The government and study isn't perfect but to discount it is foolish and negligent
The data supporting this is far beyond the DOD snippet. Our academic output of STEM graduates is in decline and has been for more than 10 years while other countries are maintaining a steady stream, and in many cases growing ouput of STEM graduates.
Look at most US corps focus in tech advancement and it has been to cut costs. The US doesn't need more cost containment leaders and cultures-you can train a monkey to cut costs--it needs more strategic leaders who see ways to drive revenue or impact the customer/stakeholder through the use of technology. One of the issues is that so few tech and IT leaders have any real sense of business with the number one commandment of sustaining profit and growing revenue and keeping the firm healthy. Healthy and growing firms provide much needed jobs and focus on innovation and continuous R&D.
This study and others like it offer real value for the leaders who really are in the know. If the US's largest employer is the government (which it is), and if R&D spending is dropping, then this will spill over into private and other public areas of technology and quickly. BTW----corporate spend on R&D has been dropping too.
Historically the US government's research and spending on technology provided critical and necessary value and data to private industry for the last 50 years and to ignore it is just not sound strategic nor balanced thinking.
A drop in R&D on technology and/or US based STEM candidates only means one thing and it isn't good news for those that want to see the US continue to grow and remain a leader. It also is not good news for those in the technology product, engineering, or corporate IT marketplace, and the future candidates we so desparately need to come out of school for us to remain in our # slot.
The fact that so many current tech, corporate IT, and engineering leaders are not in the know, and solidly stuck in quadrant one of Maslows's Competency Model clearly shows we are sliding down the hill and mostly unaware. The widespread data in many studies all indicate the same thing, both from the government and private industry.