DIB Report Reveals U.S. STEM Shortage as Major Vulnerability to National Defense

February 16, 2021

The Department of Defense released its Fiscal Year 2020 Industrial Capabilities Report, which analyzed major developments and impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as industrial base investments and initiatives carried out in 2020.

“The report promotes a strategy for a robust, resilient, secure, and innovative industrial base, which will require a substantial commitment of capital investment and resources, and continuation of the reforms undertaken in the past several years,” according to a DoD press release.

A key takeaway from the report identified by National Interest found that the United States lags in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education leading to a severe shortage of technical talent in the U.S. workplace.

According to the report, “Today’s education pipeline is not providing the necessary software engineering resources to fully meet the demand from commercial and defense sectors, and resources required to meet future demands continue to grow…Decades of neglect have left the robust system of technical schools the nation once relied upon for industrial training badly weakened and the existing workforce is rapidly aging out, taking irreplaceable tacit knowledge with them.”

The DIB report identified that the United States significantly lags behind its adversaries (i.e. Russia and China) when it comes to producing engineers and STEM graduates.

Furthermore, the National Science Board’s 2020 Science & Engineering Indicators Report reveals that more than one-half of all U.S. doctorate engineering, computer science, and mathematics graduates are foreign-born.

The full report can be viewed here and accompanying infographics can be found here and here.

Photo By Christopher Larsen 

February 16, 2021

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