NATIONAL DEFENSE AND THE ENGINEER
ARTHUR . CHARLES . I 'BERING.
In a comparitively short time national defense has
"become an Important factor in the lives of Americans. The
engineering profession has felt the impact of this urgent
national factor for it has affected the engineer by greatly
increasing the demand for engineers and by increasing the
prestige of the engineering profession. The demand for engineers
is becoming serious because of the limited supply of
engine ers. While America has been developing engineering
for the industrial use the totalitarian states have used
engineering for the production of implements of war. Thus the
task imposed upon the engineering profession will be super-
human. American engineering which has made us industrially
powerful can surely demonstrate its superority in the arts
of war as it has in the arts of peace.
NATIOKAL DEFENSE AND THE ENGINEER
Defense, defense of America. That Is the all important
task before America today. America has awakened to the fact
that its defenses are inadequate. The preparedness drive was
initiated by President Roosevelt on May 16,1941 by a message
to Congress In which he asked for an appropriation of the sum
of 5096,000,000, As reports from Europe became more and more
serious these amounts were subsequently stepped up until
today, April 1941, they reach the staggering total of
■: ,000,000,000. in appropriations and authorizations for the
defense of America.
THE EFFECT OK THE ENGI1-.EER
Vhile we have been developing the potentialities of
engineering to further the industrial prosperity of America,
in the totalitarian states these potentialities have been
focused on the production of weapons of destruction. Thus
American engineering will have to accomplish by superhuman
effort in months the task that took years to be accomplished
in the totalitarian countries. How will this affect the engineer?
First, the demand for engineers will be greater than ever
before in the history of the United States. This is true because
modern war is no longer a war of man arrainst man but rather
of machine against machine. To 'produce a great defense army
and navy will require the services of every engineer available
because engineers cannot be produced quickly but become qualified
for the requirements of their work only through a long period
of educational preparation followed by years of practical
experience. Second, probably the most important effect on the
engineering profession will be to increase its future prestige
and importance. For while the demand for engineers may cease
when the present crisis ends, the- present crisis is dramatically
presenting to the people of America the importance and useful-
ness of the engineer,
THE SUPPLY OF ENGINEERS
What are we going to do to get enough engineers to assure
maintaining the production required in the defense program?
We are now overdrawing our available supply of engineers.
Not only are all available experienced engineers now employed,
but the senior graduating engineering students are practically
all engaged for positions - in industry or for army or navy work
immediately upon graduation. As to the future, present indi-
cations are such as to give importance to the question of what
to plan for the men now in their junior years at engineering
college. The engineering colleges are now considering a
program for accelerating the education of student engineers
by omitting summer vacation periods.
MAINTAINING THE SUPPLY OF ENGINEERS
What are we going to do to assure the necessary
and continuing supply of engineers? First and most impor-
tant, not knowing for how long the acutely vital defense
program must continue, we must be prepared to augment our
present supply of engineers through the medium of a program
of education and training of qualified young men. Next,
because of the present great preponderance of demand over
supply, it is our first duty to assure that men qualified
to do engineering work are not assigned to or permitted to
assume defense duties that can he performed by persons not
qualified by education and training to do engineering work.
American engineering, aided by American research,
has made us industrially by far the most powerful nation in
the world. That same engineering ability can surely demon-
strate its superiority in the arts of war as it already has
in the arts of peace.
Electrical Engineering - Research For American Defense
by L.A.Hawkins, September 1940 pages 355to 557.
Washington Sunday Star March 29,1941.
Electrical Engineering - Draft and Overdraft by R.Sorensen
March 1941 pages 127 to 128.