ment activities to develop and maintain highly skilled, experienced, and motivated space professionals within their workforce.”9

Given the wide range of attributes that characterize the elements of the aerospace workforce ecosystem depicted in Figure 3.1, the differing elements’ time horizons and missions, and the interconnectedness of those elements, the committee concluded that resolving NASA’s workforce issues is a task that is beyond NASA alone: it is national in character and as such requires a broad, collaborative strategy, as well as policy coordination at a high level.

As the committee was finishing its work, Congress passed the Interagency Aerospace Workforce Revitalization Task Force Act,10 whose purpose is to establish an interagency aerospace revitalization task force to “develop a national strategy for aerospace workforce recruitment, training, and cultivation.” The committee believes that this act is a good first step but is concerned that the task force may be a one-time activity and believes that the aerospace workforce ecosystem requires long-term attention.

Finding 3: NASA’s workforce requirements and challenges cannot be considered in isolation from those of other government and industry organizations. NASA is part of an aerospace workforce ecosystem in which the health and needs of one organization or sector can affect another. Thus, NASA’s workforce issues require the intervention and assistance of higher-level government organizations such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President.

Recommendation 3: Ensure a coordinated national strategy for aerospace workforce development among relevant institutions.

The committee recommends that representatives from relevant government agencies, the aerospace industry, including the emerging private sector, and the academic community work together to develop a coordinated national strategy to ensure an effective aerospace workforce ecosystem.

The committee urges the Office of Science and Technology Policy to include representatives of the broad interests of all components of the aerospace workforce ecosystem in the development of an effective national strategy. This representation should be from organizations that can reflect the broad interests of the various components of the ecosystem, as distinct from individual companies or universities. For example, DOD could be represented by the Defense Directorate of Research and Engineering, and NASA by the deputy administrator. The committee urges that the strategy set a series of 5-year horizons for addressing, among other issues, issues of the supply pipeline, retirement, and diversity, along with ITAR and related citizenship-related issues.


See Office of Science and Technology Policy, “U.S. National Space Policy,” 2006, available at



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