Two members of the House Armed Services Committee introduced a bill Tuesday to bolster the national security technology workforce in the Department of Defense and defense industry.

Reps. Andy Kim, D-N.J., and Jim Banks, R-Ind., backed a bill to establish a STEM Corps, a program under the Secretary of Defense to provide financial assistance to students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics with computer science backgrounds.

“The Department of Defense and defense industry face a critical STEM workforce shortage,” Banks said. “We need to attract and recruit young STEM and computer science-oriented staff to work on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and other critical projects to create a more technologically agile national security workforce.” 

Under the proposed program, participants will receive two years of tuition coverage in exchange for four years of service in national defense. The program includes an internship with an industry sponsor as well as an option to serve the fourth year with an industry partner after three years of work for the department. Participants will be required to hold a security clearance and maintain a minimum GPA standard.

A report by the Ronald Reagan Institute’s Task Force on 21st Century National Security Technology and Workforce recommended the idea for a STEM Corps. Both Banks and Kim served as Commissioners on that task force.

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Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten
Dwight Weingarten is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.