program of ocean-wide surveys, particularly in waters more than 100 miles from U.S. shores; it suggested that private foundations, universities, industry, and state governments take an active part in the expansion of oceanography programs. But its fourth recommendation and the specific recommendations associated with it received the greatest attention. The fourth recommendation called for an increase in financial support of basic ocean research by specified federal agencies; it recommended that the Navy, the Maritime Administration, and NSF finance new research ship construction. It also included the specifics of a plan for fleet expansion:

A shipbuilding program should be started aimed at replacing, modernizing and enlarging the number of oceangoing ships now being used for research, surveying and development. Specifically in the period 1960-1970 the research, development and survey fleet should be increased from its present size of about 45 ships to 85 ships. Taking into account the replacement of ships which must be retired during the next decade, this means that 70 ships should be constructed at a total estimated cost of $213 million.

Vessel size, construction schedules, and costs were laid out. The seeds of much of what was to come during the 1960s can be found in this NASCO report.

With the TENOC and NASCO reports as ammunition, the selling job for oceanography took off. NSF and ONR increased their budgets for oceanographic research. Federal attention to the oceans was stimulated. A Subcommittee on Oceanography was added to the Federal Council for Science and Technology. In 1966, the National Sea Grant College Program Act was passed. Internationally, new interest in the resources of the sea was aroused by a proposal to the United Nations by the Ambassador from Malta, Arvid Pardo. Pardo proposed that the UN internationalize the deep seabed and that the resources of the seabed (largely manganese nodules) be a part of the "common heritage of all mankind." The resulting United Nations Law of the Sea Convention would continue for years. Also in 1966, the passage of the Marine Resources and Engineering Development Act created the National Council on Marine Resources and Engineering Development ("the council"), with Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey as its chair. The Vice-President was much more than a figurehead. He was a knowledgeable and active chairman. Ed Wenk, the Executive Secretary, was even more active. Together they stimulated a high level of attention to the oceans at the congressional and federal agency levels. National attention was invigorated by the work of the council and the active role of the vice-president. Congressional attention had risen significantly (Wenk, 1972). The same act that created the council also called for a 15-member Advisory Commission on Marine Science, Engineering and Resources. It would be chaired by Julius Stratton and henceforth would be known as the Stratton Commission. The commission was:

  1. to examine the Nation's stake in the development, utilization, and preservation of our marine environment;

  2. to review all current and contemplated marine activities and to assess their adequacy to achieve the national goals set forth in the Act;

  3. to formulate a comprehensive, long-term, national program for marine affairs designed to meet present and future national needs in the most effective possible manner;

  4. to recommend a plan of Government organization best adapted to the support of the program and to indicate the expected costs.


National Academy of Sciences Committee on Oceanography: Harrison Brown, professor of geochemistry, California Institute of Technology; Chairman; Maurice Ewing, Lamont Geological Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York; Columbus O'D. Iselin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts; Fritz Koczy, Marine Laboratory of the University of Miami, Miami, Florida; Sumner Pike, Lubec, Maine, formerly commissioner, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission; Colin Pittendrigh, Department of Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey; Roger Revelle, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California; Gordon Riley, Bingham Oceanographic Laboratory, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; Milner B. Schaefer, Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, La Jolla, California; Athelstan Spilhaus, Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Richard Vetter, (Executive Secretary) on leave from the Geophysics Branch of the Office of Naval Research, Washington, D.C.

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