Experienced acquisition staff drops over 35% as privatization escalates
Hat tip to reader vtcodger
The NYT reports:
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.”
Precise numbers are scarce, but one measure of this shift can be found at the Air Force: Through a combination of budget cuts, the demands of fighting two wars and the difficulty of recruiting and retaining top engineers, officials say, the number of civilian and uniformed engineers on the Air Force’s core acquisition staff has fallen 35 percent to 40 percent over the last 14 years.