Skip to comments.U.S. Military Should Find a Way to Hire Foreign Scientists and Engineers, Report Says
Posted on 10/30/2012 11:07:35 PM PDT by neverdem
The U. S. military should consider revising rules that now exclude hiring foreign-born scientists and engineers and make its work more attractive to potential employees, according to a new study on meeting its future workforce needs.
There is broad agreement that first-rate scientists and engineers have helped make the U.S. military one of the most potent fighting forces in the world, notes the report from the U.S. National Academies' National Research Council and the National Academy of Engineering that was requested by the Department of Defense (DOD). But that edge has become harder to maintain. The pace of technological innovation has quickened, national security threats have shifted, and the competition for technical workers has globalized. At the same time, an aging U.S. population means that many DOD researchers who came of age during the heyday of the Cold War are nearing retirement, and fewer potential replacements—students who have the U.S. citizenship papers that would help qualify them for a job in the military—appear interested in going into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The good news for DOD, however, is that it is not facing an immediate STEM workforce crisis, says C. Daniel Mote Jr., the former University of Maryland, College Park, president who co-chaired the 18-month-long study with former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine. "It was very hard to find anyone who said that there is a workforce shortage, except in a few areas such as cybersecurity and intelligence; the real issue is not numbers, it is how to maintain the quality of the workforce." The report notes, however, that "the historical record of forecasting the number of scientists and engineers needed to work in national security has been abysmal at best," so problems could appear suddenly.
The report suggests that DOD focus on meeting its own special workforce needs rather than trying to improve the overall quality of STEM education in the United States. "DOD needs to concentrate on solving its own problem, not the country's problem," Mote says. DOD now employs just about 2% of the total U.S. STEM workforce, the report notes, and is "a small and diminishing part of the nation's overall science and engineering enterprise. One consequence is that DOD cannot significantly impact the nation's overall STEM workforce-and therefore, with a few exceptions, DOD should focus its limited resources on fulfilling its own special requirements for STEM talent."
Some practical steps that the Pentagon can take to recruit and retain top talent include adjusting compensation levels and streamlining hiring and security clearance practices in order to make DOD "fully competitive" with more nimble industry and academic employers. And it could also "ring fence" employees and positions that it considers particularly important, protecting them from budget cuts, layoffs, and hiring freezes.
A more ambitious recommendation is for the Pentagon to sponsor "unconventional" research and engineering projects that offer "exciting, challenging and highly attractive opportunities" to potential workers. The problem, Mote says, is that as the Pentagon buys fewer large weapons systems, DOD workers have fewer opportunities to hone their technical and leadership skills solving big, complicated problems. But a series of smaller, challenging projects—perhaps modeled after prize competitions for developing "disruptive" technologies, or Lockheed Martin's famed "Skunk Works" facility that pioneered futuristic spy planes and supersonic aircraft—could help build esprit de corps, he says. "We felt very strongly about the unconventional programs idea," Mote says. "It's been shown over and over again that the idea of working on a challenging project is a very attractive recruiting tool."
Mote said the panel spent "a lot of time" discussing its recommendation that DOD try to hire more non-U.S. citizens for STEM jobs. Currently, the Pentagon limits most STEM positions to U.S. citizens, in large part as a result of security clearance requirements. But that restriction means DOD can't directly tap a rising tide of foreign talent, including those who could like to become U.S. citizens.
To break the logjam, the panel says, DOD should "reexamine the need for security clearances in selected positions in order to permit non-U.S. citizens to enter the STEM talent pool … under tailored circumstances." The U.S. Department of Energy, it notes, already has programs that give foreign scientists jobs and clearances if they commit to obtaining U.S. citizenship; DOD could start with similar efforts. The panel also called for expanding the number of visas available for highly skilled technical workers, "to provide the nation and the DOD with a substantially larger pool of extraordinary talent in areas of need."
Mote concedes that the foreign hiring recommendation may be difficult to implement. "There is a feeling that this is a very steep hill to climb," he says. A host of laws and regulations would need to be changed, he says, steps that are "out of the hands of DOD."
Pentagon officials are still reviewing the report, a Pentagon spokesperson wrote to ScienceInsider in an e-mail. And Mote says it is unclear "whether the department as a whole will want to take this on in a big way" as it struggles with impending budget cuts and other issues. "These are some rather big changes we are talking about," he says. "But it's clear that DOD needs to be more assertive and prepared to compete for its STEM workforce."
Cutting edge? Aren’t the Harriers from the 1960’s?
The Harrier is British, and old now, but still cutting edge for its task. Just like the Warthog. In college, I was lucky enough to have a whole day with the designer of the Warthog electronics. It’s not just the pilot that’s extra protected.
BS. American scientists and engineers are quite capable of handling our military needs. This is just another effort to allow our enemies to gather information they should not have. All one has to do is look at some of the crap that went on at Los Alamos labs to know we cannot trust those who have foreign allegiances
The USA has five or ten million unemployed or underemployed, but highly qualified STEM professionals who have been displaced by the H1B and L1 Visa scam programs over the past dozen or so years.
Maybe the US Military should find a way to hire US citizen scientists and engineers.
With a B.A. in human ecology and a staff writing position at Science Magazine, David Malakoff informs the scientific community on the decisions of politicians that affect the world of science. In his writing on the state of fisheries, which employ a highly controversial method of regulating the amount of fish available to be caught by commercial fishermen, Malakoff provides the scientific community with a window on Washingtons policy.
Although The Washington Post and ABCnews.com have featured Malakoffs writing, he feels his work with Science Magazine has been the most challenging and rewarding. Not only is it a steady source of income, but he is also free to choose stories based on their merit in the scientific community.
"There is a lot of information out there, and its my job to synthesize it quickly for a very focused audience, says Malakoff. With each assignment, Malakoff looks at how governmental policy affects the scientific community. He examines Presidential actions, Congressional bills, and the Supreme Courts rulings on cases that directly affect the scientific community.
While reporting on the new policies and proposed actions of the U.S. government, Malakoff also writes profiles of specific scientists and describes how the scientists handle the new laws. Malakoff feels that these science warriors make the difference and that they should be showcased as such. For Malakoff, writing about these scientists is the most rewarding part of his work at Science.
Malakoff has very strong opinions about what makes a strong science article. He feels a good science article must have three parts: a strong science component, an element of controversy, and a service aspect. Malakoff strives to turn difficult and somewhat inaccessible subject matter into an easy read while being able to challenge any professional within the field.
Outside of his writing duties for Science Magazine, Malakoff also gives speeches at scientific conventions. Malakoff enjoys the challenge that public speaking can bring. He sees it as a way to bring awareness to his subject matter, and he enjoys finding new ways to verbalize his ideas and beliefs. Outside of the personal challenge, he feels that it adds prestige to his publication and raises awareness about developments in the scientific community.
Malakoff offers this advice to aspiring writers: Read! Read everything that you can on the subjects you are interested in and you should become an expert in that field. Once you begin reading work on the subject that interests you, you begin to analyze and dissect the writing. Malakoff suggests that you find out why the pieces were written the way they were and how they communicate their ideas. Once you have discovered how and why an article was written in a particular way, try writing a persuasive counterargument.
He feels that journalism is a craft that you can teach yourself through practice and patience. Going to the best school and not getting practical experience will not get you a job as a writer; you must have a portfolio of published pieces. Finally, Malakoff says, This field is about clips, not about credentials.
Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
FEBRUARY 26--For the second time this month, a Washington, D.C. media figure has been charged with possession of child pornography. David Malakoff, who until recently worked as National Public Radio's science editor and an on-air correspondent, was named in a felony criminal information filed Tuesday. The information, a copy of which you'll find below, offers few details about the 46-year-old Malakoff's alleged criminal activity, except to note that he possessed the illicit material between April and June 2008 (Malakoff resigned from his job last June, according to NPR spokesperson Anna Christopher).
LOL! Thanks for the follow up & links.
> ...we cannot trust those who have foreign allegiances
There’s that Muslim-Marxist with personal friends in Pakistan. He needs to be voted out next week!
The fact is, you cannot trust many who are supposed to have American allegiance. The need is for a complete ideological analysis of each candidate, with just a blank slate going in, none of the “traditional” vulnerability thinking.
As it is today, activist friends of Bradley Manning are defense contractors touting air force background.
Actually, with sequestration coming up in January...the Chinese will be able to lots of American scientists and engineers....for the right price, and relocate them just across the border into Canada.
It doesn’t make any difference now. Traitors have already given the Chinese everything they need to finish us off.
US universities already subsidize them,
HELL to the NO!
> BS. American scientists and engineers are quite capable of handling our military needs.
EXACTLY. The problem is outsourcing, We need to keep technology in the USA and not let foreigners have any access to it. I know lots of American engineers who are currently unemployed and who would love to design US weapons and military systems. We do not need foreign engineers just because they can be worked like pack mules and paid like fast food workers.
Thanks for the ping!
Him and his fellow Pakirs...screw-em!
Shouldn’t have let femenazis drug all those American white boys.
We are too old, too expensive and waayy too unphotogenic.
Yup....it is job one.
What could possibly go wrong?
For decades members of IEEE have been complaining about the visas given, the under cutting of pay scales, and the generally not impressive job that folks of foreign origin have been doing. It doesn’t make the MSM but the truth is most foreign engineers and scientists just ain’t that good and they are willing to work for cheap money and work ridiculous hours under less than good conditions....
Human Ecology? Do you know what that once was called? Home Economics! Now some HE majors did hard science in chemistry and biology, but others do fashion merchandising.
Exactly. Why not just issue an engraved invitation: Dear Jihadis, we are open and ready for infiltration! Come one, come all!