In his enthusiasm to get the U.S. going on a guided-missile program (TIME, Jan. 30), Welsh-born Trevor Gardner, 40, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Research and Development, stepped on many toes. Last year, when he told Congress that Air Force research and development funds for fiscal 1956 should be boosted about $200 million over the $551 million budgeted by the Pentagon, he was flatly overruled by Air Force Secretary Donald Quarles. Nor did Gardner have any luck with his protests against the $610 million research and development budget for fiscal 1957.
Last week energetic Trevor Gardner resigned his Air Force job. Some Washington sophisticates were quick to recall that the Senate Investigations Subcommittee had recently questioned him about a possible "conflict of interests" violation. (Before going to Washington. Gardner was president of California's Hycon Manufacturing Co., an electronics concern that has worked on guided missiles.) Others suggested that Gardner was miffed because Defense Secretary Wilson, who recently decided to appoint a "czar" for the whole U.S. guided-missile program, had passed him over for the job. Gardner himself offered the straightforward explanation that he was leaving because of "an honest difference of opinion about the level of support for the Air Force research and development program."
Whatever its cause, Gardner's resignation added considerable volume to the guided-missile hubbub that has arisen since Washington's Democratic Senator Henry Jackson warned early this month that the U.S.S.R. appeared to be outstripping the U.S. in guided-missile development. Asked about this charge at his press conference last week, President Eisenhower replied: "I think, overall, we have no reason to believe that we are not doing everything that human science and brains and resources can do to keep our position in a proper posture." Ike's confidence, however, did not allay the uproar. By week's end three congressional committees were planning to investigate the guided-missile program.