Hours after Mathematical Physicist Charles Critchfield, 49, agreed to take over as boss of the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency (TIME, Nov. 16), he became the target for salvo after salvo of editorial and political criticism. Nobody seemed to doubt that he might be a good man to help straighten out the U.S.'s missile mess, but many were worried over how and by whom he would be paid while on the job. Reason: at Defense Secretary Neil McElroy's urging, Critchfield was to be a "WOC," serve "without compensation" from the U.S. and keep on drawing his pay of about $40,000 a year from California's missile-making Convair Division of General Dynamics Corp.
At week's end, apprehensive over the uproar and still reluctant to give up his salary and fringe benefits for the $19,000 ARPA salary, Critchfield called McElroy from San Diego, resigned before even taking up Government duties. The public controversy, he said, "has most certainly impaired my ability to serve."