On August 16, 2012, the then Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Mr. Frank Kendall, announced the award of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute to the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). Five years later, America Makes celebrated their successes as a strong public-private partnership with over 180 members from industry, academia, and government. This birthday provides an opportunity to reflect on the first Manufacturing USA institute and their work in convening our nation's brilliant technical minds to create a hub of advanced manufacturing innovation in additive manufacturing (AM).
Driven by NCDMM, America Makes is the national accelerator for additive manufacturing. America Makes is managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory under the DoD Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) program through the Defense-wide Manufacturing Science and Technology Program-OSD, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy. Since its inception, America Makes has established and managed a $100M technology R&D and workforce portfolio, funding 66 projects.
"America Makes is the first Manufacturing USA institute to reach this initial five-year milestone," said Tracy Frost, Director, DoD Manufacturing USA Institutes, and Acting Director, DoD ManTech Program. "Throughout the past five years, the America Makes team has created a collaborative environment that has already started to bring technology advancements from the lab to the factory floor, produce more competitive products, and reaffirm the United States' place of leadership in the global manufacturing market."
"On behalf of the Department of Defense, I congratulate the Institute on its incredible accomplishments to date and look forward to continuing to work side by side with America Makes in full support of the Institute's plans for the future," added Frost. "DoD Manufacturing USA Institutes, which includes America Makes, represent $500M in manufacturing investment, in partnership with commercial companies and state governments that represent $1.5B of total investment.
Both America Makes Executive Director Rob Gorham and Founding Director Ralph Resnick spoke at the birthday celebration, summarizing the achievements of the last five years, as well as what lies ahead for the Institute in the next five years. Additionally, the Institute's nationwide membership community celebrated "virtually" via social media through the posting of photos or videos using the hashtag #AMfiveyears.
"There's no question that America Makes has accomplished a great deal in its first five years," said Ralph Resnick, America Makes Founding Director. "Not only did America Makes pave the way for the Institutes to follow within the Manufacturing USA network as a trailblazing and successful example of the public-private partnership and collaborative model, but we also made substantial contributions to advance the AM industry, fostering a highly collaborative infrastructure for the open exchange of AM information and research."
This investment is intended to spur innovation in the commercial sector to benefit both DoD and commercial products. I have complete confidence that the Institute will continue to accelerate the adoption of AM technologies in the U.S. manufacturing sector and increase domestic manufacturing competitiveness. The Department of Defense looks forward to continuing to strengthen our already strong public-private partnership with America Makes."
Of the Institute's milestone and the future of the Institute, Rob Gorham said, "While we are taking the time to pause and commemorate our accomplishments to date, we are keenly focused on the future, strategically laying the groundwork for the Institute's continued success. Moving forward, I see America Makes defined by three main roles-first, as an impartial convener of AM and 3D printing stakeholders; second, as a coordinator of technical and workforce information and data; and lastly, as an activation catalyst through high-value, high-difficulty, and high-impact projects. We have rolled out support mechanisms, in the form of methodologies and technologies, to enable the Institute to succeed in these crucial roles."
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