Examination of the U.S. Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and Its Strategy to Meet Those Needs

Committee on Examination of the U.S. Air Force’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and Its Strategy to Meet Those Needs

Air Force Studies Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
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Committee on Examination of the U.S. Air Force's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and Its Strategy to Meet Those Needs Air Force Studies Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This is a report of work supported by Grant FA9550-08-1-0253 between the U.S. Air Force and the National Academy of Sciences. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 13: 978-0-309-14197-0 International Standard Book Number 10: 0-309-14197-4 Limited copies of this report are Additional copies are available from: available from: Air Force Studies Board The National Academies Press National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Lockbox 285 Washington, DC 20001 Washington, DC 20055 (202) 334-3111 (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) Internet, http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America ii

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org iii

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COMMITTEE ON EXAMINATION OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE'S SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATHEMATICS (STEM) WORKFORCE NEEDS IN THE FUTURE AND ITS STRATEGY TO MEET THOSE NEEDS NATALIE W. CRAWFORD, The RAND Corporation, Co-Chair GEORGE K. MUELLNER, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Co-Chair WILLIAM P. ARD, Point One, Inc. JAMES B. ARMOR, JR., The Armor Group, LLC EARL H. DOWELL, Duke University RICHARD P. HALLION, National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution MICHAEL A. HAMEL, U.S. Air Force (retired) RAY M. HAYNES, Northrop Grumman LEON A. JOHNSON, United Parcel Service LESTER McFAWN, Wright Brothers Institute MICHAEL C. McMAHAN, Abilene Chamber of Commerce DONALD L. PETERSON, U.S. Air Force (retired) LEIF E. PETERSON, Advanced HR Concepts and Solutions (resigned from the committee on July 14, 2009) ALBERT A. ROBBERT, The RAND Corporation PAULA E. STEPHAN, Georgia State University TODD I. STEWART, Michigan Technological University RONALD W. YATES, U.S. Air Force (retired) Staff JAMES C. GARCIA, Senior Program Officer (through January, 2010) ROBERT KATT, Editorial Consultant KAMARA E. BROWN, Research Associate ZEIDA PATMON, Program Associate MARGUERITE SCHNEIDER, Administrative Coordinator URRIKKA WOODS, Program Associate (through February, 2010) v

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AIR FORCE STUDIES BOARD GREGORY S. MARTIN, GS Martin Consulting, Chair PAMELA A. DREW, TASC, Inc., Vice Chair MARSHA J. BERGER, New York University THOMAS J. BURNS, SET Corporation THOMAS DARCY, EADS North America Defense Company KENNETH E. EICKMANN, U.S. Air Force (retired) JOHN V. FARR, Stevens Institute of Technology RAND H. FISHER, Aerospace Corporation MICHAEL J. GIANELLI, Boeing Company (retired) JACQUELINE GISH, Northrop Grumman Corporation LESLIE GREENGARD, New York University KENNETH C. HALL, Duke University WESLEY L. HARRIS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology PAUL G. KAMINSKI, Technovation, Inc. LESLIE KENNE, LK Associates LESTER L. LYLES, The Lyles Group DEBASIS MITRA, Bell Laboratories MATT L. MLEZIVA, Wildwood Strategic Concepts GERALD F. PERRYMAN, JR., Raytheon Company GENE W. RAY, GMT Ventures MARVIN R. SAMBUR, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force (retired) J. DANIEL STEWART, University of Tennessee Staff MICHAEL A. CLARKE, Director JESSICA BROKENBURR, Financial Assistant KAMARA E. BROWN, Research Associate WILLIAM E. CAMPBELL, Senior Program Associate (through May 2010) SARAH CAPOTE, Research Associate LISA COCKRELL, Senior Program Associate (through August 2009) GREGORY EYRING, Senior Program Officer CARTER W. FORD, Program Officer JAMES C. GARCIA, Senior Program Officer (through January 2010) CHRIS JONES, Financial Manager ZEIDA PATMON, Program Associate MARGUERITE SCHNEIDER, Administrative Coordinator DANIEL E.J. TALMAGE, JR., Program Officer SHANNON THOMAS, Program Associate URRIKKA B. WOODS, Program Associate (through February 2010) vi

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Preface Technical capabilities have always been critical to the missions and roles of the U.S. Air Force in military operations, and these capabilities are rooted in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Airmen with such knowledge and skills have played significant roles in career fields across the Air Force, with the science and engineering (S&E) and acquisition career fields receiving the most obvious benefits. For a variety of reasons, concerns have arisen over the future of both the military and civilian contingents of the Air Force’s STEM workforce. Emerging mission areas, particularly in the space and cyber domains, as well as increasing use of technologically sophisticated systems, such as unmanned air systems, are expanding the need for new technical skills and expertise. Simultaneously, force reductions, ongoing military operations, and budget pressures are creating new challenges for attracting and managing the needed technical skills. Assessments of recent development and acquisition-process failures have identified loss of organic technical competence as an underlying problem. A growing percentage of science and engineering graduates in the United States are foreign citizens and thus ineligible for the security clearances that many jobs in the Air Force and in the aerospace industry require. The existing STEM workforce is aging, with many individuals nearing retirement. Women and minorities are underrepresented in most S&E educational pursuits at a time when they constitute the majority of college students and therefore the majority of the future workforce. The market for STEM-educated U.S. citizens is becoming much more competitive. Anticipating this challenge, the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering asked the National Research Council (NRC) to examine the Air Force’s STEM workforce needs in the future and its strategy to meet those needs. In response, the NRC formed the ad hoc Committee on Examination of the U.S. Air Force's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and Its Strategy to Meet Those Needs to conduct this examination. This report contains the results of the committee’s work. The committee acknowledges and appreciates the contribution of the members of the Air Force Studies Board (AFSB) of the National Research Council for developing the study statement of task in concert with the Air Force sponsor. The committee also thanks the many persons who provided information to the committee, including the guest speakers listed in Appendix B, their organizations, and supporting staff members; the many Air Force officer, enlisted, and civilian functional managers and career field managers who responded to the committee’s inquiries; others, including The Honorable Claude Bolton, General John Corley, and Maj Gen David Eidsaune; and the Air Force study sponsor, Terry Jaggers, and his staff members, including Col Jim Fisher, Maj Dan Doyle, and Barb Hunter. The committee is also grateful to the NRC staff members who provided their dedicated support throughout the study. vii

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Finally, as co-chairs of the study committee, we extend special thanks to the committee members for the commitment and diligence that enabled us to complete the task successfully. Natalie W. Crawford, Co-Chair George K. Muellner, Co-Chair Committee on Examination of the U.S. Air Force's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce Needs in the Future and Its Strategy to Meet Those Needs viii

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Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Beth J. Asch, RAND Corporation, Robert J. Beichner, North Carolina State University, Donald G. Cook, U.S. Air Force (retired), Richard B. Freeman, Harvard University, Allison A. Hickey, Accenture National Security Services, Timothy C. Jones, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Donald A. Lamontagne, Star Mountain Consulting, Inc., Robert H. Latiff, George Mason University, Mark J. Lewis, University of Maryland, William Maikisch, U.S. Air Force (retired), Richard R. Paul, Boeing (retired), Sharon B. Seymour, U.S. Air Force (retired), Jan Eakle Terrell, Shippensburg University, and Sheila Widnall, (NAE), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lawrence D. Brown (NAS), University of Pennsylvania, and Elsa M. Garmire (NAE), Dartmouth College. Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. ix

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 12 The Importance of STEM Capabilities to the Air Force, 12 Concerns About the Future STEM Workforce, 13 Statement of Task and Committee Approach, 14 Statement of Task, 14 Assessment of Future Needs, 15 Definitions for Key Concepts, 16 Organization of This Report, 18 References, 18 2 ROLE OF STEM CAPABILITIES IN ACHIEVING THE AIR FORCE 20 VISION AND STRATEGY STEM Needs Across Air Force Missions and Domains, 20 Airpower and Nuclear Deterrence, 20 Emerging Technologies, 21 Space, 21 Cyberspace, 23 STEM Capability in Other Air Force Domains, 24 STEM Skills and Experience in the Acquisition Life Cycle, 24 Concept Refinement and Requirements Definition, 25 Science and Technology Development, 25 System Development and Demonstration, 25 Production and Deployment, 26 Operations and Support, 26 STEM-Degreed Personnel in the Current Air Force Workforce, 26 Current Occupational Requirements for a STEM Degree, 26 STEM-Degreed Officers Across the Workforce, 27 STEM-Degreed Civilian Personnel Across the Workforce, 29 Perceived Role of STEM Capability in Air Force Core Competencies and the Air Force Strategic Plan, 29 Findings and Recommendations, 30 References, 32 3 AIR FORCE CAREER FIELDS AND OCCUPATIONS THAT CURRENTLY REQUIRE A STEM DEGREE 34 Issues for Officer Career Fields Requiring a STEM Degree, 34 Assignments versus Authorizations, 34 Captain-to-Lieutenant Ratios, 35 Field-Grade Officer Manning, 37 Career Path for Officer Scientists and Engineers, 37 Perceptions from the Air Force STEM Communities, 38 Conclusions on Officer Manning Issues, 38 Civilian Occupational Series That Currently Require a STEM Degree, 40 xi

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Aging of the Civilian Workforce in STEM Occupations, 40 Civilian Scientist and Engineer Career Paths, 41 Leadership Assessment of Current Workforce Adequacy, 42 Air Force Personnel Center, 42 Air Force Space Command, 42 Additional Perspectives from Senior Leaders and Managers, 43 Findings, 44 4 STEM PERSONNEL IN THE ACQUISITION WORKFORCE 45 Defining the Acquisition Workforce, 45 The Acquisition Corps and the Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act, 46 DAWIA Implementation Through the APDP, 47 DAWIA and APDP Educational Requirements for the Acquisition Corps, 47 Acquisition Management Career Path and Training Flow, 48 Manning Ratio Issues, 49 Senior Officer Preparation for Acquisition Leadership, 50 Contract Labor for System Engineering, Technical Assistance, and FFRDC Support, 50 Additional Leadership Assessments of Current Acquisition Workforce Adequacy, 52 An Overview from the Director of Acquisition and Career Management, 52 Headquarters AFMC, 53 AFMC Product Centers, 54 Air Force Research Laboratory and Arnold Engineering and Development Center, 56 Findings and Recommendations, 57 Reference, 58 5 THE CURRENT AND FUTURE U.S. STEM-DEGREED WORKFORCE, 59 A Functional Profile of a Member of the STEM-Degreed Workforce, 59 Will Supply Meet Demand for the U.S. STEM-Degreed Workforce?, 60 Concern About the Educational Pipeline, 60 Declining U.S. Student Interest in Science and Mathematics, 61 Inadequate State Resources to Invest in Education, 61 Are Incentives to Enter STEM Careers Declining?, 62 Uncertainties in the Number of U.S. Citizens Earning Advanced STEM Degrees, 64 Aging of the STEM Workforce, 65 Women and Underrepresented Minorities in the STEM-Degreed Workforce, 65 Women and Minorities in the Current Workforce, 66 Increasing Women’s Role in the Future STEM Workforce, 67 Increasing Minorities’ Role in the Future STEM Workforce, 67 Programs to Increase the STEM-Degreed Workforce, 69 Programs Supported by Industry and Professional Organizations, 69 Two Successful Programs with Air Force Sponsorship, 70 Project Lead the Way, 71 Findings and Recommendations, 72 References, 72 xii

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6 MANAGING STEM PERSONNEL TO MEET FUTURE STEM NEEDS ACROSS THE AIR FORCE 75 An Active Management System for STEM-Degreed and STEM-Cognizant Personnel, 75 Management Approaches Considered and Rejected, 76 The Need to Model Personnel Management Options, 77 The Rated Management System as a Paradigm for STEM Management, 77 STEM Management and Prior Officer Development Initiatives, 79 Meeting Future Needs for Officers with STEM Capabilities, 81 Retaining STEM-Degreed Officers, 82 Assignment of STEM-Degreed Personnel, 83 Military Promotions of STEM-Degreed Officers, 84 Options for Meeting STEM Needs with the Existing STEM-Degreed Officer Workforce, 84 Acquiring Additional Officer Assets, 87 Meeting Future Needs for STEM-Degreed Civilian Employees, 92 Managing and Retaining Existing Civilian Personnel Assets, 92 Acquiring Additional Civilian Assets, 93 Contract Support to Provide STEM-Degreed Personnel—Issues and Options, 96 SETA Support, 97 FFRDCs, 97 Appropriate Use of Contractor Support, 97 References, 98 7 THE NEED FOR ACTION 100 APPENDIXES A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 105 B Meetings and Speakers 112 C Supporting Demographic Data 115 D Air Force STEM Workforce 119 E Length of Time to Fill Civilian Positions 132 F Applying Basic Rated Management Process and Model to STEM 136 G Scientists, Engineers, and the Air Force: An Uncertain Legacy 145 xiii

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Acronyms ABET Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology ACAT Acquisition Category AEDC Arnold Engineering and Development Center AF/A1 Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel AFDD Air Force Doctrine Document AFFTC Air Force Flight Test Center AFIT Air Force Institute of Technology AFMC Air Force Materiel Command AFOSR Air Force Office of Scientific Research AFPC Air Force Personnel Center AFPD Air Force Policy Directive AFRAMS Air Force Rated Aircrew Management System AFRL Air Force Research Laboratory AFROTC Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps AFSB Air Force Studies Board AFSC Air Force Specialty Code AFSLMO Air Force Senior Leader Management Office AFSPC Air Force Space Command AIA Aerospace Industries Association AIAA American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics APDP Acquisition Professional Development Program ASC Aeronautical Systems Center AT&L Acquisition, Technology and Logistics BRAC Base Realignment and Closure BTZ Below-the-Zone CAP Critical Acquisition Position CASPAR Computer-Aided Science Policy Analysis and Research CONOPS Concept of Operations CSAF Chief of Staff, Air Force CSO Combat Systems Officer DAL Developing Air Force Leaders DAWIA Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act DOD Department of Defense ESC Electronic Systems Center FFRDC Federally Funded Research and Development Center FMDC Force Management and Development Council GAO U.S. Government Accountability Office GATM Global Air Traffic Management GOMO General Officer Management Office xv

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ICL Institutional Competency List IDEAS Interactive Demographic Analysis System IPA Intergovernmental Personnel Act IPZ In-the-Promotion Zone IT Information Technology LEAD Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development NPS Naval Postgraduate School NRC National Research Council NRPP Non-Rated Prioritization Plan NSF National Science Foundation NSPS National Security Personnel System O&M Operations and Maintenance OSD Office of the Secretary Defense OTS Officer Training School PBD Program Budget Decision PLTW Project Lead the Way R&D Research and Development RDT&E Research, Development, Test and Evaluation RMDSS Rated Management Decision Support System ROTC Reserve Officer Training Corps RPA remotely piloted aircraft S&E science and engineering SAF/AQ Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition SAF/AQR Science, Technology, and Engineering Directorate of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition SAF/AQXD Air Force Director of Acquisition and Career Management SE&I Systems Engineering and Integration SES Senior Executive Service SETA Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance SL senior level SMC Space & Missile Systems Center SOC standard occupational classification ST scientific and professional [level] STARBASE Science and Technology Academies Reinforcing Basic Aviation and Space Exploration STEM Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics TTP Tactics, Techniques, Procedures USAF U.S. Air Force USAFA U.S. Air Force Academy USC United States Code VCSAF Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force xvi