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News | June 30, 2023

Supporting the S&T Strategy: The Value of Collaboration

By DoD ManTech

The Office of the Secretary of Defense ManTech Program and its DOD Manufacturing Innovation Institutes are spearheading a collaborative revolution in defense manufacturing. The OSD-led MIIs represent nine distinct advanced manufacturing technology domains, including additive manufacturing, integrated photonics, biomanufacturing, robotics, and others. These public-private partnerships are unique vehicles for the Department to work with industry on dual-use technology development projects. Over the last 10 years, DOD has created a portfolio of over 1,000 projects, representing over $1.6 billion in federal Investment, with $2.1 billion in industry cost share. Recently, DOD has focused the activities of the institutes on specific defense challenges, including warfighter needs in contested logistics and organic industrial base modernization. Through their ability to build bridges across Commercial defense boundaries and work at the system level, the MIIs are proving that their sum is greater than their parts when solving challenges in support of DOD enterprise needs.

The National Defense Science and Technology Strategy rests on three pillars: mission focus, foundation building, and success through teamwork. By working together, the DOD ManTech enterprise prioritizes delivery of solutions that align with the strategy across all our advanced manufacturing technology investments.

Leveraging their strong industry engagement and cross-institute collaborations, MIIs achieve high efficiency, speed to scale, and interoperability, unlocking new possibilities for advancement. For instance, when the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) BioFabUSA program was evaluating in-process measurement capability for its tissue foundry, the AIM Photonics MII suggested utilizing a photonic solution, developed with prior investment under the CARES Act funding for virus detection, illustrating the power of cross-institute collaboration and leveraging prior investment. Advanced Functional Fabrics of America and America Makes are exploring joint efforts with the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) REMADE, the Circular Economy institute, on projects that address climate change and sustainable manufacturing.

"The MIIs play a crucial role in the modernization of the defense sector," said Tracy Frost, director of DOD ManTech. "Their ability to integrate technologies and drive collaboration across agencies and industries is transforming the landscape of defense manufacturing.”

The OSD-led MIIs facilitate cooperation between "single technology" ecosystems by harnessing existing contracting mechanisms and promoting the sharing of intellectual property and fabrication facilities. By efficiently leveraging resources, OSD ManTech works to establish a process to improve interagency contracting, an identified challenge, to facilitate these and future collaboration efforts. This program drives innovation and ensures supply chain security, fosters commercialization, and cultivates growth for small businesses. It also seeks to modernize the organic industrial base with tailored outcomes that directly impact the needs of the warfighter.

With a commitment to accelerating technology transition and adoption, growing and supporting advanced manufacturing ecosystems, securing supply chains, training a skilled workforce, and fostering opportunities for small businesses, the MIIs contribute to the longterm sustainability and success of the industry.

"As we focus on the joint mission, we are bridging the valleys of death in defense innovation through collaboration and the integration of technologies across platforms and systems," said Ms. Frost. “The OSD ManTech programs and partnerships reflect the principles outlined in the National Defense Science and Technology Strategy. By harnessing the full scope of the innovation ecosystem, we are sharpening our nation’s competitive edge and building an enduring advantage.”