Science and Engineering Workforce and National Security   [open pdf - 734KB]

"Trends in the American science and engineering (S&E) workforce and national research and development (R&D) funding patterns and priorities have troubling implications for the economic and national security of this nation. Especially worrisome are the following: (1) a general lack of interest among American-born youth in pursuing education in the physical sciences, mathematics, environmental sciences, and engineering at the undergraduate and graduate levels; (2) a rapidly accelerating accumulation of intellectual capital, including an educated S&E workforce, in China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan; (3) a long-term decline in the overall Federal investment in R&D as a percentage of gross domestic product, especially among the physical sciences and engineering; and (4) reduced Department of Defense funding for research throughout the 1990s, a trend that has exacerbated the general decline in the physical sciences and engineering, despite the importance of these fields to the development of new military capabilities. Conversely, in several areas, such as computer science, the number of computer programmers exceeds demand, a situation largely caused by the collapse of the dot.com bubble, softness in the overall economy, and a trend toward off-shore outsourcing of such work. The basic problem that we face lies in understanding the trends and their implications for the future. It is important to gain this understanding soon because of the long delays involved in building a workforce with the required skills to replace the scientists and engineers of the baby-boom generation, who are retiring just as the needs of national defense and homeland security are increasing. While the United States faces shortfalls in S&E, our foreign competitors are significantly increasing production of S&Es, and graduate foreign students are earning a large portion of the technical degrees granted by U.S. universities, creating a growing global competition for S&E talent."

Report Number:
Defense Horizons No. 39; ADA424472
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/
Media Type:
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