The national information technology worker shortage could become a serious problem for the naval forces. Workforce planning to meet information technology needs must begin now to take advantage of the important opportunity over the next 5 years to realign the workforce as large numbers of current employees retire. In addition, there is a need to analyze the content of the desired information technology work for both the military billet and civilian position structures.
Network-centric operations must be made pervasive in the education of Navy and Marine Corps officers, starting with the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Naval War College, and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Whereas in the past the basic education of naval officers, after leadership, has been focused on platforms—ships, aircraft, submarines—and then on weapons, combat units, and, finally, command, control, and related matters, that education will have to begin by conveying an understanding of the network-centric operations paradigm within which all the other naval force elements are embedded. Beyond that, network-centric operations will have to pervade all the training and education of naval force personnel and Department of the Navy civilian staff.
The following recommendations pertain specifically to personnel management:
The Department of the Navy and the naval forces should institute network-centric operations education and training at all levels across the Navy and the Marine Corps.
The Department of the Navy should develop a process for (a) identifying the qualifications for billets critical to network-centric operations (including both domain and infrastructure experts) and (b) identifying training and education needs for those billets. Military and civilian personnel should train together when the information technology learning requirements and facilities are shore-based.
The naval forces should develop career paths for both military and civilian personnel to retain and reward those with information technology expertise.
The Department of the Navy should analyze and describe the composition and qualities of the current and projected information technology workforce so that more informed decisions can be made about how to distribute specific elements of the work to active-duty or reserve military personnel, civilian employees, and contractor personnel.
The Department of the Navy should update information technology job codes to match the work that network-centric operations will require. This update should extend to both military billets and civil service positions.