News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

E. Information Technology/

To speed information transfer within the S&T community, substantial improvements have been made in the supporting communications infrastructure. The explosive growth of microcomputers, software applications, and networking has permitted more effective use of information in the management of S&T. Reengineering of workflows will occur as information is shared concurrently among organizations so that products are speedily delivered with higher quality.

F. Personnel

Approximately 22,000 in–house personnel support the Army R&D mission. Working with a diversified set of physical resources that 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, fluidics, and digital computing are only three major examples of technologies in which major advances have sprung from Army in–house organizations.

To enhance management of the acquisition fruits of the S&T process, an Army Acquisition Corps has been established, composed of career professionals. 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. To address this national issue, 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 leave for the higher salaries paid by 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.

In response to the April 1994 findings of the DSB Task Force on Laboratory Management, five Army laboratories were selected for Phase I implementation of an Army S&T personnel demonstration. Five separate proposals have been approved by the Army, OSD for Civilian Personnel Management, and the Office of Personnel Management. Organizations involved in the demonstration include ARL, Missile Command Research and Development Center, the Aviation Command Research and Development Center, the Medical Research and Material Command, and the Waterways Experiment Station. Implementation of the demonstrations began in October 1997. Nearly 9,000 people are involved in the five pilot projects.

These demonstrations are the first major changes to improve the personnel systems specifically tailored to the Army laboratories. Waivers were submitted to Title V law in hiring flexibility, broadbanding and classification, pay for performance, automated job classification, and expanded developmental opportunities. These changes to Title V as well as to DoD and Department of the Army personnel policies will allow the Army laboratories greater flexibility and authorities to manage and improve staffs. The demonstrations go far in answering criticisms from the DSB and others that he current system is too slow, puts up administrative barriers, and is impossible to change.

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As illustrated in this chapter, the Army is investing in its supporting infrastructure to maintain world–class S&T capabilities that will meet future Army needs. The Army will continue to use leveraging strategies wherever possible to interface effectively with other governmental bodies, industry, and academia.

Simulation investments discussed in previous editions of this plan are emerging at just the right time to support the needs of planners and operators faced with a base–deployed, downsized Army. This investment is meeting the needs of the TRADOC battle laboratories for planning the Army of the future and providing the materiel developers with the tools to demonstrate new technologies and operating capabilities in a more cost–effective way than has heretofore been available.

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