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. . . . . . . I. INTRODUCTION Scientists and engineers are a vital part of this country's work force-as shown by their participation in all sectors of the economy. The focus of this report is on the approximately 202,300 scientists and engineers employed by the federal government, primarily in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the departments of Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Transportation. Comprising 10.7 percent of the federal work force, scientists and engineers are classified into one of seven broad occupational categories: social scientists; computer specialists; biological scientists; agricultural scientists; engineers; physical scientists; and mathematical and computer scientists (see Appendix A, Table 1~. A vital and necessary resource for the government to serve the nation, federal scientists and engineers are employed in: research; development; design; data collection, processing, and analysis; natural resource operations; management; installation, operations, and maintenance planning; testing and evaluation; research contract and grants administration; construction; production; scientific and technical information; standards and specifications; regulatory enforcement and licensing: teaching and training; and technical assistance and consulting. I, ~7 Yet some people feel that federal agencies are not very successful at recruiting and retaining the most capable scientists and engineers. One individual corresponding with the study committee viewed the system as a "ponderous bureaucracy" making decisions based on pork-barrel grounds rather than meaningful technical objectives. . . . Hiring of staff is at best tortuous. . . . [There are] arbitrary limits on personnel, mountains of paper that confront the hiring 5
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manager- The working scientist has little control of his project in many cases. As a result of this perceived lack of success in attracting and keeping talented scientists and engineers and the alleged inadequacy in the administration of this work force, the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government asked the Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel to convene a committee to examine this issue more closely. OSEP established the Committee on Scientists and Engineers in the Federal Government to undertake this task. The charge of the Committee was to consider organizational and decision-making processes that may affect the recruitment, retention, and utilization of scientists and engineers by the federal government. This activity is the first stage of a multiphased project, with the second phase expected to go into greater depth and develop action-oriented recommendations. The Commission requested the Committee to examine the general processes that now affect recruitment, retention, and utilization and the data available to enable one to comment on those processes; to conduct a preliminary assessment of current problems, emphasizing federal organizational capability to implement policy; and to identify possible changes that might be made to improve the effectiveness of the federal government. ~ George A. Paulikas, group vice president of the Aerospace Corporation, to Alan Fechter, November 13, 1989. 6