REPORT OF THE COMmROLLER GENERAL, OF THE UNITED STA TES ~~~~~~~~~~i\il\lll\~~~l I Ml03048 Manned Undersea Science And Technology Needs Focus And Direction National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration De+atnient of Commerce &ationalgoalsandobjectives for us. manned undersea resew&-have not been clearly de- fined. Until this &d&e it would be difficult to est&ii a Jevel of fun&g or new facilities needed to support an’ expanded Federal manned undelseamearch program. FAzke of N@NI& Undeqee Science and (Nabonal Oceamc and Atmos- pheric A%kstration) could be desimated to provide leadershii and focus to manned un- dersea activiiies. If so, it should be responsible for ascertaini the manned undersea needs of various Federa “a mies involved in these acti- vities and for proposing development and acquisition of facilit~u to meet these needs. It should also be a national focal menned undemm activities to t2oorE~~s manage the 1138of manned submersibles and underwater habitrtr and to provide informa- tion to users of tts sewices on current and plmnd research p ‘ects, research results, and te+@agii de33pments. -. JULY 14,1977 RELEASED COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED SATES WASHINGTON. E.C. X5.8 B-145093 The Eonorable Lowell P. tieicker, Jr. Snited. States Senate Dear Senator Weicker: As requested in you: July 7, 1975, letter (see app. I), we studied the problems, present status, and future of manned undersea science and technology. We provided preliminary information to your office in December 1976 and February 1977. After the December meetina we were asked to concentrate on a list of 12 questions provided by your office. (See ape. II.) We obtained much of our information from representatives of the marine science community in the Federal Government, including the Manned Undersea Science and Technology Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, De- partment of Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and the Navy; universities; private industry; and advisory com- mittees. The responses to the 12 questions are categorized under the following headings: --Research Areas Where Submersibles Can be Used (question 1). w --Facilities 1 (questions 8 and 9). --Barriers and Limitations to Expanded Use of Undersea Science and Technology (que*;tions 2, 3, 4, 5, and 12). --Federal Administration of Manned Undersea Trograms (questions 6, 7, 10, and 11). INTRODUCTIOW L . Manned undersea science and technology can be defined as the use of manned undersea equipment and techr,igues to con- duct ocean research. This includes research with manned submersibles or habitats and by divers. ?lanned submersibles setve as observation o:atforms and a means of transporting scientists and their instruments tc soecific locations in the water. Some submersibles have lockout capabilities which B-145099 permit a diver to leave the facility to do scientific studies and then reenter while remaining submerged. Habitats are stationary facilities used to house the divers who make studies on or near the ocean bottom. Xanned undersea activity should nst 50 ccnsidered ar: entity in itself, but rather one of many techniques used to study ocean processes and phenomena. It often comole- ments surface-based investigations. Xannsd subxersi$.es and habitats are usually expensive to operate and should be used only when a high priority need is shown and alter- native :es earth tools are not applicable. The Xational Oceanic and A*Saospheric Administration, the National Science Pcundation, asld the !?avq' have undertaker. or sponsored manned undersea research. Although the Navy and the National Oceanic and Ataos?heric Administration do some of their own research, much of it is done by the academic community. Private industry is also involved in manned undersea research by designing, building, and testing facilities. Undersea research has suffered from (1) the lack of overall ocean research goals and objectives, (2) a national focus, and (3) sporadic funding. The Wational 0cr:anic and Atmospheric Administration attempted to provide a national focus for manned undersea research when itqestablz'shed the Manned Undersea Science and Technology Office in 1971. However, its budget was restricted to level funding of about $1 million a year and its objectiwes were narrowed to supnort only in-house investigations. In another attempt to provide a national focus for manned undersea. research, the Congress appropriated anrdditional $1.5 million in fiscal year 1977 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ;o support surveys, mission analyses, cost analyses, and design and engineering studies for an underwater ocean laboratory known as Oceanlab. (See pp. 5, 7, and 9.) RESEARCH AREAS WHERE SUBMERSXBLESCAN BE USE; The tasks, rather than the type of science, determine the suitability of using manned undersea techniques. Submersibles have unique capabilities to perform complex manipulations and precise sampling activities, as well as oroviding a platform to observe processes in the deep sea. Tasks for which manned undersea facilities offer major advantages include B-145099 s --detailed observations of marine organisms, topographic features, and processes: --selective sampling of the bottom environment: --selective positioning, servicing, or recovery of instruments: and --finding new and unsuspected occurrences that remote instruments were not designed to detect. Manned undersea activity can be used to some extent in aany ocean research areas including biology, geologj, ecology, and physics. Submersibles are useful for geological and geopnysical research in support of conventional trcLniquec, such as dredge and core sampling, towed camsre sleds, and sonar readings. For example, conventional rechniq.es can be used for preparing bathymetric maps acd idknt!Fving fea- tures requiring closer study. Then manned submersibles can be used to observe the features and take sample data. Habitats are most suited to projects requiring long-term monitoring of environmental conditions or organisms in their natural state. Processes which occur rapidly can be studied in their entirety. Research areas where manned undersea submersibles can be used include: 1. Biology: --Assessing marine biological resources.& ' --Studying the life cycles of biological org:jn- isms and their relationships to the ocean's physical, chtmical, and geological characteristics. L L. Geology: --Studying geological processes of t% ocean bottom. --Studying envi:onmental effects of marine mining. --Studying sedimentation processes on the ocean bottom. --Studying and investigating in detail the continental shelf, slopes, submarine canyons, and cliffs. I B-145099 I --Studying deposition;; and erosion,:1 processes. 3". Ecology: --Inspecting existinq waste dis?oszl sites and selecting new ones. --Subsequent monitoring of disposal sites. 4. Physics: --Studying radioactivity in the ocean, FACILITIES In 1965 there were 19 manned submersibles operational in the United States. In 1975 there were 57 submersibles of which 18 were operational, and 8 habitats which were all inactive. bone of the principal submersibles used for . research is the deep submergence research vehicle Alvin. It is operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute under a joint funding agreement with the Navy, the National Science Foundation, and the National Oceanic and Atmos- pheric Administration. ' We asked members of the snarine science community how many submersibles and habitats could be used and where they should be located to support a national manned undersea science program. Their opinions varied from three ‘;o nine submersibles and from one to three habitats. Opinions also differed as to where these facilities should be located. Three renorts have bee!: issued which attempt to assess facility need:. --"Manned Underwater Platforms," prepared by the University of New Hampshire in October 1972, showed a need for three manTIed submersibles and three habitats. --"Future Facilities Requirements of the liniversity National Oceanography Laboratory System," prepared by the University of Hawaii in October 1974, showed a need for nine manned submersibles and three habitats by 1990. B-1450S9 --"Report on UNOLS Long-Range Planning Heeting" dated Hay 1375, showed a need for two manned submersibles and one habitat by 1990. A University Wational Oceanographic Laboratory System supported workshop?, held at Stanford University in Uecember 1476 in the long-rang2 use of the Alvin., did net foresee the need for adding another deep submersible until 1985. The workshop Tarticigants said that if the Al-Tin could not fulfill t,ie demand for research time, a proTDsz1 s?!ould be made to use the Navy's submersible "Sea Cliff" on a part- time basis for West Coast operations. 032ratinc ccsts In most caf:es, manned submersibles and habitats are expensive to operatt and should be used only if a high priority need is shown and othe: methods are not applicable. The operating costs of submersibles varv according to many factors, including the complexity and size of the facility and the support equipment needed. Therefore, tn2 operating cost of any future submersibles or habitats coold not be estimated unless these. factors were known. However, to illustrate the cost of using these types of facilities, the folllowing table on page 6 shows operating data for 11 submersibl2s which were operational in 1975. Oceanlab - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratj I.?'s Manned Undersea Science and Technology Office is planting for the development of a manned undersea facility cali.od Oceanl'ab. The Congress appropriated $1.5 million for fisca: year 1977 to be used for surveys, mission analyses, cost analyses, and initiation of design and engineering for a national ocean laboratory. The Mtnned Undersea Science and Technology Office es:imates :hat the construction cost oE Oceanlab, independent of surface sueport, will be aboct $22 million by 1981. As presentl!,! conceived, this mobile underwater laboratory will --operate at deptfis down to 2.000 feet, --have lockout capabiiizies down to 1,000 feet, . BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON MANNED SUBMERSIBLES--- WHICH WERE OPERATIONAL IN 1975 Estimated daily year operating Depth . Pilot/ ubmersible Operator launched --or lease cost _capabi I_- lity crew (feet) lvin Woods Hole Oceano- 1964 2/$7,5?0 12,000 3 graphic Inst. iaphus Texas A&M 1974 5,200 1,200 2 University ohnson Sea Harbor Branch 1971 5,095 1,000 4 Link I Founda t ion ohnson Sea Har iJor 13ranch 1971 5,095 2,000 . 4 Link II Founda t ion ektGn Alpha General 1968 k/l ,508 1,000 2 Oceanographic8 ekton Deta General 1970 ;/1,700 1,000 2 Oceanographic8 ekton Gamma General 1971 b/1,800 1,000 2 Oceanoqraphics R-l U.S. Navy 1969 Information unavailable 7 ea Cliff U.S. Navy 1968 s/3,250 6,580 3 nooper Undersea Graphics 1969 2,250 1,000 2 urtle U.S. Navy lSS8 g/3,250 6,SOO 3 / Dased on direct costs for 124 operating days in 1975. / ?;oes not include support ship costs. / Does not include support ship or personnel costs. B-145099 --be capable of ooerating in cold water--temperatures as low as freezing --and under adverse sea state conditions, --have a surface range of 1,030 nautical miles an5 a submerged range of 50 to 100 nautical miles; --kave a submerged duration cf 30 days, --be equipped with both life support and laboratory facilities and provide onboarc decompression for divers, and --carry a mini-submersible to enhance rescue capa- bilities and provide observational capabilities to 1,500 feet. The Manned Underseas Science and Technology Office has sponsored workshops to allow reoresentatives of the academic, scientific, commercial, industrial, and recreational diving comnunities to provide mission a& design requirements for Oceanlab. We found that the marine scirnce community generally does not-support Oceanlab. Examrile: a .I of objections tc Oceanlab were as follows: --The National Oceani:: and Atmospheric qdministration has tried to find ocograms to fit the facility's ca- pabilities rathe z than building a structure to meet today's existing needs. I --This all-purpose, complex vehicle may require many repairs, thus reducing the available diving days. --Funding of Cceanlab may divert funding from other projects. Oceanlab workshop participants said they had little input in deciding whether or not to build Oceanlab; the de- cision had aiready been made. Workshop participants s*um- marized their overall opinion of Oceanlab as follows: n * * * the workshop participants unanimously dis- approve of Oceanlab (deeq diving lockcut ve:Iicle) at l-___ h;S t i:ne . Ve recognize that a iimited number cf scientists could use the vehicle. It is our opinion that a large Oceanlab vehicle or habitat t B-145099 is not in the best interests of the scientific diving community as a whole. * * * ??e feel that we can net build a national program of underwater research around a few very expensive, ponderous vessels or habitats. yebile, practical, ruaaed and above all readily available equipment ani ve- hicles are nec'essary to accomplish stated objec- tives in practical working depths." DARRIEPS AND LIMITATIONS TO EXPANDED USE OF ONDEZSEA SCIEZ:CE AND TECBNOLOGY Certain *barriers and practical limitations restrict zan workina in :he sea, whether using manned undersea vehicles or divined aquipment. These include cost, training reauire- ments, technological limitations of facilities and equioment, and physiological limits. iMany ?ssearchers stated that manned submersibles were not used :.I a greater extent becaus of --high costs, --sporadic and inadequate funding, --lack of familiarization with potential con- tributions, and --unce-tainty as to availability of submersibles. The technological limitations of manned submersibles also constrain scie:. tsts i* conducting ocean research. The power source , usually batteries, has limited endurance: and submergence time is dependent upon the energy used for propulsion, external lighting, and equinment rrquirements. Some larger submersibles have the capacitv to remain sub- merged for 8 to 12 hours with constant use of their nropul- sion motors cr a maximum of 24 hours with mlni.;al us&. - For example, the Alvin can stay submerged from 6 to 8 hours with constant use of its motors. The Navy is, currently seeking to develop an improved power source. There are phvs.mal and technological iimi:s which divers face in doing ocean research. The risks and srob- lems of diving increase with depth. 1~ iinorove the safetv . more research is needed on the interre' ,zteE effects of ore;- sure, breathing gas mixtures, and time on GZT.'C ability-to function. B-145099 Divers have made routine descents to 600 feet, have worked for :-hour rJeriods at depths to 1,080 feet in Arctic waters, and have made simulated dry chamber dives to 2,000 feet. Zesearch diving from the surface, however, is usually linited to deaths of less than 150 feet. At or Seyond 150 feet, a 6i-,Tti -.=reazhing corqressed air is subjected to a condition known as nitrogen narcosis--the intoxicating effect of breathing nit:,yen at higher pressures. Divers are unable to think raticnzlly and iheir ability to oerform simple phy- sical tasks may be impaired. Substituting other inert gases for nitrogen has been recognized as a solution, however, the ;m-...* P?rz?~~ar~ srA..,G,y \ to t I?e '35e cf these gas mixtures has been Lc..s.* -e:-.I, -.-ye. ccst cf ecui~ent- - and the lack of training by re- searchers necessary for its qroper use. Other factors which say limit a clver aa I,3 effectiveness under certain conditions zre visibility, water temperature, and fatigue. Most marine'scientists and researchers we contacted said they believe the Federal Government's management and administration of undersea research has been inadequate in the past. The issues most frequently raised were the lack of --national ocean research goals and objectives, --leadership, --coordination, and I I --adequate and continuous funding. Federal ;Ilanned undersea research is done primarily by three agencies: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ctie National Science ?oundation, and tke Savy . These agexiec, are joktly funding the Alvin's ooera- tional exsenses which total about $1 million annually. The academic community and private industry fulfill important roles in manned undersea science and technology. The academic cszzxnity carries out manned undersea research under Federal grants and contracts. It also trains students in oceano3raghy, marine science, underwater technology, and scientific diving techniqnes. Industry has designed, fabricated, and tested most of the manned submersibles built in the 'Jnited States since 1959. industry also trains i E-145099 crews to operate submersibles and diving systems, and trains divers to oerfora various underwater tas!ts. In an attemnt to establish a national manned undersea program, the National Oceanic and Atzosoheric Administtaticc created the Wanned Undersea Science and Technology Office in 1971 to develop, promote, and support a national civilian ooeraticnal caoability for man to work under the sea to achieve a bett;tr unoerstanding, assessment, and use of the marine environment and its resources. The Office’s budget nas $1.4 million in fiscal year lS72, its first year of operation. In fiscal vears 1973 and 1974 the Office orocosed oudget increases of Sl$ and 512 million, resoectively-, for a national manned undersea program. however; during the bud- get process for these 2 fiscal years the Office of Xanage-- merit and Budget directed that the objectives be narrowed from a national program to a grogram supporting only in-house investigations. Consequently, the Manned Undersea Science and Technology's Office budget has been approximately $1 mil- lion a year since fiscal year 1973. This has limited its ability to support enough research to result in national leadership in manned undersea research. In 1976 the Marine Board of the National Research Council appraised and reported on The Manned Undersea Science and Technology Office program. Its report stated that the principal thrust of the program should be one of coordina- tion and overall management rather than operational control of research, and that the program should --be national in scope, supporting both civil Federal and non-Federal users: -provide information and services on a national basis: --provide for transfer of research results and tech- nology; and --provide funding grants within specific guidelines, for the development, application, testing, and sup- port of undersea activities. The Marine Board report recommended “that NOVA [National ,Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] revise the MUS&T [Manned Undersea Science and Technology Office] objectives and issue a formal definitive charter for MUSCT" to provide a national focus for civil manned undersea activities. B-145099 CONCLUSIONS Hanned undersea research presently lacks focus and direction. National goals and objectives have not been . clearly defined, and the relative priority of research areas and projects have not been specifically identified or classi- fied. As a result, there is no basis at this time for sup- porting an expanded manned undersea research program. If the Hanned Undersea Science and Technology Office is restrudt-rod it should be desianated to nrovide leadershio and fccug ic'>anned undersea activities ai-recomended by the Xarine 2oard. It should also be responsible for as- certaininc the manned undersea needs of the various Federal agencies involved in these activities and proposing, where justified, the develo?ent and acquisition of facilities to meet these needs. It should be a national focal point for manned undersea activities to coordinate and manage the use of manned submersibles and habitats, and to provide informa- tion to the user community on current and planned research projects, research results, and technological developments. Until the overali goals and objectives for manned under- sea research are identified, it would be difficult to estab- lish the level of funding or new facilities needed to sup- . . port the program. AGENCY COMMENTS As requested by your office, we did not obtain official Departrent of Commerce comments. We discussed the report with Manned Undersea Science and Technology Office officials whose comments are shown in appendix III. They agree with our position regarding the need for plans and programs, and s;lp- pert our basic premise that such e fforts are necessary for any program activity. They noted, however, that the Xational Oceanic and Atmos?hetic Administration, t.Frcagh its Xannad Undo: sea Science and Techhnology Office, has de- veloped 2v5'1 the last several years, comprehensive and sub- stantial regiona.! manned.undersea research Grograms on a continclng basis. We found, however, that because of budget B-145099 restrictions the Nanned Undersea Science and Technology Office efforts have beer. directed at supporting only in-house investigations and do not provide a national focal point for these activities. Coniptroller General of the rlnited States APPENDIX I APPENDIX I Mr. zlner 3. staats caqtroller OelCral Gezeral Accountfig Office Room 7000 hhl G Street N Y Tashinetsr, kc. * '205bo PL DearMr. staats: During the past year,1 have become interested in this la~ion’s capbflftftc to conduct undersea science and technology progmas. In researching these issues, I soon learned that techniques to vork and live in +Ae oceans ha+c progressed very slovly except vhere related ta offshore oil explor:tion and recovery. Undemea science vas started ir esrnest some 25 years ago uhen nariae- biologists made s%wt and shellov forays into the sea ptiag simple diving gear. Since thecE and l specie3ly vithin the past i5 years some techuiques have been develop3 to allov man to vcrk aore cf?e,ctiwly ir. the sea. 3eseaxh submersibles. maoned habitats, ixpzcved diviing eqtislent and tablea have added new dimensions in undemater science. =Cr4kg the 59’0,a submersible reached the deepest parts of the ocesn a=d di-mrs uere sakfag ieeger forays for longer working timzs . -Xan, a: this point, uas truly en the verge of making great atri3es under tke :cezs, ;rdsi=lg ta i;i-AS asAne research -y4uarAl nev 2x1s for szxdy. =.. - .- xc ~5 of the 60's. ho=ever, iztercst iL usderse?. ur&orstiar. z3k rasrar:!: Segea to -vane. kcreased costs, nationtide eczczic p6cleu aA -,oor &wing nest l%ely contributed to the diz&aisZzg ir;te-2%. Lr-eb , Xg!a-budget, o-e-?lrxe uxdervater progrms vfth . 1 tolls-ug were equally responsible for the denim of rmdernter research. Asker rosson. for t!ae decreased ~taresz i=. xy cpizion, ia usderses ;rogrzs s=d perhags xstixgortxd2.y is the failure of tke U.S. govermem 23 tid ‘.&se ?sgraus at a level that could prodcc reasonable ad-mn~~ it ‘.e,t=iyzes se scitnc+. Tc,e result has been a scatterinq of goor zbdtd axi akhistcred programs ticapable of co*cz~ seaning?ll resti- - s . 3e Y.S. gTeZC1" -I s total budget for undersea l xglorazfon and research APPEh'DIX I APPENDIX I PaKe tuo i&a, zlner staats July 7, 1976 has bee2 hVd ruEded ior the Fast s-e years at aboG 1 siilf~2 dollars, thou& the ~vez?zaLl.federal b&get fcr the ocef~s has even Lzcreased co3siCerakl; 07er the 32x8 xricf. c"; ;ov 1*-p: 0:‘ f.;=tpg was too smaii co sqpax? a national undersea propan of any signfiicmce. Presently, there are no zmnned habitats aperat- on a f'ul.l-t&c progran and only a feu rescax2 skzersi'-,ies hwe i&t Zzm the norc tha= tkir:y bElit in the =id 65'~-. Obvio~, there are reasc2.s tcr '.-ps *crease E. Q-+-t-e .-- 235 ‘.: .zc*r- vater scfence . I EELanxio-as to address these rcasozs to Ccterzke if undervater science should continue and f,' so, a: -vhat level 0: actitiitp and funelg azd u5uc ft vould Iit t= CI dual?. WZisnd. OC?er?. prOE;ra=l- I, tsereforc, reqacst a study by GAOa3 tLe problems of uzrdersea science and tec?wlogy in the past, what It has achieved OY not achieved and where it-go franhere. i vill be happy to assign 3ob WickLand, of Y staff, to assist you fo ally v8y duri!q your study. The folhving questions are offered hem as a preliminary @de to the information I a~ seeking OILthe issue of mersea science and technology: . (1) Does the U.S. need a sunned lmdersu science and technology progrsn? 12) Doer manned undersea scrcienceand tecbnologlf fit tithin the overall gods of the wdion*s reseuch imeds? (3) Are the MtiOn'S n+edt great enough to UarrWlt a.72acceleration in innarrnedundcrseaprogzmm. (4) If so the% to what extent should such aprop?a~ be carried out? (5) Has past vork in zanned undersea prcgrams been cohesive to the DB'iOE'S overax ocean programs? (6) Ehat types of science are best suite&tobe con&acted by naancd undersea program? (7) Xaz are preseat Fatiical 1,:-4Lattfons - oc zaz working in tke sea ( desh. tins, teaperaz-ze. gsses, etc.)" (8) *&at are the reasoz~ Tar these Xzitatfons? (9) hihat lbfozmation needs to be knov to u;end !h iidtattions? APPENDIX I APPSNDTX I (Xl&W do these lbitacions aff'fec: the cepabtities of ‘undersea tc:hicpes to become viable tools of science? (11) S%at role shouid the acadaric cormxdty play iz~ a national uniervater program? (12) Wat role should industry play in 4 national underwater pro-am? . (12) Eas the federal government's treatzutt and hainistration of undc-uater reseszch beck adequate io the wt? (YL) k?xy has federal fundi- of undewater rtnearch program been so lov in the past? (15) Thy has the sciertific cmnunity been generally unei~zfititiastic about unde,rmater science? (161 Hhat have been the outstanding problems vith uzArwater programs in tbe past? (17) uhat should be the facility priorities of a national uadervater grogram ( habitats, submersibles, decompression chambas. etc.)2 (18) Uhat type of habitat system uould k most effective (i.e. large central fixed,mobile, highly mobile such as submrine-h8bitBt * regional semi-aobile, etc. )? (19) 3 the present supply of submersibles adequate to support c 26t:onal prograz? (20) Zou zacy sabaezsibles are ntcersaz,-p to a rrational peogra~? (21; ;Zat shoti be the capsbilities of the suDEenibles? T'b?zk yco for yaw cmsideration of this request. S, zerea, \ J?bib Lowell Ueicser. k United State5G&rSe -- APPENDIX II APPENDIX II COPY Questions to be Addressed by G.A.O. on Manned Undersea Scierce Definitioc: Undersea Science - the utllitatioc of zenned undersea equipment an5 tech- niques to conduct underwater science 1. What types of science are best suited to be conducted by manned undersea programs? 2. What are the present practical limitations on man working in the sea (depth, time, temperature, gases, etc.)? 3. What are the reasons for these limitations? 4. What information needs to be known to extend these limits? . 5. How do these limitations affect the capabilities of under- sea techniques to become viable tools of science? 6. How do industry and the academic community contribute to national efforts in undersea science? 7. Assuming that the MIS&T Office will be restructured, what function should it perform in order to best serve NOAA and the marine scientific community? a. How many habitats and submersibles could be supported by the scientific community on a regional basis, assuming that cost was not a factor? 9. What would be the average dost of operation of these sub- mersibles and habitats? 10. Why has the MUS&T Office hen level funded fcr the past several years? 11. Has the federal government's treatment and administra- tion of underwater research been adequate in the past? 12. Why h-as the scientific comaunity been generally unen- . thusiastic about underwater science? Note: Furnished by Senator Weicker's office. APPENDIX III APPENDIX 111 UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdnS’ais’xation ROCkv~lle. Mat-ylanll 20852 :!r . ba:zond X. Sautala &sis:ant Director, HAD/ST General Accounting Office Room 6905 $41 G Scree:. S?C '&&i-r-on, . .)W D.C. 20516 Dear 3. %u:ala: I appre:ia:e very muc> th: opportunity vhich uy ?lansed Cndersea Science and Technology (?R'SbT) staff end I had last veek to reviev lith you the GAO draft discussion paper on manned undersea research prepared in response to the August 1976 request from Senator Ueicker. Your invitation to provide you vith a swsuary of some of the points which ve ‘addressed during our discussions is also appreciated. While this letter does not represent an officially staffed response from NM& you map, of course, use such portions as you wish as representing the conversations which ue had. As ve indicated, there are a few clariflcatious vc would like tc offer vith respect to parts of the report. particularly areas e . relating to the relative costs of submerslblea. For this purpose, I have attached hereto a marked up copy of your draft report with these suggestious. . : . Although the report addresses mauned undersea activities gener&hy. I believe that those areas addressing or alluding to Oceanlab requi‘re camtent since your vievs on this facility appear to be representative of your assessment of our program. For example, oa both pages 3 and 10, it is stated or implied that the XIX&T office proposed Oceanlab in order to provide a national focus for undersea research. I think . you vould agree that an advanced technology development represented _- by Oceanlab would, indeed, provide a national focus for undersea activity and would also seme to increase the undersea research :apability of the Coited States. I mst point out, houevz. that the conceptual and other docunencs for Oceanlab, as vail as for tbr under- sea ac:ivities that would be conducted coincident to it. vere prepared by SO&% in response to specific request by Senator Ueickcr and by Congressman Alexander. You knov, I am certain, that the spark vas generated when NOIU had to utilize the Geman underuater laboratory - ‘%clgoland , ” highlightinp the fact that the Unitd States lacked the necessary advanced technology facili- for conducting the planned effort in the rather severe ocean environment of the northern C.S. latitudes. . APPENDIX III APPENDIX III With respect to the couunents in the draft regarding plans and programs. I support your basic premise and note that such efforts are, indeed, necessary for any program activity ubether.it be oceans or othervfse. i must note, houever, chat X0&i, through its XGSbT office, has over the last several years developed comprehensive and xbstantial manned uodersea research and regional prograns on a continuing basis. These programs have incorporated the use of all available underwater facilities and *have fostered the full utiliaatiou of small habitats. It has been our aim, through NOAA’s use of these facilities as well as by encouragemnt of interaliency and other coordinated use. to progress toward the izxreased capabilities vhich vould be needed as C.S. ocean interests moved into northern latitudes. As you knou. ue do remain of the opinion that. with the increasing U.S. interests vith respect to understanding and utilizing the oceans - particularly in turbid, cold, and polluted vaters, ve must reduce reliance on surface support and insure that the U.S. has the year-round capabilities for all-veathcr manned undersea activities in the 1980’s and beyond. It vould not be wrong to state that without the programs vhich XOAA has been able to mount in the diving artes. the civfU.an marine community vould not be as capable as it is today in mounting science programs requiring safe saturation diving. Continuing activities in support of science programs vhich require diving and of programs LO improve diver capabilities and safety are an integral part of the total program of which the development of the Oceanlab mobilt under- vater laboratory ia a part. Iha Oceanlab facility and the diver support programs for the manned wdtrsea support vork integral to it. ‘reprrrent a unique oppcrtunity to provide a national focus and stimulus to ocean scienct and engineering through mannetj undersea activitigs. As indicated earlier, T! agree vith you on the need for plans to set out overall protrams and managzmant system for the operation and use of the facility. Programs addressing current national intertsts and concerns have been compiled over the past par as the rationale for an advanced technology facility haa betn rtfined. Analyses of scientific field programs conducted during the last few pears have also been helpful in this regard. Increasing U.S. Involvement in tht ocean in the next 5 years v-ill bring us to new requirements vhich ve cannot see vtry clearly mu. Even so. a nev ttchaology facility such as the mobile undtrvater habitat vi11 bt a valuable addition to national ocean capabilities on tht basis of our current assessment of -' . needs. At the same the, hovever, it would be useful to reexamine national program interasts, not only vithin XOAA Sue b%thin the entire Federal structure and in the academic and industrial comrnmi:ies also. to set forth a reasonable program projection in anticipation of L APPENDIX III APPENDIX III an Oceanlab faciliry. I believe that the development of such I plan should be coincident vith the construction of the facility, rccogniting :hat the construction process leading to operational utilization may take up to 5 years or so. AS you know, the new technology facility would be used io a cooperative manner, not only by SO& but also by all icteres:ed Federal agencies, the academic community and private and industrial organizations. It vould be centrally managed by NOAA and would serve admirably as a unique and advanced center for suppor:ing and focusing attention on manned undersea research in all oceao issues of national interest. Sincerely, Steven tT’. Anastasfoa Director, Office of Ocean tigineerfng Enclosure .
Manned Undersea Science and Technology Needs Focus and Direction
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-07-14.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)