SP-4305 ENGINEER IN CHARGE

 

Appendix C

 

Budget

 

[427] In its 45-year lifetime, the NACA received just over $1 billion in federal funds, an average of almost $25 million a year. But the first time its annual budget actually reached $25 million was 1943-the middle of World War II It was more money in one year than the NACA had received in its first 25 years combined. Clearly, World War II separated the NACA's budgetary history into two very unequal parts.

Table C-1, besides reporting the amounts appropriated to the NACA for each of its 45 years, demonstrates this two-part history. The left side of the table shows annual amounts for 1915 to 1940 in thousands of dollars; the right side shows annual amounts for 1941 to 1959 in millions of dollars. The left side indicates the fiscal modesty and slow growth of the NACA's early history, when the Committee almost never asked for any more money than it was sure it could get. Notice that appropriations reached the million-dollar level only in 1930. Not until the hard Depression years of 1932 and 1933 did Congress authorize less than the NACA had requested. Only about 3 percent of the billion-dollar NACA lifetime total came to the NACA in the 26-year period preceding American involvement in World War II (the period covered in the left side of table C-1). The right side of table C-1, covering 18 years, suggests the tremendous inflation of the NACA mission during World War II and in the Cold War that followed it, as the agency contributed to major national defense programs. The explanation for the peak in 1950 ($128 million) is the Deficiency Appropriation Act of 1950 (approved 29 June 1950). This act provided $75 million for the construction of wind tunnels authorized in the Unitary Wind Tunnel Plan Act of 1949 (Public Law 415, 81st Cong., approved 27 Oct. 1949). Nearly $15 million of this deficiency appropriation was allotted to Langley.

Langley's budgetary history is also divided clearly by World War II. Figure C-i, which traces the laboratory's annual expenditures throughout NACA history, confirms the periodization: the first phase is represented by a virtually horizontal line showing comparatively modest annual amounts, always less than $2 million; in the second phase, spending rises in a rapid 45-degree ascent to $34 million in 1958.

Table C-2 shows how expenditures were distributed among the major branches of the NACA between 1940 and 1958. Before 1940, there were only two branches, Langley and headquarters. One may estimate, from the known spending distribution during World War II and from analysis of Langley's prewar budget and accounting correspondence (LaRC Central Files, C77-1 and C83-1), that Langley spent about 90 percent of total NACA expenditures in the period 1917 to 1939, compared to 40 percent in the period 1940 to 1958.

 

 

[428] Table C-1. NACA Appropriations.

1915-1940

.

1941-1959

Fiscal year

Thousands $

Fiscal year

Millions $

.

.

1915

5.0

1941

11.2

1916

5.0

1942

19.9

1917

87.5

1943

25.4

1918

112.0

1944

38.4

1919

205.0

1945

40.9

1920

175.0

1946

24.0

1921

200.0

1947

30.7

1922

200.0

1948

43.4

1923

225.6

1949

48.6

1924

307.0

1950

128.0

1925

470.0

1951

63.1

1926

534.0

1952

69.0

1927

513.0

1953

66.3

1928

550.0

1954

62.4

1929

836.7

1955

55.9

1930

1300.0

1956

72.7

1931

1321.0

1957

76.7

1932

1051.0

1958

117.3

1933

920.0

1959

101.1

1934

953.6

Subtotal

1095.0

1935

1255.7

.

1936

2543.8

1937

1630.5

1938

1280.8

1939

4063.9

1940

4180.0

Subtotal

24 926.1

Total

$1.12 billion

Source: "NACA Budget Files, 1915-1958," LaRC Historical Archives.

 


[
429]

Figure C-1. Graph of Langley expenditures, 1917-1958, in millions of dollars

Figure C-1. Graph of Langley expenditures, 1917-1958, in millions of dollars.

Table C-2. Expenditures by NACA Branches 1940-1958

Langley

$282,759,760

=

40%

Lewis

$258,759,760

=

37%

Ames

$120,523,020

=

17%

NACA HQ

$17,566,001

=

2.5%

HSFS

$14,246,147

=

2.2% (1949-1958)

Wallops Island Flight Center

$964,308

=

1.3% (1949-1958)

Source: Financial report sections of NACA annual reports, 1940-1958.

 

The NACA submitted its annual budget requests to Congress only after Langley and the other branches had prepared comprehensive budgetary estimates, supported by long and detailed explanations of current and projected expenses. As an example of the work involved in preparing budget requests, Document C-1 is the summary of operating expenses projected by Langley in August 1944 for FY 1946. The laboratory estimated that operating expenses would nearly double from FY 1944 to FY 1946. The field centers provided detailed justification for every piece of planned construction and new equipment. Document C-2 is Langley's estimate of construction and equipment costs for FY 1946. Document C-3 is the full text provided by Langley to justify over $2 million for construction of the most expensive single item requested for FY 1946, a new 35,000-horsepower drive system and housing unit for the 16-Foot High-Speed Wind Tunnel.

 


[
430]

Phantom drawing of 16-Foot Transonic Tunnel, 1950s.

Phantom drawing of the 16-Foot Transonic Tunnel, 1950s. The new 35,000-horsepower drive system and its housing unit are at the right end of the facility.

 

[431] Document C-1. (Source: "Langley Aeronautical Laboratory F.Y. 1946 Estimates," 817 pages in two parts, 5 Aug. 1944, LaRC Central Files E12-5.)

[432] Document C-2. (Source: "Langley Aeronautical Laboratory F.Y. 1946 Estimates," 817 pages in two parts, 5 Aug. 1944, LaRC Central Files E12-5.)

[433-439] Document C-3. (Source: "Langley Aeronautical Laboratory F.Y. 1946 Estimates," 817 pages in two parts, 5 Aug. 1944, LaRC Central Files E12-5.)


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