Intelligence: The Nerd Gap Is Real


July 22, 2008: Because, for so many years, U.S. university science departments have been staffed with so many (often a majority) foreign graduate students, the pool of available scientists and engineers for developing U.S. military equipment, or doing any intelligence or defense work, has been shrinking. You have to be an American citizen to get the security clearances necessary to work on classified projects.

Worse yet, many American don't want to work in such a classified environment. But even those who do are now discouraged by the long wait to get a security clearance (a side effect of the enormous growth in need for people to fight the war on terror). This is made worse by the growing demand for scientists and engineers in general. So defense contractors and intelligence agencies often have to settle for less qualified candidates, or leave positions unfilled.

While the number of foreign graduate students declined seven percent since September 11, 2001, U.S. citizens did not step up to make up for that loss. An increasing number of American college students are avoiding science and engineering. Most of them consider the study requirements too high, and the opportunities to make money better in non-science fields.



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