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Special Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Issue of Defense AT&L Magazine

The November-December 2016 edition of Defense AT&L Magazine is now available!   Following on the heels of the September-October 2016 special themed issue of Defense AT&L Magazine (…

Special Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Issue of Defense AT&L Magazine

Bill Kobren

The November-December 2016 edition of Defense AT&L Magazine is now available!


Following on the heels of the September-October 2016 special themed issue of Defense AT&L Magazine (which was focused on Advanced Manufacturing, with an emphasis on Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MII)), this new November-December 2016 special issue tackles the rapidly evolving topic of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), with a deliberately multi-functional, multi-organizational focus that includes product support, sustainment and supply chain management. Articles include:


·         From the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics: When and When Not to Accelerate AcquisitionsWhy don’t we do all our acquisition programs faster? What keeps us from having all acquisition programs be “rapid” acquisitions? The short answer is that, if we choose to, we can trade quality for time. Sometimes that is smart, and sometimes it isn’t.

·         An Overview of Additive Manufacturing - Additive manufacturing (AM)—known also as “3D printing”—has exploded into public consciousness over the past several years. Stories and perspectives seem to appear in the popular press and technology blogs on a near daily basis.

·         Ensuring a Safe Technological Revolution - AM could radically change how the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Navy and their partners and allies develop, manufacture and support their platforms and systems.


·         The Digital Thread as the Key Enabler - Digital engineering can help the Air Force refine engineering roles, improve technical information management and standardization and enable decision making of high quality with seamless communication.


·         Separating Hype from Reality - Additive Manufacturing evolving rapidly from its past use in prototyping into a computer-enhanced method of end-use production with great potential for the DoD.


·         Additive Manufacturing as a Sustainment Enabler —An Industry Perspective  - Recently sharpened awareness of AM’s potential as a sustainment and maintenance enabler has resulted in public-private partnerships.


·         Harnessing the Potential of Additive Manufacturing and Competition - AM can enable the manufacturing of parts and components closer to the point of need for U.S. military forces.


·         Paradigm Shift —Additive Manufacturing and the New Way of War - In order to realize AM’s potential, the DoD must actively pivot away from past acquisition, logistics, sustainment and contracting practices predicated on the centralization of manufacturing.


·         Metals Additive Manufacturing —Great Promise in Mitigating Shortages but Some Risks Remain  - AM is revolutionizing how parts are designed and produced, shrinking development and delivery times, and yielding improved performance at lower per unit cost.


·         Driving Innovation to Support the Warfighter —Additive Manufacturing Initiatives Within the Defense Logistics Agency  - AM can provide spare parts affordably where regular commercial production sources are diminishing, or when the parts are obsolete or conventionally have long lead times.


·         Getting AM Up to Speed Across the Army Life Cycle - The Army is interested in AM for point-of-use manufacturing, weight reduction, reduced payloads, multiple-use materials, and repairs.


·         Great Expectations - AM in the Joint Advanced Manufacturing Region - The Naval Innovation Vision represented a bold plan. Execution was pushed to the deck-plate level. Individuals realized they needed to work together as a team.


·         Implications of AM for the Navy Supply Chain - Strategic deployment of AM machines throughout the supply chain, coupled with the right business model, is an imperative need if the Navy is to fully achieve the benefits of this technology.


·         Challenges of Enterprise-Wide AM for Air Force Sustainment - For high-tech aerospace components, AM is a cost-effective, tool-less production that can address many current Air Force supply chain challenges.


·         Collateral Damage —Potential Unintended Consequences in Aerospace and Defense Industrial Base - The University of Alabama and the DAU examined potential AM impacts on the U.S. rocket propulsion industrial base to determine AM’s applicability to the aerospace and defense industry.


·         Foundational Principles For a Successful Life-Cycle Product Support Strategy - Some fundamental truths regularly arise concerning long-term infrastructure—or weapons system—sustainment.


Please note that by sharing a wide-range of perspectives and considerations, this special magazine issue is intended to spur creative thinking, encourage innovation, promulgate information, and educate our workforce. It's also intended to complement related additive manufacturing learning assets including the Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) Community of Practice (AM CoP) and our suite of additive manufacturing overview training videos.


Finally, for those who notice these kinds of things, permit me to say: yes, the last article on the list above was in fact written by yours truly…and no, it has no direct tie to the additive manufacturing theme of this special issue! However hopefully in some small way readers find it insightful, if not directly applicable to development and execution of you product support strategy.