The Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Policy Office has launched a pioneering manufacturing pilot program, through the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III Program, with the Austin Center for Manufacturing and Innovation (ACMI) in Austin, Texas. The first-of-its-kind pilot program will focus on advanced manufacturing technology for commercial and military applications that can be rapidly scaled to production. The methodology can then be replicated in other critical technology areas.
The DPA Title III Program engaged with ACMI on this project to explore innovative approaches to leverage private capital. The emphasis of the pilot is on a new model to rapidly scale emerging technologies and to contribute to a more robust and resilient industrial base. DPA Title III funding will allow DoD to address critical industrial base shortfalls, while maximizing the use of private capital for future national security needs.
“Our support enables the United States to more effectively harness innovation in manufacturing, enhance supply chain resiliency, and develop a more robust industrial base that is well prepared to meet the needs of American strategic interests while developing a future workforce for advanced chemical manufacturing,” said Dr. William LaPlante, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. “This pilot program is a first step in finding new and creative solutions to innovate within the American manufacturing sector.”
“We are proud to have been selected to help advance the Department of Defense’s industrial priorities at this critical point in our nation’s history,” said John Burer, founder of ACMI. “Leveraging private capital and market forces will allow us to deliver an efficient and sustainable solution for these areas.”
The pilot program will run for 24 months and will focus on the manufacturing of inert chemicals for energetic applications used by the military in munitions and also by the commercial sector in agriculture products. Military and commercial needs often overlap and only differ slightly in the final product. The originating chemicals and materials are identical. Focusing the effort early in the supply chain allows for both groups to receive new products that are identical to their legacy material.
After the pilot is complete, additional funds from the DoD’s DPA Title III Program will be used to scale the program into other sectors important to national security, like microelectronics and clean energy.
ACMI anticipates a 10-to-1 ratio of private-to-public funding for the pilot, with full-scale operations estimated to exceed a ratio of 25-to-1, allowing for the maximum return on investment to the U.S. taxpayer. Based on the results of the pilot, the DPA Title III Program will evaluate future opportunities to expand this approach to other geographical locations and across other sectors of strategic national security interest.
About the Department of Defense’s DPA Title III Program:
The DPA Title III Program for the Department of Defense is dedicated to ensuring the timely availability of essential domestic industrial resources to support national defense and homeland security requirements now and in the future. The program works in partnership with the uniformed services, other government agencies, and industry to identify areas where critical industrial capacity is lagging or non-existent. Once a need is identified, the program engages with U.S. and Canadian companies to mitigate these risks using grants, purchase commitments, loans, or loan guarantees. By executing its mission, the DPA Title III Program reduces the nation’s reliance on foreign supply chains, ensures the integrity of materials supplied to the American warfighter, and helps create a resilient, robust, and secure defense industrial base.
About the Austin Center for Manufacturing and Innovation:
ACMI is an ecosystem for innovation in the manufacturing sector based in Austin, Texas. The ACMI Group consists of capital, properties and center segments that collectively support a holistic and operationally-oriented approach to help early-stage hardware companies. ACMI’s model incorporates scaling space for manufacturing, growth equity capital, strategic guidance, contract manufacturing relationships and technical and operational advisors to professionalize and prepare companies to scale.