• Emery agreed that these authorities are not consistently applied across the services, but, for example, the laboratory directors themselves have such authority.
• Chu advised that we should judge the system on performance not on processes.
Committee member Anita Jones commented that “the carrot” being used does matter. DOD invests in research areas that have promise and, for example, during the 1970s and 1980s paid tuition and living expenses for computer scientists who designed chips at Intel, National Semiconductor, and so forth. DOD was growing the pipeline.
A participant made the suggestion that Congress could authorize 2,000 or 3,000 graduate fellowships, and these could be spread around rather than being converted to department-specific uses.
• Chu said that although programs of this kind are very popular, they are (maybe) not the best.
• Hermann suggested that it is possible that someone will work on some supply segment, for example, devices, but that foresight is needed to identify such areas.
A participant observed that there is a focus on scientists and engineers with advanced degrees, but that DOD’s needs can fall into other categories of the workforce that need some training in science and engineering, such as engine maintenance. These are critical areas, and these workers need STEM education in high school or it is too late; welding is a critical skill, for example.
• McGrady noted the practice of precision-based logistics, in which the person in the field can pull whatever module is not working and send it back to the manufacturer. She observed that with DOD going to such a system that obviates the need for STEM in the field, it may be working at cross-purposes by continuing to push for STEM overall.
• Hermann noted that the example given by the participant may be representative only of a class of activities, such as knowing how to get a generator to work when it stops. He noted that the example may not extrapolate to the general.
• Emery added that we do not do a good job of describing opportunities. There are opportunities for those with associate’s degrees and with bachelor’s degrees and so forth.
• McGrady offered an example that she had observed while deployed, in which generators broke down all the time. The person who was the best at fixing them was the guy from a family of car mechanics, and he had never been to college.
Another participant referred to the workshop charge and the mention of “uncertainty” and asked the panel to comment on how DOD might mitigate the impact of uncertainty.
• Chu suggested that broader preparation is needed and that this is how you can cope with developments that you cannot forecast.
• Emery noted that through some of his visits to industry, he has learned that there is psychological profiling performed to ensure that those hired in scientific and engineering fields can think in a flexible manner. He commented that today it is necessary to be more multidisciplinary in approach, a point seconded by McGrady.
A participant observed that the panel had touched on two big issues: (1) it takes a long time to get clearances, and (2) it takes a long time to get hired into civil service. He suggested that engineers and scientists have to be nurtured or they will leave their field to become, for example, a hedge-fund manager.
Committee member Daniel Hastings referred to data presented by Ruth David on the globalization of some fields. He observed that Lockheed Martin is engaged globally at the same time that it is involved in classified government work. He asked Jennifer Byrne how Lockheed Martin was taking advantage of this and absorbing global work into its business lines.