U.S. Department of Defense sponsors Next-Generation Manufacturing Technology Initiative

June 22, 2004

The Department of Defense-sponsored Next-Generation Manufacturing Technology Initiative (NGMTI) launched its plan for transforming the nation's manufacturing sector with a kickoff meeting in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), NGMTI will develop a national manufacturing technology investment strategy to accelerate the transformation of the U.S. industrial base. NGMTI seeks to energize a national consensus for investing in high-leverage, high-impact manufacturing technologies that enable faster delivery of affordable systems for defense, while at the same time improving the global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.

Over the next 12 to 18 months, the Initiative will develop a "strategic investment plan" for manufacturing technologies, launch an industry/government forum of the nation's top manufacturing leaders to help guide NGMTI, and establish a broad implementation program. The program also will establish a national manufacturing test bed network to evaluate new technologies and promote rapid deployment of high-impact solutions.

"Our objective is to radically enhance the nation's return on its manufacturing technology investments," said NGMTI General Manager Gerry Graves of the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI). "We want to reestablish U.S. leadership in manufacturing science and technology by delivering a plan to double the nation's manufacturing technology investments and increase the return on those investments by a factor of ten," he said.

"For the defense community, this means shortening the time and cost to move new weapons from concept to delivery. For the nation's manufacturers, it means recapturing and holding a clear competitive advantage," said Richard Neal of the Integrated Manufacturing Technology Initiative (IMTI), the NGMTI Technical Director.

"It also means advancing our manufacturing capability, capacity, and productivity to the point where the fundamentally positive economics of manufacturing on U.S. soil enable us to retain a robust industrial base for both national security and national economic growth," added Leo Reddy from the National Council for Advanced Manufacturing (NACFAM), Director of the NGMTI Industry/Government Forum.

The NGMTI team has identified six primary technology areas for strategic investment: emerging process technologies; model-based enterprises; intelligent systems; enterprise integration; knowledge management; and safe, secure, and reliable manufacturing operations.

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