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Career in Science Can Help Nation, Work Says

March 4, 2016 | BY Lisa Ferdinando , DOD News

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work yesterday encouraged students to consider a government career in science, saying it is a way to make a difference and serve the country.

The possibilities in the career field are seemingly endless, Work said, as he highlighted the department's pioneering achievements, and cutting-edge technologies under development to protect the warfighter and keep the nation safe.

The students were visiting the Air Force Research Laboratory as part of Week at the Labs, a White House initiative held in conjunction with the White House Council on Women and Girls and the My Brother's Keeper initiative.

The deputy defense secretary noted that during the week, government labs throughout the nation opened their doors to thousands of young people -- especially those in underserved communities -- to spur interest in science and technology.

"We want to excite you about the work that we do and perhaps convince you that maybe you would like to serve as a member of the Department of Defense, either in research or even as part of the military," Work said.

'Cool Stuff' Like Robots, Spacecraft 

The deputy secretary highlighted "cool stuff" the Defense Department is working on, including spacecraft, stealth aircraft, exoskeleton suits, robot ships, artificial intelligence and the most advanced unmanned aerial systems in the world.

"I know that if you had an opportunity to work on some of this stuff, you would be [as] excited as I am, and as are the people who work here at the Air Force Research Laboratory and throughout the United States," he said.

The Defense Department's mission of keeping the nation safe demands that it has the best men and women in its workforce, Work said.

The department, with a $600 billion budget, has a "true secret weapon," the deputy defense secretary said -- people.

"For all the stealth bombers, and all the space systems and all the cyber stuff that we do, we couldn't do it without our people," he said.

Inspiration in the Youth

Work thanked the youth for visiting Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and presented each person with a coin in appreciation.

"You, just like all of the young men and women who serve in the Department of Defense, inspire me every day," he said. "You very much represent the best our nation has to offer."

During the week, scientists, engineers and lab workers throughout the nation will engage students in activities surrounding science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Work said.

The deputy secretary pointed out that 70 federal laboratories in 20 states are taking part in the events, including nine DoD laboratories.