Images de page

ing schools unless motivation and preparation to enter engineering is increased.

I question whether the universities can handle significantly increased loads because engineering schools are both understaffed and inadequately facilitized. Maintenance of an experienced technical faculty is difficult because instructors are being lured away by higher industrial salaries.

Engineering school facilities reflect old technology and are badly in need of expensive modernization, estimated to require an investment of somewhere between $200 million to $250 million a year. Current facilities average about 30 years of age.

While we are suffering from insufficient engineer production, our strongest adversary, the Soviet Union, shows just the opposite trend. The U.S.S.R. currently graduates about 300,000 engineers a year, five times our production rate. They show a 300 percent increase since 1960 compared with our modest 50 percent.

The U.S.S.R. currently has 142 times as many scientists and engineers on the job as the United States. With the high rate of engineer production, the U.S.S.R.'s technical manpower pool may soon dwarf ours. The potential for technological breakthrough is, indeed, worrisome to me. One need only examine what the Soviet emphasis on their technical base has accomplished during the past decade-MIRVS, new missiles, radars, and so forth—and this worry comes into tight focus.

And, other countries are very committed to increasing their technical manpower pool as well. Japan, with half our population, produces more engineers than we. Their agressive push into hightechnology world markets graphically demonstrates the effect of their emphasis on technical manpower.

In 1978-79, Japan graduated 65,400 engineers as compared with the United States's 54,600.

Now, let me give you some specifics on the effects the engineer shortage is having on the military. As Commander of Air Force Systems Command, I am a heavy user of technical manpower and I assure you I am feeling the strain of the current shortage.

I have about 52,000 people in my command; about 12,000 are scientists and engineers. The workload is heavy. We have over 40,000 contracts totalling over $100 billion. Our work is highly technical and covers the entire spectrum of technical activitiesresearch, development, test, and production of sophisticated weapon systems. As you can see, we are absolutely dependent upon having a sufficient pool of technical personnel.

But, for some time, I have not had a sufficient pool, and I see the situation worsening. I am about 10 percent short of engineers, which, as I understand it, is about the same position as my industry associates. My programs do suffer from that shortage. My programs also suffer from the fact that almost 40 percent of my military engineers are new and unexperienced lieutenants. I have had to adapt to the shortage in ways I don't like. Many technical programs are now managed by junior people, some with nontechnical training.

The shortage causes me to rely more on decisions made by contractors, and I do not feel comfortable that our contractor workload

can be effectively monitored and controlled by the technical management manpower that I have.

The end result, as you might imagine, is that some programs are being managed inefficiently, costing the taxpayer dollars, and providing the Air Force reduced capability and readiness. Promising technical areas are not being capitalized on as well as they should be and I suspect technological opportunities are being totally overlooked because our people are too busy or too inexperienced to see they are there.

We have a large number of personnel programs to improve both recruitment and retention of our engineering force-just as industry has done—and we have made some progress over the past few years. The military pay increase currently being finalized by the Congress will help greatly.

However, all of our initiatives and more pay cannot solve the problem. We are playing a zero-sum game. There simply aren't enough engineers to go around; and from the statistics I have seen, there won't be enough for some time unless concerted, national action is taken.

The engineer shortage problem is real. It must be solved if we are to remain competitive in the international arena and if we are to retain a sound defense. The problem is a complex one that involves industry, academia, and government. It can only be solved by a national resolve to do so—and do so we must if we are to preserve our position as the leader of the free world.

Now, I will not pretend to know all right solutions, but let me list a few general ideas which I feel should receive attention. Establish a clear national goal to retain U.S. leadership in science and technology. I see a parallel between today's situation and that caused by the launch of Sputnik in 1957. After that shocking event, the entire country was motivated to catch up, culminating in the national commitment to put an American on the Moon. I hope such a shock is not required again. But, nothing short of the national commitment we made for the Apollo Moon program will do here if we are to maintain leadership.

Restructure primary and secondary school curriculums to strengthen early technical education to prepare students and motivate them toward engineering careers. Increase compensation for technical educators to allow academia to compete with industry. Institute a long-range plan to increase the capacity of our universities by the 25 percent or so necessary to meet future needs. Modernize and improve educational facilities to both improve the current facility situation as well as expand to meet additional needs. Defense and industry should participate in this effort.

Promote increased technical education for women and minorities. Foster increased public appreciation for the challenges, benefits and wonders of science.

For the military, we must maintain pay comparability with the civilian sector; increase ROTC scholarships, and provide additional education to provide the advanced degrees needed to maintain our technology edge.

My recommendations could be embodied in one word-commitment-a national commitment clearly backed by our leaders.

That, Mr. Chairman, concludes my remarks. I will be happy to answer questions at the appropriate time. Thank you.

[The prepared statement of General Marsh follows:]




Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, 1. welcome the opportunity to appear before you today to express my views on what I see as a critical national problem--the shortage of trained. scientists and engineers. I will also discuss the consequences of this shortage and offer thoughts on what we must do to correct the problem.

As Commander of Air Force Systems Command (AFSC), I rely daily on highly qualified scientists and engineers to make tough technical decisions dealing with the acquisition of the most complex, sophisticated capable systems in the world. Unfortunately, I do not have all the technically qualified and experienced people I need. This shortage hampers the ability of my command to fulfill its mission, and worse, endangers the economic health and defense capability of the country.

I know I share the Committee members' view that the United States
must maintain leadership in the technological arena.
Unfortunately, there is real evidence that all is not well.
Consider the following examples:

U.S. patents issued to foreign nations grew from
17 percent in 1960 to 38 percent in 1979.

Foreign controlled portion of the U.S. consumer electronics market increased from 5.6 percent in 1960 to 50.6 percent in 1979.

Foreign controlled portion of the U.S. metal working machine tool market grew from 3.2 percent in 1960 to 28 percent in 1979.

There are many more examples; the list is a long one and includes most of the technology areas that are key to leadership in the international arena.

Our international competitors, both friend and foe, have been aggressively building their technological base, as well as outproducing us on both the production line and in the universities. This trend of foreign gain coupled with U.S. declining emphasis on technology, productivity and technical education is causing a rapid shift in the technological balance. I can only conclude the U.S. is approaching the loss of its world technological leadership, a loss that could have severe economic and security consequences.

I contend that a key element of this shifting technological balance is the growing shortage of trained scientific and engineering personnel. Let me examine some of the factors which led me to that conclusion and then discuss the military scientist and engineer shortage as it relates to Air Force Systems Command, what we have done to work the problem and what must be done to solve the engineer shortage problem nationally.

The rapid growth and expansion of technology plays a major role in everyone's life today. The military and the defense industry are among the leading "consumers" of technology and have the largest demand for scientific and engineering personnel. The trend of increasing requirements for scientists and engineers to

« PrécédentContinuer »