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News | Nov. 21, 2023

DOD Mobilizes Manufacturing Innovation Institutes to Support Military Industrial Base

By OSD ManTech Office Public Affairs

The Department of Defense's Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MII) met with stakeholders to discuss how the manufacturing innovation ecosystem can support the services' modernization efforts at the Organic Industrial Base Modernization workshop Oct. 25 - 26 in Chicago.

Representatives from MIIs attended the workshop, hosted by the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Manufacturing Technology Program, to get a better understanding of the current critical needs for modernizing the OIB and the subsequent opportunities to propose technology projects.

The nine MIIs are public-private partnerships designed to leverage commercial investments in manufacturing technologies, thereby creating conditions in which new innovative technologies can thrive, helping private industry grow and the Pentagon to achieve its strategic and operational goals.

"OSD ManTech, through the MIIs, spearheads innovation and adoption of advanced manufacturing capabilities to improve the U.S. supply chain and national security readiness," said Berardino Baratta, chief executive officer of Manufacturing x Digital. "MxD and our fellow MIIs convene government, industry, and academia to accelerate innovation through public-private investment in technology. With a better understanding of the OIB's challenges and needs, we can leverage our collective ecosystems to support DOD modernization priorities."

For Steve Luckowski, program manager for the DOD MIIs, the workshop highlighted the challenges of the OIB facilities, some of which are more than 200 years old.

"Through the MIIs' partnerships with industry, DOD gains access to modern manufacturing technologies that are potential game changers for the OIB." he said, adding that the event was an excellent opportunity for the Manufacturing Technology Program to discuss problems the military industrial installations and the broader sustainment community face.

Senior DOD leaders who spoke at the workshop included Dr. Vic S. Ramdass, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Materiel Readiness; Richard Martin, director of supply chain management, U.S. Army Materiel Command; Jeffrey R. Sick, director of logistics, Air Force Sustainment Center; David R. Menzen, Deputy Director, Logistics Division and Marine Col. Kirk M. Spangenberg, commander of Marine Depot Maintenance Command. The leaders discussed their modernization visions, the challenges they face, and the technologies they need to achieve mission success.

The OIB is composed of 47 government-owned sites and thousands of facilities. Each service is pursuing unprecedented modernization efforts, with plans to invest tens of billions of dollars in modernization, which includes incremental 5-, 10- and 15-year plans to overhaul and upgrade operations, technologies, processes and infrastructure. 

With high stakes and expectations, collaboration between the private and public stakeholders has become critical, said Stephanie Hoaglin, the acting director of the Army's OIB Modernization Task Force.

"The more we connect between public and private, the more we can innovate, accelerate capabilities, and lower the risk of modernization," Hoaglin said. "What's necessary is for the services and the MIIs to partner together and share best practices and help each other to stay up to date on topics such as cyber security, engineering, and advanced manufacturing. Industry partners are key to accomplishing Army modernization goals and ensuring that the services have the equipment they need to succeed."

The event concluded with the scoping of key focus areas, which will pave the way for the OIB Modernization Challenge in February 2024, a closed event for invited programs.  OSD ManTech will offer an expected $2.5 million to help advance or transition technologies that align with the Department's Critical Technology Areas and other priorities defined by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. The event will include a project pitch session where solution providers vie for up to five $500,000-awards to invest in technology advancement or transition.


About USD(R&E)

The Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (USD(R&E)) is the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Defense. The USD(R&E) champions research, science, technology, engineering, and innovation to maintain the United States military's technological advantage. Learn more at www.cto.mil, follow us on Twitter @DoDCTO, or visit us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/ousdre.