American Manufacturing Policy
Last June, just before I went deaf, I was asked to participate in the President’s Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation Podcast. My ideas were discussed in advance with Dr. Mike McGrath, former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and with Air Force Major General Robert Mansfield, both of whom were former clients.
My most recent engagement with the military was the Battlefield Backorder Breakout Initiative, a study to determine why certain items needed by warfighters are on perpetual backorder.
Part of the problem has to do with diminishing manufacturing resources. Organizations like the National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) exist because they are supposed to keep an eye on the ball in this sector. The organization includes mostly systems integrators and some manufacturers whose sole customers are the government, and I suggest that is a part of the problem.
America has forfeited design and building consumer products made in America. Without a sound industrial base serving consumers, there is insufficient capacity to also support the needs for defense manufacturing. We are way out of balance.
I submit that the primary role of government and the President of the USA is to optimize return on national resources. Further, I submit that the primary measure of government success is the degree to which it maximizes gross domestic product.
John Boehner, Harry Reid, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Tim Geithner and all of the Presidential Candidates including the incumbent need to invest in understand our economy and readdress how to renew manufacturing America.
“PCAST Launches Policy Forum on the Future of U.S. Advanced Manufacturing
Posted by Deborah Stine on April 07, 2010 at 02:52 PM EDT
Today, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) launched a website to gather public opinion on the future of advanced manufacturing. We hope you will join the conversation athttp://pcast.ideascale.com.
PCAST is an advisory group of the nation's leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the President to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside the White House and from cabinet departments and other federal agencies. One topic it is currently addressing is advanced manufacturing. PCAST has a number of questions regarding advanced manufacturing that could best be answered with the help of public input. PCAST asks that you provide responses to any or all of the following questions by 5:00 p.m. EDT Tuesday, April 20, 2010.
Support for new manufacturing technologies
1. Are public-private partnerships (e.g., consortia), in which government jointly funds projects with industry and often academia, a good mechanism to support new manufacturing technologies that are beyond the reach of individual firms? If not, why not?
2. Some advocate the expansion of the mission of the national laboratories to include R&D challenges relevant to a broad range of manufacturing industries. Is this an appropriate strategy? If not, why not?
3. At some federal agencies, an “innovation budget” is established to promote breakthrough discoveries. Should such a budget be established for advanced manufacturing technology? If not, why not?
Support for new manufacturing firms
4. Given the success of some government-industry-university innovation clusters, should the federal government take the lead in establishing additional clusters to support new manufacturing firms, in particular? If not, why not?
5. Should the federal government assist in the formation and advancement of small firms in the advanced manufacturing sector? If not, why not?
6. Do you believe that potentially valuable research at universities is not being fully utilized by industry? If so, why does this occur, and should federal agencies increase the emphasis on translational research to address this issue? If not, why not?
Support for existing manufacturing firms
7. Should the federal government help form public-private partnerships to perform research on “horizontal,” cross-cutting technology platforms (e.g., modeling, simulation) that are essential, but beyond the reach of individual firms? If not, why not?
8. Should the government generate an international benchmarking effort to compare US manufacturing infrastructures (i.e., technology platforms) with those of competing nations? If not, why not?
9. Should government, in partnership with industry, sponsor programs in manufacturing training and certification at community colleges, technical schools, and colleges to enhance the nation’s workforce? If not, why not?
A national manufacturing strategy
10. Should the President create a national science– and technology–based manufacturing strategy as a pillar of US economic policy? If not, why not? If so, which actions should have highest priority? Which of these are most cost-effective?”
Some good work came out of this effort last summer, but the Obama administration and Congress have failed to act on it.
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