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STEM Shortage a Threat to National Security?

A new report by the National Academy of Sciences casts the shortage of talent in STEM fields in a new and unsettling light.  The military -- and therefore our national security -- could be hurt by a lack of personnel adequately trained in science and engineering. "We're in the bullets, bombs, and guns business, but that's just a piece of what the big mission is," said Laura Adolfie, who heads STEM Development at the Department of Defense's office of the assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering. "We have scientists and engineers across the gamut. We have social scientists that perform important human performance research, technicians, welders, lab workers."  An already small pool of workers well equipped to do these jobs shrinks even further when you factor in the citizenship requirement for jobs with the military; many STEM graduates in America are foreign-born, and therefore not eligible to apply for military positions.  Among the strategies under consideration for working around the shortage of ideally credentialed and trained employees in STEM disciplines: loosening qualifications.  "There is scope within the current DoD system of controls for reducing the number of positions requiring clearances, depending on security threats," the report says.

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