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Army Advanced Manufacturing Initiative

Friday, October 4, 2019

What is it?

Advanced manufacturing is the use of innovative technologies to create new or improved products or processes. It includes additive manufacturing or 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence and composite materials.

What are the current and past efforts of the Army?

The Secretary of the U.S. Army approved a new policy on advanced manufacturing that establishes a unified strategy to enable the Army to leverage the full potential of advanced manufacturing and maintain a competitive advantage.

The policy has three key principles:

  1. Strategic Investment: The Army must develop a holistic, threat-based strategy for the investment in and use of advanced methods and materials. Executing the strategy will require partnership from the private sector. As such, the policy allows for incentives designed to promote industry investment in advanced technologies.
  2. Systemic Adoption: The Army will incorporate advanced manufacturing upfront and throughout a system’s lifecycle.
  3. Deliberate and Thoughtful Use: When using advanced manufacturing, be mindful of things like: intellectual property implications and return on investment.

Advanced manufacturing will enable the Army to:

  • Increase system performance through lighter and stronger materials.
  • Decrease design limitations imposed by traditional methods – design for performance, not manufacturability.
  • Produce complex components as one piece, reducing failure points and increasing reliability.
  • Reduce development time by rapidly producing prototypes and quickly transitioning them to production.
  • Reduce risk of obsolete parts and diminishing sources of supply.
  • Fabricate closer to the point-of-need, when needed.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

Moving forward, the Army will:

  • Develop a strategy for the resourcing and use of advanced methods and materials.
  • Publish detailed implementation guidance to ensure the new policy can be executed across the Army.
  • Execute a suite of implementation activities, including several pilot programs that will incorporate the use of advanced manufacturing in new and fielded systems.
  • Continue to educate and train the workforce on advanced manufacturing.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army’s employment of advanced manufacturing methods and materials is in its infancy. The Army and the defense industrial base must rapidly innovate to keep pace with industry and adversaries exploiting advanced methods and materials.

Advanced manufacturing will allow the Army to achieve modernization and readiness objectives. It is part of the Army’s acquisition reform to improve the way the Army does business to make the Total Army more lethal, capable and efficient.


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Focus Quote for the Day

Advanced manufacturing will fundamentally change the way the Army designs, delivers, produces and sustains materiel capabilities.

Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy