What military contractors can learn from the Pentagon’s 2016 budget

From the outside, the Pentagon’s budget looks relatively similar that the plan the Defense Department laid out one year ago. But upon closer inspection, President Barack Obama’s budget request gives a glimpse into how the military will look decades from now.

A number of new research-and-development projects could lead to major, multibillion weapon programs down the road. As such, defense firms are paying close attention to these projects.

“This budget does show some priorities,” said Roman Schweizer, an analyst with Guggenheim Securities.

DOD is looking to the latter part of this decade as a time to get back to basics and invest for the future.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/02/what-military-contractors-can-learn-pentagons-2016-budget/104505

White House releases Georgia Tech-influenced national manufacturing roadmap

Leaders from Georgia Tech participated in the release of the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP 2.0) final report, a one-year endeavor to outline a roadmap to secure U.S. manufacturing competitiveness. Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson served on the 19-person AMP 2.0 Steering Committee and numerous faculty and staff put in many hours serving on various workstreams that focused on different aspects of manufacturing competitiveness.  This effort builds on the original AMP which kicked off in 2011 and ended in 2012 and also included Georgia Tech as one of a select few universities invited by the White House to participate.

Presidential SealBoth President Obama and Commerce Secretary Pritzker attended the out-brief from the AMP Steering Committee on Oct. 27, 2014 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, and Georgia Tech Provost Rafael Bras represented Georgia Tech.

“The Georgia Tech community should be proud of the role that our team played in influencing this important report,” said Georgia Tech President Peterson. “Manufacturing has been central to Georgia Tech’s mission since its founding and we’re honored to add our collective experience and expertise to help grow the manufacturing economy in our country.”

Building upon the report, Obama announced a series of executive actions to strengthen U.S. advanced manufacturing, including a $300 million investment in the emerging technologies of advanced materials including composites and bio-based materials, advanced sensors for manufacturing and digital manufacturing.  Read about the multi-agency and private sector effort > 

Following the White House meeting, Georgia Tech researchers were invited panelists at a briefing hosted by the Innovation Policy Forum of The National Academies to discuss the report’s recommendations for enabling innovation, securing the talent pipeline and improving the business climate for manufacturing. Georgia Tech’s Tom Kurfess, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, addressed the report’s findings for enabling innovation, specifically on developing technologies to build a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). Jennifer Clark, Director of the Center for Urban Innovation at Georgia Tech, spoke on Improving the Business Climate and recommendations related to Scale-up Policy. The U.S. has been the leading producer of manufactured goods for more than 100 years, but strengths in manufacturing innovation and technologies that have sustained American leadership in manufacturing are under threat from new and growing competition abroad.

The AMP 2.0 report identifies the role of the Executive Office of the President in coordinating the federal government’s advanced manufacturing activities and defines responsibilities for Federal agencies and other Federal bodies in implementation.

Georgia Tech part of 4 grants intended to strengthen U.S. manufacturing

Teams from the Georgia Institute of Technology are recipients of four grants recently announced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The funding is designed to support research that will strengthen U.S. manufacturing and innovation performance across industries.

The NIST grants, which range from $378,900 to $540,000, were part of $9 million in advanced technology planning grants awarded to 19 universities and other nonprofit organizations and are the first conferred by NIST’s inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech).

Todd McDevitt, associate professor, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and director of the Stem Cell Engineering Center, will serve as the technical lead for the $499,636 AMTech grant awarded to the Georgia Research Alliance, in partnership with Georgia Tech. With cell therapy manufacturing projected to grow rapidly over the next decade, the funds will be used to establish a national road map and consortium in cell manufacturing to improve access to cutting-edge medical technology for patients.

Ben Wang, executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute, will serve as the lead for a second AMTech grant totaling $385,112 that will help speed development and deployment of advanced composites.

Georgia Tech’s Institute of Paper Science and Technology, part of the Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance, is a collaborator on the $482,078 NIST funded project that will map pathways for developing advanced technologies for pulp and paper manufacturing. The Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance is an industry-led consortium that promotes development of advanced technologies for the pulp and paper industry.

Tom Kurfess, professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control, is part of a $434,577 award led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing & Machining focused on developing a strategy and roadmap to identify current barriers to full adoption of MTConnect, an evolving interoperability standard for manufacturing. The funding will also determine the best path forward to achieve widespread implementation across manufacturing industries.

Technology road mapping is a key component of all funded AMTech projects. Each consortium will engage manufacturers of all sizes, university researchers, trade associations and other stakeholders in an interactive process to identify and prioritize research projects that reduce shared barriers to the growth of advanced manufacturing in the United States.

Georgia Tech is a national leader in research, education, policy and industrial assistance related to manufacturing. President G.P. “Bud” Peterson serves on the Steering Committee of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, and Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute runs the Manufacturing Extension Partnership for the state of Georgia (http://gamep.org).

Source: http://www.news.gatech.edu/2014/05/12/georgia-tech-part-four-grants-intended-strengthen-us-manufacturing

Defense Department not comfortable if major contractors look to merge

The Defense Department remains skeptical of mergers involving its major contractors, a Pentagon official said on Wednesday, amid industry expectations that defense deal-making could revive this year.

Elana Broitman, whose office at the Defense Department reviews deals that involve national security issues, told an investor conference that “there are far fewer of the large firms, so we’re in a more constrained environment.

“Even though we’re seeing a budget downturn which has corresponded to consolidation in the past, we’d be less comfortable now because of that smaller number,” said Broitman, the acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy.

Defense M&A activity ground to a near halt in recent years amid uncertainty about future U.S. military spending that has kept sellers on edge and buyers more apt to invest in share buybacks and dividend payouts than acquisitions.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/05/us-usa-defense-mergers-idUSBREA1428K20140205

General: ‘Lots of money’ left after sequester

The former head of Army logistics tried to assure a nervous audience of defense industry executives last Thursday (2/21/2013) that “it’s not all doom and gloom” for their bottom lines despite the massive budget cuts underway as the nation’s military rebalances after nearly 12 years of war.

“Our budget still has almost $500 billion” at the baseline even when the impact of major automatic defense spending cuts under the “sequestration” process on March 1 is taken into account, said Army Maj. Gen. Lynn A. Collyar, former director of Defense Logistics Agency’s logistics operations.

“That’s a lot of money,” Collyar said of the $500 billion.  “We can’t afford to just throw money around,” he said, but “there is still a lot of money out there” for companies that can adapt to the new era of declining defense budgets.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2013/02/21/lot-of-money-left-after-sequester/