Government Accountability Office Reports on Manufacturing USA Program

May 31, 2019

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report examining the Manufacturing USA program, a private-public partnership dedicated to advancing the state of American manufacturing. The program is overseen by the National Institute of Standards and Technology at the Department of Commerce, with the Department of Defense sponsoring eight institutes and Department of Energy sponsoring five institutes.

The report, Advanced Manufacturing: Innovation Institutes Have Demonstrated Initial Accomplishments, but Challenges Remain in Measuring Performance and Ensuring Sustainability requests that institutes evaluate whether they can continue operating independent of federal funding.

The report also provides a set of recommendations that all associated federal agencies have agreed to. These are:

The Secretary of Commerce should direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Director to work with other sponsoring federal agencies to develop and implement network-wide performance goals for the Manufacturing USA program with measurable targets and time frames.

Secretary of Commerce should direct the NIST Director to work with other sponsoring federal agencies to ensure that the Manufacturing USA network-wide performance measures are directly aligned with the network-wide performance goals, the Manufacturing USA strategic objectives and program goals, and the statutory purposes of the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act.

The Secretary of Commerce should direct the NIST Director to develop criteria to evaluate whether the Commerce-sponsored institute can sustain its operations without additional federal financial assistance after its initial agreement. If an analysis based on such criteria indicates that additional federal financial assistance is needed to help the institute sustain its operations, then the Secretary of Commerce should consider a legislative proposal to amend relevant provisions of the RAMI Act.

The Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of DOD's Manufacturing USA institutes to develop criteria to evaluate whether DOD-sponsored institutes can sustain their operations without additional federal financial assistance after their initial agreements.

The Secretary of Energy should direct the Director of DOE's Manufacturing USA institutes to develop criteria to evaluate whether DOE-sponsored institutes can sustain their operations without additional federal financial assistance after their initial agreements.

To view the report in full, click here: https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-19-409

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