The needs of the defense community as they relate to manufacturing and industry was the hot topic at this year's National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS)/Department of Defense (DoD) symposium. More than 200 attendees discussed DoD sustainability needs, reviewed ongoing projects, and proposed new ideas and new project specifications. As a result, over 25 new project ideas were submitted for consideration.
The collaboration between NCMS and DoD, called Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities (CTMA), is focusing on a number of projects, including ways to apply composite materials to aftermarket products and repairs, development of near-dry machine tools for aluminum production, high-throughput production processing of five-axis aluminum components, and laserengineered-net-shape (LENS) forming. The group is also looking at projects such as reconfigurable tooling systems, lead-free solder, and near-dry, deep-hole drilling of steel.
At the symposium, a panel of experts outlined the DoD's requirements in the fields of sustainment, maintenance, and repair. Among the speak-ers was a spokesperson for the U.S. Army, who addressed the needs of the Army Transformation Charter: Balancing acquisition with sustainment to reduce costs without impairing combat readiness; using common platforms and new technology to reduce material and personnel needed in combat zones; and the enhancement of the Army's strategic readiness and speed of response.
Representatives from the submarine force of the Atlantic Fleet and the Navy Atlantic Surface Fleet discussed submarine and surface-fleet maintenance-and-repair issues in regard to sustainment over acquisition. Issues included component overhauls and upgrades, preservation of certain components, and the needs of the surface fleet in leveraging new technologies to improve current capabilities.
The U.S. Air Force and the Marine Corp Materiels Command also presented their needs for equipment sustainment versus obsolescence.