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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Protection Official: Pentagon is “Turning a Nook” in 3D Printing – 3DPrint.com

Simply after the Pentagon made bulletins of $270 million in new spending for US superior manufacturing efforts in a span of lower than ten days, Keith DeVries, the deputy director of the Workplace of the Secretary of Protection’s Manufacturing Expertise Program (OSD ManTech), advised that the Division of Protection (DoD) is hitting an inflection level in its additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities. DeVries made the feedback whereas showing in a webinar hosted by the web publication Protection Information:

Within the context of discussing the US protection industrial base’s improved capabilities in metallic AM, DeVries mentioned, “These developments have been elementary unto themselves. Now, it seems like we’re turning a nook and we’re looking for what the candy spot is for a way large of a construct quantity is acceptable for us to use that expertise.” DeVries additionally identified, “We need to deal with [AM] as a device within the toolkit, and we need to apply it precisely the place it’s obligatory, and the place it provides probably the most worth.”

It could appear to be that is no completely different from any variety of comparable statements endorsing AM that US protection officers have made during the last yr. Nevertheless, three issues make this assertion so notable. First, the supply: as deputy director of OSD ManTech, DeVries is liable for working day-to-day operations of one of many businesses throughout the US authorities most crucial to the event of rising applied sciences. Alongside these traces, DeVries is actually one of many highest-ranking US protection officers to go on the file with an evaluation of US progress in 3D printing.

A 3D printed deck drain meeting slated to be put in on a Virginia-class submarine. Picture courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries

Second, the timing: talking of high-ranking protection officers happening the file, DeVries’ feedback got here proper after certainly one of his bosses, William LaPlante, the assistant secretary of protection for acquisition, informed an viewers on the Middle for a New American Safety that, “We simply lastly final month obtained [Ukraine] these industrial-size 3D printers.”

These feedback got here a couple of week after LaPlante, on a panel on the Air and House Forces Affiliation’s Air, House and Cyber Convention, mentioned (in line with Nationwide Protection), “[AM] is getting used to supply components in plane engines; automotive firms are utilizing them for mission important components. …And what’s occurring — and we’re seeing it in Ukraine — is it’s additionally altering how sustainment is finished.”

The AM Coordinator Chief on the US Navy’s Southeast Regional Upkeep Middle (SERMC), Nicholas Heinrich, holds a 3D printed device for the MK Phalanx Shut-In Weapons System (CIWS). Picture courtesy of DVIDS, SERMC, and Scott Curtis

On the identical panel, Air Pressure Common Anthony Cotton, the commander of US Strategic Command, mentioned that US capability to deploy AM for manufacturing bolsters “all of these components [that] come into play whenever you discuss strategic deterrence.” In different phrases, he confirmed the concept AM is a principal occasion, not a sideshow, within the US’s intensifying financial competitors with China.

Third, and eventually, the context: though Protection Information is a well-known discussion board for Pentagon personnel, the truth that a DoD official mentioned this to a information group can not have been unintentional, however moderately confirms the sample of a deliberate media blitz by the protection institution on behalf of AM. The Pentagon desires everybody, particularly US firms and the Chinese language authorities, to know that the US financial system is prepping for giant modifications. This is what the “struggle” between the US and China in actual fact is, most basically: a contest for investor {dollars}. In flip, it appears extremely doubtless that the Pentagon will proceed to make its case for 3D printing in more and more mainstream settings of the world’s largest battlefield, the digital media panorama.

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