During the course of the study the committee became convinced that two compelling challenges remained outstanding: one for the federal government, in particular DOD, and one for the corrosion community itself.
The first strategic recommendation is addressed to DOD, and specifically to its Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office. The committee is convinced that improving the education of the corrosion workforce, broadly defined, will hinge on the government’s development of a strategic plan for fostering corrosion education with a well-defined vision and mission. An essential element of the plan will be how government can provide incentives to the educational sector to expand and revitalize corrosion engineering education. This plan will require input from a broad set of stakeholders and analysis and support from the government, industry, and academia.
The DOD’s Director of Corrosion Policy and Oversight, whose congressionally mandated role is to interact directly with the corrosion prevention industry, trade associations, other government corrosion-prevention agencies, academic research and educational institutions, and scientific organizations engaged in corrosion prevention, should (1) set up a corrosion education and research council composed of government agencies, industry, and academia to develop a continuing strategic plan for fostering corrosion education and (2) identify resources for executing the plan. The plan should have the following vision and mission:
Vision. A knowledge of the environmental degradation of all materials is integrated into the education of engineers.
Mission. To provide guidance and resources that will enable educational establishments to achieve the vision.
The challenge to the corrosion community is based on the committee’s observation that the community appears isolated from the larger scientific and engineering community. Repeatedly the committee heard that the general research and engineering community considers that corrosion science and engineering is a mature field, implying that there is little compelling science to be done. The committee heard from those who have studied corrosion for many years how many compelling science questions remain unanswered and how great the promise is for advancing corrosion mitigation and prevention if those questions can be answered.