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Pioneering Pentagon Manufacturing Institutes Welcome Revolutionary Asst. Sec. for Science & Tech, Igniting Innovation Drive

Pioneering Pentagon Manufacturing Institutes Welcome Revolutionary Asst. Sec. for Science & Tech, Igniting Innovation Drive

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MIIs) are playing a crucial role in revitalizing the country’s manufacturing capabilities and enhancing competitiveness within the innovation ecosystem.

During a recent visit to two of the MIIs, Dr. Steven Wax, performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology, gained insights into the future capabilities being developed. These include on-demand battlefield red blood cell production, on-demand battlefield IV fluid production, and biofabricated ligaments and tendons used to repair musculoskeletal injuries.

The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute/BioFabUSA, located in Manchester, New Hampshire, focuses on regenerative medicine and brings together various stakeholders including corporations, academia, and not-for-profit organizations. With more than 170 members, BioFabUSA is at the forefront of building the biofabrication industry, which will be responsible for manufacturing lifesaving therapies for injured warfighters and veterans, as well as transforming treatments for traumatic injuries and chronic illnesses for all Americans.

The Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is transforming traditional fibers, yarns, and textiles into integrated and networked systems. These systems enable fabrics to become tech-enabled products, offering significant advantages to the warfighter. For example, AFFOA is developing military uniform fabrics that can store power and sense potential hazards, which is considered a game-changing technology.

Both BioFabUSA and AFFOA collaborate with industry, academia, and government partners to identify solutions for targeted issues. These MIIs have unique technology concentrations and work closely with the Department of Defense to effectively transition capabilities into production.

The Department of Defense is committed to accelerating technology transitions for prototypes that have long-term operational value. Through collaboration with interagency partners, the DOD is developing processes to field capabilities at speed and scale.

Overall, the MIIs are crucial in driving innovation and advancing manufacturing capabilities in the United States. The visit by Dr. Wax highlights the DOD’s commitment to these institutes and the importance of their role in the department’s innovation ecosystem.

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Akash Osta