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Engage with Manufacturing USA

How to Engage…

The Department’s Manufacturing USA Institutes are emerging as an essential component of a national strategy to build a strong and vibrant domestic industrial base.  The Department is particularly proud, as we stood up the first pilot manufacturing innovation institute--in 3D printing--just five years ago, and it is thriving today.  That was just the beginning.  We have since partnered with industry and academia to establish seven more manufacturing innovation institutes, each creating a much needed ‘industrial commons’ that helps accelerate the delivery of both defense relevant and commercially promising technologies.


Are you and your organization fully leveraging the tremendous opportunities represented by the Department’s eight Manufacturing USA institutes, as well as the other institutes established by our sister agencies? If you aren’t sure, this Engagement Guide highlights the multiple ways in which you can effectively partner with and benefit from these vibrant clusters of manufacturing innovation, accessing modern shared infrastructure, state-of-the-art tools and equipment, and collaborating with others in your field. Manufacturing USA is a place where domestic manufacturers and designers--both large and small--can pool their risk--cost shared by the federal government--to advance manufacturing so the next generation of products and systems are produced here in the USA. 


Whether you represent the federal government, industry, academia, or state & local governments, the message to you is simple: get involved! These Public Private Partnerships are defense-relevant, industry-led, critical to our economy, and positioned to deliver value to you, its customers and our nation. 

Help Make the U.S. More Competitive

The Department of Defense (DoD) Manufacturing USA institutes collectively represent nearly 1,000 organizations including defense and commercial manufacturers of all sizes, start-ups, universities, community colleges, and state or local economic developers in active partnership with the U.S. Federal Government.  Since 2012, the DoD has established eight Manufacturing USA institutes, combining $600 million in federal investment with $1.2 billion in matching funds from industry, academia and state governments to form centers of excellence promoting U.S. competitiveness.


Each institute is its own public-private partnership and innovation ecosystem providing high value access to world class pilot manufacturing facilities that complement member capabilities, yielding a robust and sustainable domestic ‘industrial commons’ in a promising technology area.  Also critical to U.S. competitiveness is the availability of a well-trained, qualified workforce with manufacturing skills matched to the nation’s current and emerging production needs.  Each institute has developed a set of education and workforce development activities that can be leveraged by all participants.



Manufacturing USA

Manufacturing USA Institutes

New, emerging manufacturing technologies and processes hold strategic promise for the DoD, but fragmented or frail ecosystems are at risk of collapse due to infrastructure and workforce complexities. Unfortunately DoD-only requirements are insufficient to establish robust and sustainable technology ecosystems. Instead, advanced manufacturing ecosystems must be built on common commercial and defense manufacturing and design challenges for shared risk and shared benefits. The DoD Manufacturing USA innovation institutes, a key investment strategy for the DoD ManTech program, are designed to overcome many of these challenges by advancing manufacturing innovation for specific, focused technology areas. Manufacturing USA, formally known as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), was formally established in 2014. This network includes eight Manufacturing Innovation Institutes lead by DoD, five led by the Department of Energy, and one institute led by the Department of Commerce. Manufacturing USA brings together industry, academia and federal partners within a growing network of advanced manufacturing institutes to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and promote a robust and sustainable national manufacturing R&D infrastructure.

Tenets of DoD Manufacturing USA institutes:

  • Industry driven public-private partnerships
  • Regional hubs for manufacturing excellence
  • Investments in applied research and industrially-relevant manufacturing technologies
  • Required focus on education and workforce development needs

Tracy Frost, Program Director

Manufacturing USA
Monthly Newsletter

Please email osd.mc-alex.ousd-atl.mbx.dod-mfg-usa@mail.mil to be added to the DoD Manufacturing USA newsletter distribution list.

Every day, Manufacturing USA leaves its mark on our industry and nation by bringing together manufacturing, academia and government to fuel a skilled U.S. workforce. The collaborations will galvanize domestic manufacturing supply chains; grow centers of technological excellence across the country; move products from lab to market in record time; revitalize regional and national economies; and affirm our global leadership.

Each institute has its own technology focus—ranging from lightweight materials to energy efficiency—but all share the goal of securing the future of manufacturing in the U.S. through innovation, collaboration and education.

DoD Manufacturing Institutes

America Makes
Established: August 2012
Committed Investment: $110M
Members: 210*

America Makes: The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute

America Makes focuses on helping the United States grow capabilities and strength in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. America Makes facilitates collaboration among leaders from business, academia, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, focusing on areas that include design, materials, technology and workforce and help our nation’s three-dimensional (3D) printing industry become more globally competitive. - https://www.americamakes.us/ 

Program Manager POC: Dennis Butcher - dennis.butcher.1@us.af.mil

Established: February 2014
Committed Investment: $176M
Members: 313*

DMDII: Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute

The DMDII is the nation’s flagship research institute for applying cutting-edge digital technologies to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, strengthen the capabilities of the U.S. supply chain, and reduce acquisition costs for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).  The goal is for product design and associated manufacturing process definitions to be created simultaneously and maintained in a persistent Digital Thread. Design innovation is the ability to apply these technologies, tools and approaches to re-imagine the manufacturing enterprise from end to end. - http://dmdii.uilabs.org/

Program Manager POC: Anthony Holden - anthony.r.holden.civ@mail.mil

Established: February 2014
Committed Investment: $148M
Members: 127*

LIFT: Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow

LIFT is part of a national network of research institutions and industrial companies geared toward advancing America’s leadership in manufacturing technology. The center will speed development of new lightweight metal manufacturing processes from laboratories to factories for products using lightweight metal, including aluminum, magnesium, titanium and advanced high-strength steel alloys. An equally important mission is to facilitate the training of the workers who will use these new processes in factories and maintenance facilitates around the country. - http://lift.technology/

Program Manager POC: Johnnie Deloach - johnnie.deloach@navy.mil


Established: July 2015
Committed Investment: $612M
Members: 84*

AIM Photonics: American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics

AIM Photonics is an industry driven public-private partnership that focuses the nation’s premiere capabilities and expertise to capture critical global manufacturing leadership in a technology that is essential to National security and positioned to provide return-on-investment to the U.S. economy. The Institute’s goal is to transition key lessons, processes, and approaches to the photonic integrated circuit (PIC) industry.  AIM Photonics creating a National PIC manufacturing infrastructure, widely accessible and flexible to meet the challenges of the marketplace with practical, innovative solutions. - http://www.aimphotonics.com/

Program Manager POC: Neil Suppola - neil.d.supola.civ@mail.mil


Established: August 2015
Committed Investment: $171M
Members: 86*

NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Institute

NextFlex is America’s focal-point for the public-private partnership converging traditional electronic packaging manufacturers and the high-performance printing industries that will produce innovative flexible, stretchable DoD and commercial technologies. The institute catalyzes the US FHE ecosystem to commercialize technology through project investments in: FHE materials scale-up, thinned device processing, system design tools, and reliability testing and modeling.  NextFlex technology platform demonstrations are focused on human health monitoring, array antennas, asset monitoring, and soft robotics. - http://www.nextflex.us/

Program Manager POC: Eric Forsythe - eric.w.forsythe.civ@mail.mil

Established: April 2016
Committed Investment: $315M
Members: 110*

AFFOA: Advanced Functional Fabrics of America

Our clothes help define us, yet the fabrics we wear and use have remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Recent breakthroughs in fiber materials and manufacturing processes will soon allow us to design and produce fabrics that see, hear, sense, communicate, store and convert energy, regulate temperature, monitor health and change color – the dawn of a “fabric revolution”. AFFOA will accelerate widespread commercialization of highly functional fabrics. AFFOA is built on a simple premise: functional fabrics necessitate deep fiber innovation and predictive manufacturing. AFFOA has America’s leading IP cache in semiconductor fibers and assemblies. AFFOA is strategically positioned as a National Fabric Innovation Network poised to deliver revolutionary advances across the entire fabric supply chain, from multifunctional fibers to advanced nonwovens and yarn production to sophisticated weaving and knitting capabilities and end-product fabrication for first-to-market manufacturing opportunities.  AFFOA will build the sustainable, high-tech ecosystem that captures this national opportunity. - http://join.affoa.org/

Program Manager POC: Steve Luckowski - stephen.l.luckowski.civ@mail.mil


Established: December 2016
Committed Investment: $254M
Members: 15*

BioFabUSA: Advanced Tissue Biofabrication Manufacturing Innovation Institute

BioFabUSA is poised to develop next-generation manufacturing techniques for repairing and replacing cells and tissues, which may one day lead to the ability to manufacture new skin for soldiers scarred from combat or develop organ-preserving technologies to benefit Americans stuck on organ transplant waiting lists.  Headquartered in Manchester, NH, BioFabUSA focuses on solving the cross-cutting manufacturing challenges that stand in the way of producing new synthetic tissues and organs—such as improving the availability, reproducibility, accessibility, and standardization of manufacturing materials, technologies, and processes to create tissue and organ products. BioFabUSA convenes leaders from a multitude of disciplines, from cell biology and bioengineering to materials science and computer modeling. These partners work to develop high-throughput culture and 3D biofabication techniques to non-invasive, real-time testing and sensing to measure the viability of engineered tissue constructs. - www.armiusa.org

Program Manager POC: Kristy Pottol - kristy.s.pottol.civ@mail.mil

logo: ARM

Established: January 2017
Committed Investment: $253M
Members: 110*

ARM: Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute

The objective of the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute (ARM) is to improve U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing through advancements in the smart collaborative robotic field. This technology has the potential to level the manufacturing playing field with competing low labor cost economies, with decreased manufacturing cost, better quality and timely response to changes needed by customers. Smart, collaborative robotics can also enable "batch of one" production, also known as mass customization. The technologies developed in this institute are focused in making advanced manufacturing more competitive, addressing DoD needs, and contribute to improving prosperity in the United States. The institute specializes in technology areas such as human robot interaction, adaption, learning, manipulation, autonomy, mobility and perception. - http://www.arminstitute.org/

Program Manager POC: Greg Hudas - gregory.r.hudas.civ@mail.mil

*This number reflects institute members as of November 27, 2017. Institute membership constantly changes.

Manufacturing USA institutes address the so-called “valley of death” between research and commercialization by convening members that conduct work along different parts of the R&D spectrum and reducing risks. By breaking down market barriers in the right technological areas, the program facilitates the acceleration of U.S. manufacturing R&D.

A major focus of the Manufacturing USA network is workforce development—ensuring that there are enough workers with the right skills to meet the needs of advanced manufacturers.   Another priority for the network is that institutes become self-sustaining. A key strength that will help them achieve sustainability is the approach taken by Manufacturing USA, which not only gives each institute enough autonomy to meet the needs of its industry members, but also provides oversight to ensure federal investments are being spent wisely.

Deloitte Study Finds that Manufacturing USA Spurs R&D Innovation

Manufacturing USA is working!

That’s the overarching conclusion of a study conducted by Deloitte.  According to the study, the first eight advanced manufacturing institutes established between 2012 and 2016 have reached a critical mass of valuable connections among 1,200 participating companies, universities and government agencies. Those connections are accelerating the innovation needed to develop new products and markets, helping alleviate a shortage of technically trained manufacturing workers, and building a sustainable national manufacturing research infrastructure.

Map: Manufacturing USA

"There are early signs that [the] institutes are reaching ‘tipping points’ where the organizations see membership as necessary to their own success and seek out membership without being prompted,” wrote the study authors.

Deloitte’s review examined the effectiveness of the Manufacturing USA’s program design, assessed progress made toward achieving program objectives, and recommended areas where Manufacturing USA and its institutes could enhance programs.

The study team’s conclusions flow from stakeholder interviews with agency personnel, institute leadership and staff, CEOs and leaders of Fortune 500 companies, and independent external experts in manufacturing from prominent research universities and industry groups. The team made site visits to the eight institutes and used crowdsourcing applications to determine how a diverse array of institute participants benefitted from the Manufacturing USA network and how it could better serve them.

The institutes have already attracted hundreds of members, including “influential U.S. companies such as Boeing, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Ford,” and others of various sizes and at different points along the supply chain and R&D pipeline. The evaluation found that the institutes have created “true public-private partnerships that are successfully uniting academia, industry and government across the country.”

Deloitte found “numerous examples of companies connecting and working together in ways that would not have occurred independent of the institutes.” These various projects are helping to reduce the cost and risk of experimentation, which means that each member’s investment goes farther.

Download the report: Manufacturing USA: A Third-Party Evaluation of Program Design and Progress

Find more detailed information on Manufacturing USA institutes here.