Building the S&E workforce for 2040: Challenges Facing the Department of Defense   [open pdf - 135KB]

"Historically, the Nation has maintained within the Federal Government, and in quasi-government organizations, a highly competent cadre of scientists and engineers who would act as trusted advisors, and were of sufficient numbers and stature to adjudicate among the often conflicting advice and proposals from the larger community on emerging science and technology. Most of the internal government scientific and technical competence of DOD has resided in the military laboratories and the military research and development (R&D) centers. [...] This model worked well for many years and helped the United States to maintain an edge over adversaries by fielding technologically superior war-fighting systems. [...] However, the future viability of the model is in doubt. [...] A scientific and technical accountability gap has emerged. It appears that the government is not maintaining adequate/appropriate technical competence and/or is not making proper use of the competence that it has maintained. This paper examines some of the trends that have led to this situation. It focuses on the government component of the model. It is expected that many of the same considerations will apply to the quasigovernment component, also. [...] The government should remain properly sized and competent to exercise the stewardship with which it is entrusted. [...] To estimate future science and engineering (S&E) needs, this paper examines trends beginning in the late 1920s and continuing through the present time. [...] These trends have led to the emergence of a 'shadow workforce' in the private sector to compensate for the government workforce drawdown. The paper projects that the shadow workforce will soon dominate the government workforce, which raises questions about whether or not the government is in charge of its own program."

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