Referring back to the Secretary of Defense’s memorandum on STEM,5 another participant asked how this has affected the priorities of ASD(R&E).
• Lemnios noted that ASD(R&E) had developed the list, but he noted that neither stealth technology nor undersea warfare is on the list. The core of discussion revolves around asking, What are fields for which we do not have an infrastructure in place?
A participant noted a new focus by the administration on advanced manufacturing and asked what DOD is doing in this area.
• Lemnios replied that the STEM board of directors is focusing on this issue and is looking across the department at where it is making investments. DOD will need new ideas from academia and industry to build a new technology base.
Augustine said that Kelly Johnson, the chief designer of Skunk Works, worked on 32 airplanes that flew. Today’s engineers will be lucky to see 2 in their careers. He suggested that there is a need for more prototyping.
Lemnios concurred with Augustine on this point and allowed that he had heard this in other discussions with industry. He remarked that “you grow systems engineers” through experience. Elaborating on Augustine’s suggestion, he asked: (1) How do we put together challenging problems that can be the basis for training future engineers? (2) How might we get access to testbeds and data sets?
5Secretary of Defense William Gates. April 19, 2011. Memorandum for Secretaries of the Military Departments; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering; Directors of the Defense Agencies: Science and Technology (S&T) Priorities for Fiscal Years 2013-2017 Planning. Washington, D.C.