tee hoped to add this Master Index to the major MFUA rosters such as the twin and body-build registries. The new computer file, called BIRLS (for Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem), ultimately became one of MFUA's main resources for the establishment and maintenance of research cohorts. Agency staff also secured funds during the year for preserving the Army diagnostic index to the Korean War on magnetic tape in order to ensure its availability for future use. Finally, the committee began a lengthy review of the Army's proposed modernization of the routine physical examination (MORPE) given to all new recruits, with hopes that the new examination would provide standardized baseline information for research in the history of disease and would be more easily retrievable by researchers.134

The early 1970s brought strained relations with the Veterans Administration. Beebe and Dunham met in early 1971 with Dr. Lyndon Lee, assistant chief medical director for research and education in medicine at the VA, to discuss an old problem. Lee, who had been the agency's scientific liaison officer with the VA for many years before being promoted to his new position, had urged the MFUA to expand its program of studies to the Vietnam generation. Praising the overall MFUA program, he nonetheless lamented the agency's low profile, particularly among armed forces staff. As the VA's assistant chief medical director, Lee "expressed a desire to have some interlocking of the Committee with the main VA advisory structure," on the theory that this organizational change would give the recommendations of CEVFUS more weight with the VA. He also suggested recommendations "better grounded in the realities of the VA situation," a proposal that could be implemented if his suggestions to have "men presently close to the VA'' added to the committee were implemented.135

Reflecting on the meeting with Dr. Lee, Beebe wrote to his superior Dr. Charles Dunham, still new enough as Keith Cannan's replacement that he had not yet become familiar with the place of the Medical Follow-up Agency within the NRC structure. Beebe reminded Dunham of the history of the earlier Committee on Veterans Medical Problems, phased out by Dunham's predecessor when its "broader" mandate proved impossible for its role as advisory body for the MFUA. Lee, he clearly implied, wanted to return to the earlier VA-NRC relationship, but Beebe cautioned against changing "the mission of the present Committee without a pretty good discussion of the reasons therefor," and without verification that it would be in the best interests of the Medical Follow-up Agency's program as well as those of the VA. If nothing else, Lee's requirements required adding several more clinical investigators to the committee, either at the expense of the existing disciplines represented there or at the cost of having to expand the committee. 136

The CEVFUS meeting to discuss these matters lasted more than six hours, one of the longest on record. At this meeting, it appeared that Dunham's ideas meshed with Lee's plans for the committee. Dunham wanted a committee that approximated the active policy-setting oversight functions common to the NRC



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