According to The Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America one of the greatest challenges the United States faces today is creating the qualified work force we will need for tomorrow. As documented by a report by the National Academies that need is nowhere greater than in national security and the imperative of improving the state of science, technology, engineering, and education, often called STEM. The Heritage Foundation has documented the imperative of cutting-edge technologies for national security in a series of studies collected in the special report, "Competitive Technologies for National Security: Review and Recommendations." The report examined nanotechnologies, directed-energy systems, information technology, biotechnology, and robotics and identified key opportunities and obstacles. Establishing a robust STEM-qualified work force was one of the reports central findings.
Another report, "A New Approach to Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education," by Dan Lips and Jena Baker McNeill concludes that while American leaders have emphasized the need to improve performance in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, they have yet to identify effective solutions to address the challenge. Instead of focusing on federal solutions and increasing federal spending, policymakers and the private sector, the report argues, should refocus attention on systemic education reforms at the state, local, and school levels to dramatically increase the number of students who succeed in STEM fields at school and in the workforce.