TAMPA, Fla. -- Senior leaders throughout the Army Materiel Command enterprise shared their expertise regarding ways to sustain readiness to maintain America's lethal competitive edge at the 2018 Department of Defense Maintenance Symposium, Dec. 17-20.

The symposium gathered more than 1,600 maintenance and sustainment community members, including representatives from both the public and private sectors, to discuss initiatives and issues, share best practices, establish new networks and strengthen pre-existing connections.

The agenda's structure framed key policy, strategy, resourcing, process and technology issues affecting the DoD enterprise.

"The biggest advantage of attending the symposium is the opportunity to share ideas, understand challenges shared by our sister services, network and collaborate with counterparts across all DoD services and industry," said Renee Mosher, deputy chief of staff, G3 for supply chain management, Army Materiel Command.

This communication enables DoD professionals to identify critical challenges and recognize pertinent solutions, she said.

"Many branches are in need of the same parts," Mosher said. "Forecasting, demand planning, communication and collaboration between the supply chain and the maintenance community is crucial to levy all requirements."

Key topics of discussion included analyzing data to support supply availability and utilizing influential technological tools -- such as additive manufacturing -- to sustain readiness.

"Additive manufacturing is one of the processes being used to fix gaps present in the supply chain," said Mosher.

The Army additive manufacturing campaign plan developed an overarching strategy and framework that integrates and synchronizes all Army additive manufacturing processes to enable and enhance warfighter readiness and increase capability, said Dr. Bernard Goodly, chief of the supply capabilities division, Army Materiel Command.

"The Army is constantly moving forward to complete the mission and get back into the fight as soon as possible," Goodly said. "In the event of a backordered item, additive manufacturing provides the capability to create a temporary (polymer) part."

Soldiers can utilize the temporary parts immediately, enabling them to continue to meet mission requirements in the interim, covering the lead-time it takes for the traditional parts to be delivered.

Additive manufacturing also provides the capability to create an actual (metallic) part based upon approved certification and qualification, he said.

Integrating additive manufacturing into the item management process will provide the Army with the capability to create parts to meet requisitions and sustain mission requirements. By using additive manufacturing capabilities, a commander can go from non-mission capable to fully mission capable, said Goodly.

"We are using additive manufacturing to augment, not replace, the supply chain," he said.

Since additive manufacturing is still a rising technology, efforts are being focused on increasing training support, certification and qualification for both soldiers and members of the research and development community.

AMC's major subordinate command symposium participants also included: Col. Ken Letcher, commander, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center; Danielle Moyer, deputy director of the software engineering center, Communications and Electronics Command; Col. Quentin Noreiga, director, Logistics Support Activity; and Mario Nieto, deputy director of field support operations, Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command.