I was in the position of arguing with Arthur Morgan at the time he wrote his
last book on this point. Arthur was dismissing the Corps out of hand. I was
saying I think that the Corps is changing and that there is some hope here and
you are unfair in asserting that it's not different than it's ever been, and it's
incapable of making changes. I think it has, as I've seen representatives of
the Corps operate. Just how far this has gone for all of the Districts in the
country, I don't know. I would say that this fact is a partial indictment of the
Corps. The Corps should have undertaken some evaluations to find out for
itself the consequences of its own internal operating processes. How much
influence have its various efforts like the advisory board and its directives that
were sent out had? Perhaps it has made an evaluation and some of us on the
outside don't know about it. But I' m not aware of it. So I would applaud the
TVA's candid effort to find out the results of its activities in several score
communities. I want to see the Corps do the same.
You tried to educate people, as I understand it, on the importance of
addressing flood damages as well as flood prevention. To what degree do you
think you've been educating the Corps of Engineers?
I think it is clear that at the present time, by contrast with the 1930s or 1950s,
the top management in the Corps of Engineers in its public declarations is
adopting a view that would be consistent with much that I and others have
been advocating. What direct influence I may have had in that I'm not at all
clear. I' m not sure that I've had any influence. But through a conjunction
of events the top management's position has changed. That's evident.
How far this gets down to the area or District office it's hard to say without
the kind of evaluation to which I was referring. It's unfortunate that the
Corps has not made such evaluations itself. I once used the figure of speech
that getting the Corps of Engineers or the Bureau of Reclamation to change
its operating procedures was like burning a pile of damp newspapers. It's a
slow process in which you have to continually ventilate the field, but I think
it has happened to some degree. The question is the degree.
Have you ever suggested to anybody in the Corps or anybody in the Office
of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works that an evaluation be