FIGURE 3-1 Foreign-born share of the U.S. science and engineering workforce. SOURCE: National Science Board. 2010. Science and Engineering Indicators 2010. NSB 10-01. Arlington, Va.: National Science Foundation.
The second elephant in the room, Vest noted, is that things (i.e., people, ideas, technology) flow in different ways. He pointed out that, whereas in the past there was the problem of brain drain to (versus from) the United States, this flow has been altered so that what we have now is “brain circulation” as economies heat up in Asia and Brazil. We are moving toward “brain integration”: this has been going on in industry for a while and is beginning to grow in academia; we work on problems worldwide and do not have to be physically present in a country in order to collaborate. Vest believes that it is important for recognition of the latter to figure into solving the problems of how we vector young men and women into fields that are needed by the security community. Finally, the third elephant, Vest commented, is export controls and deemed exports: generating new knowledge in technology is far more important than obsessing about every leak: this is the “leaky bucket” theory of security.
The Honorable Zachary J. Lemnios, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, opened his keynote presentation by offering some context for the workshop. He explained how the topic of the STEM workforce requires looking out 5 to 20 years from now and that he has made it a priority early on in his tenure to focus on what the technical workforce should look like in years to come. This entails consideration of what we put in place today in order to build the needed technical depth, align it to the fields that we need to be in, understand where we are relative to the rest of the world, and build an innovation engine at DOD that is competitive with the private sector.
Lemnios referred to the joint operating environment put together in 2010 by the Joint Forces Command. It posited a shift in world demographics amid globalization and the pace of innovation. He noted that the time available to address threats and deliver capabilities has been shortened considerably. He observed that the National Academies report Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future1 put into perspective the position of this country relative to the rest of the world and that of industry and
1National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. 2007. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.