My second mandatory retirement milestone on account of age would have been reached at the end of February 1968, since my seventieth birthday, the statutory limiting age for Civil Service, was due to occur during that month. I elected, however, to request retirement effective January 2, 1968, being influenced in this decision primarily by two considerations. Dr. Seamans, my immediate boss, whom I admired and enjoyed serving with so much, was leaving NASA at that time. My relief, Gen. Jacob E. Smart, USAF (Ret.), had been with NASA for some time and, incident to several organizational changes being made as of the first of the year, was available to take over the duties of my Office.
During the preceding two weeks, I had held several turnover sessions with General Smart, in the best military tradition, during which I had thoroughly briefed him on the functions of the Office and reviewed with him the current status of NASA-DOD relationships and all items of unfinished business. Through his long and distinguished career in the Air Force and his recent experience of some ten months as Assistant Administrator for Policy, General Smart was eminently qualified and equipped to assume the responsibilities of the Office of Defense Affairs.
Concurrently with this turnover, the charter of Defense Affairs was being expanded to include NASA's relationships with other governmental departments and agencies as well as the DOD. One of my final administrative actions was to discuss with the Administrator the matter of an appropriate hew title for the Office. Mr. Webb at first favored a designation of "Office of Interagency Affairs." I felt that such a title would, by connotation, equate the NASA-DOD relationship to NASA's relations with other agencies of the Executive Branch of Government, whereas the provisions of the Space Act established the NASA-DOD interface as one transcending in breadth and depth NASA's other interagency ties. I argued that specific reference to the DOD should be retained in the new title in recognition of the intimate connection between the research and development activities of NASA and the DOD as segments of a single national aerospace program. Mr. Webb acknowledged the validity of this point and decided on the multiple title of "Office of DOD and Interagency Affairs." A copy of the NASA Press Release issued on the occasion of my retirement is attached.
I look back upon my tenure as Assistant Administrator for Defense Affairs with some feeling of accomplishment in bringing NASA and the DOD closer together and with enormous pride and satisfaction in having been associated with the incredibly able and dedicated group of administrators, planners, managers, scientists, engineers, astronauts, and operators on "both sides of the River," civilian and military, who added so much to the stature of our country through our conquest of space and while doing so advanced the frontiers of scientific knowledge and technology to the enrichment of all mankind.