also noted in the 2004 report: “At present, there are insufficient methods for students to acquire hands-on experience in the scientific and technical disciplines necessary for space commerce and exploration. Therefore, a new alliance between NASA and universities should be formed.”
Consequently, there is a compelling need to carefully assess the current and future supply of a qualified U.S. aerospace workforce and to identify realistic, actionable solutions. At this time, I request that the Space Studies Board conduct a study in collaboration with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board to explore long-range science and technology workforce needs to achieve the Vision for Space Exploration, identify obstacles to filling those needs, and explore solutions for consideration by government, academia, and industry. Specifically, the study should undertake the following:
assess current and projected demographics of the U.S. aerospace engineering and space science workforce needed to accomplish the Vision;
identify factors that impact the demographics of the affected workforces;
assess NASA’s list of the workforce skills that will be needed to implement the Vision for Space Exploration, both within the government and in industry;
identify the skills that will be needed to implement the Vision for Space Exploration within the academic community;
assess the current workforce against projected needs;
identify workforce gaps and analyze obstacles to responding to the workforce needs, in particular, analyze the proper role of academia and the obstacles for achieving this proper role; and
develop recommendations for specific actions by the federal government, industry, and academia to address those needs, including considerations such as organizational changes, recruiting and hiring practices, student programs and workforce training and improvement.
The study should utilize existing statistical data to assess the current and future shortfall of a qualified U.S. aerospace workforce and focus on the particular needs of NASA and the larger aerospace science and engineering community in the context of the long-term Vision for Space Exploration, recognizing legislative requirements regarding national security.
We would like to incorporate the results of the initial stage of the study into our strategic planning process during the current year; to do so, we need to receive your initial input by late in the first quarter of FY06. The report that presents findings and recommendations on the long-term workforce requirements and proposed solutions would be most useful if delivered by the last quarter of FY06.
Please feel free to contact Ms. Trish Pengra at (XXX) XXX-XXXX in my office for more information.
Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation