Non-profit organization is tapped by U.S. Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base team and program integrator, BlueForge Alliance, to implement additive manufacturing plan. Effort aims to diversify Guam’s economy and meet Navy supply chains needs in the Indo-Pacific region.

“ASTRO is proud to join forces with Guam’s leaders to help the U.S. Navy while helping create new high-tech industries and jobs for the people of Guam.”

January 8, 2024. Bethesda, MD – Building off a feasibility analysis commissioned by the Government of Guam, the Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) is being awarded $550,000 by the Navy’s Submarine Industrial Base team lead, BlueForge Alliance, to strengthen the U.S. Navy’s Industrial Base by developing an additive manufacturing (AM) workforce and technology center in Guam.

This initiative constitutes the next stage of an ambitious venture launched two and half years ago by Guam’s Governor Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero, after meeting with ASTRO America’s leaders to discuss the potential economic impact of additive manufacturing. Subsequently, the Governor directed a feasibility study and technology summit to determine how developing a 3D printing capability on-island would address both Guam’s economic development and key military needs. Commissioned by the Guam Economic Development Authority, the resulting report has provided important analysis upon which to base a plan for a education and technology center.

Despite its strategic importance to U.S. national security, Guam’s distance from the U.S. mainland poses significant logistical challenges – particularly for delivering, inventorying, and replacing spare parts for key naval platforms, including attack and strategic submarines. Parts that should otherwise take days to requisition can often take weeks – if not months – due to supply chain bottlenecks originating in the continental United States.

While additive manufacturing could address these issues on-island, establishing on-demand production requires a concerted effort to set up well equipped facilities and develop a workforce in Guam with specialized skills in metallurgy, machining, and additive manufacturing as well as sophisticated non-destructive testing to ensure part-acceptance to industrial base standards. ASTRO America is forging partnerships with the Navy and several organizations, including the Guam Economic Development Authority and University of Guam, to help U.S. mainland-based higher education establish a credentialed satellite AM campus and testing laboratory in Guam.

“Guam has long served as a crucial base of operations for the U.S. Navy,” said Governor Leon Guerrero. “Now, together, we can bring a technology revolution to Guam that will both create new job opportunities and contribute to America’s national security interests. I saw the potential that Additive Manufacturing provides for Guam and commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of supporting Department of Defense and commercial sector needs. Indeed, Additive manufacturing shows great promise for achieving our administration’s economic diversification goals, and I look forward to partnering with the Navy and this team to build a submarine industrial base here in Guam.”

“America’s submarine fleet is the envy of the world— renowned for its unparalleled durability and stealth, as well as its vast mission-set: from surveillance/reconnaissance to strategic deterrence,” said ASTRO America President Neal Orringer (former Department of Defense Director of Manufacturing). “ASTRO is proud to join forces with Guam’s leaders to help the Navy maintain this crucial advantage, while helping create new high-tech industries and jobs for the people of Guam.”

Through this project, ASTRO will convene key Navy ship acquisition and sustainment officials along with leading additive manufacturing experts from academia and industry to initiate a framework and, ultimately, establish a location and development plan for a new education & technology center, that enables workforce development, productive manufacturing and testing on-island. To ensure its viability, the plan will also require a substantiated business model, demonstrating an ability to sustain operations and meet manufacturing needs for ship maintenance/repair, and other potential fields.

The project is expected to be informed by Phase I of the feasibility study completed for the Guam Economic Development Authority last year as well as the second report being completed with the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans. That forthcoming report is focused on developing an implementation plan to establish an ecosystem tailored to distinct AM requirements and unique economic and geo-political conditions on Guam. Both agencies will play roles in the new project that advances both economic and security needs through AM development on-island.

For more information on this project, click here.

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The Applied Science and Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan Research Institute and Think Tank. It was established in 2018 to advance the public interest through manufacturing technology and policy. Led by manufacturing professionals with broad public and private sector experience, ASTRO America supports collaborations by government agencies and companies to address supply chain challenges in highly regulated industries, including aerospace and defense.

Find out more: https://www.astroa.org/