Defense Civilian Training Corps: Initial Plan and Alternative Options
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 directed the Secretary of Defense to establish and maintain a Defense Civilian Training Corps (DCTC). The initial implementation design aligned with the National Defense Strategy along with the following features: scholarship-for-service requirement, four-year curriculum, internships, and focus on critical technology challenges. IDA designed four alternatives for implementing DCTC: 1) two-year scholarship-for-service program with summer internships and DCTC curriculum, with potential for additional education post-graduation; 2) two-year scholarship-for-service program with internships and curriculum for students entering the skilled technical workforce (i.e., technical positions that do not require bachelor’s degree); 3) focus on summer internships with an abbreviated DCTC curriculum; and 4) leverage pre-existing Department of Defense programs, in which the DCTC curriculum is provided. The report describes relevant factors and potential trade-off issues for deciding on program design. The DOD has an opportunity to create a unique workforce program to bring in talent to address critical technology challenges, but this will require regular monitoring of its shifting requirements to adapt the program as the Department’s needs change.