An Assessment of Options for Strengthening DOD’s Digital Engineering Workforce
The IDA team addressed a congressional requirement to document the costs and benefits of options for strengthening the Defense Department’s “digital engineering” (DE) workforce. Our analysis covered a broad range of DE skills, as defined by Congress, in both the military and civilian workforces. The IDA team surveyed previous and ongoing initiatives and proposals to improve the workforce and organized these efforts into four areas: (1) necessary enabling measures (establishment of requirements, metrics, resources, and organizations); (2) pipeline programs for new talent; (3) education and training programs; and (4) programs and structures for managing careers, competencies, and compensation. We then selected 24 candidate initiatives for in-depth analysis of their effectiveness, risk, and costs. Our assessment identifies promising building blocks for a DE workforce improvement strategy and describes the steps for creating a cost-effective DE workforce program.