MForesight Explores “Grand Challenges” of U.S. Manufacturing in New Report

Jun 15, 2018

Over the past year, MForesight: Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight conducted a series of roundtables with industry experts and thought leaders to gather perspective on the current state of American manufacturing, including the “grand challenges” facing the sector. These roundtables were carried out in an effort to identify ways in which both the public and private sectors can help strengthen the foundations of U.S. innovation and manufacturing. The findings of these discussions are now being shared in the recently released report “Manufacturing Prosperity: A Bold Strategy for National Wealth and Security.”

As stated in the report, “Maintaining the trajectory of recent decades—a shrinking manufacturing base and large trade deficits in advanced technologies—will result in a second tier industrial economy, unable to maintain superiority in defense or global economic leadership.”

Grand challenges that must be addressed include:

  1. Rebuild the Industrial Commons
    The United States has lost fundamental production skills and capabilities—the Industrial Commons—in many industries. This has meant the loss of entire industrial sectors over time, with noticeable impacts on the national innovation system. Production can provide competitive advantages that are difficult to replicate. Maintaining domestic manufacturing capabilities is essential to retaining the know-how needed to produce next generation technologies and to meet critical defense production.
  2. Convert national R&D to national wealth and security
    Leading the world in R∓D spending is not sufficient to ensure prosperity. Technologies invented here are being licensed, sold, or given away to manufacture overseas, which, in effect, is subsidizing R∓D for other countries. Results of R&D should be strategically nurtured to create new products, including defense-critical technology products that are made in America at commercial scale to generate wealth, jobs, and exports.
  3. Lead emerging industries
    To ensure future economic strength and defense superiority, the United States must have a leadership position in emerging industries such as autonomous vehicles, additive manufacturing, bio-manufacturing, energy storage, advanced materials, and quantum computing, to name a few. Dependence on foreign suppliers is creating defense vulnerabilities and significant long-term costs.

To ensure future economic strength and defense superiority, the United States must have a leadership position in emerging industries such as autonomous vehicles,  additive manufacturing, bio-manufacturing, energy storage, advanced materials, and quantum computing, to name a few. Dependence on foreign suppliers is creating defense vulnerabilities and significant long-term costs.

The report states that bold steps are needed to ensure that these challenges are met quickly and aggressively.  It provides recommendations on critical next steps, which include establishing additional Manufacturing USA institutes to rebuild foundational manufacturing know-how while, at the same time, advancing capabilities in platform manufacturing technologies for multi-industry applications.

To view the full report, click here: http://mforesight.org/download/7817/