The defense manufacturing supply chain is critical to both the U.S. economy and national security. Further research and investment are urgently needed for emerging technologies, such as directed-energy weapons, hypersonics and cybersecurity, all of which are vital to national defense, officials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology reported.
While challenges exist, such as an aging workforce and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation (DFARS) compliance, NIST said there have been remarkable successes due to the MEP National Network’sTM dedication to assist small and medium-sized manufacturers across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Manufacturers assisted have included those that supply a material, component or subsytem used in a defense or national security system. The Network continues to provide support in building a robust defense supply chain.
NIST assembled an infographic illustrating (at right) how defense manufacturing contributes to economic prosperity by state and, at the same time, ensures a strong national security posture.
The Defense Department needs the defense industrial base (DIB) to scale up innovation in Hypersonics; Directed-Energy; Cyber; Artificial Intelligence / Quantum; Weapons; Machine Learning Science; Fully Networked Command, Control, and Communications; and Microelectronics, according to a 2018 Industrial Capabilities Annual Report to Congress.
MEP National Network
The MEP National Network™ is a unique public-private partnership that delivers comprehensive, proven solutions to U.S. manufacturers, fueling growth and advancing U.S. manufacturing. Focused on helping small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy, the MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and its more than 1,400 trusted advisors and experts at approximately 375 MEP service locations, providing any U.S. manufacturer with access to resources they need to succeed.