WASHINGTON — The Army plans to hire over 1,000 civilians using scholarship programs over the next five years, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a top Army leader told lawmakers Tuesday.
Christopher Lowman, the senior official performing the duties of the undersecretary of the Army, went to Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of recruiting talent in STEM careers during a House Appropriations Committee hearing.
Through the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM scholarship, some eligible veterans and dependents in high-demand fields can extend their Post-9/11 GI Bill or other scholarship benefits.
Recruiting more civilian talent will be critical to diversifying the force and maintaining the U.S. military’s competitive edge, said Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, who also attended.
As the program continues to develop, the Army intends to enhance the program through the use of tuition assistance for these interns.
Students in the Rogers program will also be required to work 600 hours to develop professional skills during their university careers. After completing the program, they must then fulfill four years of service as an Army civilian.
Students applying for the Rogers STEM Scholarship must meet one of three requirements: be taking an undergraduate STEM-related or qualifying dual-degree program, have earned a post-secondary degree or graduate degree in an approved STEM field and are enrolled in a clinical or teacher education program, according to the scholarship website.
“We believe the early acquisition focused on STEM and cyber is critical,” Lowman said. “As we work through the civilian implementation plan and assess the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attributes required by the future force, we are assessing that for our military members.”
Lowman added the Army will analyze the impact of incorporating artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics into the civilian workforce and overall Army.
The Army has also introduced new cyberlearning modules, robotics modules and AI technologies to enhance and modernize education for junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps members.
“The Army has developed a human capital strategy that is focused on the acquisition, development, employment and retention of talent,” Lowman said. “We’re particularly excited about the changes we’ve made to our junior ROTC programs.”
In the senior ROTC program, the summer internship programs include a wide range of both private sector learning institutions, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratories, Army organizations and joint organizations, Lowman said.
“The department civilian workforce is a critical element total force performing a vital function in support of the warfighter,” Cisneros said, adding “the department recognizes the need to recruit bright, civilian talent to maintain our competitive edge and succeed against modern threats.”
“As critical enablers of our warfighters, DoD civilians serve in a wide variety of roles in the country and around the world,” he continued. “We must recognize them as an integral partner in our total force and develop lifecycle programs and pipelines for recruiting, retaining, reskilling and upscaling we do with our military personnel.”