Greater "geek cachet" and higher pay is diverting engineering managers from the military into places like Microsoft and Google, the New York Times reports. The result is a dearth of managers overseeing military projects, which government investigators largely blame for long delays and $295 billion in cost overruns. The shortage has forced the military to increasingly rely on consultants, who often lack the skills and incentive to hold down spending.
To counter the trend, the Air Force Academy has created a new degree in systems engineering, and several universities have expanded such programs. The Navy is also boosting plans to recruit and retain engineers. But to find and keep engineers, the military will have to box it out with tech giants offering double the pay. “Google calls me every other week looking for systems engineers,” said one MIT expert.