Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shortage of Engineering Managers in Defense Industries

Source: "Top Engineers Shun Military; Concern Grows," PHILIP TAUBMAN, The New York Times, June 25, 2008.

I quote:
Over the last decade, even as spending on new military projects has reached its highest level since the Reagan years, the Pentagon has increasingly been losing the people most skilled at managing them. That brain drain, military experts like Mr. Kaminski say, is a big factor in a breakdown in engineering management that has made huge cost overruns and long delays the maddening norm.

Mr. Kaminski’s generation of engineers, which was responsible for many of the most successful military projects of the 1970s and ’80s, is aging, and fewer of the nation’s top young engineers, software developers and mathematicians are replacing them. Instead, they are joining high-tech companies and other civilian firms that provide not just better pay than the military or its contractors, but also greater cachet — what one former defense industry engineer called “geek credit.”
Commment: The problem is probably not that good technical people are going into firms serving the civil needs of the country, but rather that we are not training enough people to meet both civil and military needs. That problem may be compounded since we can not fill the sensitive military systems management needs with foreign nations. JAD

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