ASME Issues Statement Supporting U.S. National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing


April 6, 2018


 

ASME recently issued a position statement on behalf of 27 companies, associations and universities urging the United States to develop a National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing with a “long-range outlook for increased coordination and sustained support for Federal programs and activities,” which would ensure continued growth and innovation within the U.S. manufacturing sector.

The position statement, which ASME President Charla K. Wise sent to Ted Wackler, Deputy Chief of Staff in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) on March 7, was written in response to a Request for Information (RFI) issued by the OSTP seeking input from the public regarding the coordination and improvement of Federal programs and activities that foster manufacturing competitiveness, including advanced manufacturing R&D that will provide new job opportunities, spur the economy in multiple industries, strengthen national security, and improve healthcare.

The statement included a number of suggestions for short- and long-term objectives for ensuring the United States’ success in advanced manufacturing. “In the near-term, the Federal government must show it has an unwavering commitment to the advanced manufacturing sector so that industry and other stakeholders can invest without fear that the Federal government will eliminate or pull back from programs it has invested in,” Wise wrote. “Industry needs the assurance that the Federal government is its partner, together working on pre-competitive, pre-market solutions to national manufacturing concerns.”

In order for the Federal government to successfully act as a neutral convener, which is necessary to accelerate advanced manufacturing breakthroughs, “there needs to be support for longer-range research targeting 10-15 years out, and there is a need to ensure that this longer-range research is being funneled into medium- to short-range research and development so that we can make use of and leverage this work,” Wise said. “In supporting a thriving manufacturing innovation pipeline, the United States will be able to innovate at a pace competitive with other nations, ensuring the next breakthrough manufacturing technologies are invented and commercialized here in America.”

In addition to the initial funding of research, “the Federal government must play an ongoing role as a neutral convener and accelerator of technology by offering sustained funding for important manufacturing programs and commit to scaling these programs to a level that will ensure the United States’ sustained leadership in advanced manufacturing…. It takes many years, if not decades, for research to mature into viable commercialized technologies. The advanced manufacturing innovations of tomorrow are entirely dependent on today’s research, and research is also entirely dependent upon the ability to budget for the long term,” Wise wrote.

The government support of public-private partnerships, which can speed the development and commercialization of technical innovations, would also be a key component of a successful National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing. “If the government does not fully commit to its role as a neutral convener through existing and new public-private partnerships, multiple players in the same industry will have no incentive to work together on pre-competitive research and development, stunting the growth of the U.S. advanced manufacturing sector and compromising our role as the world leader in innovative technologies,” according to the statement.

Another important element of an effective National Strategic Plan would be the appointment of a chief manufacturing officer to ensure that the plan was properly implemented. “A chief manufacturing officer would be responsible for coordinating manufacturing-related policies and activities across agencies to eliminate any duplicative efforts and streamline processes to make sure all Federal efforts are as efficient as possible in achieving their mission of increasing manufacturing competitiveness, creating new jobs, growing the economy across multiple industrial sectors, strengthening national security, and improving healthcare,” Wise wrote.

To read the entire “RFI Response: National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing” (ID: PS-18-4), visit the ASME Positions Statements page on ASME.org at www.asme.org/about-asme/get-involved/advocacy-government-relations/policy-publications/position-statements.