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News | March 28, 2024

DoD ManTech Showcases Cutting-Edge Advanced Manufacturing Solutions at POST 2024

Representatives and leaders from the Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program met with industry partners and U.S. allies at the Pacific Operational Science & Technology Conference in Honolulu, March 4-7, 2024. This ally- and partner- focused event provided ManTech a platform to share information about its collaborative manufacturing technology projects vital for tackling industrial base challenges within the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of operations. 

To start the conference, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu delivered the morning address, emphasizing the critical importance of advancing science and technology to address the evolving challenges. Her keynote underscored the role innovation plays in national security and strengthening defense capabilities in an ever-changing global landscape.

As an example of projects that the department is funding to meet warfighters’ needs, Shyu discussed the success of the Low-Cost Chip Scale Atomic Clock project, initiated by the Defense Advances Research Projects Agency then funded and transitioned by the DoD ManTech Manufacturing Science and Technology Program. 

The CSAC project created compact, low-power atomic time and frequency units for secure UHF communication and GPS. The units enhance military system mobility, boasting a 100-fold size reduction and 50 times less power consumption compared to traditional, commercially available atomic clocks.

DoD ManTech Director Tracy Frost continued R&E themes in the Manufacturing Technology Panel titled "Allied Partnerships and Investments: Where Science and Technology Meet Manufacturing to Secure the INDOPACOM Industrial Base." Frost was joined by Masuo Kuremura, director of the Aerospcae and Defense Industry Division at the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Dr. Dan Billing, program leader at the Health and Logistics Science and Technology Group, Australia Department of Defence, who provided insights into enhancing deterrence capabilities through collaboration among Australia, Japan, and the U.S. 

On day two, Deputy Director Keith DeVries led panel discussions on the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel and Office of the Secretary of Defense investments to discuss how joint planning can support the joint warfighting doctrine while reduce costs for the DoD. Panelists spoke about goals and strategies of the Joint Defense Manufacturing Technology Panel and the service ManTech programs, as well as how past and current projects identify and solve manufacturing U.S. INDOPACOM challenges for shipbuilding, microelectronics, point-of-need manufacturing, biomanufacturing, directed energy, and other priorities.

“It is all about manufacturing,” DeVries said. “We are the experts at innovating the manufacturing process to deliver the best technologies to the warfighter rapidly, effectively, and affordably. Let us go to work for you.”

In conjunction with panel discussions and plenary sessions, the DoD ManTech team also showcased technology advancements and defense manufacturing collaborative projects that bolster U.S. manufacturing ecosystems.

The Manufacturing Education Workforce Development overview session, also led by DeVries, featured efforts to grow the advanced manufacturing workforce and M-EWD's mission to address skills gaps and foster industry-relevant projects within the Indo-Pacific region. 

Program manager for the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes Steve Luckowski took the audience through the successful MII model, which brings together academic, industry and government organizations to build efficient manufacturing ecosystems that accelerate development and transition of defense-critical technologies and processes.

On the final day of the conference, conference-goers attended the POST Field Experimentation session, where the DoD Manufacturing Innovation Institute BioMADE demonstrated cutting-edge materials and processes being produced with member companies to help sustain deployed forces, especially in areas of congested logistics. The demonstrations included:
  • Dandelion Rubber (Member: Kultevat): Addressing the United States' need for domestically sourced natural rubber, Kultevat presented TKS Dandelions, an annual crop with potential applications in aircraft tires, footwear, and apparel.
  • Enhanced Survivability UAV/UAS drone wing (Member: Cambium):  Drone wings fortified with bio-based heat and fire-protection systems, demonstrating resilience through intense heat generated by rapid-heating-event bursts, crucial for Group 2 drone aircraft.
  • Biocement (Member: Biomason): Environmentally sustainable cement products boasting superior physical properties compared to standard materials. Biolith tiles offer enhanced compressive strength, absorption, freeze-thaw resistance, adhesion, and dimensional tolerance, all while being safer for both humans and the planet.
The DOD ManTech Program, created in 1956, is composed of the Military Service and DOD Agency (or "Component") investment programs operated out of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Defense Logistics Agency, Missile Defense Agency, and Office of the Secretary of Defense. The OSD ManTech Office is responsible for administering the DOD ManTech Program by providing central guidance and direction to the Component ManTech Programs. Along with providing oversight to DOD ManTech, the OSD ManTech Office also manages three investment portfolios: the Manufacturing Science and Technology Program, Manufacturing Education and Workforce Development, and DOD Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.