NAVSEA recognizes that this challenge actually exists at three distinct levels: the national, the Naval Enterprise, and the NAVSEA organizational.
The national level challenge is well addressed in the NAS report entitled “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future,” (NAS Storm Report) which offers four specific solutions based on application of resources at the national level to provide:
Improved education in science and engineering,
Incentives for basic research,
Improved conditions for the conduct of research activities, and
Improved processes for intellectual property management and protection.
However, the challenge grows more acute at the Naval Enterprise level, which comprises the entire Department of the Navy (DoN) including operating forces as well as the engineering and acquisition community. It is further exacerbated at the NAVSEA organizational level, which represents a tight focus on the specific application of STEM capabilities in RDT&E to realize the technical innovation necessary for the Navy to meet national security needs.
This paper offers an approach to implement the NAS report’s recommendations—working from the bottom up. First is at the NAVSEA organizational level to iteratively prototype (and then prove) means to attract, develop, and maintain a world class STEM workforce through ongoing engagement with students and educators from middle school through post graduate school. Second is to adapt the approach as it matures in order to meet the needs of the broader Naval Enterprise. The goal here is to define higher level approaches that yield improvements in STEM capabilities development and applications throughout the DoN. Third is to adapt the approach from the Naval Enterprise level to meet the strategic, national needs identified in the NAS report.
To address the NAS recommendations, we articulate a “21stCentury Engagement, Education, and Technology” Initiative, which brings together a number of existing initiatives in the widely dispersed NAVSEA organization while developing a rapidly expanding infrastructure to attract short, mid-, and long-term entrants into the STEM workforce. It further engages partners with proven performance in the development of STEM capabilities in academic environments. The initiative also links the NAS recommendations with implementation of the Navy’s Diversity Strategy, which will ensure the diverse world class workforce that is necessary to the design, development, and delivery of cutting edge systems for our national security.