Last year, representatives from five of the most established US manufacturing brands met with President Biden and additive manufacturing (AM) industry experts in Hamilton, OH, to announce the launch of the Biden administration’s AM Forward Initiative. Now, the head of the US Small Business Administration (SBA), Isabella Casillas Guzman, has met with Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks at the Pentagon to discuss the voluntary manufacturing compact, along with other related issues.

Joining Guzman and Hicks at the Pentagon were individuals from founding AM Forward members Lockheed Martin and GE, as well as from AM industry stakeholder Stifel Financial and nonprofit Applied Science & Technology Research Organization (ASTRO) America. ASTRO America was instrumental to the launch of AM Forward, which, in addition to Lockheed and GE Aerospace, also counts Siemens Energy, RTX, and Honeywell as founders. Boeing and Northrop Grumman joined the compact in August, 2022.

The purpose of the compact is to help remove barriers to adoption preventing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the US manufacturing sector from incorporating AM technologies into their supply chains. So far, the agreement includes commitments like reaching target percentages for the number of 3D printed parts that each participating corporation sources from US SMEs. For instance, one characteristic detail of the compact reads, “Siemens Energy will target to purchase 20-40% of total externally sourced AM parts and services from US-based suppliers and partners. It will engage 10-20 US SME suppliers to help improve their AM capability.”

In a press release about the Pentagon meeting, Guzman said, “By partnering with DoD and leveraging SBA’s long-stranding public-private investment partnerships through the [Small Business Investment Company] program, we will accelerate manufacturing innovation in the US industrial base by enabling access to capital and expertise networks capable of addressing the biggest challenges faced by the small business suppliers critical to US national security.”

Hicks said, “The AM Forward Initiative, the SBA’s SBIC program, and the establishment of DoD’s Office of Strategic Capital (OSC) tell a compelling story about the power of partnerships to ensure that America’s small and medium-sized businesses continue to lead the world in innovation and critical technologies.”

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