Approximately 22,000 in-house personnel support the Army R&D mission. Working with a diversified set of physical resources which range from solid-state physics laboratories to outdoor experimental ranges, these personnel conduct research, technology, and product support activities for the total Army in medicine, the life sciences, psychology, physics, engineering, and numerous other fields of science. Microelectronics, fludics, and digital computing are only three major examples of technologies in which major advances have sprung from our in-house organizations.
In order to enhance management of the acquisition fruits of the S&T process, an Army Acquisition Corps has been established, composed of career professionals who are dedicated to bringing a career commitment to the highly technical acquisition process. Persons committed to this specialized career field are offered significant educational opportunities to enhance their professionalism.
Demographic projections for college graduates indicate a declining number of engineers and scientists in the period from 1990 to 2015. To address this issue, which has received national attention, the Army is developing a comprehensive set of policies and plans to recruit, train, and retain scientists and engineers. These policies include the selective use of demonstration programs to enhance recruitment, the proper use of long-term fellowships for graduate degrees, and the placement of individuals in laboratories for "hands-on" work assignments. Retention is a major issue since technical personnel often are wooed with higher salaries by U.S. industry and academia. The experimental use of wider pay bands, special pay, and other OSD and Army initiatives are being studied to remedy this problem. For example, the Army has extended the career track for world-class scientists through the implementation of the Scientific/Technical (ST) Corps--equivalent to GS-16 through GS-18 in pay. In the past two years the total number of ST positions has risen from 3 to 40.