February 19, 2016
Capitol Update

In this issue:


ASME recently sponsored a Congressional Briefing entitled, “Advanced Manufacturing: Gaining the Advantage in a Fiercely Competitive Global Economy.” The briefing was convened in conjunction with the House Manufacturing Caucus, and was cosponsored by the following organizations:

  • Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS)
  • SME (founded as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers)
  • North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME (NAMRI-SME)
  • Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
  • National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCSM)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech)
  • MForesight
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA (EERE-USA)
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Notre Dame
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
  • Oregon State University
  • American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME)

There were over 140 representatives from academia, industry, and government at the event.

The event began with a packed room as ASME Industry Advisory Board member, Dr. Thomas Gardner of Jacobs Mission Solutions, introduced Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH). Congressman Ryan spoke to the important role advanced manufacturing plays in strengthening the U.S. economy and to Congress’s role of ensuring proper investment. Representative Ryan also thanked his Republican Co-Chair of the Caucus, Representative Tom Reed (R-NY).

Following the welcome, Michael F. Molnar, Director of the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, gave an overview of NIST’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), which provides a manufacturing research infrastructure where U.S. industry and academia collaborate to solve industry-relevant problems. Molnar highlighted the forward momentum of the NNMI program, and affirmed that proposals for future NIST NNMI institutes will be accepted on any topic not already covered by existing NNMI institutes, making for “open topic” competitions. Additionally, Molnar mentioned that the first annual NNMI report, as well as the program’s first strategic plan, is underway

Next, Dr. Mark Johnson, Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the U.S. Department of Energy, focused his presentation on EERE’s mission to develop and implement technologies for energy efficiency in manufacturing. Dr. Johnson spoke to the importance of the dissemination of knowledge in ensuring energy technologies translate from scientific discovery to competitive domestic manufacturing and jobs through programs and projects such as DOE’s NNMI institutes, innovation consortia, and individual R&D projects.

Adele Ratcliff, Director of Manufacturing Technology in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy at the U.S. Department of Defense, then provided insight into the Defense Department’s commitment to building strong interagency partnerships to address prominent issues in manufacturing today. Ratcliff highlighted the established DOD-led NNMIs and touched on two future institutes that DOD would be pursuing this year in efforts to reach the goal of 15 institutes before the Obama Administration leaves office. Ratcliff spoke to the importance of investing in advanced manufacturing, so that the U.S. is able and ready to increase production of vital military supplies so our service members have the most advanced technologies available. 

Dr. Pramod P. Khargonekar, Assistant Director of Engineering for the National Science Foundation, highlighted NSF’s commitment to investing in basic research, the manufacturing workforce, and public and private collaboration to advance manufacturing in the U.S. Dr. Khargonekar communicated that the NSF is focusing much of its efforts on biomanufacturing, nonmanufacturing, and cyber-enabled manufacturing, which is mirrored in the President’s FY2017 budget request where the NSF Engineering Directorate is the only directorate to get a boost via discretionary spending.

For a more detailed overview of the presentations, please visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center (PPEC) at: http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/asme-sponsored-a-congressional-briefing-on-advanced-manufacturing/

Check back soon too for a video webcast of the entire briefing, along with the NNMI reports and DOD’s presentation, which will be posted on ASME’s PPEC manufacturing issues webpage as soon as they become available.


Last week, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved the FAA Leadership in Groundbreaking High-Tech R&D Act, or FLIGHT R&D Act on a party-line vote.

Prior to the markup, a bipartisan agreement had been reached on the bill. However, when a number of additional Republican amendments were added the night before the mark-up, the Democratic members of the Committee decided to not support the bill or participate in the mark-up.

In his opening statement, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said, “The last time this Committee authorized the Federal Aviation Administration’s research and development activities was in 2012. Since that time, significant changes have occurred, particularly the rapid development and creation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).”

Chairman Smith continued, “It is critical that the United States efficiently and safely develop a system to integrate UAVs into our national airspace. If successfully integrated, UAVs have the potential to revolutionize transportation and logistics, generate new jobs, and position America as a leader in UAV goods and services. FAA research and development efforts should provide the scientific foundation for the certification of UAVs and associated technologies into the national airspace.”

Information about the full committee markup of the bill can be found at the following: https://science.house.gov/legislation/markups/full-committee-markup-hr-faa-leadership-groundbreaking-high-tech-research-and

For the full bill text, visit: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4489/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22FLIGHT+Act%22%5D%7D&


Honeywell has signed an agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to provide the Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program with a virtual reality instrument panel that replaces glass windows with display technology from Honeywell.

As part of the GXV-T program’s goal to explore new vehicle technologies that could improve survivability, agility, and mobility for the next generation of military ground vehicles (such as tanks, armored vehicles, and more), this virtual reality instrument panel concept from Honeywell could provide drivers with an enhanced, clearer 360-degree view outside the vehicle. In addition, it could enable safer and more efficient missions.

Using Honeywell’s near-to-eye and display technologies for military and commercial avionics flight decks, the display system projects a wide-angle, high-definition view of external conditions, potentially allowing the operator to track optimal routes over difficult terrain, review infrared and terrain classification views, and see allies and adversaries. By using this technology, Honeywell and DARPA are working together to develop a new and improved operating environment for future ground vehicles.

The first phase of the virtual windows development began in July 2015 and will continue through June 2016.

Additional information can be found at: http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/land/vehicles/2016/02/17/honeywell-developing-virtual-reality-vehicle-windshield-darpa/80506940/


Earlier this month, Olin College of Engineering and the Kern Family Foundation announced a partnership to transform and broaden undergraduate engineering education by emphasizing abilities and perspectives often overlooked in traditional curricula, particularly design thinking, and an entrepreneurial mindset.

The initiative will be funded by a $6 million grant from the Foundation to expand the capacity of Olin’s Collaboratory—primarily by adding five faculty and additional program development and administrative staff—to support its transformational work with engineering and other educators, hundreds of whom have visited Olin over the last few years to pursue fundamental curricular change.

The work of the Collaboratory stems from Olin’s distinctive dual mission to advance curricular innovation on its own campus and support the transformation of engineering education more broadly. Spurred by widespread calls to reform engineering curricula to be more in line with today’s globalized and entrepreneurial economy, Olin has become a laboratory for trying out new ideas in undergraduate engineering education, with the Collaboratory as its outward-facing resource.

In addition, Olin College is a partner in KEEN, the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network, which is a network of 24 colleges and universities engaging in peer collaboration on pedagogical approaches and institutional culture to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering students.

For more information about this partnership, please visit: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/stem-workforce-development/


To help small and medium-sized manufacturers obtain the capital they need to develop innovative technologies and remain competitive, the 2010 America COMPETES legislation (COMPETES 2010) directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish the Innovative Technologies in Manufacturing (ITM) program. When implemented, the program is to provide loan guarantees to small and medium-sized manufacturers for the use or production of innovative technologies. Under COMPETES 2010, Commerce must ensure that activities carried out under the ITM program do not duplicate the efforts of other federal loan guarantee programs. The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is responsible for implementing the program.

COMPETES 2010 also included a provision for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to biennially review the program. This recent report assesses (1) the status of EDA’s implementation of the ITM program, and (2) the extent to which EDA has coordinated with other agencies to ensure that ITM program activities do not duplicate the efforts of other federal loan guarantee programs.

The GAO report found that EDA has taken a number of steps to implement the federal loan guarantees for ITM program, but several key tasks remain before EDA can issue loan guarantees, including:

  • Coordination: EDA officials decided to largely model the ITM program after a Small Business Administration (SBA) program that provides loan guarantees to small businesses, and they plan to adapt the SBA program’s application forms, and regulations, among other things. EDA’s coordination has helped avoid duplication of the effort those agencies have already expended in designing loan guarantee programs.
  • Potential Duplication: Coordinating more extensively with SBA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on targeting the ITM program could provide EDA with greater assurance that ITM loan guarantees will not duplicate the efforts of other federal loan guarantee programs.

The 29-page report may be read at: http://ppec.asme.org/key-issues/manufacturing-innovation-competitiveness/

The articles contained in Capitol Update are not positions of ASME or any of its sub-entities, unless specifically noted as such. This publication is designed to inform ASME members about issues of concern being debated and discussed in the halls of congress, in the states and in the federal agencies.

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at http://ppec.asme.org/ for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036
Website: http://www.asme.org/about-asme/advocacy-government-relations