DoD Sponsors First Project MFG International Competition

March 02, 2023 | By Robert Ruzzier, Office of Industrial Base Policy

The Department of Defense’s Office of Industrial Base Policy, through its Innovation Capability and Modernization (ICAM) office, and in partnership with RD Solutions, LLC and the Gene Haas Foundation, sponsored the first-ever Project MFG International Machining Competition on December 12-16, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium. Project MFG is funded under ICAM’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) Program and shares the vision of promoting the prestige of manufacturing and inspiring individuals to enter the manufacturing sector.

Teams from Denmark, Estonia, France, Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal gathered to compete in the inaugural international competition in which each were tasked with creating a complex conical-shaped part that required coordinated, multiple axis machining using a Haas UMC750 5-axis milling machine. The project was scored on accuracy to print, cost to produce, completeness, and teamwork. The winner for the inaugural competition was Denmark’s team consisting of Morten Johannsen, Oliver August Vork, Alexander Vase Schäffer Hansen, and Oliver Valentin Trasbo Madsen.

The international competition gave officials from the participating countries the opportunity to offer valuable insight on their current manufacturing capabilities and future needs. Ms. Halimah Najieb-Locke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Resilience, stated, “This competition was a milestone effort that showcased the strides the U.S. is making in providing opportunities for skills development training in ways that are interesting and build team spirit. The Brussels competition engaged many of our international partners and set the stage for future collaborative efforts that will pay dividends through machine tool technology sharing and workforce pipeline development at home, and abroad.”

“Project MFG’s inaugural international competition demonstrated the robustness and global interest in using competitions to promote manufacturing trades and trade training programs. We look forward to building Project MFG’s international network and expanding the scope to a truly global competition. Thank you to the ICAM office, Haas Automation – European Headquarters, and the Gene Haas Foundation for helping make this happen,” stated Dr. Ray Dick, who leads Project MFG’s execution.

Project MFG helps elevate the next generation of highly skilled trade professionals through its series of interdisciplinary and trade-specific competitions where participants gain hands-on experience with the latest technology and support from subject matter experts. These competitions also provide an opportunity to build and strengthen local and regional manufacturing communities while working to change mindsets about advanced manufacturing careers, fostering community preparedness, and challenging how the critical skills needed to succeed in modern advanced manufacturing are taught.

DoD representatives thanked their European partners for investing the time and resources to make the event a success and pledged to use this event as a catalyst for future engagements.

For additional information on this, and other IBAS-funded projects, please email the ICAM team at

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