in DOD: “The manpower reductions mandated by Congress in the late 1990s, followed by excessive additional services-directed reductions, have decimated the program office engineering and test support workforce as well as DOD government test organization personnel.” In addition, Adolph et al. (2008:220), summarizing a 2008 report of the Defense Science Board, state: “A second and related priority is to ensure that government organizations reconstitute a cadre of experienced test and evaluation, engineering, and RAM personnel to support the acquisition process.”
In order to improve its test and development process, DOD will have to reverse this trend. It appears that DOD has recognized this problem and is taking steps to rectify it. The panel applauds this effort, but we emphasize that, even with a dedicated and sustained effort, it will take a take a decade or more to have the capabilities that DOD had in the early 1990s. Therefore, DOD should examine short-term use of contractors, academics, employees of national laboratories, etc. so that many of the recommendations in this and other studies can be implemented in a timely manner. The problem of systems engineering capability is also complicated by the reduced numbers of U.S. citizens who are acquiring engineering degrees. DOD should examine creative alternatives, including ways to engage noncitizen engineers on DOD acquisition programs, temporary employment opportunities, fellowships, internships, and sabbaticals of various kinds.